DIY vs Professional Steam  Carpet Cleaning

Steam Carpet Cleaning or DIY...

Are You Making the Right Choice?

As we all know at least once a year professional steam carpet cleaning service is, recommended by most carpet manufacturers in ideal conditions to have best indoor air quality.
If there are little kids and pets in a crowded house, cleaning should schedule more often.

OK. Now you decided that carpets need to clean, and the next question that will come up is; should you do it ourselves (DIY) or hire steam carpet cleaning company (PRO)? 

You will find, each process, step by step, of the PROS and CONS of DIY vs. steam carpet cleaning. 

We will take into consideration the following factors:

  • Equipment,
  • Cleaning supplies,
  • Cost efficiency
  • Knowledge and experience,
  • Time efficiency
  • Stain and odor removal

Before starting the comparison, we will like to explain the science behind the steam carpet cleaning. That’s because, it will have a direct impact on the outcome.
According to IICRC teachings, four main mechanical factors will affect the steam carpet cleaning outcome without getting into the details.

  1. Water Temperature (Heat)
  2. Cleaning agent (Soap)
  3. Dwell Time (Waiting time after applying prespray)
  4. Agitation  (Mechanical act of loosening soil from a fiber )

All these factors will impact the outcome to a certain degree. The most important thing for us to understand is, if one of the factors goes down, we have to push the others up to a certain degree for us to have the best possible outcome.


Unless you have some kind of carpet cleaning machine at your home, you need to rent one from stores like Home Depot, CVS, Dollar General, etc.
The most common brand of carpet cleaning machine rental is the RUG DOCTOR. As stated on their website, rental prices ranging anywhere from $20-to $45 per/day. Also, you may need attachments and air mowers beside the extractor (Carpet Cleaning Machine itself).

Little Guy vs Big Guys

Portable Units

Steam Carpet Cleaning

These machines are simple, compact, and portable carpet cleaning units, available in the market. Because of their sizes, they are very under powered.
Vacuum: Because of their size, their vacuum is very limited compared to professional machines.
They pick up a limited amount of dirt from the surface of the carpet while pushing most of the dirt to the bottom.
Also, the carpet will stay wet longer unless you do several extra dry passes.
Water temperature: This is one of the most important factors that will impact the outcome. Portable machines will be using tap water which is around 50-60 degrees, once you put in the water tank and start working it will be room temperature very soon.

Truck-Mount Units

Most professional steam carpet cleaning companies will use powerful truck-mounted units.
These units are ranging anywhere from 18 to 65 HP.
They can produce a 200-240 degree in continuous hot water, a powerful vacuum and up to 1500 PSI water pressure available for some other services, like tile and grout cleaning.
With the knowledge and experience of a carpet cleaning technician and their powerful truck-mount unit, your carpet will be clean and in top condition in no time.


Cleaning Agents

Limited Options

Steam Carpet Cleaning

When renting a carpet cleaning machine you will also need to buy cleaning agents which can cost $15-$25 according to the Rug Doctor website. Besides the basic cleaning agent, you may also need, odor and stain treatments which may cost you $6- $10 each.

Almost Unlimited…

Steam Carpet Cleaning

Unlike rental locations, professional steam carpet cleaners choose their carpet cleaning products among hundreds of high-quality commercial grade options.
Ranging from eco-friendly GREEN SEAL products to stronger industrial-grade cleaning products. Professional carpet cleaners make these choices according to the customer’s needs.
Given their vast amount of experience and knowledge of their profession, technicians can solve most of the problems they encounter, while homeowners may have a tough time dealing.

Cost Efficiency

Are You Really Saving?

The total cost of DIY carpet cleaning to homeowners will be anywhere from $40 to $80 depending on the condition of the carpet.
Depending on the situation, homeowners may also have to buy odor treatment and stain removers.
Besides any attachments and air-mowers you may need.
Of course, you have to add- on the time and effort that they will put in.

Or Not Really?

