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Carbonation Cleaning vs. Steam Cleaning: Which Is Better?

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Carbonation cleaning vs steam cleaning

When it comes to keeping your carpets clean, two popular methods often come into consideration: carbonation cleaning and steam cleaning. Each method has its unique advantages and limitations.

This comparative analysis aims to compare these two carpet cleaning techniques to help homeowners, renters, and property managers make an informed decision about which method is best for their needs.

Carbonation Cleaning

What is Carbonation Cleaning? Carbonation cleaning, also known as Chem-Dry or Hot Carbonating Extraction (HCE), utilizes the natural power of carbonation to clean carpets. This method employs millions of tiny carbonated bubbles that penetrate deep into carpet fibers to lift dirt and grime to the surface, where it can be easily extracted.

How it Works:

  1. Application: A carbonated cleaning solution, typically called “The Natural,” is applied to the carpet.
  2. Agitation: The carbonated bubbles penetrate the carpet fibers, lifting dirt and debris.
  3. Extraction: Specialized equipment is used to extract the dirt and cleaning solution from the carpet, leaving it clean and fresh.

Benefits of Carbonation Cleaning:

  • Fast Drying Time: Carpets cleaned using carbonation typically dry within 1-2 hours due to the low moisture content used in the process.
  • Eco-Friendly: This method uses less water and fewer chemicals, making it a more environmentally friendly option.
  • Effective Soil Removal: The carbonation process effectively lifts dirt and stains without leaving behind a soapy residue, preventing rapid re-soiling.
  • Versatility: Suitable for a wide range of carpet types, including wool, nylon, and polyester.

Steam Cleaning

What is Steam Cleaning? Steam cleaning, also known as hot water extraction, involves using high-pressure hot water to clean carpets. This method is widely recognized for its deep cleaning capabilities, making it effective for removing embedded dirt, stains, and allergens.

How it Works:

  1. Pre-Treatment: A cleaning solution is sprayed onto the carpet to loosen dirt and stains.
  2. Hot Water Application: Hot water is injected into the carpet under high pressure.
  3. Extraction: A powerful vacuum extracts the water along with the dissolved dirt and cleaning solution.

Benefits of Steam Cleaning:

  • Deep Cleaning: Steam cleaning penetrates deep into the carpet fibers, effectively removing tough stains and dirt.
  • Sanitization: The high temperature of the steam kills bacteria, dust mites, and other allergens, improving indoor air quality.
  • No Residue: Proper steam cleaning does not leave behind any sticky residue, reducing the likelihood of rapid re-soiling.
  • Suitable for Various Carpet Types: Effective for cleaning most carpet materials without causing damage.

Which carpet cleaning method is better

Comparison of Methods

Cleaning Effectiveness

Carbonation Cleaning:

  • Utilizes carbonated bubbles to lift dirt and grime from carpet fibers.
  • Effective at removing surface-level dirt and some embedded particles.
  • Prevents re-soiling by not leaving behind any soapy residue.

Steam Cleaning:

  • Uses hot water and high pressure to penetrate deep into carpet fibers.
  • Highly effective at removing embedded dirt, tough stains, and allergens.
  • Sanitizes carpets by killing bacteria, dust mites, and other pathogens.


  • Steam Cleaning is generally more effective for deep cleaning and removing tough stains.
  • Carbonation Cleaning is effective for regular maintenance and preventing re-soiling.

Drying Time

Carbonation Cleaning:

  • Low-moisture method results in fast drying times, typically 1-2 hours.
  • Suitable for areas that need to be quickly returned to use.

Steam Cleaning:

  • High water usage results in longer drying times, typically 8-24 hours.
  • Requires more downtime for the carpet to dry completely.


  • Carbonation Cleaning offers significantly shorter drying times compared to steam cleaning.

Cost Analysis

Carbonation Cleaning:

  • Generally more cost-effective due to lower water and chemical usage.
  • Less frequent professional cleanings needed because carpets stay cleaner longer.

Steam Cleaning:

  • Typically higher cost due to more extensive equipment and longer labor time.
  • May require additional treatments or stain removals, increasing overall cost.


  • Carbonation Cleaning is often more economical, especially for regular maintenance.

Environmental Safety

Carbonation Cleaning:

  • Uses less water and fewer chemicals, making it an eco-friendly option.
  • Reduces water waste and chemical runoff.

Steam Cleaning:

  • Uses more water but fewer harsh chemicals, especially if opting for pure steam cleaning.
  • Still requires significant water usage, contributing to higher environmental impact.


  • Carbonation Cleaning has a lower environmental impact due to reduced water and chemical usage.

Stain Removal Efficiency

Carbonation Cleaning:

  • Effective at removing surface stains and preventing them from reappearing.
  • Less effective on deeply embedded stains.

Steam Cleaning:

  • Highly effective at removing deep, stubborn stains due to hot water penetration.
  • Sanitizes and removes a wide range of stains and allergens.


  • Steam Cleaning excels in removing deep and stubborn stains.

Carpet Compatibility

Carbonation Cleaning:

  • Safe for most carpet types, including wool, nylon, and polyester.
  • Gentle on fibers due to low moisture and chemical usage.

