Difference Between Carpet Cleaner And Steam Cleaner

What Is The Difference Between Carpet Cleaner And Steam Cleaner?

Carpets have become a must-have in nearly all modern homes. I bet that eight out of ten homes you walk into right now have carpets. Carpets are aesthetically pleasing - they add a sense of style, beauty, comfort, and warmth to the home. However, like all things around the house, they get dirty and need to clean.

Vacuuming doesn't always get the job done - it gets to a point you have to consider either using a carpet cleaner or a steam cleaner. Which makes you want to ask; what is the difference between a carpet cleaner and a steam cleaner?

Perhaps most people are acquainted with the carpet cleaner, also known as a carpet shampooer. Carpet cleaner and steam cleaner are all efficient carpet cleaning agents - the difference lies in how they achieve this cleanliness.

For starters, a carpet cleaner achieves a deep clean by using a mixture of warm water and a cleaning solution. The shampooer applies the combination to the fibers of the carpet, which helps to loosen dirt. Typically, the shampooer sprays the cleaning solution onto the carpet, and a rotary brush works to remove stains or dirt. This process is repeated until the carpet is clean - which can make the carpet too wet. On top of this, the brush can damage delicate carpet fibers.

On the other hand, Steam cleaners use hot vaporized water to extract dirt out of the carpet fibers. A vacuum cleaner located at the front of the cleaner then sucks up the loose dirt and carries it to a holding tank.

Most carpet steamers are designed the same way; what varies is the degree to which the water is heated or boiled. Some steam cleaners use cold water boiled to high temperatures, while other steamers use scalding hot water.

Is a carpet cleaner or steamer better?

carpet with a steam cleaner

It is pretty challenging to pick the winning side in a battle between a carpet cleaner and a steam cleaner. This is because the carpet cleaner or steam cleaner can serve you best depending on the results you are going for.

Both methods have their pros and cons- read on and decide which one is better for you;

Let's start with a carpet cleaner - carpet cleaners are more efficient in cleaning heavily soiled carpets. The rotating brush in the machine helps to loosen dirt in the carpet fibers while a powerful suction lifts the dirt and stains embedded in the carpet. It also removes tough stains that may have penetrated the carpet fibers.

Carpet cleaners are mostly surface cleaners; they are best to deep clean on surfaces or areas with high foot traffic. This means homes with children, pets, or many regular guests. You can also achieve the best results without necessarily seeking professional help.

However, the giant machines for a carpet cleaner can be quite expensive. Not to mention that the amount of water being used and the ever-rotating brush can damage delicate carpets. It also leaves the carpet wet for much longer.

On the other hand, steam cleaning entirely stands out from other conventional methods of cleaning. Not only does steam cleaning leave your carpets looking fresh and clean for much longer, but it is also reliable and pretty versatile.

Besides cleaning your carpet, a steam cleaner also kills 99.9% of germs on your floor surfaces. It eliminates pests and kills their eggs. No chemicals are required using a steam cleaner hence very environment friendly.

Additionally, less moisture is used; hence the carpet dries much faster. They are also highly versatile and can be used to do more than just clean carpets.

For a steam cleaner, the downside is that it does not effectively clean heavily soiled carpets. The stains have to be treated first before steaming. The uniqueness of steaming makes it more expensive than other conventional methods. You may, however, require professional help to achieve that perfect clean when using a steam cleaner.

Is carpet cleaner the same as a steam cleaner?

Cleaning Carpet With Vacuum Cleaner

Not! Despite both being used in the carpet cleaning industry - a carpet cleaner is very different from a steam cleaner. While both works to remove dirt and stains embedded in the carpet, they have very different designs and achieve the deep clean differently.

A carpet cleaner comprises a pump, a revolving or rotating brush, a vacuum, and a holding tank. The pumps generate the pressure that pushes the water and cleaning solution onto the carpet.

Once the shampooer applies the cleaning solution, the vacuum extracts the dirt, stains, and the now dirty cleaning water and empties it into an extraction tank in the carpet cleaner. There is another tank that holds the rinse water; it is known as the solution tank.

The recovery tank holds water, cleaning chemicals, dirt, stains, and 0ther harmful materials. The rotating brush gets into the fibers to make loose dirt and remove stubborn stains.

Other distinctive features;

If you are still having trouble separating a carpet cleaner from a steam cleaner - the following differences will help.

