The Complete Guide to Carpet Cleaning Costs

Man cleaning a Carpet cleaning costs
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Table of Contents

On average, professional carpet cleaning costs $100 to $200 to have the carpets in a typical 2-3 bedroom home cleaned. 

Having clean carpets is important for both the appearance and health of your home. However, carpet cleaning can be expensive if you hire professional carpet cleaning services. This guide will provide you with everything you need to know about professional carpet cleaning services and costs so you can make an informed decision about keeping your carpets clean.

When evaluating professional carpet cleaning costs, there are several factors to consider:

  • The type of carpet cleaning method used
  • The size of the area being cleaned (per square foot pricing)
  • Whether you clean specific rooms or the whole house
  • Extra services like spot cleaning or furniture cleaning

Professional carpet cleaners use powerful equipment and strong cleaning solutions to deep clean carpets. This results in better removal of dirt, stains, allergens, and bacteria compared to do-it-yourself methods.

However, professional cleaning services come at a price. Homeowners pay an average of $.25-.50 per square foot for standard carpet cleaning service. Other options like upholstery or specialty rug cleaning cost even more.

This article will break down the potential carpet cleaning costs for different services, methods, and carpet types. We’ll also give tips to keep green carpet cleaning costs down while still getting high-quality results.

The Average Cost of Professional Carpet Cleaning

On average, professional carpet cleaning costs $100 to $200 to have the carpets in a typical 2-3 bedroom home cleaned. Here’s a breakdown of the average carpet cleaning costs:

  • Standard steam cleaning or hot water extraction: $100-200
  • Additional spot cleaning for stubborn stains: $20-40 per stain
  • Whole house deep cleaning: $200-300
  • Per room deep cleaning: $30-50 per room
  • Upholstery or area rug cleaning: $30-75 per piece

As you can see, prices can add up quickly with additional services. We’ll go into more detail on each service next.

Carpet Cleaning Prices Per Square Foot

The most common way carpet cleaning companies estimate costs is based on the total amount cost per square foot of footage of the carpet being cleaned.

On average, expect to pay:

  • $.25-.50 per sq ft for standard steam cleaning
  • $.50-1.00 per sq ft for deep cleaning methods

Here are some examples of carpet cleaning costs per square foot:

  • Basic cleaning of a 12′ x 12′ room (144 sq ft): $36 to $72
  • Deep cleaning a large living room (300 sq ft): $150 to $300
  • Whole house with 800 sq ft carpeted: $200 to $400

As you can see, the size carpet type of your home and the total carpeted area has a big impact on price.

Some additional notes about per-square-foot pricing:

  • Stairs, hallways, and closets are often included for free or at a minimal cost.
  • Minimum fees of $50-100 are common even for small carpet areas under 100 sq ft.
  • Expect add-ons like spot cleaning, flood treatments, or carpet protection to cost extra.

Factors That Influence Carpet Cleaning Costs

Several factors can increase or decrease the overall cost of carpet cleaning:

Type of Carpet

Certain carpet materials are harder to clean and may require pre-treatments or advanced methods. For example:

Wool carpeting

Usually costs more to clean properly. Pre-treatments recommended starting at $.10/sq ft.

Natural fiber

Carpets like sisal, seagrass, or jute: Sisal carpet cleaning may lead to higher quotes from cleaners.

Berber carpets

The looped construction traps more dirt and allergens. Often costs 10-25% more for steam cleaning.

On the carpet material on the other hand, newer synthetic carpets are easier to clean:

Nylon, olefin, or polyester

More stain-resistant and comes clean with standard methods.

Short pile and low nap carpets

Dirt is closer to the surface so takes less effort to remove.

Pet-stained or high-traffic areas Will require more passes and cleaning solutions, increasing time and cost.

Type of Cleaning Method

Carpet cleaning companies offer several different carpet cleaning professional methods. Some are more intensive (and expensive) than others.

Carpet Cleaning Methods Compared

There are several different methods professional carpet cleaners use to deep clean carpets:

Hot Water Extraction (also called steam cleaning)

This method uses specialized equipment to inject heated cleaning solution into carpets at high pressure. The solutions and dirt are then extracted using powerful vacuums. Pros are very thorough cleaning and quick drying time. Cons are the equipment can be noisy and more expensive. Cost is $.25-.50 per square foot.