Steam Cleaning:

  • Compatible with various carpet types but requires careful handling to avoid over-wetting and potential damage.
  • Effective for synthetic and natural fibers but may require different techniques.


  • Carbonation Cleaning is highly versatile and safe for most carpet types.

By comparing these factors, you can better understand which carpet cleaning method suits your specific needs. Both methods have their unique advantages, making them suitable for different situations and preferences.

Benefits of carbonation cleaning

Pros and Cons

Pros of Carbonation Cleaning


  • Fast Drying Time: Carpets typically dry within 1-2 hours, minimizing downtime and the risk of mold and mildew growth.
  • Eco-Friendly: Uses less water and fewer chemicals, making it an environmentally friendly option.
  • Prevents Re-Soiling: Leaves no soapy residue, which helps prevent rapid re-soiling of carpets.
  • Gentle on Carpets: Safe for most carpet types, including delicate materials, due to low moisture and chemical use.

Cons of Carbonation Cleaning


  • Limited Deep Cleaning: May not be as effective for heavily soiled carpets or deep stains compared to steam cleaning.
  • Initial Cost of Equipment: Professional-grade equipment can be expensive for those looking to perform carbonation cleaning on their own.

Pros of Steam Cleaning


  • Deep Cleaning: Highly effective at removing embedded dirt, tough stains, and allergens from deep within the carpet fibers.
  • Sanitization: Kills bacteria, dust mites, and other pathogens, improving indoor air quality and reducing allergens.
  • Versatile: Suitable for a wide range of carpet types and provides thorough cleaning without damaging the fibers.

Cons of Steam Cleaning


  • Long Drying Time: Carpets can take 8-24 hours to dry completely, which may cause inconvenience and increase the risk of mold and mildew if not dried properly.
  • Higher Water Usage: Uses significantly more water compared to carbonation cleaning, which can lead to higher environmental impact.
  • Potential for Re-Soiling: If not done correctly, steam cleaning can leave behind a sticky residue that attracts dirt, causing the carpet to get dirty again quickly.

Benefits of steam cleaning

Choosing the Right Method

Selecting the best carpet cleaning method depends on your specific needs and circumstances. Here are some considerations to help you make an informed decision:

Cleaning Needs:

  • For regular maintenance and preventing rapid re-soiling, carbonation cleaning is a suitable choice due to its fast drying time and eco-friendly nature.
  • For deep cleaning and removing tough stains, steam cleaning is more effective as it penetrates deep into the carpet fibers and sanitizes the area.

Environmental Impact:

  • Carbonation cleaning uses less water and fewer chemicals, making it a more sustainable option.
  • Steam cleaning is also eco-friendly when done without harsh chemicals but uses more water.

Health Considerations:

  • Steam cleaning is excellent for allergy sufferers as it effectively removes allergens and sanitizes the carpet.
  • Carbonation cleaning minimizes the use of chemicals, reducing potential health risks from chemical exposure.

Carpet Type and Usage:

  • For delicate carpets and those made from materials like wool, carbonation cleaning is gentle and safe.
  • For heavily soiled areas and high-traffic zones, steam cleaning provides a thorough and deep clean.

Decision-Making Checklist:

  1. Assess the level of soiling and type of stains present.
  2. Consider the drying time and downtime that fits your schedule.
  3. Evaluate the environmental impact and your preference for eco-friendly options.
  4. Determine any health considerations, such as allergies or sensitivities.
  5. Choose the method that best matches the carpet type and usage pattern.

By carefully evaluating these factors, you can choose the most suitable carpet cleaning method that meets your specific needs and ensures your carpets remain clean and healthy.

Give Your Carpet the Masterful Touch

Both carbonation cleaning and steam cleaning offer distinct advantages and can be the right choice depending on your specific needs.

Key Points:

  • Carbonation Cleaning:
    • Fast Drying Time: Carpets dry in 1-2 hours, minimizing downtime.
    • Eco-Friendly: Uses less water and fewer chemicals.
    • Effective Soil Removal: Prevents rapid re-soiling by not leaving a sticky residue.
    • Versatility: Safe for a wide range of carpet types.
  • Steam Cleaning:
    • Deep Cleaning: Highly effective at removing embedded dirt and tough stains.
    • Sanitization: Kills bacteria and allergens, improving indoor air quality.
    • No Residue: Proper steam cleaning leaves no sticky residue, reducing re-soiling.
    • Suitable for Various Carpets: Effective for most carpet materials without causing damage.

When choosing between carbonation and steam cleaning, consider factors such as cleaning needs, environmental impact, health considerations, and carpet type. Both methods have their unique strengths and can significantly contribute to maintaining clean and healthy carpets in your home or business.

For professional carpet cleaning services, contact Masterful Carpet Cleaning. Our team specializes in both carbonation and steam cleaning methods to meet your specific needs.

Take advantage of our expertise to keep your carpets clean, fresh, and healthy. Book your service today and experience the difference!


  • Randy Carrillo

    As the Co-Owner of Masterful, Randy has been providing quality cleaning services to the Salem and Portland areas of Oregon for many years. He has built a reputation for excellence in the industry. His team take prides in using the latest cleaning techniques and technologies to deliver exceptional results every time.

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