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Carpet Cleaning: Should You Do It Yourself or Hire the Pros?

When was the last time you deep-cleaned your carpets? Did you tackle the job yourself or did you hire a professional carpet cleaning service? If you’ve never deep-cleaned your carpet, you may be surprised by the difference it makes to your home – and your health.

Unlike other kinds of flooring that get mopped easily and regularly, carpet needs special tools and attention. Industry experts recommend a thorough cleaning every 12 to 18 months, or sooner if you have kids, pets, or carpeting that sees a lot of traffic or stains easily. Even so, only 3% of U.S. households have had their carpets professionally cleaned. 

Regular cleaning extends the life of your carpet and improves your home’s interior air quality by removing trapped dirt, dust, and allergens. It also may be required by your carpet manufacturer to maintain your warranty. Carpeting is cheaper to maintain than replace — the relatively small investment you make now will maximize its lifespan and save you money long term. 

Whether you are considering cleaning your carpets yourself or hiring a professional carpet cleaning service, weigh the advantages and disadvantages to both so you can make the decision that is right for you. 

Cat on carpet

Table of Contents

Pros and Cons of Cleaning Carpets Yourself 

If you think cleaning the carpet yourself will save you money, read on for a couple of options and their costs, keeping in mind there are a few additional factors to consider before you roll up your sleeves. 

Pros

Save Money

As with much home maintenance, you will save money on labor costs if you decide to clean your own carpet. You will need to rent or purchase the proper equipment, which is easy to find at most big-box retailers, hardware stores, and vacuum repair shops. 

Average cost to rent: About $30 per day, plus cleaning solution. 

Average cost to purchase: $200 for a household carpet cleaner, plus cleaning solution. 

Do it When You Want

If you hire a carpet cleaning company, you have to coordinate a day and time according to their schedule. Some carpet cleaning companies book out several weeks in advance or may not be available when you need them. When you do it yourself, you are on your own time and can do the cleaning as your schedule permits. This is an advantage if you need to remove bad spills, stains, or odors quickly. 

Cons

The Cleaning Will Not Be as Deep

Unlike flooring such as tile, where it’s easy to tell just how clean you’ve gotten things, carpet can be trickier. As powerful as home carpet cleaners are, they simply cannot compare to the strength and suction of commercial-grade cleaners the pros use. A professional deep clean will deposit water and cleaning solution and extract it along with dirt and grime from the fiber’s top to base. Household cleaning machines work well for surface-level dirt but may not remove stains set at the carpet’s base.

It Requires Your Time

While the ability to clean your carpets on your schedule is a plus, the downside is that it will take time. A deep carpet cleaning involves moving furniture, vacuuming, and treating stains — all this before you even roll out the carpet cleaner. Plan for at least one full day, possibly two if you have a larger home. 

Pros and Cons of Hiring a Professional Carpet Cleaner 

There is a reason why you see professional carpet cleaners at apartment complexes and commercial properties. The pros can get it done right and fast, and they are knowledgeable about how to clean all carpet types — from wool to nylon and other synthetics. Here are a couple of benefits and drawbacks to consider. 

Pros

Someone Does it for You

Carpet cleaning can take up to a full day or more of your time. If you are not planning to take a day off from work, that means your cleaning project could affect your weekend plans. A professional carpet cleaner brings all the right equipment and does everything for you, including the hard labor of moving furniture. And since they are the pros, they can have it finished much faster with minimal household disruptions. 

Your Carpet Gets a Thorough Cleaning

As mentioned above, the cleaning equipment professionals use is typically stronger and more robust than residential machines. Carpet cleaners will be able to deposit water deep into carpet fibers at the right temperature and amounts. Water extraction is also thorough, removing more moisture, dirt, and debris. Your carpets will usually dry faster too, preventing the possibility of mildew and bacteria growth.

You Have a Couple of Cleaning Options

When having your carpet cleaned, there are two different methods to choose from, depending on your needs and preferences. 

Water Extraction Method

Also known as steam cleaning, the water extraction method uses a special vacuum to shoot hot water and cleaning solution deep into the carpet. The combination of heat and pressure loosens dirt and stains, which are vacuumed and removed. This method leaves carpets damp, so adequate drying time is required before you can walk on them and move furniture.

Chemical Cleaning Method

This type of carpet cleaning relies on chemical compounds with less water to loosen dirt and grime. Less water is required, so carpets usually dry faster, a definite plus if you do not want to wait a few hours to walk on them. A downside to this method is the chemical compounds do not penetrate to the lowest piles of the carpet and may not remove heavy soils or stains. If there is any chemical residue, it could affect people with allergies or other sensitivities. 

Cons

It Can be Expensive

Hiring a carpet cleaning service can get costly, especially if you have a larger home or more carpeting. Carpet cleaners typically charge per room or may offer a package deal that includes multiple rooms or the entire home. One way to reduce your costs is to pre-treat heavily soiled or stained areas yourself to avoid additional cleaning fees. 

The average cost for professional carpet cleaning will vary depending on where you live, your carpet’s material, and how much cleaning is required. Some carpet cleaning services include stain pre-treatment and some do not — request an estimate to understand your final cost before approving the project.

Average cost per room: $25 to $80 

Average total cost: $120 to $250

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