Steam cleaning is a popular method, using high-temperature, vaporized water to clean and sanitize surfaces, including carpeting. Carpet surfaces should be vacuumed and any stains spot-treated prior to steaming.

Steam cleaning uses a combination of heat, pressure, time and water lift to extract embedded soils and stains from carpeting. The extracted debris and water is then vacuumed into the machine. This method uses little moisture to achieve cleaning, meaning that carpets are dry relatively quickly.

For small jobs, a canister steamer with hose and wand accessories can be used; in many commercial settings, a larger, more powerful machine that hooks up to a water source is used to provide for continuous cleaning.