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7 Best Carpet Steam Cleaners of 2024

Go full steam ahead with your carpet cleaning.

Are your carpets a hassle to clean? Have they dulled or collected so much dirt that a standard vacuum isn’t helping?

Steam cleaning is a simple and effective way to restore your carpets to their former glory. It’s not any more difficult or time-consuming than vacuuming, but the reward is worth it.

If you want to try out a steam cleaner, we’ve researched the best options for your carpet. We’ve narrowed it down to the seven best carpet steam cleaners, as well as including a guide for how to choose the right one for you.

Our Top Picks

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Product Comparison Table

Product Image of the Bissell Big Green Machine
Best Commercial Grade
Bissell Big Green Machine
  • Wide cleaning path
  • Two tanks
  • Handy accessories
Product Image of the Bissell BG10
Powerful & Versatile
Bissell BG10
  • Costs less
  • Adjustable handle
  • Cool attachments
Product Image of the Dupray Neat Steam Multi-Purpose
Best Dry Steam
Dupray Neat Steam Multi-Purpose
  • Amazing accessories
  • Multi-surface
  • Chemical free
Product Image of the Pure Enrichment Pure Clean
Most Affordable
Pure Enrichment Pure Clean
  • Good for outdoor use
  • Excellent attachments
  • Convenient storage
Product Image of the McCulloch Heavy Duty
Best for Spot Cleaning
McCulloch Heavy Duty
  • Strong contender
  • Great accessories
  • Trigger lock
Product Image of the PurSteam Steam Mop
Best Budget Steam Cleaner
PurSteam Steam Mop
  • Offers 99.99% sanitization
  • Lightweight and easy to use
  • 30 second heating time
Product Image of the Wagner Spray Tech
Best Multi-Floor Cleaner
Wagner Spray Tech
  • Versatile
  • Kills germs
  • Compact

Best Carpet Steam Cleaner Reviews of 2024

Are you ready to meet your dream steam cleaner? Here are seven top candidates.

Bissell Big Green Professional Carpet Cleaner Machine

Best Commercial Grade Carpet Steam Cleaner

Why hire a professional cleaning team when you have all that power at home? Bissell claims that this professional-grade carpet steamer out-cleans the leader in steam cleaning.

This has an extra-large power brush that drives deeply embedded dirt out from your carpet. Additionally, it has a cleaning path of 10.5 inches and is designed with sturdy, anti-tip technology. A defining feature is that two large tanks separate the clean and dirty water for more effective cleaning.

Stubborn stains are no match against this powerful cleaner.

What We Like

10.5 Inch Wide Cleaning Path

A 10.5-inch cleaning range is a huge deal. Think about how quickly you’ll be able to cover your floors.

To further prove how much time you’ll save, this cleaner works when it’s pushed and pulled. With the ability to work in both directions, you’ll save energy in do-overs and drastically reduce the cleaning time.

Two Tanks Separate Clean and Dirty Water

You don’t have to worry about this cleaner re-contaminating your carpets with dirty water. Two large tanks separate used water and fresh solution for better cleaning.

You can dismantle the tanks easily and dispose of the used water without hassle.

Handy Accessories Increase Versatility

This is an extractor, so we weren’t expecting Christmas with its accessories. Still, you get two great tools: a 6-inch tough stain tool and a sample of Bissell’s professional formula carpet shampoo.

This means you can sanitize and refresh your carpets at no extra cost. They also make it easier to target stubborn stains. We think these are great additions to an already powerful cleaning machine.

What We Don't Like

Requires More Maintenance

Customers are impressed by how powerful this machine is, but some have noted faults in its design. It seems that with frequent use, its parts don’t hold up as expected. This, of course, adds to maintenance and replacement costs.

Users noted clogs, leaks, and easy breakage of the tough stain tool. So, take good care of this model and service it regularly to prolong its lifespan.

Not Lightweight (Weighs 48 Pounds)

It may seem smaller than other industrial-grade carpet steam cleaners, but looks can be deceiving. This little guy weighs a surprising 48 pounds and is not so easy to push around. Consider where and how you will store it too.

