Steam Cleaning vs. Traditional Methods: Why Steam is the Way to Go for Rugs

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Updated on:

July 2, 2023

Comprehensive Guide: Steam Cleaning and Waterless Methods for Effective Rug Cleaning

Are you concerned that using water to clean your carpet would harm it? Are you tying to to find out how to clean an area rug without water? If so, you've found the correct place because this page has all the solutions for you!

Rugs and carpets are prone to the buildup of dirt, germs, and bacteria. As a result, it's critical to maintain and frequently clean your carpets to stop dangerous chemicals from spreading throughout your home and endangering your health as well as the health of your family.

However, how may carpets and rugs be cleaned without using water? We have all the tips and tricks on how to do so with a steam cleaner and other methods.

Key Takeaways:

  • Water can damage rug fibers, while steam cleaning removes dirt, grease, and grime without causing harm.
  • Steam cleaning is the recommended method for effectively cleaning rugs and carpets.
  • Steam cleaning provides deep cleaning, stain removal, and sanitization for a hygienic living environment.

Recommended models: Fortador Volt Mini and Fortador Volt Electra

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Impact of Water on Area Rugs

Impact of Water on Area Rugs: Potential Damage and Solutions

Rug fibers can become damaged by water damage, especially if the rug is exposed to it for an extended period of time. The color and pattern of the rug might be ruined by dyes running in water.

Water can also ruin a rug's backing. When something spills on your rug, wipe it up right away to stop it from seeping through the fibers and becoming damaged.

This is why using steam machines is he most beneficial.

Understanding the Mechanism of Steam Cleaners on Carpets

Steam cleaners work by utilizing hot steam to effectively clean and sanitize carpets. The mechanism involves heating water to a high temperature, producing steam that is then applied to the carpet fibers. The hot steam helps to loosen dirt, grease, and grime embedded in the carpet, making it easier to remove.

Vacuum steam cleaners also have a suction function, which simultaneously extracts the dirt and moisture from the carpet, leaving it clean and refreshed.

Steam Cleaning vs. Shampooing: Choosing the Superior Method for Carpet Care

A steam cleaner offers a benefit over shampooing a rug or carpet since it may help remove and dissolve dirt, grease, and grime as well as sterilize and kill up to 99% of bacteria. Shampoo can create a residue on rugs or carpets that actually makes re-soiling simpler.

Science Behind Steam Cleaning: Research and Benefits

According to a study published in the Journal of Environmental Science and Health, steam cleaning has been found to be an effective method for removing dirt, allergens, and bacteria from rugs and carpets. The high temperature of the steam not only helps to break down and remove stains but also kills germs and dust mites, making it a beneficial option for maintaining a hygienic living environment.

Furthermore, the Carpet and Rug Institute, a leading industry association, recommends steam cleaning as a powerful and eco-friendly solution for deep cleaning carpets. They emphasize that steam cleaning can penetrate deep into the carpet fibers, providing a thorough clean that traditional methods may not achieve.

Step-by-Step Guide: How to Effectively Steam Clean Your Carpet

Nothing compares to a steam cleaner for thoroughly cleaning carpet. Steam cleaners use a combination of hot water, carpet cleanser, and strong suction to remove dirt and filth that is deeply ingrained in the carpet pile. Additionally, they can aid in stain removal and steam cleaning carpets is the fastest way to get your rug tidy.

1. Vacuum and Pretreat Stains

To get rid of dirt, trash, and pet hair from the carpet, vacuum it. To reach those difficult-to-reach regions close to the baseboards, use a nozzle attachment. Try to get rid of as much debris as you can.

Spray old carpet stains with a pretreat solution if you see them.

2. Start Up the Steam Cleaner

Hot water and carpet cleanser should be added to the steam cleaner. Even though the majority of steam cleaners feature an integrated water heater, starting with warm or hot water is always advised.

To determine the right amounts and confirm which sort of detergent to use, go to the machine's instructions. Not all carpets can be safely cleaned with all detergents. A excellent alternative is vinegar; simply combine it with water in a 50-50 ratio.

3. Begin the Deep Clean

Most steam cleaners come with instructions on how to steam clean carpets but here are the basic step by step guide:

Start at the corner of the room and slowly go forward and backward through the corner region while pulling the trigger.

Release the trigger, then make a second leisurely pass over the same area going both forward and backward. You'll see brown water accumulating in the dirty water tank. It's important to work slowly so you can give the machine time to absorb the moisture. Cleaning too hastily can leave behind moisture that can result in mold or mildew.

When the water being drawn up into the dirty water tank seems clean, repeat this operation over that same area.

Work your way out of the room starting at the next location and going backward as you do so. Repeat until the entire carpet has been cleaned. When it's time to refill the clean water tank and drain the dirty water tank, the machine should notify you.

