How Often Should You Steam Clean Your Carpet

There’s a certain joy that comes with stepping inside your home at the end of a long day, and immediately being hit by a wave of crisp, clean air. The best way to keep your home from smelling musty is to keep those carpets clean. Cloth can notoriously trap dirt and odors, lending a musty smell to the air of your home. The question remains, however: how often should you steam clean your carpet?

Common advice states to steam clean your carpet every twelve to eighteen months, but in all reality, this number changes based on the level of dirt, as well as the durability of the carpet. High traffic areas and rooms affected by pets or children may call for more frequent cleaning. 

BISSELL Big Green Professional Carpet Cleaner

Part of taking pride in your home means ensuring that it is a clean, welcoming environment. In this article, we’ll be covering everything you need to know regarding how often you should steam clean your carpet!

Should You Steam Clean it More if You Have Pets

We love our furry friends, but they do come at the cost of a few comforts. One huge sacrifice we often make is the overall cleanliness of our home.

It’s hard to admit, but even the cleanest pet can lead to a dirty home. Cats, for example, trap litter and grime between their paws, which they then go on to spread throughout the home.

Even dogs who never drool still track in mud and dirt inside from their walks, and anyone who’s paid attention to their animal knows that there’s no such thing as a “non-shedding animal.” If it has fur of any sort, you’re guaranteed to find it trapped in the fibers of your carpet!

With frequent vacuumings, you should be able to protect your carpet from the daily wear-and-tear of pet ownership, but what of those germs that get trapped deep beneath the surface?

If you have pets, you should certainly steam clean your carpet more frequently, but there’s no point in going overboard. 

A few times a year at most should suffice to keep your home clean and smelling fresh. Any more frequently, and you may run the risk of steam cleaning your carpet too often.

Can You Steam Clean Your Carpet Too Much

Hoover PowerDash Pet Compact Carpet Cleaner, Lightweight, FH50700, Blue

While a clean carpet may feel fantastic underneath your bare feet, it’s possible to have too much of a good thing. If you steam clean your carpet too often, you run the risk of damaging the fibers, shortening the overall lifespan of your carpet.

According to Robert Griswald, bestselling author of Property Management for Dummies, homeowners should fight their impulse to overclean their carpets. 

He states, “In my 30-plus years of experience as a property manager, I believe that under certain circumstances you can shorten the life of some carpets by steam cleaning them too often…. the carpet threads will separate from the backing, or the fibers will lose their texture and thickness, and the carpet will feel and even look threadbare and severely worn.”

In short, while some steam cleaning can leave your home feeling cleaner and fresh, too much may lead to the exact opposite: a shabby, old-looking carpet in need of a replacement.

Is Steam Cleaning Good for Carpets

If it’s possible to steam clean your carpets too often, that leaves some wondering: is steam cleaning good for carpets in the first place?

Technically: no.

But that doesn’t mean you should neglect this practice!

Steam cleaning operates by injecting hot, cleaning water deep into the fibers of your carpet, then sucking the majority of that moisture immediately back up. 

In doing so, the steam cleaner takes away much of the dirt, dust, and grime that would otherwise be too stubborn to pick up with a simple vacuum.

Realistically, any contact with water is not “good” for your carpet. This being said, the benefits of a deep, steam cleaning treatment far outweigh the negatives.

For example, in steam cleaning your carpet, you:

  • Inject less water into your carpet than traditional soaking and scrubbing methods
  • Remove dander that would otherwise trigger allergies and asthma
  • Restore the appearance of high traffic areas
  • Leaves behind zero residue
  • Kills odor-causing bacteria without the addition of another scent

While steam cleaning is technically not good for your carpet, the minor amounts of damage it may cause are entirely negligible compared to the overwhelming benefits.

Do You Need to Hire a Professional, or Can You Do It Yourself

Hiring a professional to steam clean your carpet may be a good idea if you’re cleaning a large area, have issues with movement or heavy lifting, or just want to be entirely sure that the job is done right. 

However, while it’s possible to hire a professional, it’s not necessary. Steam cleaning is fairly easy, and if you’re still unsure of your abilities, you can find fantastic instructional videos available on Youtube. 

Can You Rent Steam Cleaners

Renting a steam cleaner is incredibly easy, and luckily, it’s also incredibly inexpensive. On average, a steam cleaner costs between thirty and fifty dollars per day. 

To find a location that rents out steam cleaners by the day, check out your local hardware store. Most stores keep a few units on hand and are happy to rent them out to regular customers. Larger, chain hardware stores do as well; Lowe’s, for example, rents steam cleaners for only thirty dollars per day. 

With all these options, should have no problem keeping your carpet clean and getting the job done right!


So, how often should you steam clean your carpet?

Compared to many other cleaning jobs you’ll do within a year, this one takes far less time and has to be completed far less often. In fact, as you’ve already read, it can actually work against the overall quality of your carpet to stress about doing it more often than once or twice a year!  

Steam cleaning your carpet is a cheap, easy way to upgrade the overall coziness of your entire home.  Don’t stress yourself over what could otherwise be the simplest part of your year!

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