Product Specs

Type Extractor
Capacity 1.75 gallons
Multi-purpose? No
Special features Two large tanks
Accessories Tough stain tool, Bissell professional formula sample

Our Ratings

Cleaning Performance
4.5 / 5
Ease of Use
4 / 5
Water Tank Capacity
4.5 / 5
Durability & Maintenance
3.5 / 5
Total Rating
4 / 5

User Experience

After researching and reading numerous reviews, I decided to purchase the Bissell Big Green Professional Carpet Cleaner. This machine is truly amazing and outperforms any professional carpet cleaning service I've used in the past. I have multiple pets, so keeping a clean floor has always been a challenge, but this powerful cleaner tackled all the stains and left my carpet looking brand new. The assembly was straightforward, and it was easy to use - just be cautious not to knock over the soap!

Bissell Big Green Commercial BG10

Powerful And Versatile Carpet Steam Cleaner

There aren’t too many differences between this and its Professional sister product, but you can consider this one a more affordable alternative. You’re getting the same power and aren’t losing any of the Professional’s handy features.

It has the same 10.5-inch cleaning range and dual tanks. You can also clean both forward and backward.

The difference, though, is that this model is far more versatile. It includes an adjustable handle and two handy accessories — a dirt-lifter power brush and an easy-clean brush roller.

At 42 pounds, this model weighs a little bit less as well.

What We Like

Costs Less Than Bissell Competitor

We recommend this one if you’re looking for the power of Bissell’s Professional model at a more affordable price. It’s not a massive difference, but you’ll save a few bucks and get more for your money.

There are only a few differences between both models, and their specs are almost the same. You won’t sacrifice any cleaning power, but you will gain a little more convenience.

Adjustable Handle Suits Various Heights

This feature is always a winner in our books. Extractors are rigid and often heavy, so having some control over how you use them is an advantage. You can adjust the height of this model’s handle for a more comfortable operation.

Cool Attachments Help With Deep Cleaning

We like that this model comes with the same dirt-lifter power brush. It also includes an easy-clean brush roller to save you some time on maintenance. This accessory is a little more basic than the Professional model, but it’ll also deep-clean.

We recommend this if you’re after a more generalized cleaning rather than targeting stubborn or heavy soil.

What We Don't Like

Hose Sold Separately

Oddly, Bissell chooses to sell what feels like an incomplete product, but not many customers are bothered by it. This isn’t a problem if you already have an appropriate connection for it. If not, you’ll have to spend extra on acquiring a hose.

To counter this, you can also purchase an accessory kit for this machine. This gives it a “build-it-yourself” feel that you can take advantage of.

Doesn’t Target Dirt

It falls short compared to the professional model because it lacks tools for spot cleaning. It performs well in larger areas. But if you have problem spots on your carpet, go for the Professional model above.

Product Specs

Type Extractor
Capacity 1.75 gallons
Multi-purpose? No
Special features Two large tanks, adjustable handle
Accessories dirt-lifter power brush, easy-clean brush roller

Our Ratings

Cleaning Performance
4.5 / 5
Ease of Use
4 / 5
Water Tank Capacity
4.5 / 5
Durability & Maintenance
4 / 5
Total Rating
4.25 / 5

Personal Perspective

My experience with the BG10 carpet cleaner has been exceptional. Despite initial doubts due to a past experience with a different Bissell model, this machine surpassed my expectations in terms of performance and ease of use. The design is intuitive, space-saving, and cleaning results are impressive, especially with the additional handheld hose/upholstery cleaner. Although it is a bit pricey, the investment is worthwhile considering the potential savings from not having to replace carpets.

Dupray Neat Steam Multi-Purpose Cleaner

Best Dry Carpet Steam Cleaner

If you’re looking for an all-purpose steam cleaner that you can use beyond your carpets, this product is a customer favorite. It’s a compact deep-cleaning solution if you don’t have the space or strength to handle an extractor.