On the other hand, most professional steam carpet cleaners will include pre-spray, deodorizer and softener in their price.
It is a good idea to always confirm before scheduling your steam carpet cleaning what will be included in the service.
As in all the industries, there are some bait and switch cleaners, which may try to charge you extra for these products.

Knowledge & Experience

Who You Are is What you know

Statistically, homeowners clean their carpets only a handful of times in their lifetime. This is because they cannot tackle tough issues such as common stains, odor, pet stains and odor, equipment malfunction, etc. They would prefer to delay the carpet clening than deal with the stress of which machine to rent or which products to use.
Although the carpet may not seem dirty from the outside, dust and other particles still remain within the fibers of the carpet.

Knowledge is Everything…

Steam Carpet Cleaning

Most of the technicians will finish 4-5 jobs per day; this is more than most homeowners do DIY carpet cleaning in their lifetime.
A trained technician knows how to deal with the issues we mentioned above besides heavy traffic areas, move-outs, rentals, etc.
It is likely that if a homeowner has an issue with the carpet, the carpet cleaning technicians may have faced it before and they can handle it without a problem.
Carpet Cleaning technicians also can consult with their supervisors or Co-workers, who have an accumulated amount of experience in the industry who are ready to back them up.

Time Efficiency

Energy Drink Anyone?

Homeowners may spend an entire day trying to clean two bedrooms and a living room with low to mediocre results.
They will end up with pain all over their body and likely a headache for the rest of the day and most likely the next day (speaking from experience!)
Because the small machine doesn’t have enough suction, it will leave the carpet soaked with most of the cleaning solution and dirt left behind.

Hey, Lets Go To Party...

Because of experience, equipment and products the Professional Steam Carpet Cleaners use, for the same job, the crew of two professional carpet cleaners will be in and out of your house for about an hour for a top-quality carpet cleaning service. This will include everything from setting up the system, inspection, pre-spray, hot water extraction, etc. You will have great results with no pain and no headache.

Stains & Odor Removal

Is it a Science?

It is a science to deal with stains and odor. Even though YouTube may be a good tool to use for removing certain stains, homeowners can’t tackle every stain they may have with the limited knowledge and supplies they have available.
From ink to coffee stains, tackling these tough stains may even make the carpet stain worse by spreading it or smudging it with the wrong DIY products.
Most of the time WRONG products may result in stains to SET forever without posibilty of removal.

You Bet It is...

Most carpet cleaners will take specialized courses for stain and odor removal.
They will learn from specialized scientists, inside and out of carpet fibers, stains and what happens when they combined and how to separate them.
Did you know that there is is a different procedure to remove the coffee stains and decaf coffee stains?
Unlike homeowners, steam carpet cleaning professionals have a lot of tools and products to tackle the stain and odor issues.


Any Regrets ???

Steam Carpet Cleaning

Most of the time DIY carpet cleaning will cause wetter carpets and a majority of the major stains are still standing or will be re-appear. Because carpets not rinsed properly, fast re-soiling will be an issue.
You may spend about $40-$80 and at least half a day or more with body aches and disappointing results! You might even feel that tired that you want to rest all day tomorrow. (I hope it’s Sunday)

Wow, That Was Great Idea…

Professional Steam Carpet Cleaners come, (hopefully on time!) set up their system in 10 minutes, inspect the area, vacuum it, apply the pre-spray and extract.
They leave you the post-cleaning instructions, and they are out.
The whole process takes them about 60 to 75 minutes with 30 days money-back guarantee (Some companies offer) for an average cost of $100-$150.

Looking back…


Taking the PROS and CONS into consideration, including the cost-effectiveness, affordability, timesaving and outcomes, it is worth hiring Professional Steam Carpet Cleaner.
Before thinking about DIY carpet cleaning, revisit these key points to help you better understand the process and effects of each step for the best decision.

Finally, We will like to learn about your experiences, How did it go, Pros, Cons to either one?

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