CARPET STEAM CLEANERS – Where’s the steam?

If you’re looking for a Carpet Steam Cleaner that will vacuum and clean your carpets with real steam your choices will be limited. The majority of carpet steam cleaners DO NOT USE STEAM.They use hot water and a detergent solution to do the deep cleaning.

Unfortunately, these machines are also known as  Steam Vacuums, Carpet Steamers and Steam Cleaners for Carpets.

Where it gets confusing, is that there ARE steam cleaners that work on carpets – but only on a superficial level. This means they can “fluff” the fibers up and steam the top of the carpet to get out some of the surface stains. What these machines really are, are STEAM MOPS with an attachment that permits them to glide over the surface of the carpet.

Steam Mops, however,  are designed to work best on hard floor surfaces.

If you are indeed looking for a steam and vacuum appliance there are only a few and they can do an adequate job, but they don’t really have the deep cleaning power of the water extractor vacuums  that come with more power and brush beaters.

Haan HD50 duo steam sweeper for carpets and floors

The HAAN HD50 is one type of  “Vac with steam” – though it is actually more of a sweeper.

If quick touch ups, sanitization and removing carpet surface dirt is what you’re looking for, this product has a decent rating.

- Great on carpets, rugs and sealed hard-surface floors
- Agitator brush revolves at 3,000 RPM to loosen dirt and grime
- Moves easily from hard floor to carpet or rug with auto height adjustment
- Deodorizes and freshen carpets and rugs
- Kills 99.99% of germs and bacteria without chemicals


If deep carpet cleaning is what you really want (like the home professionals who come to your house), then you need to purchase a Carpet Cleaning Machine (Water Extractor). Read Below.


Most of the carpet “steam cleaners” should really be called Carpet Cleaning Machines OR carpet water extractors

Hoover Steamvac

What they really do, is spray hot water and a detergent solution on the carpet, beat the carpet with rotating brushes to loosen the dirt and clean the fibers, then suction up (extract) the dirty water and residue on a second pass over the area. Our recommendation for a Carpet Cleaning Machine is the Hoover SteamVac Carpet Cleaner with Clean Surge, F5914-900


Professional home carpet cleaners use the same type of machine, only theirs is more powerful and built to work day in and day out.

Using Carpet Steam Cleaners as Hot Water Water Extractors

It is highly recommended to first vacuum the area that you plan to use the hot water extractor on. Don’t count on the steam cleaner (water extractor) alone to do all the heavy work.  If you make dirt wet, you get mud. Mud is a lot more difficult to suction up.

Vacuuming should really be your first step. It removes the larger pieces of loose dirt, breadcrumbs, small rocks and mud trudged into the home.  If you don’t vacuum first, you’ll have wet or damp hairballs, fluff, mud and other dirt clinging to or clogging your steam cleaner. Should you first vacuum with the vacuum that is part of the water extractor?

You could, but you will be better off using a dedicated vacuum cleaner to do the job. This will avoid any clogging of the extractor tubes by objects that just don’t belong.
Once you have vacuumed the area, the steam cleaner (water extractor) will do a much better job at cleaning and renewing the look of your carpet.

Our shortlist of best reviewed Carpet Steam Cleaners are:

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