This model heats tap water in seven minutes, then gives you a run of up to 50 minutes. You can combat dirt, stains, grease, pathogens, and bed bugs.

We like how it’s suitable for all surfaces. It also doesn’t hurt that it includes an 18-piece accessory kit to match your versatile cleaning needs.

What We Like

18 Amazing Accessories

This model is an excellent example of the versatility of dry steam carpet cleaners. The 18-piece accessory kit covers all your needs and wants. It includes a rectangular floor tool, three microfiber pads, a microfiber cloth, and a window tool.

You also get two extension tubes, one lance, a triangular tool, and another with a bonnet and a brass brush. Also, there are five nylon brushes, and a fragrance disc included. Wow!

Multi-Surface Ability

Because of the incredible range of accessories, you can clean almost anything with this. It’s suitable for all types of floors, windows, upholstery, and even toys or other smaller objects.

This model goes above and beyond in deep cleaning your whole home.

Chemical Free Option

All you need is tap water, nothing more. There’s no need to mix chemicals or shampoos, and you don’t have to heat your water first. This steam cleaner heats the water in seven minutes.

You will get continuous steam for up to 50 minutes. We think that’s more than enough time to refresh your home. If it’s not, refills are a breeze because of how fast this machine works.

What We Don't Like

Might Leak While You’re Cleaning

Users are pleased with this machine’s effect on carpets but note that it leaks quite a bit of water. Regardless of this criticism, users compliment that it dries fast. It’s worth noting, though, if you’re going to do large jobs with it, as some planning may be required.

Bothersome Storage

Even though this steam cleaner is light and compact, a few customers argue that there’s nowhere to place the accessories. Onboard storage, or even an included container, would have been a wise choice on Dupray’s part.

Considering the number of attachments you receive, think about where and how you will store them. Keeping them organized might be tricky if you don’t have a designated spot.

Product Specs

Type Dry Vapor
Capacity 0.4 gallons
Multi-purpose? All surfaces
Special features Heats up in 7 minutes, 50 minutes run time
Accessories 18-piece accessory kit

Our Ratings

Cleaning Performance
4 / 5
Ease of Use
4.5 / 5
Water Tank Capacity
3.5 / 5
Durability & Maintenance
4 / 5
Total Rating
4 / 5

Community Feedback

My experience with this steamer cleaner has been quite positive overall, despite a few minor drawbacks. I've used it on various surfaces like travertine flooring, kitchen countertops, and bathrooms, and it has performed well, although it might take a bit longer than more expensive units. The small tank size is suitable for smaller jobs, and I appreciate that it can use any microfiber cloth with its clip system. One downside is the lack of a water level indicator, so you need to plan breaks to refill and reheat the tank. Choosing the right attachment is crucial for effective cleaning, but overall, this steamer cleaner offers excellent value for its price and features.

Pure Enrichment Pure Clean Rolling Steam Cleaner

Most Budget Carpet Steam Cleaner

With this product, you get heavy-duty cleaning at an affordable price.

It keeps up with higher-end models, and we like how far its multi-purpose label goes. You can use this machine on your floors, walls, upholstery, windows, and so much more — even outdoors.

It’s compact, chemical-free, and includes a fantastic range of accessories. Included are a mop head, triangle brush, steam jet nozzle, two microfibre mop pads, a squeegee, and five nylon utility brushes. You also get a brass utility brush, two extension wands, a measuring cup, and a funnel.

What We Like

Good for Outdoor Use

Have you ever thought of cleaning your grill, driveway, or garbage cans with a steam cleaner? We hadn’t until we found this product. It’s designed for heavy-duty use so that you can use it both indoors and out.

This versatile machine is suitable for almost all surfaces — including windows and walls. We can’t get over it.

18 Excellent Attachments

The 18-piece accessory kit is the whole package, though its components vary compared to the Dupray model. These attachments focus on multi-floor cleaning. But you also get valuable tools for operating the machine, like the measuring cup and funnel.

Cleaning is easier with this model, and you’ll get exactly what you need. It saves you money on the extras, and we appreciate the thought of including them in the package.

