Steam mops are a very popular cleaning solution these days, and with good reason.
They’re lightweight and easy to use, and they clean hard surfaces such as tiled or sealed hardwood floors quickly with excellent results. (Steam mops aren’t recommended for use on vinyl floors, however, and care should be taken when using a steam mop on laminate.) But can a steam mop be used on carpet? Read on to find out.
The advantages of using a steam mop
Unlike the traditional floor mop, the user does not need to wring out or rinse the mop pad or re-use a dirty mop on clean surfaces. Instead, the microfiber or terry cloth mop pads are simply removed and washed, or discarded when they get too dirty. Best of all, the primary cleaning component of the unit is hot steam; no harsh chemicals are used.
Because the steam mop is so efficient for getting dust and stains off floors, people have thought of other inventive ways to use this product, such as using it to clean bathroom walls. (Steam mops are great at killing bacteria, so it’s easy to see why it’d be tempting to clean a bathroom with one.) However, steam mops are not recommended for certain surfaces. You should always read and follow the manufacturer’s recommendations carefully for the best results.
However, the big question that we will be addressing in this article is whether you can use your steam mop to get those stubborn stains out of your carpet. Their use on floors is evident and effective, but can they be trusted to get into those carpet fibers as well?
Using a steam mop on carpet
The short answer is yes, you can use a steam mop as a carpet cleaner. The hot steam from the mops, when used on carpet fabric, can also work great as a lightweight stain or spot remover, deodorizer, sanitizer, dust mite remover and can even give some life back to older carpets if used correctly and with care.
However, there are some factors to steam cleaning carpet that you should consider to do this properly.
You don’t want to clean your carpet improperly and not solve the problem. Therefore, there are some relevant factors that we will discuss in this section.
Most people choose light-colored carpeting for their home. It gives rooms a bright appearance and tends to widen their dimensions. The problem with light-colored carpets is that dirt and normal wear are apparent much sooner than with dark carpets. Even the smallest stain or blotch of dirt can mar the look of a light carpet. As a result, lighter shades of carpeting need to be cleaned more often.
Dust mites are a problem with all carpets. Dust mites that collect in carpets can aggravate the allergies of sensitive people.
Steam mops are a great solution for both of these problems. Used regularly, they can remove some light surface stains and dirt spots. They can also deodorize a carpet. The steam provided by the mop is hot enough to kill dust mites and remove bacteria. Many models reach 220 degrees Fahrenheit.
It’s best to use a steam mop that is designed with a carpet glider attachment and cleaning head for the carpet. The glider is simply a plastic framed cover for the mop that makes it easier to move around on the carpeting.
How to use a steam mop on carpet
- Fill the water tank per manufacturer instructions and tighten the cap.
- Attach the mop head and microfiber pad.
- Place the mop onto the carpet glider cover and secure it.
- Plugin the unit and wait for it to heat up.
- Use immediately as directed.
The water in the unit will heat up in less than a minute. The mop should not be allowed to stand in its heated condition, as the sustained heat can damage surfaces if left too long.
Other options for cleaning carpet
As we have outlined, a steam mop is an option for cleaning your carpets. However, it is not the ideal solution for all situations and messes. That is why, in this section, we are going to provide you with some more options for cleaning your carpet and getting out those hard messes.
DIY stain remover
This is probably the best solution for stubborn, worn stains. If you have a specific stain that needs treating, you might have to handle it directly with some stain remover. This DIY cleaner can handle stains quite well, and there are not nearly as many chemicals.
To make, mix 1 part liquid soap, 2 parts hydrogen peroxide, and 1 part baking soda. Couldn’t be easier to prepare.
To use, simply apply to the affected area, and gently agitate the area with a hard brush or with a washcloth. You can adjust your approach depending on the severity of the stain.
This is a great solution for tackling individual stains, but might not be a great option for cleaning your carpet as a whole.
If you need a more heavy-duty solution than a steam mop, a full-blown steam cleaner might be what you are looking for.
These machines are usually powered with tap water and detergent, so follow the directions on your machine to load it with cleaning solutions. A steam cleaner will heat the solution so that you can use it to clean deep into your carpets.
There are many different varieties and intensities of steam cleaners, so you should be sure to choose one that is proportionate to your cleaning jobs. Run the cleaner in long, horizontal lines across the carpet, and move it slowly. This allows it to do its work, and clean your carpet effectively.
And of course, the most classic way to clean carpet, the vacuum cleaner. A vacuum sucks up dirt, debris, and dust mites that have been lodged deep in the carpet. Any good carpet cleaning starts with a good vacuuming.
There are a variety of excellent vacuums on the market, and the best one for you will depend on the extent of your needs. You can find anything from a heavy-duty industrial quality vacuum to a simple light-weight handheld vacuum.
The most effective method is to vacuum regularly. Don’t let dust and dirt build up in your carpet, because it will only be harder to get out. Use your vacuum on a regular basis, even if you don’t think your carpet needs it.
What a steam mop can’t do for carpet
A steam mop is not designed to deep clean carpets. All carpets need to be thoroughly cleaned on a regular basis with carpet cleaning units that have brushes and a powerful vacuum to remove ground-in dirt and difficult stains. It is also ineffective to remove pet and human hair which can become caught in the fibers of the carpeting; for that, you simply need to vacuum.
However, using a steam mop on carpet regularly can reduce the number of thorough carpet cleanings needed for light-colored carpet. It can improve the appearance and smell of carpet for daily use. It’s also a great way to help remove dust mites that can plague allergy sufferers.
Ready to steam mop your carpet?
A steam mop can be an effective tool for cleaning your carpet. However, it’s vital that you choose the right tool; only some steam mops are suitable for use on carpet. To find the steam mop best suited for your situation, check out our Best Steam Mop Reviews of 2021.