Bonnet Carpet Cleaning vs. Steam Cleaning

Bonnet Carpet Cleaning vs. Steam Cleaning

Carpets are one of the most popular types of flooring you can have in your home, especially in bedrooms and living rooms.

The soft woven fabric provides warmth and comfort in the winter months and helps to soften the sound of footsteps to offer a more relaxing home environment.

Unfortunately, carpets are more challenging to maintain than hardwood floors. Although you can hoover some of the dirt and debris that accumulates in the carpet pile, removing more deep-set grime or stains can be challenging.

Bonnet cleaning and steam cleaning are two popular ways of ensuring your carpets remain in peak condition.

In this article, we compare bonnet carpet cleaning vs. steam cleaning to help you decide which carpet-cleaning method is the right fit for you. Read on for all you need to know!


What Is Bonnet Carpet Cleaning?

bonnet carpet cleaning

Bonnet carpet cleaning is essentially a form of floor buffing designed to work on carpets.

First, a mixture of water and cleaning solution is applied to lubricate the carpet fibres, and then a machine is used to scrub the floor using a bonnet fitted with an absorbent pad.

As the bonnet scrubs the carpet, the dirt and grime in the fibres will be collected by the absorbent pad, leaving your carpet fresh and new.

You will have to replace this absorbent pad once it is saturated with dirt to allow this process to work properly.

We recommend vacuuming your carpet before using the bonnet machine to limit the number of times this must be done.

Pros of bonnet carpet cleaning

Bonnet cleaning will remove most of the harmful bacteria that could be living in your carpet, can be used for spot cleaning, and is effective at making your flooring appear fresh in the short term.

The main advantage of bonnet cleaning is how quickly it can be done.

Unlike other carpet-cleaning methods, bonnet cleaning doesn’t require much water. As such, your carpet will be completely dry an hour or two after cleaning.

The machines are also relatively cheap and don’t require specialised knowledge to be used effectively.


Cons of bonnet cleaning carpets

Unfortunately, the vigorous scrubbing action used in bonnet cleaning can cause carpets to fray over time.

For this reason, bonnet carpet cleaning is best suited for hard-wearing carpet types like those in offices and other areas with high footfall.

Moreover, although this way of cleaning will remove surface-level dirt, deep-set dirt cannot be removed using this method.

A bonnet machine also has no real extraction power, so some dirt and cleaner will be pressed deeper into the carpet pile instead of removed.

Any residue left behind will attract more dirt, causing the rug to soil more quickly in the future.


Summary of bonnet carpet cleaning


  • Machines are relatively cheap
  • Carpet will be useable within a few hours
  • No specialised skills are necessary
  • Removes surface-level dirt
  • Effective for freshening and spot cleaning


  • Can’t remove deep-set dirt
  • Cleaning solution may leave behind residue
  • Carpet may start to fray


What Is Steam Cleaning for Carpets?

steam cleaning carpet

Steam cleaning is a carpet-cleaning method that uses high-temperature steam to remove dirt and stubborn stains like coffee.

A steam cleaner is filled with a mixture of warm water and cleaning solution, which is heated and injected into the carpet fibres.

The high temperatures help break down the dirt and grime before the machine’s vacuum lifts them away.

Pros of steam cleaning your carpets

Steam cleaning is a highly effective cleaning method that typically removes 99.9% of household germs and bacteria from the carpet fabric. The steam not only loosens dirt but also helps to break down the internal structure of these microorganisms so that they can no longer survive or replicate.


Cons of steam cleaning

Unfortunately, the high temperature of the steam can also damage carpet fibres if the machine is used incorrectly.

This is especially true for carpets made of natural fibres, such as silk or wool. Not only can these fabrics shrink under these conditions, but any leftover moisture in the fibres also provides the perfect breeding ground for mould and mildew.

Another drawback of steam cleaning is the long drying times. Once the carpet has been thoroughly cleaned, you must allow time for the fabric to dry fully before walking over it.

Experienced carpet cleaners are skilled at removing as much moisture from your carpet as possible while protecting the fibres from damage. As such, we highly recommend that you hire professional help.


Summary of steam cleaning


  • Uses minimal cleaning chemicals
  • Removes 99.9% of harmful bacteria
  • No residue is left behind
  • Can remove dirt from deep within the carpet pile


  • Carpets will take a long time to dry
  • High temperatures can damage the carpet fibres
  • Can cause mould growth
  • Typically needs to be done by a professional


Steam or Bonnet Cleaning – Which Type of Carpet Cleaning Is Best?

bonnet or steam cleaning

Based on our comparison above, we suggest using steam cleaning to keep your floors looking as good as new. 

This way of cleaning can remove germs and dirt buried deep within the carpet pile, therefore reducing the frequency at which your carpet would need to be cleaned.

This being said, bonnet cleaning is much cheaper than steam cleaning and will still help to freshen up your carpet when needed.

For some, it may be worth using a bonnet cleaning machine to help maintain the cleanliness of your floor and then investing in a professional steam clean a few times a year to remove the more stubborn build-up.

Alternatively, you could use natural cleaners (such as bicarbonate of soda or white vinegar) to keep your floor looking clean in the period between steam cleaning. Hiring the help of a professional carpet cleaner at least once a year will be enough to keep your carpets looking as good as new.