Homeowners with a large number of carpeted rooms are probably best off investing in a standalone carpet cleaning machine to maintain their floors. These machines cost a few hundred dollars and use different carpet cleaning solvents, sometimes just the power of steam, to get stains out of carpets. Compared with the cost of renting a machine a few times a year, buying a carpet cleaning machine is probably more cost effective if in constant use. In addition, owning a carpet cleaning machine or steamer means having one in house at the time of a spill or stain. Home carpet cleaning requires care, especially in regions with high humidity or for homes that lack humidity control systems. If carpets aren't dried completely, there is a risk of mold growth in wet areas.
For smaller homes or for a single carpeted room, renting a machine can be more efficient than buying standalone machine. These machines are similar to those available for residential sale except that they are usually heavier duty and have been maintained by the store where they are rented. While it is less convenient to have to go out and rent a machine for semi-annual carpet steaming, it frees up storage space in the home. For intermittent stains, homeowners can keep a smaller, hand held steamer. A hand held steamer or carpet scrubber is also a good option for renters who may not want to invest in a large and expensive appliance for a home they may not occupy for long. Just as a renter wouldn't be expected to refinish hardwood floors, renters and generally not expected to steam clean carpets, so a smaller appliance just for spills is a good option.
Hiring a carpet cleaning company is the easiest option for a homeowner who doesn't have the time or inclination to spend hours several times a year steaming carpets and then carefully avoiding walking on them. For many, the cost of hiring professionals to clean carpets while they are out of the house is well worth it. Professionals know how to best attack high traffic areas and how to ensure all moisture is wicked out of the carpet when finished. In addition, professional carpet cleaners can use non-water methods similar to dry cleaning, but using far less abrasive chemicals. This method of carpet cleaning is growing in popularity with both professional cleaners and customers due because it takes less time and achieves similar results compared with so-called wet methods like steaming.