Convenient to Store With Cord Wrapping

Pure Enrichment built this cleaner with storage in mind. It takes up little room and utilizes cord-wrapping for hassle-free stowing.

We recommend this model if you have limited space or live in a smaller home.

What We Don't Like

Small Cleaning Path

The triangle brush works well on carpets, but users note that it’s small. So be prepared to spend a little more time cleaning if you’re looking to keep larger areas clean. Otherwise, we recommend using this for spot cleaning.

It also has a smaller capacity than some extractor machines but not too much of a sacrifice. This product has a 0.3-gallon tank and will last for 45 minutes of continuous steam.

Carpets May Soak

A few customers say that this steam cleaner spews out a surprising amount of water. Some leakage is expected from all steam cleaners, but this model might surprise you.

Work around this by planning your cleaning and working backward so you won’t step on your wet floor. Also, since it’s dry vapor, your carpets won’t take too long to dry.

Product Specs

Type Dry Vapor
Capacity 0.3 gallons
Multi-purpose? All surfaces, indoor and outdoor use
Special features Cord wrap, 45 minute run time
Accessories 18-piece accessory kit

Our Ratings

Cleaning Performance
4 / 5
Ease of Use
4.5 / 5
Water Tank Capacity
3 / 5
Durability & Maintenance
4 / 5
Total Rating
3.75 / 5

First-Hand Impression

Love the versatility and power of this steam cleaner, but it does have some drawbacks. The process of using distilled water and draining excess water after use can be a bit tedious. Additionally, the lack of organization for attachments is inconvenient, and I wish the nylon brushes were sturdier. Despite these issues, overall, it's a decent unit for tackling various cleaning tasks.

McCulloch Heavy Duty Cleaner

Best Carpet Steam Cleaner for Spot Cleaning

Sometimes all you need is a good steam cleaner that effectively cleans targeted stains and dirt. Customers are happy with this model’s power and proficiency in spot cleaning. It’s a great multi-purpose cleaner too.

No chemicals are needed as pressurized steam works against grime, grease, mold, and stains. It takes only eight minutes to heat up and gives you 45 minutes of continuous steam.

A cool feature that this boasts is a trigger lock. You’ll expend less effort while you clean and have more consistency in your steam’s flow.

What We Like

Affordable, Power, and Compact

This model competes with others that we’ve mentioned. It’s an affordable, heavy-duty machine with a solid run time and quick functionality. The cleaner is suitable for all surfaces and compact enough to be portable.

Some report this model as the total package, mentioning that it functions well as a starter steam cleaner.

18 Great Accessories

Keeping up with our previous two entries, you get 18 handy attachments with this product. Two extension wands, two microfiber pads, a steam jet nozzle, a mop head, and a triangle brush are included. You also get a funnel, measuring cup, squeegee, scrub pad, brass brush, and five nylon utility brushes.

Trigger Lock Saves You Effort

If you don’t want to control the steam manually, this nifty feature gives you a constant steam flow. Your cleaning will be smoother, and you’ll exert less energy while operating the cleaner.

What We Don't Like

Better for Spot Cleaning

Customers note that this model is not intended for deep-cleaning large carpeted areas, but it works well regardless. The triangle brush has a small path, though, so it’s not so suited for larger areas.

Users are pleased with this machine’s effect on carpets and recommend it for spot cleaning.

Flimsy Accessories

A common criticism is that the accessories, while useful, feel cheaply made. There are few complaints of easy breakage, so we suggest you handle them with care. Regular maintenance and responsible storage should extend their lifespan.

Product Specs

Type Dry vapor
Capacity 0.3 gallons
Multi-purpose? All surfaces
Special features Pressurized steam, 8-minute heating, 45-minute run time
Accessories 18-piece accessory kit

Our Ratings

Cleaning Performance
4.5 / 5
Ease of Use
4 / 5
Water Tank Capacity
3 / 5
Durability & Maintenance
3.5 / 5
Total Rating
3.75 / 5

User Experience

From the moment I got this steam cleaner, I knew it was a great addition to my cleaning arsenal. It has been effective on various surfaces like windows, walls, and even vinyl mini blinds. Though the small brushes and scrubber pad wear down quickly, the steam does assist in making the cleaning process easier. I've also found it helpful in detailing my car's interior, leaving it looking almost new.

