What’s the Best Way to Clean Your Carpets?

by Travis Pizel · 2 comments

As I’m walking around my home I can tell it’s early summertime. Between the natural deposits from the muddy shoes of a Midwest spring, having over a hundred people walking through my home for a party over Memorial Day weekend, and just life with two teenagers, and two cats, there are many visible spots in our carpets.

Every spring and fall I make an assessment of our carpets and plan to have them shampooed and cleaned. I choose from three different options and always compare them for the best price and service.

1. Professional Cleaning Service

I like to gather up information for the cost or each option, including the pros and cons, for our 7 rooms, 3 staircases, and one hallway that needs cleaning.

There are several carpet cleaning services in my area. Price comparing between them is a process all by itself, but for the purpose of this exercise I chose a popular service I hear radio commercials for every day.


  • Service performed by a professional
  • In-and-out in less than a day


  • Higher cost ($356)
  • Need to schedule service
  • Done during the work day — need to be home
  • Pay for service for each cleaning

I just can’t see myself paying hundreds of dollars to have someone come into my home for a single cleaning. My quoted price was for their low-end service, if I added on the extras for protection and deodorizing the price, was more than double.

It’s not hard for me to immediately cross this option off the list.

2. Rent a Commercial Cleaner


  • Lower cost ($30 per day rental + shampoo costs)
  • Can do on my own schedule


  • Need to do it myself (takes time)
  • Time limit — doubt I could get everything done in one day
  • Need to rent each cleaning

I’ve actually done both the rental of a commercial Rug Doctor Unit, and purchased my own carpet cleaner. The Rug Doctor did do a better job, but it was a huge inconvenience. Because the unit is rented by the day, I had to dedicate an entire day (or two) to clearing out rooms, cleaning carpet, and then moving everything back in.

It was exhausting and time-consuming.

3. Purchase a Home Carpet Cleaner


  • Can use many times
  • Can do on my own schedule
  • Cheapest option over time


  • Highest cost up-front ($250 + shampoo costs)
  • Need to do it myself
  • Quality of cleaning not as high

The cons for the previous two options makes purchasing my own carpet cleaner the best choice. It does an adequate job, and, over several years of use, it ends up being the cheapest option. For example, if I clean all my carpets twice a year, and the cleaner lasts 5 years that comes down to $25 per cleaning.

The biggest bonus, however is the convenience. The time I usually clean carpets is at night while I’m watching TV, or listening to music. I can do a room each night allowing me to make consistent progress without having to take off work, or be constrained by a time limit. Also, with two cats, sometimes there are incidents where it’s nice to be able to just take the cleaner out of the closet and spot clean a small area.

Soiled carpets are just part of home ownership. If you decide to DIY clean your carpets, take into consideration the pros and cons of each of your options. By weighing your options you can make an educated decision as to which choice is the best for your specific situation.

Have you ever cleaned your carpets? How did you have it done?

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  • Debby says:

    The more you clean your carpets the dirty they get (quicker). Soap residue attracts dirt! Best to remove shoes at the door ALWAYS and vacuum often. We went 10 years without cleaning them and they looked brand new but then we got a dog and now they need cleaning each year!

    • As careful as one can be, eventually carpets will get soiled. There are carpets that lose their protective sealant (or whatever you want to call it) once they are shampooed too, I believe. Eventually it’s just time to replace the carpet. 🙂

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