Dry Compound Cleaning

An absorbent mixture is spread over the carpet and then worked into the carpet fibers, with a machine brush. It’s allowed to dry and then vacuumed up along with dirt and oils. Pros are fast drying and no risk of over-wetting. Cons are taking more passes for a thorough clean. The cost is $.20-.35 cents per square foot.

Bonnet Cleaning

Uses an absorbent pad or “bonnet” soaked in cleaning solution. The spinning bonnet buffs the carpet to absorb dirt. Pros are this is a simple low-moisture method. The cons are it doesn’t deep clean carpet as effectively. The cost is $.15-.30 per square foot.

Carpet Shampooing

High-foaming detergent is worked into carpet piles and then extracted with wet vacuuming. Pros are deodorizing and brightening carpet appearance. Cons are longer dry time and residues may remain. Cost is $.25-.40 per square foot.

Advanced options like truck-mounted systems or rapid drying processes will be at the higher end of the price spectrum.

Whole House vs Spot Cleaning

Obviously, the total size of the area you want to be cleaned will factor into costs. But also consider:

Spot cleaning smaller high-traffic areas and entryways can extend the time between deep cleanings. Often just $25-50 per room.

Cleaning a few isolated spots like new pet stains is the most affordable option at $15-25 per stain.

Whole house cleaning ensures all carpets are cleaned thoroughly but comes with a higher labor cost.

Additional Services

Extra services beyond just carpet cleaning can increase your final bill. For example:

  • Spot removal: Treating stubborn grease, oil, or pet stains
  • Odor removal: Eliminating musty or other funky smells from carpets
  • Moving Furniture: Moving and replacing heavy furniture
  • Rush services: For quicker turnaround, often costs 20-40% more
  • Carpet protection: Protective coatings to repel future stains, extra 2-5 cents per sq ft
  • Upholstery cleaning: Sofas, chairs, and other fabric, $30-75 per piece
  • Area rug cleaning: Cost varies by size and fabric type

For carpets that are more heavily stained or damaged, the use of professional carpet repair personnel may be recommended by carpet cleaning companies.

Qualified carpet repair experts can spot and treat stains, repair carpet seams or tears, re-stretch loose carpeting, and perform other fixes to restore carpet appearance and extend useful life.

DIY Carpet Cleaning Cost

Renting equipment and buying supplies to DIY your carpet cleaning can seem like a good money-saving tactic. However, the costs can add up, especially if you don’t get optimal results.

Rental Machines

Renting a steam cleaner from a grocery or hardware store runs $20-50 per day. The basic models may not have enough suction and cleaning power for proper deep cleaning. You also have to buy cleaning solutions.


  • Lower rental fees than professional carpet cleaning offers
  • Flexible timing and ability to clean whenever needed


  • Limited cleaning effectiveness compared to professional equipment
  • Time spent doing the labor yourself
  • Multiple days rental required for whole house cleaning
  • May need to redo areas that don’t come fully clean

Purchased Carpet Cleaners

You can buy home carpet cleaning machines from brands like Bissell, RugDoctor, and Hoover for $100-300. This allows you to steam clean carpets repeatedly without ongoing rental fees.


  • No recurring rental costs
  • Clean carpets on your schedule
  • Models with good suction and hose reach do a decent DIY cleaning job


  • High upfront equipment cost
  • Still need to buy cleaning solutions
  • Time spent cleaning floors yourself
  • Proper maintenance and storage are required to prevent mold and odors

DIY Cleaning Solutions

Homemade and natural green cleaning solutions are an option but with some tradeoffs.


  • Avoid chemicals if concerned about pets or kids
  • Inexpensive ingredients like vinegar, baking soda, and hydrogen peroxide


  • Not as strong at removing all dirt and stains
  • Multiple applications and elbow grease required
  • Some trial and error to find the right recipes and methods

Carpet Cleaning Companies

While DIY carpet cleaning can save money upfront, hiring an experienced carpet cleaning company or team often gives better results. Many carpet cleaning companies have industrial-grade equipment, powerful cleaning solutions, and experienced technicians to clean carpets thoroughly.

The costs may be higher but you get superior stain removal and fresher carpets. Consider calling carpet cleaning companies for whole home cleanings or stubborn stains and doing spot DIY cleaning between visits.

