Carpet cleaning is an important part of home maintenance, but it’s important to choose the right method. Some people believe that hot water extraction (also known as steam cleaning) can damage carpets, but this is not usually the case. If done correctly, hot water extraction can be an effective way to clean carpets and remove stains.  


Read on to know more about this.


What Is a Hot Water Extraction Method for Carpet Cleaning?

vacuuming carpet

Hot water extraction is a popular carpet cleaning method that uses hot water and a vacuum cleaner to remove dirt, dust, and stains from the carpet’s surface. The hot water melts the waxes and other surface contaminants, which are then drawn into the vacuum cleaner. This method effectively removes dirt, dust, and stains from carpets and can also help to refresh the carpet’s appearance. Hot water extraction is typically performed by professional carpet cleaners. Still, it can also be done by homeowners with the right equipment. If you are considering using hot water extraction to clean your carpets, read the manufacturer’s instructions carefully.


Can Hot Water Extraction Carpet Cleaning Damage Carpet?

If you’re considering cleaning your carpets, you might be wondering about the hot water extraction method. Although it’s a popular choice, some people think it’s not safe for carpets. That’s not true. Although if not done correctly, any cleaning method can harm the carpet.


The hot water extraction method uses hot water and a powerful vacuum to remove dirt, dust, and other debris from the carpet fibers. It’s an effective way to clean carpets, and it’s also safe for most carpets. 


Hot water extraction is also great for sanitizing carpets, as the hot water kills germs and bacteria. So if you’re looking for a safe, effective way to clean your carpets, hot water extraction is the way.


Unprofessional Usage May Harm the Carpet and Rugs

It is always a good idea to be careful when using your carpets and rugs, as unprofessional usage can greatly affect their appearance. The following are some ways in which a carpet or rug might be damaged:

unprofessional cleaning carpet

Can Cause Carpet Fibers to Be Weaken

The high temperatures may weaken the fibers, making them more likely to tear and wear. And if your fibers are already weak and damaged, hot water extraction is especially likely to cause problems. 

Can Result in Shrinkage

When exposed to high temperatures, synthetic fibers such as polyester or nylon can quickly shrink, resulting in unsightly wrinkles and creases. Natural fibers such as wool are less susceptible to this type of damage. However, they can still be affected if exposed to enough heat. 


Many carpets and rugs are not colorfast, meaning they can fade or bleed when they come into contact with hot water or other chemicals. This can result in an uneven and patchy appearance and ruined materials. 

Can Degrade Backing

When exposed to hot water, the carpet backing can sag and become misshapen. This can eventually lead to the formation of bubbles beneath the carpet surface, as well as general degradation of the carpet’s structure.

May Result in Mildew and Mold Growth

Mold and mildew thrive in damp environments. For example, a carpet that hasn’t been thoroughly dried after a steam cleaning can provide the perfect conditions for them to grow. In addition to producing unpleasant odors, mold and mildew can cause health problems if breathed in.


Things to Make Sure Before Using Steam Cleaning or Hot Water Extraction Method

steam cleaning

To avoid steam cleaning or hot water extraction from ruining your carpet, you may do the following things: 

Make Sure You’re Using Distilled Water

One of the most important things to remember when steaming your carpets is to use distilled water to avoid any harm to your carpets. Because impurities in the water can disrupt the carpet fibers, causing them to break down and get matted.

Use a Low-Temperature Setting

The lower temperature setting will help to prevent the formation of wrinkles. If you have a steamer with a higher heat setting, you can still use it, but you should be sure to hold the steamer further away from the carpet.

Avoid Over-steaming

If you steam for too long, you risk causing shrinkage and damage to the carpet. The recommended steaming time is between 10 and 15 minutes. If you’re not sure how long to steam for, it’s better to err on the side of caution. In most cases, shorter steaming times are just as effective as longer ones. Plus, they’ll help to preserve your carpet’s lifespan.

Protect Sensitive Regions

It’s important to take special care of any sensitive regions. Fringes and embellishments can be particularly sensitive, so be sure to protect them with a cloth or towel before starting to clean. This will help to prevent any damage from the cleaning process. In addition, be sure to vacuum slowly and gently over these areas to avoid snagging or pulling on the fibers.

Vacuum After Steam Cleaning

One important step to take after steaming your carpet is to vacuum it. This will help to remove any dirt or debris that may have been left on the carpet’s surface during the process. Vacuuming also helps to prevent mold or mildew, which can be a problem if the carpet is not dried properly. In addition, vacuuming helps to fluff up the carpet, restoring its original shape and appearance. 

Things to Do and Not to Do in This Method:

There are some DOs and DON’Ts that you should be aware of before steaming your carpet: 

carpet cleaming checklist

Carpet-steaming DOs

Get a Good-quality Carpet Steamer

A lower-quality steamer is more likely to damage your carpet, resulting in costly repairs or replacement. In contrast, a high-quality steamer will clean your carpets more effectively and with less risk of damage. In addition, a good steamer will have several features that make it easier to use.

Pretreat Dirty Areas

Before steaming your carpets, be sure to pre-treat any very dirty areas. The pre-treatment will aid in making the dirt simpler to remove by causing it to become looser.

Make Sure to Follow the Directions Given by the Manufacturer

Follow the instructions that came with your carpet steamer. They are there for a reason. This will help you make sure you know how to use the steamer right and don’t hurt your carpet.

Carpet-steaming DON’Ts 

Don’t Let Your Carpet Become Too Moist

If you wet your carpet too much, it will become damaged. Excess moisture can cause the carpet to shrink, as well as the formation of mold and mildew.

Avoid Using Excess Detergent

Over-using detergent when cleaning your carpet can damage it in the long run. Eventually, the detergent will build up on the carpet fibers, making it more difficult to clean them in the future. In addition, the detergent will attract dirt and grime, making your carpet look dirtier than it is.

Don’t Over-steam Your Carpet

Over-steaming your carpet can cause it to get damaged. The steamer’s heat might tear down the carpet’s fibers and cause it to fade. Over-steaming also runs the risk of causing the carpet to shrink.

Make Sure to Vacuum First!

Before steaming your carpet, it is important to vacuum it thoroughly to remove any dirt and debris. This is because if there is anything caught in the steamer, it could potentially damage your carpet. Thus, by vacuuming first, you can help to ensure that your carpet will not be harmed during the steaming process. In addition, vacuuming beforehand will also help to improve the overall results of the steaming. 


How Often Should You Apply Steam Cleaning to Your Carpets? 

Depending on the severity of your carpets, you may need to steam clean them typically every 6 to 12 months.  Over-cleaning can damage the fabric of your carpets and increase the number of allergens and bacteria in the air.

Ultimately, the best way to determine how often you should clean your carpets is to inspect them regularly and call in a professional if they seem excessively dirty.