PurSteam Steam Mop Carpet Cleaner

Best Budget Extractor Carpet Steam Cleaner

Carpet steam cleaners don’t need to cost an arm and a leg. This is a great affordable option — and it will get your carpets fresh and germ-free.

We love this because it’s a 10-in-1 cleaner. It’s designed to clean all floor types! So now, every corner of your house will be sparkling, hygienic, and fresher than ever.

It also comes with a hose to steam in hard-to-reach places, like walls, ceilings, grout, and behind the toilet.

Use it as a handheld garment steamer, window, mirror, glass cleaner, and much more.

What We Like

Offers 99.99 Percent Sanitization

You don’t need bleach or other harsh chemicals to sanitize your home thoroughly. A steam cleaner can provide 99.99 percent sanitization with just the power of water. So now, your home will be fresh and germ-free!

Lightweight and Easy to Use

Compared to some other carpet cleaners, this is a super lightweight and easy product to steer around the home. It only weighs 2.2 pounds, so it’s great for most people in the family to use.

30 Second Heating Time

Need to use this quickly before guests come? It heats up in 30 seconds. So fast! So you can get to cleaning right away after plugging it in.

What We Don't Like

Maximum 25 Minute Cleaning Time

On one water tank, you’ll get 25 minutes of cleaning time. We think this is pretty amazing, but if you’re deep cleaning the whole home, you may need to take a few trips to the sink to refill the tank.

It’s Too Short

As a tall person, I constantly battle this issue with vacuums and steamers. And this product is no different. It’s pretty short for tall people, which can be irritating. The cord is also short, so you need to unplug it when you go to a new room, then wait for it to heat up again.

Product Specs

Type Dry vapor cleaner
Capacity 11.5 ounces
Multi-purpose? Yes
Special features 10 different uses, including handheld garment steamer
Accessories Window squeegee, straight nozzle, nylon brushes, bent nozzle

Our Ratings

Cleaning Performance
4 / 5
Ease of Use
4.5 / 5
Water Tank Capacity
3.5 / 5
Durability & Maintenance
4 / 5
Total Rating
4 / 5

Personal Perspective

After trying out the PUR Steam mop, I can confidently say it's a practical and versatile cleaning tool for various surfaces. The lightweight design makes it easy to maneuver while the multiple attachments add to its usefulness. It did an excellent job at cleaning tile floors, laminate backsplash, and shower doors, but fell short in removing stains from furniture. The product's main downsides are its short cord and small water tank, which may require frequent refilling during extensive cleaning sessions.

Wagner 915e Spray Tech

Best Multi-Floor Carpet Steam Cleaner

This is an excellent choice if you have different types of floors throughout your home. Plus, it’s chemical-free, so it won’t mar wood or laminate, and works just as well on carpets and tiles.

By heating up to 212 degrees Fahrenheit, it loosens dirt, stains, grease, and grime across all of your surfaces.

It comes with an 18-piece accessory kit for versatility around your home. Two extension wands, a microfiber towel, an angled adapter, a straight adapter, a jet nozzle, and a mop pad are included. You also get a measuring cup, funnel, cleaning brushes, a squeegee, bonnet, and microfiber cleaning pad.

What We Like

It’s Versatile for All Floor Types

You can use this machine on all types of floors. This steam cleaner will come in handy inside larger homes where not all floors are carpeted. It won’t leave behind a chemical residue and refreshes carpets and upholstery.

Kills Almost 100 Percent of Germs

The steam from this machine is hot enough to kill almost 100 percent of all germs, including E. coli and salmonella. So, it’s a fantastic choice if you’re looking to sanitize your home without turning to chemical extractors.

It’s Compact and Easy to Store

This is a small and relatively lightweight cleaner that won’t take up too much space in your home. You can store it as a standard vacuum cleaner — no special provisions are necessary.

