Steam Cleaning vs Chemical Cleaning

Steam Cleaning vs Chemical Cleaning Carpets (Which is Better?)

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Carpets can trap a lot of dust, germs, and allergens from the air, and over time these particles accumulate, and then they can be released at home. This can cause allergies and many other negative health effects, and what’s more important, some of the homeowners don’t even realize that their cause can be the carpets.

Steam cleaning and chemical cleaning both work well when it comes to cleaning carpets. Depending on the purpose of your cleaning and the type of carpet you have, you need to choose the right cleaning method. Steam cleaning can be more powerful in terms of getting rid of stains, allergens, but chemical cleaning is much easier.

Carpet maintenance can be tricky. Knowing the advantages and disadvantages of chemical cleaning and steam cleaning will help you to figure out the right way for you, so you can keep your carpets clean and beautiful.

Related post: Best Carpet Spot Cleaner Machine [Top 10 Picks for 2024]

How does steam cleaning work on carpet?

People steam cleaning carpet

Steam cleaning is a great option for those people who struggle with allergies or have sensitivity to chemical scents. The water vapor doesn’t have any smell. It’s an effective way to lift dirt and kill germs, bacteria. You can easily get rid of mold and pet scents.

Steam cleaning a carpet will not inject any substances that would leave some type of residue on the carpet fiber. This may happen if you’re using sprays or dry cleaners, though.

Steam cleaning can also be a great way to improve the appearance of your carpets. With steam cleaning, you inject moisture into the carpet fibers but much less compared to when you use shampoo, for example, to disinfect or refresh the carpet. Steam cleaning deep cleans your carpet; that’s why many people prefer it over chemical cleaning.

For steam cleaning, you need a special cleaner or use the help of professionals, meaning this method requires less effort compared to chemical cleaning. One of the main disadvantages of steam cleaning is its price. Another considerable disadvantage is that it takes a few days for the carpet to completely dry. 

How does chemical carpet cleaning work?

Cleaning carpet with chemicals

Chemical cleaning is basically using different chemical detergents, liquid or dry, to clean the carpet. Compared to steam cleaning, chemical cleaning requires less water, meaning you need less time to get your carpets clean.

The only problem with chemical cleaning is that the chemicals don’t go into deeper layers of the carpet, so you will not get the deep cleaning as with steam cleaning. The chemicals are only able to absorb the dirt from the surface of the carpet. So the rest of the carpet still stays dirty.

If you have deeply stained carpet, this is definitely not the best method to clean it. Among the great advantages of this type of carpet cleaning is that it’s quick and affordable. Carpet shampoos and compounds will last long if you use them sparingly. 

With chemical cleaning, you will be exposed to strong chemicals. If you have allergies or sensitivities, you should not use this cleaning method. Also, the drawback of chemical cleaning is that chemical residue may stay in the carpet fibers but will not necessarily clean the stains.

How can I deep clean my carpet myself?

steam carpet cleaning carpet vs chemical carpet cleaning

You can do the deep cleaning yourself at home. Firstly, you will need to thoroughly vacuum the carpet to get rid of dust, hair, etc. Then you need to make a cleaning paste, which consists of salt, borax, and vinegar. 

You should mix all these ingredients and then apply the paste on stains or heavily soiled sections of your carpet. The paste should sit on the carpet for several hours until it completely dries. After that, vacuum the leftovers of the paste.

You can use the steam cleaner. If you don’t want to buy it, then a good option would be to rent it. You can skip the carpet shampoo. Hot water can be enough to get rid of all stains on your carpet. However, if you see that your carpet is very soiled, add 1 cup of white vinegar to 2.5 gallons of water for the deep cleaning.

Most steam cleaning machines have 2 modes: when they release the hot water and when the water gets sucked back up. It’s recommended to spend ¾ of your time on the second mode. Just soak the carper and after that, go over it 3-4 times to dry it as much as possible. If you do this properly, then the carpet will dry out completely more quickly.

It would be best if you made sure the carpet dries out well before you can bring back the furniture. If it’s wet, there is a chance that the furniture can cause some stain bleedings. Moreover, wet carpets get stained very easily and quickly, so you need to avoid any interaction with them before it’s dry.

Which is Better – Steam or Chemical Carpet Cleaning?

Chemical cleaning works best if you’re looking to remove stains quickly and on budget. Also, it’s a great option if wet carpets are too much hassle in your home.

If you have thick carpets that need deep cleaning, then steam cleaning is the right choice for you. Steam cleaning is good if you have sensitivity to chemical cleaners or allergies. This cleaning method requires having wet carpets, so if your entire home is carpeted, it may cause some inconvenience at home.

Comparing these two methods, I came to the conclusion that steam cleaning is more powerful than chemical cleaning. However, chemical cleaning is much easier and quicker. Steam cleaning can give better results, which will last longer and make your carpet look new. 

With chemical cleaning, this result is very hard to achieve. There is a chance that chemical residue will stay in the carpet and in the house, so people who are sensitive to chemicals or have allergies may experience negative effects on their health.

If you’re looking for steam cleaners, you can check out our guide to the best multi-purpose steam cleaners. It will help you find an affordable option for steam cleaning your carpets.

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