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  1. #1
    Member Booki's Avatar
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    Carpet extractor/cleaner vs Steam cleaner? Who has one?

    Thinking about buying a steam cleaner for cleaning interior and engine bays, but on the flip side there are also dedicated carpet cleaners.

    Which work better and why?
    Which do you own and are you happy with it?

  2. #2
    Senior Member Mantilgh's Avatar
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    Re: Carpet extractor/cleaner vs Steam cleaner? Who has one?

    So far neither.

    I have thought and read about both. I have been using my shop vac to extract if I need to. I'm sure there are situations where a good heated extractor would really help, but maybe a good steamer, a pretreat, and towels can do just as good of a job but on more surfaces.

    I just got the Tornador Black instead for a couple of reasons. It is a cheaper option for me, I already have a good size compressor. Less wetting, drying, and physical agitation. To me an extractor would be wetter, require more physical movement, and more drying time. Although it should be quicker and better than using the ShopVac and agitation.

    For some reason I'm not a big steamer fan, although they should work well. I think I would prefer my method of rinseless/waterless wash for light engine cleaning, and citrus degreaser and low pressure(or rinseless/waterless) rinse for dirty ones. I can see how some may feel that steam may be safer there.

    They all have their advantages/disadvantages, and best uses.
    ____________
    "The more answers I seek, the more questions I find."

  3. #3
    Senior Member Fast Eddie's Avatar
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    Re: Carpet extractor/cleaner vs Steam cleaner? Who has one?

    I get a ton of trashed interiors at my shop so I upgraded my HP60 extractor with a 2000 watt heater, dual vacs and a 220 psi pump. If I didn't have this essential tool, I would turn down most of the rat nasty trashed interiors. I also have a steamer but don't use it all that much. I LOVE my tornador and use it on almost every detail, but it's in no way, shape or form a replacement for my killer extractor.

  4. #4
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    Re: Carpet extractor/cleaner vs Steam cleaner? Who has one?

    I leave the extractor in my garage,I only take it with me on a serious dirty interior.when going out to detail I don't use a steamer or extractor takes to much time to set it up and break it down.every minute counts when your by yourself and mobile.I keep a full inventory of foam cans for carpets and mats.If I have to use my extractor on a dirty detail,they have to buy me for the day,meaning I will only focus on that one dirty car for the whole day and nothing else.

  5. #5
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    Re: Carpet extractor/cleaner vs Steam cleaner? Who has one?

    Quote Originally Posted by GSKR View Post
    I leave the extractor in my garage,I only take it with me on a serious dirty interior.when going out to detail I don't use a steamer or extractor takes to much time to set it up and break it down.every minute counts when your by yourself and mobile.I keep a full inventory of foam cans for carpets and mats.If I have to use my extractor on a dirty detail,they have to buy me for the day,meaning I will only focus on that one dirty car for the whole day and nothing else.

    Quote Originally Posted by Fast Eddie View Post
    I get a ton of trashed interiors at my shop so I upgraded my HP60 extractor with a 2000 watt heater, dual vacs and a 220 psi pump. If I didn't have this essential tool, I would turn down most of the rat nasty trashed interiors. I also have a steamer but don't use it all that much. I LOVE my tornador and use it on almost every detail, but it's in no way, shape or form a replacement for my killer extractor.
    Well, there's two sides of the coin, eh? Mobile vs. fixed, but I bet Fast Eddie makes a tons of money on those "rat nasty" interiors.

  6. #6
    Senior Member parttimer's Avatar
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    Re: Carpet extractor/cleaner vs Steam cleaner? Who has one?

    I have a steamer, a bissell spot cleaner, shop vac and tornador. I apparently like toys. I wish I had a true hot water extractor especially after yesterday but I do the part time and can't justify the nearly $1000 tag. I have found on my last two I use my steamer way more than I used to, the only thing it doesn't help with is "dirt" in the carpet. My routine as of late has been spray APC, set steamer up with triangle head and plastic bristles and scrub the carpet, between the steam and APC I can usually get some good cleaning without too much wetness, then I shop vac (yes I shop vac before as well.) Last night I had two sections that were bad, one was just sooo dirty I actually got my hose out with hot water, turned it to mist and misted the carpet while shop vaccing the area. The other was a spill stain, APC, mist with water and DA scrubber followed by shop vac. I find the steamer works great if used sparingly on head liners also works great on door speaker grills. I find the bissell cumbersome on interiors since the wand is so large, I can get similar results with a sprayer, apc and shop vac. I don't use the tornador as often.

  7. #7
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    Re: Carpet extractor/cleaner vs Steam cleaner? Who has one?

    I'm mobile, so a steamer makes more sense then a carpet extractor.

    I recently purchased a tornado black , as I think it be good for something in-between a steamer and a carpet extractor..this may of been the better option for me.
    But have yet to use it to know

  8. #8
    Senior Member Aaryn NZ's Avatar
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    Re: Carpet extractor/cleaner vs Steam cleaner? Who has one?

    Hey,

    I think there are to many variations to compare any of these tools. I have an extractor & a comercial steamer. I like both & they each have pros & cons. You kinda can't really use an extractor to detail an engine compartment but also, I wouldn't use a steamer either. If the engine compartment was dirty enough to need the benefits of steam, I would rather go with brushes, an APC/degreaser & hose, or, if it wasn't overly dirty I'd just go with a QD & towels.

    For me & the experiences I have had with steamers - for fabrics that aren't heavily soiled they are fantastic, quick drying & super fast. Then for heavily soiled spots they can be a great pre treatment before extraction. Couldn't live without a steamer for leather or vinyl, gross stuff thats stuck in cup holders or other areas in a vehicle that people manage to get gross stuff stuck in, steamers are priceless for these jobs. Knowing when a steamer isn't gonna cut it is the key.

    Extractors are the best for cleaning carpets & fabrics in MY opinion. Heavily soiled carpets & fabric seats simply can't be cleaned as fast & efficiently as what an extractor can do it. Then, even lightly soiled carpets & fabrics can still be cleaned via extraction. Sure they take a bit longer to dry but no biggy IMO.

    Team either with a mechanical scrubbing brush (DA with a brush attachment) for even better results.

    Others have mentioned the Tornador Black . . . I also have Tornadors & again, great tool but IMO completely different again. Steamer, extractor, Tornador - all great tools but I don't believe one would suit all the applications you may want it to. If I HAD to choose just one of these in my shop . . . extractor wins every time!

    Aaryn NZ.

  9. #9
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    Re: Carpet extractor/cleaner vs Steam cleaner? Who has one?

    I do have the same question as OP. All my customers are mobile jobs so time is a key factor here.

    Thing is, i live in canada where car floors and carpets are caked with rock hard salt stains. Currently i use a combination of salt eraser,folex,drill brushes and my shop vac. It does a pretty good job but it takes some time and leave everything damp...some stains are so hard i can't dissolve the salt, but most of the time it dissolves after a few passes.

    I have seen a video of the dupray steamer getting rid of some salt stains and i think it would be more usefull for rock hard salt stains instead of an extractor.

    In a case where you don't have any rock hard stains, i would buy an extractor.

  10. #10
    Senior Member Fast Eddie's Avatar
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    Re: Carpet extractor/cleaner vs Steam cleaner? Who has one?

    Quote Originally Posted by Setec Astronomy View Post
    I bet Fast Eddie makes a tons of money on those "rat nasty" interiors.
    You got that right. Most of the detailers around me don't have carpet extractors and they cannot tackle the really dirty interiors like I can, so I charge a premium for these details and since people don't have any other options, I get the job. Having the right tools for the job is something I focused on since day 1.

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