What We Don't Like

Better for Spot Cleaning

Customers note that while this machine works wonders on floors, it may be too small to deep clean large carpets. It’s highly efficient at spot cleaning, though, so users recommend using it to target dirt instead.

Potential Overheating

This cleaner gets very hot. First, be careful when handling it, as there is an increased risk of accidental burns. Secondly, some customers say that it overheats quickly, so take care not to overdo it to preserve the motor.

Product Specs

Type Dry vapor
Capacity 0.31 gallons
Multi-purpose? All surfaces
Special features Pressurized steam, maximum 212 degrees Fahrenheit
Accessories 18-piece accessory kit

Our Ratings

Cleaning Performance
4.5 / 5
Ease of Use
4 / 5
Water Tank Capacity
3 / 5
Durability & Maintenance
3.5 / 5
Total Rating
3.75 / 5

Community Feedback

I recently purchased this steamer and I've been quite impressed with its performance. It cleans a variety of surfaces, even wood if handled carefully, and is easy to maneuver thanks to its wheels. The attachments are straightforward to use, and it holds enough water for nearly an hour of steaming before needing a refill. The only downside is the lack of a visible water reservoir, but overall, this steamer has exceeded my expectations and made cleaning a breeze.

Product Comparison Chart

Product Best Type Capacity Multi-purpose?
Bissell Big Green Machine Commercial Grade Extractor 1.75 gal. No
Bissell BG10 Powerful & Versatile Extractor 1.75 gal. No
Dupray Neat Steam Multi-Purpose Dry Steam Dry Vapor 0.4 gal. All surfaces
Pure Enrichment Pure Clean Affordable Dry Vapor 0.3 gal. All surfaces, indoor and outdoor use
McCulloch Heavy Duty For Spot Cleaning Dry vapor 0.3 gal. All surfaces
PurSteam Steam Mop Cleaner Budget Dry vapor cleaner 11.5 ounces Yes
Wagner 915e Spray Tech Multi-Floor Cleaner Dry vapor 0.31 gal. Yes

Why You Need a Carpet Steam Cleaner

Steam cleaning isn’t very popular yet. People have a couple of common misconceptions about this method. Firstly, people assume it’s complicated. Secondly, some people think it will be too expensive.

We’re here to tell you that it’s easy to do and is much cheaper than hiring a professional carpet cleaner. Here are a few more reasons you might choose a carpet steam cleaner for your home.

Kills More Germs

Steam cleaners are all the rage because of their famed antibacterial and deep-cleaning functionality. But is there any weight to this, or are they overhyped?

Science says they work. One study on the effect of steam on hay concluded that steam killed almost all bacteria and mold (1). There’s also evidence that for water to kill germs effectively, it has to be at least 149 degrees Fahrenheit (2).

Based on this, steam cleaners remove more germs than standard vacuums. The heat they produce wipes out almost 100 percent of bacteria and other pathogens that settle deep inside your carpets. The result is a healthier home.

Better Stain Removal

Cold water is better for protein-based stains, but you shouldn’t disregard hot water.

Hot water has more energy than cold water. This generates enough force to break the bonds between molecules in stains. From oil to paint to coffee spills, hot water is better on most fabrics than cold water.

Since steam is a by-product of this heat generation, steam cleaners are an effective solution for cleaning most carpet stains.

Better for the Environment

Can you believe that steam cleaning uses less water than most other cleaning methods (3)? Energy consumption depends on the product, of course. But in general, steam cleaning is an eco-friendly cleaning method.

Another point for steam cleaners is that most don’t use chemicals. So, you won’t have to spend money on chemical solutions, and the air will be less toxic.

If you’re conscious of the environment, steam cleaning is the best green alternative to other resource-draining tools and products.

They’re Affordable

Steam cleaners aren’t that different in price from traditional vacuum cleaners. Depending on the brand, type, and specs, some may even be cheaper.

Since they may even use less energy, they could save you more money than standard vacuum cleaners.

