Difference Between Similar Terms and Objects

Difference Between Steam Cleaning and Carpet Shampooing

Steam cleaning and carpet shampooing are both known cleaning methods. However, each works with distinct mechanisms. Steam cleaning works with a combination of heat and pressure while carpet shampooing cleans by generating foam to attract the dirt. These two procedures have several advantages and disadvantages. However, consumer preferences and carpet type should be considered. The following paragraphs further explore such differences.


What is Steam Cleaning?

Steam cleaning, also known as hot-water extraction method, is a carpet cleaning procedure that actually uses warm to hot water and not steam. Hot water with high temperature ranging from 150 to 200 degrees Fahrenheit comes out with high pressure into the carpet to break the stubborn bonding of fiber, and to dissolve the soil and dirt. The contaminants are then extracted by the powerful vacuum suction into the holding tank. Steam cleaning is able to kill bed bugs, molds, viruses, bacteria, dust mites, and any other living organism in carpets.


What is Carpet Shampooing?

Carpet shampooing uses solutions or cleaning chemicals which are applied on the carpet in order to form foam. Foam is generated by the revolving or rotary brush to attract dirt, soil and, other contaminants from the carpet. The carpet is then left to dry and the soiled residue is collected with a vacuum cleaner. Shampooing is an effective method of removing deep grounded soil from the carpets.

Carpet Shampooing involves two cleaning approaches with the use of:

  • Cylindrical Foam Shampoo Machine

A cylindrical foam shampoo machine works with an air compressor that produces dry foam which is applied to the carpet. The cylindrical brush is used to comb the carpet fibers.

  • Rotary Shampoo machine

A rotary shampoo machine is a revolving floor machine that has a dispensing tank that releases the carpet cleaning shampoo. The rotary brush of the machine makes foam from the solution after it is applied on the carpet’s surface.


Difference between Steam Cleaning and Shampooing Carpet

Use of Chemicals

Steam cleaning method does not require cleaning chemicals unlike carpet shampooing which uses soap.  Also, the shampoo should be selected carefully since not all kinds of soap can work well with all shampooers.

Drying Time

  After carpets have been shampooed, the drying time may take around 2 hours to 24 hours, depending on the severity of the dirt. On the contrary, it may only take less than 15 minutes for some carpets which were steam cleaned to dry.


In using the carpet shampooing method, completely removing the shampoo foam is difficult since its process of extraction cannot eliminate 100% of the particles. On the other hand, steam cleaning method is classified as “deep cleaning” because the high temperature and pressure can remove most, if not all, contaminants and it does not leave any chemical residue.


Steam cleaning equipment is more complicated as compared to carpet shampooing’s machinery since it can have various accessories such as nozzles, ironing brush cloth, squeegees, mop pads, fragrance discs, crevice tool, and others. The products come in different sizes, types, power, and years of warranty. Shampooers are generally composed of a water compartment and suction.


The cost of steam cleaning is more expensive as it also uses more expensive equipment compared to carpet shampooing.


Many hire a technician when they use the steam cleaning method due to the machinery’s complexities. On the other hand, carpet shampooing can be performed without the assistance of a technician. 

Focus on Sanitation

Carpet shampooing effectively works with carpets that are heavily soiled and exposed to extremely high traffic; hence, this type of cleaning is less focused on sanitation. On the other hand, steam cleaning has been tested to kill as much as 99.9% of germs and bacteria.

Cleaning Duration

It may take 24 hours (or more) to shampoo a carpeted office since the shampooer has to shoot soapy water into the carpet and suck it back up and it usually takes 6 hours for the carpet to dry. In contrast, the entire process of steam cleaning may only take 6 hours (or less) since steam evaporates more quickly and it only usually takes 4 hours for the carpet to dry.


Steam cleaning is more popular as compared to carpet shampooing since it is less time consuming and less taxing. Also, the carpet tends to become sticky after shampooing since there is no rinsing afterwards.


As compared to carpet shampooing, steam cleaning uses more advanced technology with its efficient equipment.

Steam Cleaning vs Carpet Shampooing


Summary of Steam Cleaning vs Carpet Shampooing

  • Steam cleaning and carpet shampooing are both known cleaning methods.
  • Steam cleaning works with a combination of heat and pressure.
  • Steam cleaning is a carpet cleaning procedure that actually uses warm to hot water and not steam.
  • Carpet shampooing method is done with the use of a cleaning shampoo or solution in order to form foam.
  • It takes longer for a shampooed carpet to dry; hence it is less popular as compared to a steam cleaned one.
  • A shampooed carpet has more residues than a steam cleaned carpet.
  • Steam cleaning is more expensive than carpet shampooing method.
  • Steam cleaning is usually done with the assistance of a technician as it uses more complicated machinery while carpet shampooing is most often done independently.
  • As compared to carpet shampooing, steam cleaning kills more bacteria and molds.
  • Steam cleaning uses a more advanced kind of technology as compared to carpet shampooing.


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References :

[0]Witenhafer, Dale. An insider’s guide to the carpet cleaning industry. New York, NY: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform, 2014. Print.

[1]Edington, Kyle. Carpet Cleaning for Newbies. Seattle, WA: Amazon Digital Services LLC, 2014. Print.

[2]Yarbrough, Chris. Extreme Carpet Cleaning Handbook.  Morrisville, NC: Lulu.com, 2012. Print.

[3]Image credit: https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/d/d1/Carpet_Steam_Cleaning_Services.jpg

[4]Image credit: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Carpet_Restoration_in_Edmond.jpg

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