When your carpets get dirty, you want a tool that will help you get up the dirt and sanitize the fibers. You want guests to feel welcome when they visit your home, so having clean floors is important. Clean floors make your home healthier for you, your children, family pets, and visitors.
If you want to get your carpets clean, then a standard vacuum may not be what you want. A steam clean gets down deep into the fibers to power out the dirt, grease, mud, and other debris. We talk about our five favorite steam cleaners and some of the most popular questions regarding them in this Buyer’s Guide.
This list includes a variety of steam cleaners. Some are more powerful while others offer excellent portability. We suggest checking out the following product reviews to find out more information about each item.
Bissell 1986 ProHeat 2X Revolution Max Clean – Best Drying Steamer
Otherwise, your floors may attract the dirt from pets paws when they stay wet for long periods after cleaning. The Bissell ProHeat may become your favorite alternative to going to the grocery store to rent steam cleaners with other people’s dirt and grime.
Two scrubbing brushes work with the heat technology to power out the worst stains. Max Clean Mode offers a professional cleaning job you may find works wonders on deep stains. This cleaner is lighter than most at around 18 pounds making it easy to transport from room to room.
- Pretreating mechanism to soak difficult stains
- Dual brushes in the upholstery tool
- Sliding brush cover to help you get out pet hair and other debris with ease
- Express mode gives your carpets a quick refresh with only 30 minutes drying time
- Thin front edge to make getting under the furniture easy
- Heatwave technology
- May not have enough suction to remove the water as it states
- Machine does not heat the clean water
Hoover FH50251PC Power Scrub Elite – Best Deep Cleaning Steam Machine
You may like the suction uses a v shape pattern to deliver excellent results.
Since the brushes turn a full circle as they work, you may find deep stains are easier to remove. Carpets dry faster with this model in about 45 minutes. At under nine pounds, you might like how easy this cleaner is to use and store.
- Pet hair removing tool
- The eight-foot hose works great for large rooms
- Antimicrobial tool lets you choose which cleaning head to use
- Automatically mixes the cleaner and water to get the right composition
- May leak during use
- Customer service may not be what buyers expect
Hoover FH50700 PowerDash – Best Pet Stain Removing Tool
The pet brush helps remove pet hair and get into the carpet fibers to power out of all your pet accidents. The small size of this machine makes it easy to store in a small space. The HeatForce technology helps dry the areas you clean to make carpet drying faster.
- Two tanks always keep the dirty water separate
- Easy to remove nozzle for quick machine cleanups
- Thin edge to help you get under furniture
- Powerful brush is not for use on rugs
- May leak
Bissell 17N4 Deep Clean Premier – Best Edge Cleaner
The EdgeSweep technology helps you get all the way to the baseboards without making extra passes.
The hose reaches up to nine feet making it easy to steam clean drapes and large furniture. The brush has a dozen rows of bristles that spin to power through tough stains. With the Heatwave technology, the water is always a consistent temperature.
- Hair collecting system to catch pet hair
- Small, three-inch tool for getting out difficult stains
- Powerful suction to help carpets dry faster
- Full reach carpet tool to get to the lowest layer of fibers
- 22-foot cord
- Large cleaning path at one-foot wide
- Brush may stop working
- Hard to clean
- Pet hair remover may not work as well as the company advertises
Hoover F5914900 SteamVac – Best Power Steam Cleaner
The Clean Surge option gives you an extra boost of cleaner for hard to remove stains. May use without the spinning brushes by putting the machine in tool mode. The heating system helps dry the floors as you work.
- Brushes come out for quick cleaning
- Bristles rotate a full 360 degrees
- Hand tool uses the same spinning brush head as the machine
- Three modes of cleaning
- Eight-foot hose for tools
- May break prematurely
- Can leak after several uses
If you have carpets, then a steam cleaner is the key to you maintaining your sanity and the cleanliness of your home. Many people wait too long. Then, they invest in well-worn carpet cleaning rentals and pricey one-and-done professional jobs only to realize that they have waited far too long to take care of their rugs. With a reliable steam cleaner at your disposal, you don’t have to worry about set-in stains and caked layers of dirt. We’ve got five of our favorite carpet steam cleaners as well as a comprehensive buying guide.
Bissell 86T3 Big Green Professional Carpet Cleaner – Best Overall
Its incredible suction function extracts dirt on both forward and reverse passes. Its ability to lift liquid helps speed up drying times.
The Big Green has two large tanks, including one for clean water and one for dirty water. You can use the included 6-inch tough stain tool to spray, scrub, and extract stains and dirt from upholstery, stairs, furniture, and other hard-to-reach areas. Bissell provides a sample bottle of their proprietary carpet cleaning solution with each Big Green purchase.
