Difference Between Steam Cleaning and Carpet Shampooing (With Table)

Any type of carpet is an essential asset at any home and its cleanliness is necessary for a nice gesture of the house owner. Carpet cleaning is done to get rid of all the dirt, stains, and minor residues that accumulate on the carpet during the years of its use.

Steam Cleaning vs Carpet Shampooing

The difference between steam cleaning and carpet shampooing is that steam cleaning uses the power of hot water by converting it into hot steam of low pressure for cleaning carpets with the help of a steam cleaner whereas carpet shampooing involves the use of detergent and water using a shampooing machine.

The steam cleaning method includes a vacuum and pump system using hot low-pressure steam that removes soluble substances from the surface. Steam cleaners are used on a surprising amount of household surfaces effectively to get rid of stains and stubborn dirt. It kills around 99.9% of household germs on the surface like Salmonella.

Carpet shampooing requires a specially-formulated liquid detergent compound used to clean carpets called carpet shampoo. The general idea of a carpet shampooer is to create a thick foam to attract and suspend dust particles on the carpet or rug. Carpet shampooing also kills and eliminates mold spores and algae, and other contaminants.

Comparison Table Between Steam Cleaning and Carpet Shampooing

Parameters of ComparisonSteam CleaningCarpet Shampooing
WorkingSteam cleaning works with a combination of heat and pressure.Carpet shampooing works with a cleaning shampoo or foam-forming solution.
Expense It’s expensive.It’s less expensive than steam cleaning.
RequirementsA technician does steam cleaning.It can be done independently.
SanitizationIt kills almost 99.9% of bacteria and molds.It kills fewer microorganisms than steam cleaning by “surface clean”.
Residues leftCleans almost all the residue.It leaves more residues. Shampoo particles.
Drying timeIt takes less time(approximately 6 hours) to dry.Drying time(around 6-24 hours) is more than steam cleaning.

What is Steam Cleaning?

Steam cleaning is a method that uses high-temperature steam generated after converting water to steam. This steam does the cleaning of the carpet by breaking the dirt-grease adhesive bonds that extract the dirt into a collection tank. The instrument used is called a steam cleaner. It is done by professional carpet cleaners. The process of steam cleaning involves a procedure of four basic steps.

The carpet is first opened up by lifting bulky furniture of the room to expose dirty areas of the carpet.  Such parts are usually placed below bulky furniture and other materials of the room. Next step, a cleaning solution is introduced on the dirty carpet surfaces and retained for a few minutes.

Now, hot water and steam are used to rinse the carpet fibers set at about 200 degrees Fahrenheit for the extraction of the soap residue using a powerful extraction machine. Carpet cleaning helps us remove tough stains and is essential for proper maintenance of carpet.

 Finally, the carpet is dried using a drying source such as a drying machine or the room’s fan. Drying takes some time. Steam cleaning also doesn’t leave toxic detergent residue after the carpet cleaning and enhances the beauty of the carpet furthermore. 

What is Carpet Shampooing?

Carpet shampooing is a cleaning method that involves the use of a suds-based detergent for cleaning. The suds are usually mixed with hot water and then scrubbed into the carpet. The shampoo is extracted with a wet vacuum. This shampoo is called carpet shampoo or cleaning shampoo.

Carpet shampooing is done in a simple procedure. The carpet is pre-inspected to check stains and dirt. Then, dry soil is made to remove from the carpet. Bulky furniture and room materials are eliminated. A carpet shampooer is used to emulsify and break down traffic areas and general spots for a more thorough cleaning.

This is done with a professional carpet groomer or a rotary brush to further loosen the carpet fibers. The carpet is finally thoroughly rinsed either with a powerful extraction cleaning system or roughly without over wetting the carpet and leaving a bit of residue behind.

The final process includes drying which takes a long time of about 6-24 hours. Drying is usually made easier with high-velocity air movers which promote faster drying. Carpet shampooing doesn’t kill all the microbes after cleaning and some of the left residues also can give growth to mildews and other contaminants which is hazardous.

Main Differences Between Steam Cleaning and Carpet Shampooing

  1. Steam cleaning becomes a safety concern sometimes whereas carpet shampooing is hand-held manual work that is done freely and independently.
  2. Steam cleaning is although more expensive to use but it gets advantageous by the fact that it only needs water as an ingredient which produces high-temperature steam whereas carpet shampooing uses not only water but different toxic chemicals too in carpet shampooer.
  3. Steam cleaner simply uses the power of hot water by injecting hot-vaporized water and kills bacteria by breaking down dirt whereas carpet shampooer equipment has a rotating brush that loosens dirt in the carpet fibers while its powerful suction lifts dirt, stains, and grimes.
  4. Steam cleaning is expensive whereas Carpet Shampooing is cheaper.
  5. A technician does steam cleaning whereas Carpet Shampooing can be done independently.


A standard carpet should last between 3-5 years before it becomes frayed but wool carpets last longer if they are cared for properly. Hence, carpet cleaning is a necessity. Two main essential methods of carpet cleaning include steam cleaning and carpet shampooing. The above research clearly shows that steam cleaning is more beneficial than carpet shampooing because it cleans effectively. Although it is expensive, carpet shampooing also has major drawbacks like it leaves residue after cleaning and it takes more drying time than steam cleaning. Carpet cleaning also extends the lifespan of carpets improving visual appeals. The biggest beneficial point is that it helps to get rid of allergens and bacteria that further cause problems like the risk of getting cold and several other health problems.


  1. https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/15459620701805169
  2. https://ehp.niehs.nih.gov/doi/abs/10.1289/ehp.021101233
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