Is Steam Cleaning Bad for Carpets

Is Steam Cleaning Bad for Carpets [Dos & Don’ts]

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Is steam cleaning bad for carpets?

It’s question that we get a lot and it often stems from misconceptions. In reality, when done correctly and with the appropriate equipment, steam cleaning is a highly effective and safe method for carpet maintenance.

Unlike harsh chemical cleaners, steam cleaning utilizes the power of high-temperature steam to lift and remove dirt, stains, and allergens from carpets. It not only rejuvenates the carpet fibers but also provides a deep and thorough cleaning without leaving behind chemical residues.

When performed at recommended intervals, steam cleaning can contribute to extending the lifespan of carpets and maintaining a healthier indoor environment.

Now here is a riddle: what’s more harmful to your carpet: a red wine stain, your cat’s doing, or steam from a cleaner?

The answer is pretty straightforward if you’ve ever seen how stubborn wine or pee stains are.

But the question remains, is steam cleaning bad for carpets in and of itself? The short answer is no. Steam cleaning is not bad for carpets if you do it right.

Keep reading to find out why steam cleaning is not bad for carpets.

Related Post: Is Steam Cleaning Good for Carpets? (5 Things You Need to Know!)

How Do You Steam Clean Carpets Correctly: Things to Avoid

Steam cleaning carpets correctly means avoiding the most common mistake, which is over-wetting the carpet.

Overwetting the carpet can happen for several reasons. They include:

Faulty or Inferior Equipment

A steam cleaning machine can be either portable or truck-mounted.

Portable carpet cleaning machines are similar to rental carpet cleaners. The device is rolled into the home and hooked up to a water source. However, some portable machines offer significantly more power than others.

Ideally, you’d want to use a portable steam cleaner that is powerful enough to get rid of tough stains. Portable steam cleaners are ideal for small areas. 

Commercial carpet cleaning businesses typically use truck-mounted steam cleaning systems. These machines offer far more power than a portability unit. 

Most of these units have a freshwater tank mounted in the van, while the dirty wastewater flows to a waste tank inside the truck. The vacuum power is increased significantly, and water temperatures can reach 230 degrees depending on the model. 

In a low-quality or faulty machine, the vacuum power would not be sufficient to extract all of the soap, water, and dirt from the carpet.

The Operator Has Poor Technique

Even if you have the best machine, the result will be disappointing if your technique is poor. The technique is the core of carpet cleaning. 

There are different types of carpets. Depending on how dirty the area is, you may need to take slower wand strokes and follow up with more dry passes. 

A dry pass, also known as a dry stroke, refers to vacuuming over the carpet WITHOUT spraying water. In high-traffic or dirty areas, this helps remove moisture.

is steam cleaning bad for carpets - a very dirty carpet
This carpet needs some serious work BEFORE getting steam cleaned

However, less water – and fewer dry passes – may be required in a non-traffic area or an area not heavily contaminated.

So, use the amount of water that is required to remove dirt, soap, and water, without overwetting the carpet.

High Water Pressure

You can set the pressure (measured in pounds per square inch or PSI) on most machines.

A “right” PSI setting does not exist because pressure can and should be adjusted depending upon the type of carpet and dirt level of the carpet.

Generally, PSI levels should be lower for portable carpet machines and low-end truck-mounted carpet machines.

Too High (or Too Low) Temperature or Humidity Levels

Low humidity and air movement are necessary to reduce carpet drying times. Temperature settings should vary according to external conditions. At a minimum, set the thermostat so that the fan runs.

For instance, during the winter, it can be helpful to turn up the heat a few degrees. In the summer, you should adjust the thermostat so that the air conditioning runs cooler than usual. It will speed up drying by regulating airflow and temperature. 

The Carpet Was Not Speed Dried With Fans or Air Movers

You can significantly reduce the carpet’s dry time by using blowers or fans after cleaning. The combo of temperature control and humidity control makes for the perfect after-cleaning environment.

Steam Cleaner

Why Steam Cleaning is Good for Carpets if Done Right

If you manage to avoid the mistake of overwetting, you can enjoy the benefits of steam cleaning your carpet. Some of these perks are:

Steam Cleaning Keeps Your Carpet Beautiful

According to experts, you should clean carpets every six to twelve months or more if the home has pets or children. Carpets that are properly steam cleaned maintain their beauty and last much longer. 

Health Benefits

Having poor indoor air quality can cause health issues such as asthma, allergies, and respiratory diseases. When you steam-clean your carpet, you can help prevent these problems. And this is a significant advantage that steam cleaning has versus shampooing your rugs and carpets. It is also an eco-friendly option.

It’s Called Deep Cleaning for a Reason

Steam cleaning is said to remove up to 99.9% of bacteria from the carpet – so you are guaranteed a healthy home environment.

TL;DR: Steam Cleaning Carpets, Good or Bad?

a cat lying on a wet carpet
Is this wet or wet-wet?

Steam cleaning is not bad for carpets – but only if you avoid over-wetting and adjust the pressure correctly. Otherwise, your carpet may end up soaked (and therefore a breeding ground for germs), or the fibers may get damaged with time. 

The advantages of steam cleaning outweigh the cons, so it’s worth it.

Is Steam Cleaning Bad for Carpets and other Frequently Asked Questions

Should I shampoo or steam clean my carpet?

In most cases, steam cleaning your carpet is the ideal option as it gets rid of not only the dirt, but also various pests and even their eggs. Plus, it’s chemical-free.

When will my carpet be dry after steam cleaning?

The carpet will feel slightly damp after cleaning if you avoid overwetting. And should be fully dry in 6 to 10 hours.

If, however, you clean your carpets during the winter, or if the humidity in your home is high, or if the temperature and air circulation are low, it may take up to 24 hours for them to dry.

How often should I steam clean my carpet?

You can steam clean your carpet once a year. But if you track dirt into your home a lot, you should have your carpet professionally steam cleaned twice a year. As a result, dirt won’t build up, and you’ll get effective deep cleaning.

Can you steam clean carpets yourself?

While you may want to hire a professional to clean your carpets, it’s not a difficult job to do yourself. In fact, one of the benefits of steam cleaning your carpet is that you can do the cleaning process yourself. 

The process of steam cleaning your carpet is simple after you have vacuumed and prepared your room. Also, seeing the results is very rewarding, so it’s worth it!

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