Even though carpeting is a soft and warm flooring option, it is the hardest material to clean because it is mostly made from fibers that trap dirt and soils. Carpets add a special coziness to any home, but they require regular maintenance to keep them looking and feeling luxurious. Regardless of how regularly you vacuum, every carpet can benefit from a deep cleaning in the form of a carpet shampooer.
It is recommended by carpet manufacturers that you should clean carpets periodically with a carpet shampooer or carpet steamer. The best method to use depends on the level of clean you want to achieve. For instance, while both will make your carpet brighter, shampooers sometimes leave dirt behind.
The most affordable carpet cleaners are small, hand-held models that hold about half a liter of water at a time. You will have to get on your hands and knees in order to use this type of cleaners effectively. They are best for small areas or spot-cleaning. If you have kids or pets and need a way to instantly clean spills or messes out of carpets, this option would be perfect for you.
Where those small cleaners are wildly inefficient, the upright carpet shampooers save the day. You walk behind these models, a bit like a lawnmower, and can cover an entire room in minutes. If you only have one or two carpeted rooms, buying your own upright carpet shampooer may seem like an unnecessary expense. On the other hand, if you have the high square footage of carpet to clean, or what little carpet you do have tends to really take a beating, a high-end model could pay for itself.
Regardless, you have the option to rent carpet shampooers from local home supply stores. If you are on the fence about buying one, you can start by renting. Test out the carpet shampooer first and decide if it truly cleans your carpet the way you hoped it would. In most cases, you are in for a delightful surprise as your carpet is restored to its original bright color.
Why You Should Use a Carpet Shampooer
Dirt and grime can be very stubborn, clinging to surfaces despite superficial attempts to wipe them away. Sometimes dirt just has to be scrubbed out with soap and water. Carpet is no different. In fact, when dirt comes in contact with the carpet, it weakens the fibers. Regular foot traffic can noticeably deteriorate the plush look of your carpet. The best defense is to incorporate deep-cleaning into your carpet care routine.
Carpet shampooers use warm water mixed with soap in order to create a solution that the shampooer applies to the carpet. It then removes the dirty solution after it dries. Shampooers typically spray a shampoo and water solution or a dry foam onto the carpet. A revolving or rotary brush then works the shampoo or foam into the fibers to loosen the dirt. Sometimes this process can over-wet the carpet, which prolongs drying times, and the brush can damage delicate carpet fibers.
Shampooers are a surface cleaner, which means they clean the upper portions of the carpet fibers but they may not reach dirt and residue that settle to the bottom. On the contrary, if you prefer steam cleaners to clean, they provide deeper cleaning, extracting with enough force to pull the dirt from the bottom of the carpet fibers. Carpet shampooers basically bury the dirt in foam and often have brighteners that make your carpet look cleaner than it really is. Eventually, this can lead to yellowing, which can’t be removed.
Carpets should be shampooed every 12 to 18 months. The frequency depends on the quality of the carpet, how much traffic it receives and whether or not you have pets. Your timing is also very important in case of frequency. It is best to shampoo the carpet before it gets too dirty. This is most important when using a shampooer, however, because you don’t get a deep clean. This means if you wait too long to shampoo the carpet, dirt, and soils settle where they may remain even after shampooing.
How to Use Carpet Shampooers
Carpet shampooers are meant for deep cleaning, not for superficial vacuuming. Before you use the shampooer, make sure you thoroughly vacuum the carpet to remove all surface debris, pet hair, dirt, and so on. You should expect to remove any furniture in the room if using an upright machine. These are bulky machines that are not easily maneuverable, and they tend to be powerful. They give such a deep clean that your carpet will surely change colors. To avoid awkward streaks and outlines, remove furniture so you can clean the entire floor.
When you are done with cleaning, the carpet might feel moist, but it shouldn’t feel soggy. Keep vacuuming up liquid until you can’t see any more coming into the machine. Let the carpet dry before moving any furniture back onto it.