Tips for Keeping Carpet Cleaning Costs Low

To keep your carpet cleaning budget reasonable, here are some tips:

  • For small areas, use DIY spot cleaners immediately when stains occur
  • Vacuum high-traffic areas every 2-3 days to prevent dirt buildup
  • Consider DIY steam cleaning one room at a time vs. whole house professional cleaning
  • Move furniture yourself instead of paying fees for the service
  • Schedule professional cleaning in the spring or fall when companies may offer discounts
  • Check Groupon or LivingSocial for discounted carpet cleaning deals
  • Opt for dry compound or bonnet carpet cleaning for a lower-cost clean
  • Skip additional treatments like odor removal or stain protectors for basic cleaning needs
  • Ask about discounts for bundling carpet cleaning with hard floor or air duct cleaning

DIY Carpet Cleaning Tips and Tricks

While it’s often best to hire professionals for regular cleaning, DIY carpet cleaning can work for spot cleaning or room-by-room deep cleaning if you’re on a tight budget. Here are some tips:

Always vacuum thoroughly before using any liquid cleaners or steamers. This lifts dirt to the surface.

Mix warm water and white vinegar for an effective green cleaning solution. Baking soda also works to deodorize.

For portable steam cleaners, slowly pass over the area and repeat as needed. Don’t oversaturate carpets.

Blot lifts stains, don’t vigorously scrub. Place towels over damp areas to absorb moisture.

Open windows and use fans to accelerate drying time. Long-standing moisture can damage carpet backing.

Alternate directions with each cleaning pass. Start on the edges and work toward the middle.

Avoid excessive heat which can shrink or melt carpets. Check steamer settings before use.

Finish by vacuuming again lightly to lift any remaining dirt once the carpet is fully dry.

Other Cleaning Tasks Professionals Can Handle

Many carpet cleaning companies offer other cleaning services beyond just carpets:

Upholstery Cleaning

Couch, chair, and sofa fabrics are cleaned using truck-mounted steam, dry foam, or spot-cleaning methods.

Area Rug Cleaning

Hand washing for delicate fibers or off-site deep cleaning for larger rugs. Fringe and cleaning service is also offered.

Tile and Grout Cleaning

Deep clean and re-sealing to refresh grout. Handles soap scum and hard water buildup.

Air Duct Cleaning

Remove dust and allergens from the HVAC system and vents. Recommended annually.

Bundling services together can sometimes save costs. Technicians experienced in carpet cleaning are well-suited for other types of deep cleaning jobs.

Carpet Cleaning FAQs

Is it worth paying for professional carpet cleaning?

The superior equipment, cleaning solutions, and experience of professional carpet cleaners make it worth the cost for most homeowners. Thorough steam cleaning removes up to 96% of bacteria vs 68% for standard vacuuming.

How often should you get carpets professionally cleaned?

Most pros recommend deep cleaning carpets every 12-18 months. High-traffic areas multiple rooms may need cleaning more frequently, while little-used bedrooms may be OK for 2+ years between cleanings.

Does a carpet cleaner solution matter?

Yes, the cleaning agents make a big difference. Experienced companies use industrial strength solutions and equipment to lift dirt and stains from carpets, rather than just rinsing the surfaces.

Should you clean the entire home or just high-traffic areas?

For moderate budgets, cleaning high-traffic areas and then doing a whole house deep cleaning every 2-3 years can work. But for optimal results, a full home cleaning every year or two is best.

What’s the difference between steam cleaning and dry cleaning methods?

Steam cleaning process uses heated water while dry cleaning uses chemical solvents. Dry compound methods have lower moisture but take longer to dry. Bonnet cleaning is simple but leaves more residues.

How long does the carpet take to dry after professional cleaning?

With truck-mounted steam cleaning, carpets are usually dry within 4-6 hours. Quick drying methods can cut that time down. Large whole home cleanings may take up to 24 hours to fully dry.

Can stains come back after professional carpet cleaning?

If stains were not pre-treated carpet cleaned properly, there is a chance some residues can be wiped back up. Let the cleaners know about any remaining stains right away so they can re-treat those areas.

The Bottom Line

While DIY carpet cleaning initially seems more economical, getting the best clean results usually requires calling in the professionals. Their industrial equipment, specialized skills, and cleaning solutions give far superior results compared to rental units.

For cleaning a few small stains or high-traffic areas, DIY methods can save money. But for deep cleaning carpets throughout the home, a professional cleaner is worth the investment. Proper deep cleaning keeps carpets looking their best while eliminating dust, allergens, and trapped dirt.

Now that you know what to expect for professional carpet cleaning cost prices per square footage for your home, you can budget accordingly and keep your carpets clean. Regular professional cleaning along with daily maintenance like vacuuming will keep your carpets looking fresh, extending their life and appearance.


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