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Carpet Cleaning - Do it Yourself or Hire a Pro?

By Carrie Dixon, Blog Editor

DIY Carpet Cleaning vs Hiring a ProCarpet – it’s soft, comfortable and helps to deaden sound in your home. For many of us, it’s a necessity. However, it’s also a magnet for dirt, dust, debris and more, and it can serve as home to any number of pests from fleas to mites. Even in the best maintained home, the carpet will eventually suffer from traffic and soiling, so it makes sense to keep it clean to preserve it for as long as possible. You have two choices here. You can clean it yourself, or you can hire a professional. Which is right for your needs, though?

Hiring a Professional Carpet Cleaner

Hiring a professional carpet cleaning service is definitely the most expedient solution, as well as being the least labor intensive. You’ll have a crew come to your home with professional-grade equipment and clean the areas you want cleaned. In all, it should take a few hours, and you’ll then need to give the carpets time to dry before walking on them.

DIY Carpet Cleaning

Doing it yourself is labor intensive and definitely takes a little longer than hiring a professional cleaning company. However, it really doesn’t take that much longer, and you can get results on par with what a pro can if you rent the right equipment. With that being said, you’ll have more legwork in getting the equipment to your home and then back to the rental location when you’re done, and you’ll have to deal with the mess (waste water, spilled cleaning chemicals, etc.).


Let’s dig a bit deeper into the comparison of professional carpet cleaning versus doing it yourself.

Cost to clean your carpets

Okay, in the realm of cost, DIY carpet cleaning definitely wins out. You can rent a cleaning machine for between $30 and $50 depending on where you get it, and you can buy cleaning solution to go along with it. Depending on the size of your home, a bottle of cleaner should last at least two cleanings, but probably more than that. On the other hand, you can spend a couple of hundred dollars having a professional handle it for you if you have a large home.

Time it takes to clean your carpets

Time is one area where having the professionals do it for you wins. While the crew might be in your home for an hour or two (it depends on the amount of square footage to be cleaned), you’ll be free to do something else while they clean. If you’re cleaning the carpet yourself, that’s at least a couple of hours out of your day that you won’t get back. Of course, you can always opt to buy your own carpet cleaner, but only you can determine if that would be a wise investment. It would really come down to the number of times you used the carpet cleaner over the course of its life. If you only use a carpet cleaner once per year or so, it probably makes more financial sense to hire a professional or rent a machine, rather than buying one outright.

Carpet cleaning results

Another area where hiring a professional wins is in the area of cleanliness, or how deeply your carpets are cleaned. Let’s face it; rental machines are only so good. They’re actually pretty limited. A professional cleaning crew with a truck-mounted deep cleaning system can get much more dirt and debris out of your carpet, and can clean much farther down into the pile than what you’ll get with a rented machine.

Heavy carpet stains

Professional cleaners are much more capable of removing heavy stains or treating heavily soiled areas. This is due to the quality of their equipment. Simply put, professional grade hot water extraction systems (what most people call steam cleaners) have much more suction power and can get the water much hotter. This removes more dirt and stains than what’s possible with rental equipment, or even consumer-grade cleaners that you might own.

Carpet cleaning chemicals

If you’re concerned about the chemicals being used to clean your carpets, then it might be a better choice to do it yourself. You have little control over the formulations that professionals use, and as noted by the Janitorial Products Pollution Prevention Project, many commonly used cleaning products do contain harmful, even toxic chemicals. Even the Today show has highlighted the dangers lurking in cleaning chemicals.

If you opt to clean your own carpets, you can purchase nontoxic, even natural or organic cleaning formulas. They lack some of the oomph of chemical-based cleaners, but they’re much safer for your family and any pets in the home. Alternatively, you can find a professional carpet cleaner that uses only nontoxic cleaning products. Ask him or her for information about the products used, including material safety data sheets and any other literature that might tell you more about the chemicals being used on the carpet in your home.

In the end, both professional carpet cleaning and DIY carpet cleaning have their place. With that being said, hiring a pro makes more sense, particularly if you want your carpet to be as clean as possible.

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