Professional Carpet Cleaning vs. DIY: Which Is Right For You?

Michael Mckenzie
October 27, 2023
 10 mins read
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Professional Carpet Cleaning vs. DIY: Which Is Right For You?

If you have ever thought about cleaning your carpets yourself, you may have wondered if it’s worth the time and effort. While doing it yourself can save you money on hiring a professional, it’s important to weigh the pros and cons before deciding.

In this blog post, we’ll look at the pros and cons of hiring a professional vs cleaning them yourself to help you better decide.

Professional carpet cleaning vs DIY carpet cleaning, What’s the difference?

As our Waterlooville carpet cleaning customers will already know, professionals typically high-quality carpet cleaning equipment like our HydraMaster Boxxer, along with a variety of different methods they can use to achieve great looking carpets. From very low moisture cleans to a comprehensive deep clean with powerful hot water extraction machines, commonly known as steam cleaning, and everything in-between.

We will talk more about the different methods of cleaning in another blog.

Professionals are generally trained and often have years of experience in carpet cleaning, meaning they can:

- Easily identify fibre types

- Recognise potential problem areas

- Effectively remove stubborn stains

- Restore the look and feel of your carpets

DIY machines are used by people with little to no experience. The machines themselves have either been hired or purchased for use in the home. Users may not have the knowledge to effectively use the machines and run the risk of doing more harm than good. We will explore below the different steps involved between professional and DIY.

Professional carpet cleaning:

When hiring a professional, you can expect them to carry out the following process:

When they are initially invited into your home to perform the clean, they will be taking stock of any items that may obstruct the cleaning process, be damaged or otherwise affected, and ask for these items to be removed.

They should inspect the carpet, performing a fibre test to determine if the fibre is wool, a wool blend, nylon, polypropylene or other natural fibres. This will dictate what process and products are best suited to cleaning your carpet.

Ensure the carpet is correctly fitted and secured.

Identify any problem areas such as pet stains, makeup etc or damage such as cat scratching etc.

Once the initial inspection has been carried out, the cleaning process can begin. This is a multi-step process and best results are achieved when all steps are carried out.

The steps are:

Thorough Vacuum:

This step helps remove most of the soiling from your carpet. Carpets act asa giant filter and can harbour a lot of dust, dirt, and allergens such as pollen, pet dander, and dust mites. Professionals will use a commercial grade bagged vacuum. This ensures as much of the dry soil present in the carpet is removed. These vacuums will have fine filters that prevent any pollutants being expelled back into the air.


Pre-spray of Cleaning Agent:

After identifying what fibre is to be cleaned, an appropriate cleaning agent is applied to the carpet either by a pump up or inline sprayer. The purpose of the cleaning agent is to break the bond between the fibre of the carpet and any soiling attached to it. The product is then left to dwell to start breaking down it soils in the carpet.



The cleaning agent is massaged into the carpet either manually with a brush, or mechanically with a dedicated piece of equipment. CRB’s (Counter Rotating Brushes) are the preferred means to achieve this. This step further helps the cleaning agent to work, loosening any soils in the carpet. It also lifts any flattened pile improving the look of the carpet following cleaning.


Hot water extraction: 

Hot water extraction, commonly referred to as steam cleaning, in the process of injecting hot water into the carpet using high pressure (between 100-400psi machine dependant) whilst simultaneously extracting it out with a strong vacuum. This removes the cleaning agent and soiling from the carpet. Hot water is more effective than cold water when using this method of cleaning. This step can use between 50-200 litres of water depending on the size of the job.


Speed drying:

Many companies use a variety of fans to help circulate fast moving air over of the surface of the carpet to assist in drying. This is an important step as if the carpets are wet for too long, health issues may arise from improper or ineffective drying.


Resetting the pile:

This means that the pile of the carpet is brushed in one direction, that where the carpet would naturally lay, in order to assist drying and avoid leaving unsightly wand marks from the cleaning process.



Professional carpet cleaners will typically have completed at least a basic level of training. Courses may include, but not limited to:

- Basic carpet cleaning

- Basic Upholstery cleaning

- Advanced spot and stain removal

- Fibre identification and testing

DIY carpet cleaning: 

The process for DIY carpet cleaning greatly differs to that of a professional. For this example, we will use a rug doctor hired from a local hardware store. To achieve a DIY clean, you will typically carry out the following steps:

Step one is to hire a machine. If you have never used one before, you may wish to ask advice from the person hiring the equipment to you. The chances are that they know little about its use and are unable to offer advice for liability reasons.

You usually purchase a generic product from the supplier. These tend to be very mild to minimise the risk of damage to the carpet. This means that they may be ineffective at removing heaver soils.


Pre-spray of Cleaning Agent:

The cleaning agent is applied as you use the machine, not beforehand as with a professional. It is immediately sucked out meaning it has little to no time to effectively work. The longer the cleaning agent is on the carpet, the more effect it will be in removing soiling.



No agitation is used. This is an important step that improves the look of the carpet and aids the cleaning agent to work to its full potential.

Once home, you now have a quick read through the manual to enable you to operate the machine in a safe manner.

Setting up the machine is usually quite simple. Fill the machine with the cleaning solution and typically about 5 litres of water.Compared to the large amount of water professionals use, the DIY machine is much less effective at cleaning making it unable to achieve the same results.


The clean:

 Without knowing any of the risks, fibre type, nature of the soiling etc, you begin the clean. Different carpet fibres react differently to the cleaning process. If you are unsure if your carpet is wool, nylon, polypropylene, jute, sisal etc, you can inadvertently cause damage such as bleaching, browning, staining and shrinkage.


Speed drying:

Once the clean is complete, pack the machine away and return it to the store.




Michael Mckenzie
Owner, Paramount Cleaning Company
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