Is a carpet cleaner or a steamer better? what are the pros and cons of shampoo carpet cleaner?

smiling young professional cleaner cleaning carpet with vacuum cleaner

Maintaining clean and fresh carpets is a cornerstone of a healthy and inviting home environment. When it comes to choosing the right cleaning method, the decision often boils down to the specific needs of your carpets and your preferences.

In this exploration, we will delve into the pros and cons of two popular carpet cleaning methods: carpet shampooers and steam cleaners. Understanding the distinct advantages and drawbacks of each will empower you to make an informed decision, ensuring that your carpets not only look great but also contribute to a clean and comfortable living space.

Is a carpet cleaner or a steamer better?

Choosing between a carpet cleaner and a steamer can be a daunting task, but understanding the key differences and benefits of each can make the decision easier. Let’s break down the basics in a simple and easy-to-understand manner.

Carpet cleaners and steamers serve distinct purposes when it comes to maintaining the cleanliness of your carpets and upholstery. A carpet cleaner, often known as a carpet shampooer, employs a cleaning solution to remove dirt, stains, and grime from your carpets. On the other hand, a steamer uses hot water vapour to sanitize surfaces and eliminate bacteria, allergens, and odours.

When it comes to deep cleaning and tackling tough stains, a carpet cleaner takes the lead. These machines come equipped with rotating brushes that scrub the carpet fibres and lift embedded dirt. The cleaning solution, usually a specialized carpet shampoo, helps break down stains and leaves your carpets looking refreshed. Carpet cleaners are particularly effective for removing spills, pet stains, and high-traffic grime.

Picture of steam cleaner over floor or carpet. High quality photo

On the flip side, steamers offer a different approach by utilizing the power of hot water vapour. Steam cleaning doesn’t involve the use of cleaning chemicals, making it an eco-friendly option. The high temperatures generated by the steamer can kill bacteria, dust mites, and other allergens lurking in your carpets. This method is especially beneficial for individuals with allergies or sensitivities to cleaning chemicals.

When deciding between a carpet cleaner and a steamer, consider the specific cleaning needs of your space. If your primary concern is removing stubborn stains and revitalizing the appearance of your carpets, a carpet cleaner is the go-to choice. On the other hand, if you prioritize sanitization and want to reduce allergens without using chemicals, a steamer may be the better option.

Maintenance and ease of use are also important factors to consider. Carpet cleaners typically require the use of cleaning solutions, so you’ll need to factor in the cost of these products. Steamers, on the other hand, only use water, eliminating the need for additional cleaning agents. Additionally, steamers are generally simpler to operate as they involve filling the water tank, waiting for it to heat up, and then guiding the steamer over the surfaces to be cleaned.

What are the pros and cons of shampoo carpet cleaner?

Carpet cleaning is an essential aspect of maintaining a clean and healthy home environment, and one popular method is using a shampoo carpet cleaner. Let’s explore the pros and cons of this cleaning approach.

Pros of shampoo carpet cleaner:

  1. Effective Stain Removal: One of the primary advantages of shampoo carpet cleaners is their effectiveness in removing stubborn stains. The cleaning solution used in these machines is designed to break down and lift dirt, spills, and deeply embedded stains from the carpet fibres.
  2. Deep Cleaning: Shampoo carpet cleaners often come with rotating brushes or agitators that scrub the carpet thoroughly. This deep cleaning action helps to extract dirt and grime from the depths of the carpet, leaving it revitalized and looking almost like new.
  3. Versatility: These carpet cleaners are versatile and can be used on various surfaces, including carpets, upholstery, and even some types of flooring. This versatility makes them a convenient choice for comprehensive cleaning around the house.
  4. Removal of Odors: Shampoo carpet cleaners are effective not only at removing visible stains but also at eliminating odours. The cleaning solution used typically includes deodorizing agents that help neutralize unpleasant smells, leaving your carpets smelling fresh.
  5. Relatively Affordable: Compared to professional carpet cleaning services, investing in a shampoo carpet cleaner can be a cost-effective option for homeowners. It allows you to clean your carpets at your convenience without the recurring expense of professional services.

cropped view of cleaners in overalls and rubber gloves cleaning apartment

Cons of shampoo carpet cleaner:

