Carpet Cleaning: Pro Service vs. Renting Equipment?

When it's time to clean your carpet, should you hire a pro or rent DIY carpet cleaning equipment? Here are the factors you need to weigh.

Just how popular is carpet? It accounts for 48 percent of the flooring market in the U.S., according to the Carpet and Rug Institute. And in 2020, residential carpet sales were up 10 percent.

While carpet may be popular and features many positive qualities, it’s not a work-free choice. Carpet requires regular maintenance (vacuuming and stain treatment) and the occasional tune-up (carpet cleaning).

You can clean your carpet without a machine. But for an easier and deeper clean, you can hire a professional carpet cleaning company or rent a carpet cleaning machine. Here are some factors to consider when choosing the method that’s right for you.

Pros and Cons of a Professional Carpet Cleaning Service

Professional carpet cleaning services have advantages, but there are things you should consider before making your decision.


  • Saves time: Carpet cleaning is a time-consuming task. Hiring a professional team means your time investment is minimal. Find the right company, book an appointment and follow the after-cleaning protocols. That’s it.
  • Peace of mind: Reviews can help you find a reputable carpet cleaning service. Pro carpet cleaning expert Dean Davies, at Fantastic Cleaners, recommends asking for testimonials from customers. Examples of past work can also bring comfort. “Photos speak a thousand words,” says Diana Rodriguez-Zaba, president of ServiceMaster by Zaba, a certified carpet cleaning company.
  • Powerful clean: The deep cleaning equipment used by professional carpet cleaning companies removes dirt, bacteria and other grime more effectively than consumer-grade machines.


  • Cost: Carpet cleaning companies typically charge between $25 to $50 per room. The cost is based on square footage or number of rooms, whether you have stairs to clean, your local market and other variables. Always ask for a free estimate.
  • You’re on someone else’s schedule: You may not be able to get an appointment when you want, especially during peak times like the holiday season or in the spring.

If you’re looking to clean several rooms, your carpeting hasn’t been cleaned in awhile or it’s exceptionally dirty, it’s best to let the pros give it a like-new clean.

Pros and Cons of Renting DIY Carpet Cleaning Equipment

Many grocery, hardware and big box home improvement stores offer carpet cleaning machine rentals. Here’s what to consider with this carpet cleaning option.


  • Affordable: Renting carpet cleaning equipment generally costs less than hiring professionals. Keep in mind that besides the rental, you may need to purchase the cleaning solution recommended for use in the machine. Machine rental starts at around $30 per day and the cleaning solution runs about $15 to $25. (Costs and additional taxes will vary by market, and some places require a deposit.)
  • Accessible how-tos: Your rental should come with a user manual. “Always read the instructions for the machine and the cleaning product before using,” says Jessica Ek, the American Cleaning Institute‘s director of digital communication. “It has important information on safety as well as how to best use the product for maximum effect.” If you don’t have the physical manual, many can be found online. Search by the machine name and model number.


  • The clean isn’t as deep: “You can use a carpet machine to clean your carpet,”┬ásays cleaning expert Leslie Reichert. “Just know it won’t clean as deep as a professional steam cleaning unit. But it’s great for spills and spots.”
  • Unpredictable and finicky machines: An unfamiliar piece of equipment takes some getting used to. Figuring out how to use the machine can be a frustrating roadblock, especially if you’re pressed for time or only have the rental for a brief period. You may also find that the machine isn’t working properly once you get it home, which can derail the whole project.

If you’re looking to save money and have time on your hands, renting carpeting cleaning equipment can be a good option. Similarly, if you’re only looking to spot clean or tackle a small room, book a rental and give your carpet a spruce-up.

Alicia Chilton
Alicia Chilton is an experienced writer and editor, based in Des Moines, Iowa. After spending several years as a digital editor for Better Homes and Gardens, covering all manner of topics related to home, Alicia took her writing and editorial skills into the marketing and communications world, where she has tapped into the power of storytelling to connect audiences to brands in the gardening and nonprofit spheres.