Stanley Steemer Vs. Oxi Fresh: Which Carpet Cleaner Is Best?

Carpets are expensive investments that add warmth, comfort and style to any home. But after years of foot traffic and accidental spills, even the nicest carpets can start to look worn and dirty.

That’s where carpet cleaners come in. A thorough carpet cleaning can restore vibrancy and extend the life of your carpets.

Two of the most popular carpet cleaner brands are Stanley Steemer and Oxi Fresh. Both companies offer professional carpet cleaning services as well as do-it-yourself products you can use at home.

But which one provides the better clean for your carpets? Here’s an in-depth comparison of Stanley Steemer and Oxi Fresh to help you decide.

A Brief Comparison Table

FeatureStanley SteemerOxi Fresh
Cleaning ProcessHot water extraction (steam cleaning)Low-moisture oxidizing
Dry Time4-6 hours1 hour
Cleaning SolutionsProprietary detergent-based shampoosOxygen-infused green certified formulas
Availability300+ locations nationwide100+ franchises, mostly western states
SchedulingMorning or afternoon slotsExtended evening and weekend times
Cost$125-$200 per room average$120-$160 per room average
Carpet TypesSafe for most standard carpets. Risk of damage to delicates.Safe for all carpets including handmade and antiques.
Customer Reviews4 out of 5 stars4.6 out of 5 stars
DIY ProductsCarpet shampoos, spot removersOxidizing shampoo, stain remover kits

Stanley Steemer Overview

Founded in 1947 in Columbus, Ohio, Stanley Steemer is one of the largest and oldest carpet cleaner companies in the United States. They popularized hot water extraction cleaning, also known as steam cleaning, back in the 1970s.

Stanley Steemer has over 300 locations across the country and provides several carpet cleaning options:

Stanley Steemer Carpet Cleaner
  • In-home deep carpet cleaning – Their signature hot water extraction service. Technicians come to your home with specialized equipment to steam clean carpets.
  • Dry carpet cleaning – Uses a dry compound that is brushed into carpets then vacuumed up. No downtime required for drying.
  • Tile and grout cleaning – Special cleaning process for ceramic and stone floors.
  • Upholstery cleaning – Safe for furniture and mattresses.
  • Air duct cleaning – Removes dust and allergens from HVAC system ductwork.

For DIY cleaning, Stanley Steemer sells carpet shampoos, spot removers and pet stain eliminators under the Steemer Carpet Care product line. These are formulated for use with any brand of carpet cleaner machine.

Oxi Fresh Overview

Founded in 2006, Oxi Fresh is a relatively newer carpet cleaning company based in Lake Forest, California. Instead of steam cleaning, Oxi Fresh uses a low-moisture cleaning process called oxidizing.

The Oxi Fresh cleaning system involves applying an oxygen-infused cleaning solution to carpets using a brush wand. The oxygen reacts with organic materials in dirt and stains, breaking them down on a molecular level. The residues are then extracted using minimal water.

Oxi Fresh offers both professional in-home cleaning services and DIY products including:

  • In-home carpet cleaning – Their unique low-moisture oxidizing process. Fast drying time.
  • Upholstery cleaning – Safe for furniture and mattresses.
  • Tile and grout cleaning – For ceramic, stone and vinyl floors.
  • Odor control – Professional deodorization services.
  • DIY carpet shampoo and stain removers – Special Oxi Fresh cleaning solutions.

Key Differences Between Stanley Steemer And Oxi Fresh

Now that we’ve looked at an overview of both brands, let’s compare them in detail across some key factors:

  • Cleaning Process and Technology

The biggest difference between Stanley Steemer and Oxi Fresh is the actual cleaning method used.

Stanley Steemer relies on hot water extraction, spraying heated cleaning solution into the carpet at high pressure. The water and solution mixture is then immediately sucked back up along with loosened dirt. Truck-mounted units heat water up to 210°F.

Hot water extraction cleans carpet fibers from the base up. The high pressure spray lifts dirt from deep down while the heat helps dissolve stubborn or greasy stains.

However, Stanley Steemer’s process requires significant drying time. Carpets can take 4-6 hours up to overnight before furniture can be moved back and the rooms used again. The moisture can also oversaturate and damage delicate carpets if technicians aren’t careful.

Oxi Fresh uses an oxygen-based low-moisture cleaning method. The cleaning solution contains hydrogen peroxide, which releases oxygen molecules as it breaks down stains. The oxygen bonds with soil molecules, loosening them so they can be extracted.

Oxi Fresh Carpet Cleaner

This oxidizing process doesn’t use any heat or high pressure.

Oxi Fresh claims it leaves just 20% of the moisture residual compared to steam cleaning.