  1. Drying Time: One significant drawback of shampoo carpet cleaning is the extended drying time. The cleaning solution, along with the moisture from the cleaning process, can take a considerable amount of time to dry completely. This can be inconvenient, especially if you need to use the cleaned area promptly.
  2. Residue Buildup: Some carpet shampoos may leave behind a residue on the carpet fibres. This residue can attract dirt more quickly, leading to the need for more frequent cleaning. It’s essential to thoroughly rinse the carpet after shampooing to minimize residue buildup.
  3. Not Suitable for All Carpets: Shampoo carpet cleaners may not be suitable for all types of carpets. Delicate or antique carpets may be damaged by the vigorous brushing action, and certain materials may not respond well to the moisture introduced during the cleaning process.
  4. Potential for Over-Wetting: Using too much cleaning solution or over-shampooing a carpet can lead to over-wetting. Excessive moisture in the carpet can promote the growth of mould and mildew, posing a risk to both the carpet and the indoor air quality.
  5. Regular Maintenance Required: To keep a shampoo carpet cleaner working effectively, regular maintenance is necessary. This includes cleaning the machine itself, ensuring that brushes are in good condition, and replacing any worn-out parts. Failure to maintain the equipment can impact its performance over time.

What are the pros and cons of steam carpet cleaners?

Steam carpet cleaners have gained popularity for their ability to provide a deep and chemical-free clean. Let’s explore the pros and cons of using a steam carpet cleaner in a simple and easy-to-understand manner.

Pros of steam carpet cleaners:

  1. Chemical-Free Cleaning: One of the most significant advantages of steam carpet cleaners is their ability to clean without the use of harsh chemicals. They rely on hot water vapour to break down and lift dirt, stains, and allergens from the carpet fibres. This makes steam cleaning a preferred option for households with individuals sensitive to cleaning agents.
  2. Allergen Reduction: Steam cleaning is highly effective at reducing allergens such as dust mites, pet dander, and pollen. The high temperatures produced by the steam can kill these microscopic irritants, providing a healthier environment for those with allergies.
  3. Versatility: Steam carpet cleaners are versatile and can be used on a variety of surfaces beyond carpets, including tile, hardwood floors, and upholstery. This makes them a versatile and multi-functional cleaning tool for different areas of your home.
  4. Environmentally Friendly: Since steam cleaning doesn’t involve the use of chemicals, it is considered an environmentally friendly cleaning method. It reduces the impact of harmful substances on the environment and is a greener option for those looking to minimize their ecological footprint.
  5. Quick Drying Time: Unlike traditional carpet cleaning methods that use excessive water, steam carpet cleaning leaves behind less moisture. This results in quicker drying times, typically within a few hours. Faster drying helps prevent the growth of mould and mildew in the carpet.

Picture of steam cleaner over floor or carpet. High quality photo

Cons of steam carpet cleaners:

  1. Not Effective for Tough Stains: While steam cleaners are excellent for regular maintenance and allergen reduction, they may not be as effective in tackling tough, deeply embedded stains. In such cases, additional treatments or the use of specialized stain removers may be necessary.
  2. Initial Cost: The upfront cost of a quality steam carpet cleaner can be higher compared to other carpet cleaning methods. However, many users find that the long-term benefits, including reduced reliance on professional cleaning services, justify the initial investment.
  3. Risk of Overwetting: While steam cleaners use less water than traditional methods, there is still a risk of overwetting if not used correctly. Overly saturating the carpet can lead to longer drying times and potential issues with mould or mildew. It’s essential to follow the manufacturer’s instructions for proper usage.
  4. Regular Maintenance Required: Like any cleaning equipment, steam carpet cleaners require regular maintenance. This includes cleaning the machine, descaling the boiler, and ensuring that all components are in good working condition. Neglecting maintenance can impact the performance and longevity of the steam cleaner.
  5. May Not Be Suitable for Some Materials: While versatile, steam cleaning may not be suitable for certain carpet materials, especially those that are sensitive to heat and moisture. It’s important to check the manufacturer’s guidelines and, if unsure, perform a small test in an inconspicuous area before proceeding with full-scale steam cleaning.


In the quest for spotless carpets, the choice between a carpet cleaner and a steamer ultimately depends on your unique priorities and the characteristics of your living space. Carpet cleaners, with their stain-fighting prowess and versatility, are champions in revitalizing worn-out carpets.

On the other hand, steam cleaners offer a chemical-free and allergen-reducing approach, making them the eco-friendly choice for those with sensitivities. Whether you opt for the deep-cleaning action of a shampoo carpet cleaner or the chemical-free steam power, what matters most is choosing a method that aligns with your cleaning goals and contributes to a healthier and more inviting home.