Be careful not to step on freshly cleaned surfaces.


Enhance steam cleaning results by using microfiber pads. These pads provide better agitation and absorption, allowing for deeper dirt removal and leaving your rugs and carpets looking cleaner and fresher.

Pros and Cons of Steam Cleaning for Rug Cleaning


  • Deep Cleaning and Stain Removal: Steam cleaning effectively removes deep-seated dirt, allergens, and stains from rugs.
  • Sanitization: It kills bacteria, germs, and dust mites, making it ideal for allergy sufferers and maintaining a hygienic environment.


  • Drying Time: The extended drying time required for rugs can be inconvenient, especially in high-traffic areas.
  • Equipment and Professional Assistance: Specialized equipment or professional services may be necessary for optimal results.

Potential Limitations and Risks of Steam Cleaning for Rugs

Paragraph: While steam cleaning is generally effective for rug cleaning, it's important to be aware of potential limitations and risks. Delicate or sensitive rugs may be prone to damage or shrinkage from high heat and moisture.

Over-saturation with steam and water can lead to extended drying times and potential mold or mildew growth. Proper use of cleaning solutions and adherence to manufacturer guidelines is crucial to avoid discoloration or other adverse effects.

It's recommended to exercise caution, assess rug suitability, and seek professional advice if unsure to minimize risks.

Different Types of Stains on Rugs

Effective Techniques for Removing Different Types of Stains on Rugs

  • Wine Stains: Blot, apply a solution of dish soap and hydrogen peroxide, scrub, rinse.
  • Coffee Stains: Blot, treat with a mixture of vinegar and dish soap, blot until the stain is lifted.
  • Grease Stains: Sprinkle baking soda, vacuum, apply dish soap, gently rub, rinse.
  • Pet Stains: Blot, use a solution of vinegar and water, blot until the stain fades.
  • Ink Stains: Dab with rubbing alcohol, blot until the ink transfers, rinse, and allow to air dry.

Steam cleaning is highly effective in dealing with these stains, providing thorough cleaning and effective stain removal for your carpets.

carpet steam cleaner

Top Steam Cleaner for Optimal Carpet Cleaning Results

There are many options of steam cleaners on the market so it can be overwhelming to pick one. One of the best steam cleaners in the industry is the Fortador Volt Mini.

This machine is perfect for steam cleaning carpets as well as, windows, floors, mattresses, upholstered furniture and more. It is very portable and doesn't take a lot of space. Many accessories are included in the kit that will help you in deep cleaning your whole house.

The Fortador Volt Mini offers several advantages when it comes to carpet cleaning:

  • Portability: Its lightweight design allows for easy transportation, making it convenient for cleaning contractors on the move.
  • Effective cleaning: With high-pressure steam and temperature capabilities, it effectively kills 99% of bacteria and viruses, ensuring thorough cleaning and sanitation.
  • Durability: The Volt Mini is constructed with stainless steel, providing a durable and long-lasting solution for carpet cleaning needs.
  • Versatility: The extensive range of accessories available with the Volt Mini caters to various cleaning tasks, making it suitable for a wide range of applications.
  • Eco-friendly: With eco-friendly options and no diesel fumes, the Volt Mini offers a green and efficient solution for carpet cleaning.
Waterless Cleaning Methods for Area Rugs

Waterless Cleaning Methods for Area Rugs: A Comprehensive Guide

While there are water-based carpet cleaning techniques, if your carpet responds better to non-water cleaning techniques, this tutorial is for you. For a step-by-step tutorial on cleaning carpets without water, continue reading:

1. Get Mechanical Cleaning Done First

Try brushing up any dust and debris that you find on your carpet to start. Although a broom with stiffer bristles may assist remove the dirt more effectively, it's okay if your broom has relatively soft bristles. However, before continuing with the rest of the cleaning, you must thoroughly brush your carpet to ensure that any surface debris is taken out.

2. Use a Carpet Brush

This step is optional, however it can be done after sweeping to thoroughly remove dirt and debris from the surface. Since carpets are formed of tiny fibers, it is usually best to use every trick in the book to get rid of filth, which includes brushing your carpet using a carpet brush.

To reduce the time needed for intensive mechanical cleaning, you can choose to brush your carpet once a week or twice a week.

3. Vacuum Cleaner

The next step is to vacuum up the more deeply ingrained dirt in your carpet after you've cleared away any surface debris. Make sure you have a vacuum that you believe is capable of collecting the most debris. For instance, use a higher powerful vacuum cleaner if your pet sheds a lot of dander into the carpet so that it can be easily removed.

Empty your vacuum bag before starting to vacuum the carpet so that it can operate more quickly and with better suction. To gather as much loose dirt and debris as you can, vacuum in both directions—horizontally and vertically.