Most carpets dry within an hour after cleaning.

The gentler Oxi Fresh cleaning is safe for delicate and handmade carpets that could get damaged by steam cleaning.

There’s less risk of oversaturating the backing or weakening fibers. However, stains may require more passes without the added power of hot water.

Both systems are very effective when done properly. Stanley Steemer’s hot water extraction gives an extremely thorough clean for heavily soiled carpets. For lighter maintenance cleaning or on carpets prone to shrinkage, Oxi Fresh’s low-moisture method may be a better choice.

Dry Times

As mentioned already, dry times differ considerably between these two brands.

Stanley Steemer’s hot water extraction method leaves carpets very saturated. Technicians use commercial blowers and dehumidifiers to reduce drying times, but carpets will still take 4-6 hours to dry. Thick or padded carpets may take 24 hours or longer to completely dry.

You’ll need to avoid walking on damp carpets until fully dry. Lengthy dry times can make steam cleaning inconvenient if you need to use the rooms shortly after cleaning.

Oxi Fresh’s oxidizing process leaves far less moisture behind. The cleaning solutions and light rinsing don’t soak deep into the carpet backing. Average dry times are just 1 hour, though thicker carpets may take a little longer.

The quick dry time gets your rooms back in use ASAP. Oxi Fresh even guarantees carpets will be dry within 90 minutes for an evening cleaning. You likely won’t need to rearrange furniture or be disrupted after cleaning.

Cleaning Solutions

The cleaning solutions and products used can also impact the results and safety for your specific carpet.

Stanley Steemer uses proprietary hot water extraction shampoos designed for their high-pressure steam cleaning process. Solutions vary based on carpet fibers and the level of soiling. All their cleaning products contain biodegradable detergents safe for kids and pets once dried.

For pet stains and odors, Stanley Steemer sprays an enzyme solution to digest organic matter down to the pad, neutralizing odors at the source. They also offer sanitizers and deodorizers to freshen carpet fibers. Their solutions do not contain any volatile organic compounds (VOCs).

Oxi Fresh cleaning solutions are based on hydrogen peroxide, which naturally breaks down into just oxygen and water. Their green certified formulas are safe around children and pets when dry.

Specific solutions include:

  • Oxi Clean Z – For general cleaning and stain removal. Also helps remove odors.
  • Oxi Health – Disinfectant cleaner that kills germs and bacteria.
  • Oxi Spot Z – Concentrated remover for tough grease and oil-based stains.

Oxi Fresh states their solutions contain no soaps, detergents, perfumes or VOCs. The oxidizing process prevents dirt and stains from resettling after cleaning.

Both brands offer effective, eco-friendly cleaning solutions tailored for professional carpet cleaning. Stanley Steemer solutions have more deodorizing abilities while Oxi Fresh’s oxidation effect keeps carpets cleaner longer.

Carpet Types

Can Stanley Steemer and Oxi Fresh be used on all carpet materials? Here’s how they compare:

Stanley Steemer hot water extraction is safe for most common carpets including nylon, polyester, acrylic and wool. Their high-pressure spray can remove ground in dirt on low pile commercial carpets.

However, steam cleaning is not recommended for delicate antique, handmade or fragile carpets. The heat and moisture risks damaging fibers, loosening dyes or shrinking the carpet. Always check manufacturer guidelines before steam cleaning.

Oxi Fresh is gentle enough for all fibers and carpet constructions. The low-moisture process minimizes risk of damage to delicate area rugs or carpets prone to mildew or shrinkage.

Oxi Fresh can also clean specialty carpets made from silk, sisal, seagrass and coir. Their system keeps woven and hand-tufted fibers from unraveling or fraying during cleaning.

For valuable vintage or handmade carpets, Oxi Fresh is likely the safer choice. Stanley Steemer runs a higher risk of causing irreversible damage.

Availability & Scheduling

Nationwide availability and flexibility of scheduling is another key difference between Stanley Steemer and Oxi Fresh.

Stanley Steemer has over 300 locations across 47 states, making them widely accessible throughout the country. Major metro areas often have multiple Steemer franchises to meet demand.

Standard booking times are morning (8am to noon) or afternoon (1 to 5pm). Evening carpet cleanings are available in some markets, but limited. Weekend appointments fill up quickly.

Oxi Fresh has about 100 total franchises, mostly concentrated in western states and urban corridors like Southern California and the Northeast. Large swaths of rural America may not have local Oxi Fresh service options.

A major advantage of Oxi Fresh is scheduling flexibility. They provide exclusive “red carpet service” with cleaning appointments as early as 6am or as late as 11pm. Weekends and same day service are available.

