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What Temperature Water Is Best For Carpet Cleaning?

There's a lot of variables when considering the best way to clean your carpets and the temperature of the water that you choose is an important part of your process to get right.

Should you have your water cold, hot, or lukewarm when cleaning your carpet? This is the question we will be answering, in detail, in this blog post.

While there is an optimal temperature for cleaning carpets for general dirt, when it comes to certain stains and certain carpet fabrics, it varies wildly.

Let's first explore what the ideal temperature is for most carpet cleaning tasks:

What is the ideal water temperature for carpet cleaning?

For most synthetic carpets the ideal temperature should be between 100 degrees Fahrenheit (37 degrees Celsius) and 150 degrees Fahrenheit (65 degrees Celsius). That is, warm water or quite hot water but not boiling to the point that it may damage carpet fibres.

This isn't always the case, though. Some Carpets and certain stains are better off having a colder water solution and using lukewarm or hot water to remove them is at best ineffective and at worse, damaging to your carpets.

We have plenty of guides on our blog to answer questions about specific stain removal techniques but here's an overview.

Which carpets are better with cold water?

It is far safer to clean wool carpets with cold water than it is hot. That's because wool can shrink if you get the temperature wrong.

This shrinkage causes the carpet to become tighter and a lot more prone to fraying and being damaged through cracks and from the carpet being pulled on as you walk.

So, rather than using hot water, use cold or tepid water which is just as effective when using the right products.

The main step that decides how much dirt you can extract from your carpet is the abrasive stage of scrubbing your carpets. Do that step properly and you'll have no trouble cleaning your wool carpets.

The same logic applies for:

  • Silk carpets and rugs

  • Jute

  • Cotton

Carpet stains that require a cold water carpet cleaning method

Many of the more common stains actually come out better with cold water.

That includes:

  • Food stains: other than chocolate (which is protein based) most food stains come out best with cold water. Think baby food, turmeric, ketchup, among many others will respond better to cold water.

  • Beverages: coffee, tea, and sodas are best removed with cold water. This is because they need diluting as much as possible and cold water helps to 'choke' these stains out of the carpet fibres.

  • Blood stains: whether dried or still fresh, blood stains are more easily treated with cold water along with the correct chemicals and PPE. Have a read of our 'how to get blood out of your couch' article before starting, same applies to carpets.

Can I use cold water for synthetic carpets?

Yes you can use cold water on synthetic carpets and unless you are a professional, it Is a much safer option.

Having the temperature too hot can lead to damage of the carpet fibres as well as discoloration if not cleaned properly.

Using cold water instead of hot does have its drawbacks though. The chemicals you use will not activate as strongly as it does with warm water so using cold water takes longer.

Cold water also takes longer to dry than hot water, leading to potential for mould and mildew if an inexperienced carpet cleaner has been at it.

In fact, this is one of the more common reasons why our customers end up calling us. They hire out a cheap carpet cleaner with only a cold water option and low vacuum power.

This leaves their carpets damp for days, when it dries up, the customer finds that the carpet looks worse than when it started.


So, while there is an optimal temperature for cleaning carpets, it's not always the case and there are many variables.

What's more without a professional grade carpet cleaner, it's impossible to maintain that kind of temperature to make for an even cleaning experience of your carpet.

Basically, if you are looking to clean your carpet on your own, use cold water and make sure that you go over the carpet multiple times to get as much moisture out as possible. However, what we really recommend is hiring a professional.

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