A carpet shampooer uses chemicals and detergent to achieve that nice clean on your carpets, while a steam cleaner uses none. For a steam cleaner, heat and water are enough.

A carpet cleaner does not eliminate germs and allergens from your carpet since no heat is involved. A steam cleaner heats its water to a high temperature; hence when used to clean, it kills all the germs, allergens, and bacteria in the carpet.

The chemical residue can be left on the carpet after using a carpet shampooer. But with a steam cleaner, there is no chance for that as only hot vapor is used to clean.

Lastly, you will know whether a machine is a carpet cleaner or a steam cleaner, depending on its drying time. A carpet cleaner soaks the carpet during cleaning, so it takes much longer to dry after cleaning. A steam cleaner only uses steam and limited moisture; hence dries much faster.

Can you clean a carpet with a steam cleaner?

The answer is a resounding yes! A steam cleaner is a very effective machine for carpet cleaning. The best part is you can also use them on your rugs!

The science behind steam cleaning is that it uses hot steam and pressure to clean a carpet or a rug. The hot steam breaks down dirt, grime, and grease and helps to remove stubborn stains. The high temperature and resulting steam also help to kill dust mites and sanitize your carpet.

What is the most effective carpet cleaning method?

We all want the best for our homes, and when it comes to the best methods for carpet cleaning, there is no exception. We have looked at the pros and cons of using the two different ways, but cleaning using steam has increasingly become a favorite among most homeowners.

Statistics have shown that most homeowners vote that using a steam cleaner is the most effective method for carpet cleaning. This is because the hot water and pressure dissolve the dirt, dust, debris, grime, and other harmful items to be cleaned out easily.

Shampooing cleans the surface quite nicely, but it may not reach the dirt and stains settled at the bottom of the carpet. Shampooing has brighteners that leave the illusion that a carpet is cleaner than it really is, while the residue is settled at the bottom. Using steam, you are assured of a deeper clean as it extracts even residue at the bottom of the carpet.

Using steam also ensures that all the germs, allergens, mold, and grease are gotten rid of. This way, you not only get a clean carpet but a germ-free environment also! Additionally, it fluffs the carpet a little so that it feels softer and nicer on the feet.

If all these benefits don't make using a steam cleaner the most effective method to clean carpets, I don't know what does. But at the end of the day, evaluate what works for you and your home environment. Homes with higher foot traffic and those that have pets are likely to get dirty often and may require cleaning regularly. In this case, you may want to consider using carpet cleaners.

Best steam cleaner for carpet and upholstery

Scouting for a steam cleaner on the internet can be a nightmare. The internet is not short of suggestions of what they are 'best.' That is why this article wants to finish up by bringing to your attention the best steam cleaner for carpet and upholstery!

BISSELL Turboclean Powerbrush Pet Upright Carpet Cleaner Machine and Carpet Shampooer, 2085

BISSELL Turboclean Powerbrush Pet Upright Carpet Cleaner 2085

Pets are family - and as such is the case, buying a cleaner that makes our stay; with them much easier is important. We all know that pets can be such a mess sometimes. They knock things over, but they also leave and leave dirt and stains wherever they go.

For all pet owners and those looking to purchase the best carpet cleaner, the Bissell turboclean powerbrush pet upright carpet cleaner machine is everything you need.


  • It is a powerful cleaner - it easily removes tough stains and any pet messes.
  • It has a powerful suction that can remove dirt embedded deep in the carpet fibers.
  • The machine is very light in weight hence easy to use around the home. It weighs only about 12 pounds.
  • It has a retractable handle that can be shortened and extended as one wishes.
  • The vacuum can be disassembled when there isn't enough space for storage.
  • You can also pour hot water into the clean water tank to help remove tough stains.
  • For pet lovers, you would be happy to know that every purchase you make goes to the Bissell pet foundation and you'll be helping save pet lives.


  • It is not quite effective for large carpets as the water tank has a small capacity.
  • Depending on how far your carpet is from the switch, the power cord can be a little short.

Generally, this machine is a great buy, and I would recommend it to anyone looking to buy a carpet cleaner, especially in a home with pets.

Happy shopping!


The best method to go about carpet cleaning is a big one, and let no one tell you otherwise. Take your time to look at the options and go for what best suits your home and the people living in it.