Oxi Fresh aims to work within your schedule, while Stanley Steemer has more rigid booking policies. Those needing late night or weekend carpet cleaning will likely find Oxi Fresh more accommodating.

Cost & Pricing

Pricing is quite similar between Stanley Steemer and Oxi Fresh for standard carpet cleaning:

  • Stanley Steemer charges an average of $125 to $200 per room, which covers up to 200 sq ft. High traffic areas may cost slightly more. Stairs run $30 to $50 per flight.
  • Oxi Fresh pricing averages $30 per 100 sq ft of carpet, so $120 – $160 per standard room. Stair cleaning is included in the per room price.

Both offer routine discounts of 10% to 30% off standard rates. Bundling multiple rooms or adding other services like tile floor cleaning can maximize savings.

Oxi Fresh typically doesn’t charge additional fees for same day bookings or weekend/evening cleanings. These specialized times often incur premium charges from Stanley Steemer.

When comparing quotes, make sure all services and fees are included. Get complete pricing upfront before booking appointment times.

Customer Reviews

What do customers say about their experiences with Stanley Steemer vs. Oxi Fresh? Here are some highlights:

Stanley Steemer Carpet Cleaner
  • Stanley Steemer earns 4 out of 5 stars across 500+ reviews on ConsumerAffairs. Positive feedback praises their excellent deep cleaning results and friendly technicians. Complaints cite damaged carpets and pushy upsells.
  • Oxi Fresh receives 4.6 out of 5 stars across 300+ ConsumerAffairs reviews. Customers appreciate the convenient scheduling, short dry times and eco-friendly process. Negative reviews are very rare but cite pet odor returning shortly after cleaning.

Both brands provide effective carpet cleaning but Oxi Fresh garners slightly higher satisfaction ratings. Reviews indicate their flexible scheduling and drying process better suit customer needs and preferences.

DIY Carpet Cleaning Products

In addition to professional services, both companies sell DIY carpet cleaning products:

  • Stanley Steemer offers carpet shampoos, spot removers and stain fighters under their Steemer Carpet Care line. Formulas are designed to work with any brand carpet shampoo machine.
  • Oxi Fresh has at-home carpet cleaning kits including an oxidizing shampoo, stain remover and spot treatment. For hand cleaning, they sell Oxi Magic Foam spray. Kits cost $20 to $30.

Customers report good results from DIY products when used properly. Oxi Fresh home kits simplify carpet cleaning with one-step oxidizing shampoo. Stanley Steemer provides more specialty formulas for tougher pet and food stains.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

What is the best brand for a carpet cleaner?

Based on professional service, Oxi Fresh is the best overall carpet cleaner for most homeowners. The low-moisture cleaning process delivers excellent results on both delicate and heavily soiled carpets. Convenient scheduling, short dry times and positive customer reviews are advantages over Stanley Steemer steam cleaning.

Is Oxy good for carpet cleaning?

Yes, oxalic acid (Oxy) is an effective yet gentle ingredient in carpet cleaning solutions. Oxi Fresh harnesses the cleaning power of oxygen to lift dirt and break down stains without harsh chemicals. Oxy-based formulas are safe for kids and pets once carpets are dry after cleaning.

What is an alternative to Stanley Steamer?

Oxi Fresh is the top alternative to Stanley Steemer for carpet cleaning. Both offer professional services and DIY products but Oxi Fresh’s oxidizing method is faster drying and safer for delicate rugs. Other alternatives are Bissell’s HydroWave and Rug Doctor carpet cleaning machines for DIY steam cleaning.

What does Stanley Steemer use to deodorize?

Stanley Steemer uses enzyme-based deodorizers and sanitizers to neutralize odors at the source within carpet fibers and padding. Enzymatic cleaners break down organic matter that causes odors rather than just masking scents. They also spray essential oil deodorizers for fresh fragrance after cleaning.

The Bottom Line

While both provide high-quality carpet cleaning, Oxi Fresh comes out ahead for their more convenient scheduling, shorter dry times and gentler cleaning process safe on all carpets.

Stanley Steemer offers excellent deep cleaning for heavily soiled carpets but requires significant dry times that can disrupt households. Their hot water extraction risks damage to delicate or handmade rugs.

Ultimately, Oxi Fresh is the safer, more flexible and effective option for routine carpet maintenance and freshening. Stanley Steemer remains ideal for periodic deep cleaning extremely dirty high-traffic carpets.

When comparing professional carpet cleaners, make sure to factor in what best fits your schedule, carpet types and overall cleaning needs. Proper regular care is the best way to prolong the life and appearance of any carpet.

Ralph Wade

Hey...Ralph is here! So, did you find this article useful? If so, please leave a comment and let me know. If not, please tell me how I can improve this article. Your feedback is always appreciated. Take love :)

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