A considerable benefit to steam cleaners is that they’re also versatile. So if you choose a model with appropriate attachments, you can clean your whole home with it. From your sofa to your mattress to your tiles — steam cleaners do it all.

A Must Have For Allergy-Sufferers

If you struggle with allergies, regardless of how often you clean, your carpet might be the problem. Allergens like dust, pollen, and pet dander cling to carpet fibers.

Unfortunately, traditional vacuuming may not always be enough. Unless you have special filters, vacuums can push allergens into the air rather than trap them.

However, steam cleaners don’t only kill pathogens; they tackle allergens too. They’re effective at killing dust mites without installing specialized equipment (4). There’s good news for pet owners too. Steam cleaners can also kill fleas and bed bugs (5).

Boost Your Cleaning Power

For more cleaning power, consider a carpet steam cleaner that utilizes cleaning agents. Many models allow carpet shampoos in their tanks. This will give your home a more refreshing and sanitized deep clean. Beware of the added cost, though.

Types of Carpet Steam Cleaners

Unlike traditional vacuuming, there isn’t too much variation in steam cleaning. Still, you do have a choice between two types of carpet steam cleaners, and the one you pick can change how you clean.

Steam Extractors

These are the traditional steam cleaners. They heat water and detergent or shampoo before applying both to your carpet. Much like a vacuum, a suction mechanism loosens and collects embedded dirt.

Many people prefer extractors because they’re so effective at deep cleaning. However, they’re typically intended for carpets only. So it may be rare to find one with versatile attachments.

If you ever hire a professional carpet cleaning team, chances are they will use one of these.


  • Excellent deep-cleaning capacity; they can remove stubborn build-up.
  • Use of detergent sanitizes floors.
  • Effective heavy-duty stain removal.
  • They last for years as long as you keep up maintenance.
  • They have large water tanks, so you don’t need to refill them as often.


Dry Vapor Cleaners

The second type of steam cleaner is a dry vapor machine, known to some simply as a “steam cleaner.” While the mechanism is the same — water is heated, vaporized, and applied to your floor — no detergents are used.

The heat of the steam is what removes dirt, germs, and stains. You can use them on almost all types of floors, fabrics, upholstery, and glass.

They’ll take up less storage than carpet extractors since they’re generally lighter and smaller.


  • Extremely versatile – you can use them on almost all surfaces.
  • No chemicals are needed; water does the job.
  • Better ease of use since they’re light, compact, and easy to maneuver.
  • More affordable with many great options under $100.
  • Eco-friendly since only a little water is necessary per clean.


  • Not as effective at stain removal.
  • Lack the sanitization power of extractors.
  • The water tanks are smaller, so you need to refill them more often.

Quick Tip

If you choose a dry vapor steam cleaner, check the specs. In theory, they’re good for all surfaces, but consider what the manufacturers have to say. Always follow the instructions given for cleaning different surfaces to prevent damage.

Which One Is Right for You?

Even though there are only two variations, your buying decision can still be tricky. Consider the following to make sure you pick one that works for you.

1. What Do You Need It For?

Don’t choose a vapor steam cleaner just because it’s convenient. Conversely, don’t go for an extractor just because it’s stronger. Your steam cleaner will be an investment, and we’d hate to see you buy one that doesn’t suit your needs.

If you need to steam clean a lot of upholstery or furniture, pick a vapor steam cleaner. This also applies if you have multiple floor types in your home and don’t want to use harsh cleaning agents.

On the other hand, an extractor is better if your carpets are heavily soiled. You probably won’t need a dry vapor machine if you need to deep clean or sanitize carpets — and carpets only.


Extractors soak your floors and could take a day or two to dry thoroughly. Think about the logistics of using one. In general, these are better for commercial use than domestic.

2. Which Chemicals Will It Use?

Should you choose an extractor, remember that this will involve extra costs and efforts in acquiring the proper detergents. Some steam cleaners can only take branded or specialized shampoos. Others might use chemicals you’re not comfortable inhaling or being exposed to.