With an expansive 10.5-inch cleaning path, the Big Green will quickly transform your home into a clean and sanitary refuge. The 25-foot power cord and 9-foot cleaning hose make spacious rooms a breeze. If you have kids, pets, and carpets, you need to give the Big Green some earnest consideration.
- 1.75-gallon tank capacity
- Dirt-lifting power brush provides deep scrubbing action
- Cleans on forward and backward passes
- Strong suction leads to faster drying times
- Two wastewater tanks serve as the foundation for lengthy uninterrupted cleaning sessions
- 25-foot power cord
- Limited 5-year warranty
McCulloch MC1275 Canister Steam Cleaner – Best Multisurface Canister Steam Cleaner
Since the MC1275 weighs less than 10 pounds, it’s easy to move around. However, you may need an extension cord to stretch the somewhat limited 15.7-foot power cord. The kit comes with a measuring cup that can be used to fill the small yet powerful steam system. It offers 43 psi of continuous water pressure, enabling you to eradicate stains, dirt, and dust from virtually every surgace in your home and car.
This cleaner comes with an impressive accessory brush pack. You receive a steam jet nozzle, mop pads, nylon brushes, and much more. The MC1275 steam cleaner fights back against dirt and grime. It even helps us to look forward to cleaning time.
- 18 dynamic cleaning accessories (including some multiples)
- Chemical-free pressure cleaning function for floors and most other surfaces
- 2-year hassle-free warranty
- 18-ounce water tank offers 45 minutes of steam
- 43 psi of water pressure
- Extracts dirt from deep crevices and other hard-to-reach areas
- 15.7-foot power cord limits reach
Steam Mop Cleaner ThermaPro – Best Steam Mop with Detachable Cleaning Unit
It also features a detachable cleaning unit that’s great for extracting dirt and grime from hard-to-reach areas. Use it to clean carpets, windows, mirrors, upholstery, and so much more.
This device heats to impressive temperatures. It is guaranteed to kill up to 99.9% of bacteria. You do not need to use chemicals and cleaning formulas. With the help of this device and water, you can make your home look as good as new.
The ThermaPro boasts an 11.5-ounce water reservoir. The water is used up over 20 to 25 minutes when the machine is set to the lowest setting. You can test this device out without taking a leap of faith, as it is backed by a hassle-free 2-year warranty.
- 10-in-one cleaning unit
- Offers 99.9% surface sanitation
- Enables users to clean without chemicals
- Adjustable and maneuverable
- 11.5-ounce water reservoir
- 20-25 minutes of steaming per fill
- Suitable for hard floors and surfaces only
SKG 1500W Powerful Non-Chemical 212F Hot Steam Mops Floor Carpet Cleaning Machine – Best Steam Cleaner for Apartment
It comes with a stack of reusable microfiber cloths that can be used on wood, tile, vinyl, and laminate surfaces.
The product is backed by a 2-year warranty. Moreover, SKG Electric offers its customers access to its dedicated team of customer service representatives. We love that it takes just 15 to 30 seconds for this machine to reach its max temperature. The 180-degree swiveling triangular mop head makes it super easy for you to access those hard-to-reach nooks and crannies in your home.
The steam control settings are customization and precise. You can use this device to clean everything from tires to glass. The machine’s slender body makes it an obvious choice for cleaning on demand. While the water reservoir is small, it sets the stage for minutes of sterilizing cleaning sessions.
- Six-in-one accessories
- Comes with three reusable microfiber cleaning clothes
- Attractive green and black colorway
- 180-degree swiveling triangular base fits into corners
- Heats in just 30 seconds
- Large water tank
- Not ideal for whole house cleanups
LIGHT ‘N’ EASY Multifunctional Steam Mop with Detachable Handheld Unit – Best for Tackling Messes On Demand
It comes with a variety of cleaning accessories, including brushes, a jet nozzle, a bonnet pad, and more.
You can set the power to low, medium, or high steam settings. With a variety of settings, you do not have to worry about damaging fragile materials. The machine is backed by a 1-year warranty. Overall, it’s one of the most hardworking budget steam cleaners on the market.
- Detachable handheld unit plus steam mop base
- Heats up in just 30 seconds
- Suitable for hard and soft surfaces
- Perfect for picking up small messes
- 1-year warranty
- Varied intensity settings
- Smart sensors let you dial in precise settings
- Steam cleaning function may require additional wipe downs
Buying Guide – What to Look for in a Carpet Steam Cleaner
Traditionally, carpet steam cleaners were bulky push machines with one function: cleaning floors. Many of today’s steam cleaners are much more dynamic. They can be used to clean a variety of surfaces in the home, car, and patio.
