There are many questions to consider when buying or using a carpet cleaner, such as how much space you need for storage and whether you should rent or buy it. Here are some tips to keep in mind.
Carpet cleaners are heavy and bulky, especially when filled with water. They are more difficult to operate than regular upright vacuums. They also require quite a bit of storage space.
Treat spills that cause stains immediatelyMost households only need to clean their carpets every six months to a year, but topical cleaners are ideal for dealing with direct spills, and they’re easier to store and use.
You probably don’t use carpet cleaners very often, so consider hiring a professional to organize your entire home, especially if you have limited storage space. (It may also depend on how dirty your carpet is.) Check out options for renting machines from local businesses or retail stores like Home Depot. You don’t need to spend a fortune to get the benefits of commercial-grade cleaners.
Clean Carpets Before Using Carpet Cleaners. This may seem counterintuitive, but you don’t want dirt and hair to form wet clumps that get in the way of the cleanser. If you haven’t washed your rugs in a while (or ever), get ready for embarrassingly fluffy clogs to fill up your dirty tank.
The carpet shampoo or cleaner you use matters. Manufacturers often insist you use their brand, and while other types may work fine, you may void the warranty (though I don’t know how they know that). Most carpet cleaners come with some cleaner, but I had a good experience with Rug Doctor’s Commercial Carpet Cleaner ($20). It works great, doesn’t have a strong smell, and you can buy a large pot for cheap.
Try, try, try again. It can be disappointing to fire up a carpet cleaner and find that it won’t remove old red wine stains or grated toothpaste. Don’t be discouraged. Multiple cleanings can sometimes remove established stains, and if not, at least reduce them.
It can take a long time to dry the carpet. Most carpet cleaners have different settings, they will absorb some water, but they will all leave the carpet a little damp. Deeper cleaning tends to make the carpet wet, so consider how you can speed up the drying time. Use a fan, turn on the heat, or clean the carpet in the spring and summer when windows can be opened.
Protect your hearing. Of all the ways you can damage your hearing, carpet cleaners are probably the least fun, so protect your ears. Some of these can get pretty loud, so wear earplugs while you work.