How to Steam Clean Your Carpet

Sometimes the only way to truly clean your carpet is to use a steam cleaner. Fortunately, it’s possible to rent steam cleaners from businesses or even hire a business to come clean your carpet or even your whole home!


When Should I Use A Steam Cleaner?


Generally speaking you should use a steam cleaner if you have large stains, engrained dirt or have already tried other methods of cleaning and the mess has failed to come out. Steam cleaning can be quite heavy work, as you’ll find out, so it wouldn’t be practical to steam clean more than once every year unless your carpet is prone to frequently getting very dirty. The average carpet could get away with a steam clean once every two years.


How Do I Use A Steam Cleaner?


Firstly, given how little you’ll be using a steam cleaner, the easiest thing to do is to rent a steam cleaner from a professional business like ours. It won’t take more than a few hundred dollars, and while that may seem a lot, you’ll be able to use it to clean your entire house if you’re careful enough.


  1. Move everything out of the room. Take out absolutely everything, even the furniture and pictures on the walls. If you absolutely can’t move an item out because it’s too heavy, then you should put a water resistant material such as a plastic bag under the parts of the furniture the touch the carpet. We might even suggest wrapping the entire item in plastic. This will protect your furniture or other items from water damage after using the steam cleaner.


You should also open every door and window in preparation for a later step.


  1. Vacuum normally. Steam cleaners are best suited for deep cleaning, so use a vacuum cleaner to pick up the top layer of dust, dirt and mess. Given that you’re moving everything out of the room as well, it might expose the corners you could never get at normally and there could be a lot of dust there. With the top layer cleaned, your steam cleaner penetrate down to the deepest parts of your carpet by increasing its efficiency.


  1. Pre-treat any especially stubborn stains. Sometimes a steam cleaner will need a little help cleaning very old, ground in stains. You can pre-treat these spots with any of the methods we’ve mentioned elsewhere on this website. It’s best to let the stain soak as long as possible before steam cleaning. One simple pre-treatment is a paste of vinegar and baking soda worked into the stain.


  1. Plan your route. Once your carpet has been steamed, you’ll need to leave it to dry for a long time, and you don’t want to be trapped in a corner because you didn’t think it through. You could walk over the damp carpet, but that means any dirt on the bottom of your shoes will cling to the newly cleaned carpet. The carpet cleaner could harm your bare feet, so the best thing to do is wear plastic bags over your feet and make sure you have a strategy in mind.


  1. Add hot water and the cleaner. Follow the instructions on the bottle as well as any that might be on your steam cleaner. The wrong amount of detergent could possibly damage the steam cleaner and your carpet. There are also several recipes online for a homemade cleaner, often using just water and white vinegar or other simple ingredients. You can use a homemade cleaner, though we cannot speak how well they will work compared to professional cleaner.


  1. Start cleaning. You have you planned route, so start in the far corner and begin cleaning. We suggest that you actually clean the carpet twice. First going up and down, and the second time going left to right. This will penetrate every part of the carpet fibre and give you the best clean possible.


  1. Dry the carpet. Make sure that the entirety of your carpet is dry before you bring things back into the room. As steam cleaning reaches so deeply into the carpet, it’s possible for the water to condense under heavy weight and settle into the pad. If that happens you run the risk of mould. During this time no one should walk on the recently cleaned carpet in order to avoid dirtying the carpet again.


If you used a lot of cleaner, you may need to rinse the carpet again before letting it to dry and then vacuum it again once it’s fully dry.


  1. Air out the room. As we mentioned in step one, you should have opened all the doors and windows of the room. This is because the carpet cleaner will create fumes and a scent that can penetrate every part of your house. Use fans and open windows to disperse the smell and the fumes before they have a chance to make you feel sick. We always suggest that you go outside for some fresh air after having used any sort of steam cleaner or carpet cleaner to prevent headaches.




Steam cleaning is easier than many may think, but it’s also harder than you think. If you’re planning on steam cleaning multiple rooms or are less physically able, it would be best to hire a professional carpet cleaning crew to help do the heavy moving and the cleaning.


However, a small steam cleaner for spot cleaning or cleaning rugs is perfectly manageable for most people and that could be a good alternative if you have particular areas of carpet that get dirty.


Bearing in mind that steam cleaning is a serious endeavor and that it can take eight to twenty-four hours to completely dry a carpet after steam cleaning it. Given all these fact we think that it would be better to hire a professional crew such as Steam Express of Houston as it won’t be too expensive given the work needed to be done.


They offer reasonable quotes on our services and can often provide same day or next day appointments if you contact us during our working hours. They serve the area of Houston, but would be happy to come out a little further; for this service, we request that you contact us and specify this.

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