CONTACT US: 020 8146 8571
London's #1 End of Tenancy Specialists

Carpet Steam Cleaning vs Shampooing: which is better?

Personally, I love having carpet in my home. It’s warm, cosy, comfortable to walk on and there’s no need for shoes or rugs. Eventually, however, there will come a time where it begins to look a bit dull. Dust, spills or foot traffic will mean that, no matter how many times its hoovered, the brightness doesn’t come back. When this time comes, you should begin to look at having your carpet professionally cleaned.

With domestic professional carpet cleaning, there are two methods that are most commonly used: Hot Water Extraction, which is often referred to as Steam Cleaning, and Shampoo Cleaning. In this article, we’ll delve into what the difference is between these two methodologies, the advantages and disadvantages of each and, ultimately, which is the best method given your individual requirements.

What is Steam Cleaning?

Hot Water Extraction, or Steam Cleaning, uses pure water vapour that is heated to a very high temperature and applied at high pressure in order to remove stains, dirt and soils from carpet fibres. A second compartment simultaneously absorbs the excess water vapour and dirt particles that have just been extracted. Unlike Carpet Shampooing, it only uses water, which means there are no detergents or chemicals used on the carpet during the Hot Water Extraction process. That being said, pre-treatment might be applied to the carpet ahead of the steam to remove certain stains.

What is Carpet Shampooing?

Like Steam Cleaning, Carpet Shampooing also uses high temperature and pressure but combines these with the additional component of cleaning detergent or ‘shampoo.’ This detergent is usually in the form of a dry foam, but various forms exist. Together, these components mix to create a thick solution that loosens the soil and dirt within the carpet fibres. There is then an addition mechanism in the machine, often vibrating brushes, that create sufficient agitation for the dirt to break away so that it can be extracted. Finally, the carpet is rinsed with clean hot water to remove the solution along with the dirt and soil that has just become separated. The carpets must then be left to dry for at least 24hrs due to the amount of water used in each step of the cleaning process.

Why Steam Cleaning?

There are many benefits of using Steam Cleaning over Carpet Shampooing.

As discussed earlier, rather than using large amounts of cleaning detergent it instead relies on highly pressurised water vapour. By not using strong detergents to clean the carpets, it prevents any carpet damage which therefore maintains their long-term health and durability. That being said, an appropriate level of pressure (PSI) should be applied given the specific fabric of the carpet. Carpet Cleaning professionals will be able to assist with this.

Other benefits of not using strong chemicals to clean the carpet is that it is better people sensitive to chemicals, pets that lay/walk on the carpet and also significantly better for the environment. Although large amounts of water are used in both cleaning techniques, more is used for Carpet Shampooing. Hence, there is no doubt that Steam Cleaning is preferred for our environmentally conscious customers.

By using less water to clean carpets, Hot Water Extraction techniques have significantly shorter drying times than Carpet Shampooing. This can be particularly beneficial if the clean is happening before a handover of property keys, there is an inventory inspection being carried out on the property or you just need to be able to enter the carpeted areas of the property within 24hrs of the clean.

Finally, Carpet Steam Cleaning leaves a better finish than Carpet Shampooing. Aslong as the correct pre-treatment is used, it will be just as effective at removing stains than Carpet Shampooing. However, because it uses less detergents and water, it tends to leave a much brighter finish.

Carpet Steam clean of bedroom carried out by Scrubs Cleaning on 23/07/23.
Prochem Steam Pro: Retail Price £3,250

Why Carpet Shampooing?

One of the main benefits of Carpet Shampooing is cost. It does not require the same level of technical expertise as Hot Water Extraction, which often means it can be done yourself. Carpet Cleaning detergents can be found in most hardware and detergents stores, such as B&Q and Homebase. The machine is much more affordable or can be rented inexpensively for a few hours. Like Hot Water Extraction, Carpet Shampooing can be very effective at moving stains, with specific detergents being applied depending on the type of stain and carpet.

WARNING: Be careful when using detergents. If the stain or mark is not successfully removed it can then become much harder to remove through Hot Water Extraction compared to if no cleaning chemical was applied initially.

The apparatus used for Carpet Shampooing is significantly smaller and lighter than Hot Water Extraction. This is particularly beneficial in dense cities such as London, where there is limited parking and equipment might need carrying. It is also beneficial in apartment blocks without lifts.  

Overview of the Benefits

Hot Water Extraction

Carpet Shampooing

The Final Verdict: Which is better?

In recent years, Hot Water Extraction has come out as the favourite for professional carpet cleaning. The fact it is just as effective at moving stains, is better for the long-term health of carpets and much better for the environment has made it the method of choice for most professional cleaning providers. That being said, Carpet Shampooing can still prove right for some people, particularly if you are on a tight budget, don’t mind doing it yourself and are happy to risk not bringing in a professional. Overall, each person will need to select which method is better for them, but by reading this article hopefully you know understand the differences between the two techniques and be able to make an informed decision about which is best for your specific requirements.

If you would like understand more about the differences between Hot Water Extraction and Carpet Shampooing, or want to book your own professional carpet cleaning service, feel free to Contact Us and one of our team would be happy to help.

In a rush? WhatsApp us!