Follow The Rules

If your cleaner requires a specific solution, it’s best to stick to manufacturer instructions. Though a different chemical may not damage your machine, using products outside of what’s recommended might void your warranty.

3. Does It Come with Accessories?

When picking a dry steam cleaner, pay attention to its attachments. The more you get, the higher the value for money. If you’d prefer a versatile machine, take some time to figure out precisely what you need.

The possible attachments for carpet cleaners are similar to those for a standard vacuum. You should look for extension wands and various brushes or pads for hard floors, windows, and upholstery.

Accessories aren’t guaranteed, but now you know to look for them. You’ll save money and cleaning time if your machine has everything you need.

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4. Where Do You Live?

This is an important consideration in steam cleaning. The climate where you live can affect how your steam cleaner works.

Both types of steam cleaners will wet your floors, but extractors will do so to a higher degree. Your carpets need to air dry, and humidity can prolong this. Moist air will keep your carpets damp for longer, which could be a hindrance.

In comparison, the drier the air is around you, the better an extractor will work. This is not to say that you shouldn’t get one if you live in a more tropical climate. But you will need patience, so a dry vapor cleaner will probably suit you better.

Floor Drying Tip

Your carpets will dry faster if you use fans or air conditioners to help them along. Regular cleaning can also help with this. The cleaner your carpets are, the less water you’ll use to clean them.

Drawbacks of Carpet Steam Cleaners

Carpet steam cleaners are one of the most effective ways to manage your soft floors. They’re excellent at killing germs and restoring the condition of your carpets and rugs.

But they’re not for everyone. Keep these points in mind before committing to a specific machine:

  • Wet floors: Steam cleaning takes a while to settle, so you’ll have to avoid your floors when you’re done.
  • New stains: In some instances, steam cleaners only clean superficially. The heat drives embedded dirt to the surface, but you may not notice it before it dries. This gives the impression that new stains have formed and leads to more frequent cleaning.
  • Cumbersome: Due to their nature, steam cleaners aren’t that lightweight. They’re awesome but prepare the area for mobility purposes.
  • Risk of injury: You’re going to work with scalding water, and if you do so irresponsibly, you could hurt yourself. So be careful when using a steam cleaner!

Clean Backward

When using a steam cleaner, work backward so you won’t have to walk over your wet floors. You can also plan to clean at a time when you know you’ll leave the house. If you live in a warm climate, try cleaning at night.
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​​How Often Should a Carpet be Steam Cleaned?

You should steam clean your carpets every 12 to 18 months, although this depends on the dirt on your flooring. The frequency also changes depending on whether you have pets or children.

Is There a Vacuum That Also Steam Cleans Carpets?

There is a vacuum that also steam cleans capets. The Bissell Crosswave Wet/Dry Vacuum Cleaner can be used in wet or dry mode, and it copes with all types of floors.

Where Does the Dirt Go When You Steam Clean?

The dirt doesn’t go anywhere when you steam clean unless you use a vac steamer like this Bissell Crosswave that steams and sucks simultaneously. With a steam cleaner, the dirt falls away from the fibers and sits on the floor until vacuumed.

Can You Use Vinegar to Steam Clean Carpets?

You can use vinegar to steam clean carpets by adding it to your steam cleaner water reservoir. White vinegar is the best product because it disinfects, cleans, and doesn’t stain your carpet.

How Long Should I Let the Carpet Dry After Steam Cleaning?

How long you should let your carpet dry after steam cleaning is not an exact science. It depends on the level of water used, the thickness of the carpet, and the amount of airflow and natural light.

The recommended time is six to twelve hours, but you can speed this process using a Bissell ProHeat Revolution. It leaves your carpets and rugs dry in just 30 minutes.

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About the Author

Amy Anthony

Amy Anthony is a cleaning expert, author, and contributing writer for Oh So Spotless, a leading online resource for all things related to cleaning, organizing, and maintaining a spotless home. With over 15 years of experience in the cleaning industry, Amy has gained extensive knowledge and expertise that have made her a trusted authority on best practices, efficient techniques, and innovative cleaning solutions.