Consider the size and weight of a carpet cleaning machine as well as its full cleaning potential. It’s far easier to justify excessive use of closet space when it means no longer needed dusters, mops, and other cleaning supplies. If you see yourself cleaning frequently or, in the least, making trips upstairs, then choose a lightweight model that is easy to lift and push.
Most steam cleaners come with at least a few accessories. These include brushes and cloths that enable you to wipe extra surfaces in your home. Consider the areas you clean in your home. Can a steam cleaner get it done faster and more efficiently?
Water Tank Capacity
If you’re going to be producing steam, you’re going to need water. Check to see the capacity of the water tank on your machine. How much running time is offered per each ounce of water? You don’t want to be refilling your steam cleaner every few minutes.
Pressure and Heat
Look for a cleaner with adjustable heat and steam settings. Consider the steam pressure as well as the temperature of the water. How long does it take for the contents of the water tank to reach their desired temperature? All these factors are going to have a tremendous impact on your cleaning.
While performance is essential, so is user comfort and safety. Think about how you will interact with a particular design. Is your steam cleaner light enough to be carried around your home comfortably? Can it be used as a handheld device? At the same time, does it provide you with quality and consistent results?
This section will discuss the most common questions and answers about our top steam cleaner picks. You may find there are other concerns you have after reading this section. If so, then we recommend checking the manufacturer’s website for more information.
How to Use a Carpet Steam Cleaner
The first thing that you want to do before you steam clean any carpet is you want to make sure that the area is vacuumed very well. In some cases, you might even want to go over it a couple of times. A good, thorough vacuuming is very important before you start to steam clean a carpet.
The next thing is that there are several models of steam cleaners that you can use at home. There are several types that you can rent. The most important thing is to make sure that you load the detergent in the system that is designed for that particular steam cleaner. You don’t want to mix and match, or you don’t want to use a detergent for cleaning your carpets that aren’t particularly designed for steam cleaning. The next thing is that you’ll want to fill your reservoir. In this case, this has an upper chamber that you can go, and you can fill with hot tap water. In most cases, hot tap water will be sufficient for use in your steam cleaning. You’ll want to make sure that as you fill this up, that you fill it up to the line that is indicated.
With your steam cleaning, one very important thing is that as you start. You can move it forward to spray some heavily soiled areas, but in most cases, what you want to do when your steam cleaning is as you are depressing the detergent button, that you want to be pulling the steam cleaner slowly and steadily towards you. In this case, you’re not really using vigorous strokes, as you may in a vacuum cleaner. You’re using slow, steady, and then you want to go back, and you’ll want to continue to work this in parallel. So as you’re depressing the button, then move in a slow method. What this will allow the slow, steady movement in parallel strokes will make sure that you get a completely clean, but it’ll also make sure that you don’t saturate too much of your steam cleaning solution into that.
Then also, a lot of your steam cleaners will have a rinse mode so you can go back and rinse and not leave detergent. Then from that, you can simply let your carpet dry, and in some cases, depending on what type of detergent, what kind of system using, it may recommend that you vacuum it again to remove any of your detergent residues.
Video Tutorial: How to Steam Clean Your House
Top questions and answers
How long does it take the floors to dry using the deep clean mode
The express or quick modes often let the floors dry in less than an hour. When using the full scrubbing mode, it can take up to eight hours for the carpets to dry out fully.
Does the cleaner come with tools for cleaning furniture
Yes. The models on our list offer power tools you can use to remove pet stains and deep messes.
Does the cleaner remove pet urine
Yes. All the models offer pet removal technologies and tools for easy accident cleanup. You may need enzyme cleaner to get rid of cat urine.
Can I vacuum with this cleaner
No. We do not recommend using these machines to vacuum. You may cause irreparable damage to the machine when using it with no water.
Do I have to use the manufacturer’s cleaning solution
While many machines are versatile enough for using bleach or other brands of carpet cleaning solutions, we do not recommend it. You may void your warranty if you use another cleaner besides the one the manufacturer suggests.
Can you use a steam cleaner on carpets
Yes. Using a steam cleaner on carpets is one of the best ways to remove dust, dirt, and allergens. These machines power out deep stains and refresh fabrics to help them fluff up. After using one of these tools, carpets smell and look better.
You may not realize this, but steam cleaning produces heat that is hotter than 200 degrees Fahrenheit. This steam is hot enough to kill fleas, bedbugs, and other pests in the carpet. You can also use these machines for deep cleaning curtains and furniture if there are upholstery tools with the equipment.
Is it better to steam clean or shampoo carpet
The answer to this question depends on the person’s needs. If a quick cleanup is necessary, then shampooing or spot cleaning may work best. For sanitizing fibers and getting rid of high-traffic stains and deep grime, then steam is the better choice. When you clean carpets with a shampooer, the floors take a long time to dry. It may take several hours using this method.