4. Apply Baking Soda

Oils and loose particles make carpets filthy. Particles are removed in the first three phases, but oils need to be removed specifically. Sprinkle some baking soda on your entire rug to help absorb oils without producing unpleasant odors. Baking soda is the ideal item for this phase because it is a natural deodorizer.

Allow the baking soda to lie on your carpet for between 10 to 30 minutes, depending on how much oil you want it to absorb.

5. Vacuum again

Make sure to suck up as much baking soda as you can, vacuuming in both directions to do so.

6. Sprinkle White Vinegar

Spritz the rug with white vinegar. Directly from the bottle, pour it and sprinkle it all over the carpeting to completely coat it. Vinegar will get rid of any odors in your rug because it is a natural disinfectant and deodorizer.

Before vacuuming, let the vinegar sit for an hour. The vinegar will have plenty of time to operate on your rug and get rid of some stains and odors.

Use your vacuum to remove all of the vinegar. Be sure to use a powerful suction setting to absorb as much vinegar as you can.

7. Treat Carpet Stains

Examine your carpet for stains and any damage. There are several solutions you can use depending on the type of stain. Here are some examples for a DIY stain remover:

  • Dish soap and white vinegar should be combined, then applied to dark stains. A washcloth should be used to gently dab the stain, and it should be left to soak for 10 to 15 minutes. Don't absorb too much. Once finished, blot to eliminate any remaining moisture with a dry white cloth or paper towel.
  • Pet stains: Mix together white vinegar and baking soda and apply directly to the stained area. Let it sit and dry for 10-15 minutes then spray the stain with a pet stain cleaner. Depending on how soiled the area is, you might need to repeat this step two or three more times.
  • Grease: Since baking soda is already good at soaking up oils, baking soda can be used on grease stains. If using baking soda doesn’t work, you can try applying liquid dish soap on a washcloth to dab onto the carpet. Let it sit for 10 minutes then use a damp towel to remove excess liquid. 


For stubborn stains, consider using dry ice blasting. This unique technique uses pressurized dry ice to effectively remove tough stains without the need for water, leaving your area rugs clean and spotless.

Pros and Cons of Brush and Baking Soda for Rug Cleaning


  • Gentle and Safe: This approach minimizes the risk of damaging rug fibers or causing color fading.
  • Cost-Effective: It is an affordable option for routine rug cleaning without the need for specialized equipment or cleaning solutions.


  • Limited Deep Cleaning: This method is more suitable for regular maintenance and light cleaning, rather than tackling stubborn stains or deeply ingrained dirt.
  • Ineffective for Odor Removal: While baking soda can help absorb some odors, it may not address underlying issues causing persistent smells.

Apply the each carpet stain remover very carefully for each of the aforementioned solutions. This is due to the fact that improper use of it could result in permanent stains on your carpet. Before putting the products all over the carpet, test them on a discrete area first.


How Do Steam Cleaners Work On Carpets?

When used on a rug or carpet, steam cleaning can assist in removing dirt, grease, and grime by applying hot steam.

Is It Better To Steam Clean or Shampoo Carpet?

Steam cleaning outperforms shampooing for rug and carpet cleaning, as it effectively eliminates dirt, grease, grime, and kills bacteria. Shampooing can leave residues that attract more dirt.

Is Steam Cleaning Safe for All Types of Rugs?

Yes, steam cleaning is generally safe for most types of rugs, but it's important to check the manufacturer's guidelines for any specific recommendations.

Can Steam Cleaning Remove Tough Stains from Rugs?

Yes, steam cleaning is effective in removing tough stains from rugs, as the hot steam helps to break down and lift stains.

How does steam cleaning compare to traditional methods in terms of effectiveness?

Steam cleaning is highly effective in comparison to traditional methods, as it can deep clean, sanitize, and remove dirt, grease, and grime without causing harm to the rug fibers.

Will steam cleaning damage the fibers or color of my rugs?

When used properly, steam cleaning should not damage the fibers or color of rugs. However, it's important to follow the manufacturer's instructions and avoid excessive moisture or heat.

Can steam cleaning eliminate odors from rugs?

Yes, steam cleaning can effectively eliminate odors from rugs by killing bacteria and removing dirt and debris that may be causing the unpleasant smells.

About the Authors

Kristina Tretyakova
Distinguished as a South Florida Top-10 student in 2021. Studying Marketing and Business Administration at FIU. Proficient in daily operations and skilled in cleaning, auto detailing and copywriting.
Izabela Forysiak
With a decade of experience in export operations and logistics, I bring a wealth of expertise to the field. I've navigated the complexities of logistics with precision, ensuring smooth operations and seamless exports.

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