Steam Cleaning Carpet is Often a Misnomer

Advanced Vapor Technologies (AVT) has announced clarified definitions of two commonly confused industry terms:

  • Extraction cleaning with hot water, aka “steam carpet cleaning”, and
  • Steam vapor cleaning

"Using the term ‘steam cleaning’ when referring to hot-or-warm-water carpet extraction is a misnomer because steam is never involved in this process,” said Rick Hoverson, principal of Advanced Vapor Technologies.

“Conversely, a TANCS-enabled dry (6%) steam vapor device traps hot, low pressure, low moisture treated steam at the surface resulting in rapid microbial kill times – in seconds not minutes – destruction of embedded mold mycelia, and elimination of dust mites and bed bugs found in textiles and on hard surfaces in a manner never achievable with hot water extraction.”

“Unlike standard carpet and other cleaning processes, TANCS steam vapor sanitation has been well documented to achieve microbial reduction with very short contact times,” added Hoverson.

He points interested parties to the existing test data – much of it peer-reviewed – at

“Also, unlike common chemicals used in extraction cleaners and disinfectants, the tap-water-only used in TANCS devices does not contain asthmagens, and treated dry steam vapor helps denature and inactivate protein allergens.”

In addition, a study conducted by the University of St. Louis School of Public Health in St. Louis, Mo., demonstrated that TANCS technology-enabled devices effectively eradicated mold in carpets compared to two other typical carpet cleaning methods. According to the study abstract:

Significant differences were found among all three methods for removal of fungi over time. Steam was significantly better than the other two methods with 99 percent efficiency in removal of Cladosporium sphaerospermum from wetted carpet after 24 hours and 30 days incubation time, with 92 percent efficiency after 7 days.

The other two methods had declining efficiencies of fungal removal over time, from a maximum of 82 percent and 81 percent at 24 hours down to 60 percent and 43 percent at 30 days for detergent and high-flow, hot water extraction, respectively.

Lastly, genuine steam vapor’s effectiveness against dust mites has been well documented in independent science literature:

Scientists from the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS), the University of Washington, Harvard University and Rho Inc. completed a study, whose findings were summarized by Darryl C. Zeldin, M.D., and published in the NIEHS journal, Environmental Health Perspectives – showing that dry steam vapor cleaning of carpets and upholstery combined with vacuuming significantly reduced dust-mite allergens.