When you steam floors, the carpet fibers dry out much faster because of the heat. The fibers release the hot water faster letting it evaporate. Faster drying times mean fewer possibilities of the carpet mildewing or molding. Saturating a floor can leave it to mold. Mold can grow in as little as 24 hours. One way to dry out carpets faster is to use a fan for more ventilation. Opening the windows and letting the moisture outside will also work as long as it is not raining.
What is the most effective carpet cleaning method
Angie’s List says four carpet cleaning methods are helpful, but they each have disadvantages. Usually, steam is the preferable way to clean carpets. Steam is the only method that will kill pests. However, it may be good enough to dry-clean them if you do not have a pest issue.
Steam cleaning soaks floors and requires using expensive machinery. Most people rent these cleaners versus paying the high upfront cost. Foam cleaning is another way to remove dirt and debris from carpet fibers. Bad equipment may leave floors too wet. These cleaners do not get as deep as steam and may leave a lot of residue.
Chemically cleaning carpets and soaking up the residue with an absorbent pad is time-consuming. This method works well with small stains and areas. Plus, it is a fast way to clean floors.
Dry cleaning is another way to get rid of dirt and stains. This method uses a powder that you apply to the floor and leave sit for about 20 minutes. Then, all you do is vacuum up the material and the floors are clean. The problem with this cleaning process is a lot of powder can get left behind. People with allergies, pets, or children may have issues with this cleaning style.
Is Chem Dry better than steam cleaning
If getting your carpet dry fast is important to you, then you might prefer the Chem Dry process better than steam cleaning. While both methods are acceptable for getting rid of deep stains and sanitizing floors, Chem Dry is a faster drying solution. This process uses carbonated bubbles to minimize the water they put on the carpet. The fizzing method gets deep down into the fibers to power out the toughest stains. Sucking up less water means the carpet fibers air out faster.
How do you pretreat carpet before steam cleaning
HomeAdvisor says to get rid of oily or sticky stains in your carpet, the best way is to pretreat them with a specific pre-wash solution. Adding these chemicals to the carpet before applying steam will help get deep into the mess to allow the machine to power out the stain. Otherwise, smears and leftover stains will remain. They suggest adding the solution a few minutes before cleaning. There is no need to put the material on the floor for hours before cleaning.
How often should a carpet be steam cleaned
Today tells readers to clean carpets once a year for the best results. However, this timeline may not work for every person. Sometimes, people with allergies or those who live with pets may need carpet cleaning more often. In these situations, a steam clean twice a year or once every three months is more suitable. People who have homes with a lot of traffic may find this schedule more fitting.
Can you walk on the carpet after steam cleaning
Yes. There is nothing that says you cannot walk on the carpets immediately following a good steam treatment. However, your feet will get wet. It is best to walk barefoot on the carpet to avoid soaking your socks. Angie’s List says to use towels and rugs to minimize the spread of dirt to your wet carpets. As long as the fibers are wet, dust, dirt, and other debris can stick to the floors.
Steam cleaners put out water at temperatures as high as 212 degrees Fahrenheit. Walking on the carpet as you operate the steam machine may cause burns. It is best to keep small children and pets out of the room while you work. Fewer people mean you will keep dirt transfer down and protect everyone.
Is carpet wet after steam cleaning
Yes. The carpet will be slightly wet or more depending on the machine and how long you leave it in the same spot. If the equipment leaks or is faulty, then your floors could get soaked. When you walk on the floor after cleaning it, your feet will get wet.
To dry out the fibers faster, opening the windows on a hot, sunny day will help. One thing to remember is the higher the humidity, the slower the carpet will dry. Using fans and air conditioning may work better in these cases.
Can steam cleaning carpet cause mold
While the short answer to this question is yes, there is more to consider. As we mentioned in the above paragraph, worn or old equipment can affect how much water gets on the carpet. Moving the steam cleaner too slow or going over the same area too many times can also leave too much water on the carpet.
The pad under the carpet is very absorbent. Even if the carpet does not seem too wet, a saturated pad can hold too much moisture and allow mildew or mold to grow. The best way to prevent this from happening is to alternate pulling the trigger and just running the cleaner slowly over the floor. Checking the carpet behind the machine after the first few passes can give you an idea of how much water is getting onto the carpet. If it is saturating it too quickly, then you can adjust how long you pull the trigger or how fast you move the cleaner from one spot to the next.
Our final thoughts about steam cleaners for your carpets
Before selecting which steam cleaner you want to purchase, we suggest you thoroughly read the description from the manufacturer and the comments from other consumers. Not every model will serve the purpose you need. Our list includes lightweight models meant for spot cleaning and stairs along with deep cleaners that are heavier and more powerful.