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Cleaning your Own Carpets: to Steam or Not to Steam?
Published on Friday, 29 November 2013

Cleaning your Own Carpets: to Steam or Not to Steam?

For many people looking to keep their carpets in pristine condition, renting an industrial carpet cleaner and tackling the issue yourself is usually a cost-saving and effective method. The machines themselves can usually be rented at most large supermarkets, and the cost of hiring one for a few days will be considerably less than calling in the professionals.
The only issue with hiring a carpet cleaner is that you have two ways to proceed for domestic use, with full cleaners available as well as more portable heavy-duty spot cleaners. Here we give you a brief guide of the two most common types of home carpet cleaners so that you can make a well-informed decision:

  • Handheld Spot Cleaners

Cheap, easy to use and not at all harsh on your carpets, these little machines are effective for removing small tough stains without having to clear your room of furniture to proceed with a full clean. The can usually also be used on your upholstery and in your car or van, making them incredibly versatile – you will always find something else to clean!
The only issue with them is that because they are handheld they aren’t quite as powerful as a more industrial-type upright unit, and because of this do have a tendency to clean slightly unevenly. If you are planning to remove more than four or five spots on one carpet then it will usually be a better option to proceed with a full clean.

  • Upright Cleaners

This is your standard rental equipment, and the most effective way to clean your floors yourself. Most will operate via a steam clean/hot water extraction type method, and the process will involve quite a lot of furniture moving and covering, so be prepared for cleaning a room to take a few hours.

You will need to fill your equipment with water, and possibly some sort of detergent or shampoo that is not usually supplied as part of the rental, so you will need to account for this as a cost. The water is then heated almost to steam-level (steam would damage and shrink certain fibre types such as wool) and applied to the carpet along with the shampoo. At the same time, the water in your carpet is vacuumed up along with any dirt and debris that has been disturbed by the water/shampoo application. If you do not wish to use any form of shampoo the machines are usually still quite effective without them using just hot water, and this guarantees there will be no detergent residues leftover in your carpet, which can actually attract dirt once you have finished, although this isn’t usually considered a potential issue with the better and more modern machines.

Obviously, the main consideration to bear in mind when renting a steam cleaner is that you will be applying water to your carpets, and the vacuum will only suck up so much of it once it has been applied. Once you have finished the vacuuming process then you will need to let the carpet dry, opening windows and providing adequate ventilation. Try to avoid carrying out the clean in humid conditions, where the water left will not be so readily evaporated, and leave a good few hours before returning furniture to the room.

That said, renting your own carpet cleaner can be an easy and affordable way to breathe new life into tired-looking floors. If it isn’t enough however, you can always consider hiring the professionals.


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