To use a home steam carpet cleaner, pick up all toys, furniture, books and any other easily removed items from the floor. Then, add water and a small amount of cleaning solution to the steam cleaner. Many steam cleaners come with a specific cleaning solution. If a cleaner is not provided, buy carpet shampoo from a grocery store. Turn on the steamer, and start in the far corner of the room. Make slow straight lines along the carpet.
To get the best results, vacuum the carpet well to pick up any excess dirt. If applicable, dust the base boards around the carpet so dust is not knocked back onto the cleaned carpet. If there are deeply set stains in the carpet, pre-treat the stain by applying a mixture of water and dish soap directly to the problem area.
Operate the steam cleaner slowly to allow the machine the optimal amount of time to extract stains, dirt and grime from the carpet. The carpet becomes damp when treated, so be careful not to step on it with dirty feet after it has been steam cleaned. Allow the carpet to dry completely. If there are still stains on the carpet after the first steam cleaning pass, run through the area a second time with either more cleaning solution or a mixture of vinegar and water.