Does Shampooing Ruin Carpets?

Carpet Shampooing

Many people want to clean their carpet deeper than just vacuuming, but does it do any harm?

Shampooing carpet will not damage the carpet as long as it is done with the right soap and then dried quickly afterward. If the carpet or material underneath gets too wet, the carpet can be ruined. Professional cleaners will ensure that the carpet is cleaned correctly.

Obviously, there are some ways to prevent your carpets from getting ruined, read on to learn more.

Why shampooing can sometimes ruin carpets if it isn’t done right?

Carpets are actually a lot more complicated than you think, and that results in them being sort of sensitive to certain conditions.

Water Sensitivity

Carpets are pretty durable to small amounts of water, but when things get especially swampy they don’t hold up too well. There are a lot of ways that things go south when carpets encounter too much moisture.

Mildew and Mold

bacteria on carpet

Many people shampoo their carpets with the wrong solution with too much water, and that makes carpet the perfect breeding ground for all sorts of nasty fungus and bacteria.

Since vacuums are not perfect, there is inevitably some leftover grime that gets embedded into the carpet. That grime provides the perfect food for all sorts of nasty growth.

If you are not careful, the added water will give the spores and bacteria exactly what it needs to reproduce. Those microorganisms will ruin your carpet and make it smell horrible.

When microorganisms die, they decompose like any other animal. Other bacteria eat the decomposing carcasses of the other bacteria and the disgusting cycle repeats itself over and over. The smell that accompanies roadkill after being outside for several days is the same smell that will linger in your house for weeks and perhaps even months. Be extra careful when you are cleaning your carpets so that this does not happen.

Carpet Shrinking

When carpet gets water down into its base, the water breaks down the structure that holds the carpet together. When that structure breaks down, a lot of the really crucial components of the carpet are compromised.

Those crucial components are what keep the carpet flat and in shape. When you take those things away, the carpet will be fine as long as it is wet.

The biggest issue here is that when the carpet dries, it shrinks. That shrinkage leads to the carpet pulling itself from the floor and curling.

In order to get the entire carpet to be ruined, the entire room needs to be pretty soaked. If there are one or two spots that are a little wetter then normal you might run into some strange stretching but nothing that can’t be fixed easily.

There are a lot of ways to fix this, so if it isn’t too bad all is not lost. There are plenty of ways to have a really successful and dry cleaning of your carpets yourself.

Incorrect products

If you buy a cheap shampooer or cheap shampoo, you are in for some trouble. Cheap shampooers might leave too much soap and water in the carpet, which can get really dangerous. A lot of people make the mistake of using shampoo designed for human hair, which ends with a huge bubble mess.

Why you should have a professional do it

Cleaning carpets is a lot of work and it can be pretty expensive if you have never done it before.

The interesting thing about the carpet cleaners that are designed for home use is that they are not supposed to be the only time you clean your carpets. This is a common misconception.

A lot of people go out and buy a carpet shampoo machine and then never hire a professional cleaning service again. This is really unwise and is a big reason that many people feel like their carpets are really gross. The fact of the matter is that the home solutions just cannot compare to a professional cleaning service.

Although we really do recommend buying a “do it yourself” type of carpet cleaner, they are only designed to lessen the need of getting a professional to do it and not replace it entirely. The goal here is to only clean your carpets once every other year instead of every year.

Home solutions are awesome, especially if you have guests coming over and you want your carpet to feel lush and clean. They are really fast and easy, which makes them really convenient for a simple Saturday morning job. Get one and you will not regret it. I am just saying that it is important to pay for a professional cleaning service every once and a while in order to keep your carpets truly clean.

How not to ruin your carpet

There are some really simple ways that you can ensure that you are shampooing your carpets the right way. Shampooing carpets is a lot different than vacuuming, so be sure to read each tip so that you do not ruin your carpets.

Tip #1: Take your time

A really important thing to do when you are cleaning your carpets is to take things really slow. This may seem counter-intuitive but your carpet cleaner is not designed like a vacuum.

The biggest mistake that people make is they think going quickly will make sure that they do not get too much water into their carpet. This is really wrong.

A carpet shampooer is designed to shoot soapy water into your carpet and then immediately suck it back up. If you do not give the device time to suck the water back up then it will leave the water and soap in your carpet and possibly ruin it. The worst thing you could do is try to use your shampooer like a vacuum and move it around quickly and sporadically.

The best thing to do is to take it as slow as 4-8 inches per second in straight lines. That will ensure that the device will get as much water out as it can.

Take it slow, and you will be successful.

Tip# 2: Use the right equipment

A really big mistake that a lot of people make is that they try and use a cheap shampooer as well as cheap soap.

A combination of cheap equipment with cheap shampoo is going to ruin your carpet. Honestly, it is not worth little money you will save.

The cheap shampoo will not prevent the microorganisms from growing and will leave a very low key smell in your carpet. Use a high-quality shampoo that is designed for use on carpets.

Please whatever you do, do not use a shampoo that is designed for human hair on your carpets. That would end up in a really big mess that you do not want to deal with.

Tip#3: Use some fans to dry the carpet

carpet drying fan

This is a huge one.

If you want your carpets to not be ruined, then buy some large fans so that there is plenty of airflow in your home.

It is really important that your carpet is dried quickly so that mildew and bacteria do not have the time to grow.

If you were to seal the room right after doing a deep shampoo, you are running the risk of your carpets never truly getting dry.

The carpet that is left wet for too long is a perfect environment for unwanted life. You have to take every precaution so that your carpet is dried quickly. I recommend leaving doors open and using every fan at your disposal to ensure proper evaporation. Leave the furniture out of the room until the carpet is dry.

Tip #4: Vacuum before shampooing

This may seem fairly obvious to those who have shampooed before, but it is really important.

A vacuum provides a really important service in a home, and that is sucking up dust and dead skin. The things a vacuum sucks up are actually really high in nutrients that bacteria and mildew absolutely love.

If you were to shampoo your carpets before vacuuming them properly, you are creating a perfect environment for microorganisms. In the wet carpet, they have water and shelter. Without a good vacuum beforehand you give them the final piece of the puzzle and that is food.

Tip #5: Let your machine dry

A lot of people think that simply emptying the water out is enough, but if you seal up your machine without letting it dry properly, you will be spreading all sorts of nasty mildew around.

Again, if you don’t properly dry this, you are giving bacteria a great home. The only difference is that next time you shampoo your carpets you will be spreading it around. The bacteria will have a heyday!


Related Questions

Is a carpet shampooer worth it? For many people, it makes sense to buy a carpet shampooer so that they can clean as needed, but professional cleaning services do a better job and are generally not too expensive.

How often do carpets need to be shampooed? Most carpet manufacturers recommend professional cleaning at least once a year using the steam cleaning method. With home shampooing and cleaning, the need for professional cleaners is lessened.