Carpet shampooers have two different compartments. One compartment holds the clean water, and the other one will hold the dirty water once you start shampooing. In order to begin cleaning, fill the clean water compartment to the “fill line” and add the cleaning solution as directed. In many models, you simply add the soap to the clean water. Other models may have a separate compartment for the soap.
Make sure you use a cleaning solution that is meant to be used in a carpet shampooer. The wrong kind of solution could damage the machine or simply be ineffective. So, be careful! There are a variety of options available so that you can find one with ingredients you are comfortable with and a scent that you like.
Firmly reattached both compartments and plug in the machine. Before you turn it on, familiarize yourself with the soap and vacuum components. Even rented machines should come with an instruction manual. Generally, the machine will default to “vacuum,” and you need to press a button to release the clean water and soap.
Turn the machine on and hold the clean water button as you slowly push it over the carpet. Then release the clean water button and pull the machine backwards over the same path to allow it to suck the water back up into the dirty water compartment. These compartments are usually see-through, so you get the instant satisfaction of seeing that dirty water gets pulled out of your carpet. Repeat until you have covered the entire room. Severely soiled carpets might require several treatments.
Hoover Power Scrub Deluxe Carpet Cleaner Machine, Upright Shampooer, FH50150, Red
This product is best for everyday cleaning. It is easy to fill, empty and clean. With Smart Tank system making emptying and filling easy with no mess, no tools and no waste of time. The recovery tank comes with a quick pour spout.
It provides strong, equal suction to clean surfaces quickly and evenly. It directly applies forced heated air to carpets to help speed up dry time. There are two separate tanks for clean and dirty water let you fill, empty and rinse each tank easily. It has an automatic detergent mixing which provides the correct mix of detergent and water for optimal cleaning results.
Bissell Big Green Professional Carpet Cleaner Machine, 86T3
It does a fantastic job of cleaning carpets. The machine isn’t really designed to pick up objects just pull dirt and stains out. It achieves a whole new level of clean by out cleaning the leading rental carpet cleaner. It has powerful motors. There is an extra-large PowerBrush to pull out deeply embedded dirt, and powerful suction is just a few features that make this deep cleaner stand out from the rest. There are two simple tanks that keep the clean and dirty water separated for easy cleanup and fewer trips to the sink.
Made of durable, high-quality materials for a sturdy, anti-tip design, this machine is a powerful, robust piece of workmanship from top to bottom. Plus, the included 2X Professional Deep Cleaning Formula contains Scotchgard protection to help protect the carpet from future stains.
BISSELLProHeat 2X Revolution Max Clean Pet Pro Full-Size Carpet Cleaner, 1986
It really is like the commercials. It is heavy but not unwieldy – meaning, heavy-duty but not hard to work or use. It is incredibly easy. Everything is able to be broke down and thoroughly rinsed out. There is a rubber plug on top to dump it out when it is full and there is a larger reservoir cap you can remove to rinse out as well as take out the float to remove any pet hairs or debris that may get tangled around it.
The suction on this machine is very strong and has to empty the dirty tank more than fill the clean water tank. Express clean dries in about an hour, the deep clean dries in about 6 to 8 hours, and upholstery dry in roughly an hour or 2.
BISSELL PowerLifter PowerBrush Upright Carpet Cleaner and Shampooer, 1622
Works great, especially with kids and a multi-pet household! It is portable, lightweight, and easy to use. This product protects and extends carpet life by removing deep-down grit and stains, using just hot tap water, deep-cleaning detergent, and its four-row rotating DirtLifter PowerBrush.
Carpets are left clean, odor-free, even gently groomed for a polished look. It has a user-friendly design that includes thoughtful touches like a comfortable handle, quick-release cord hooks, a lint screen, and easy-to-maneuver wheels, as well as a built-in measuring cup and a removable nozzle for quick clean up.
Hoover Smartwash Automatic Carpet Cleaner, FH52000, Turquoise
It is totally worth the money. The Smartwash does pick up the hair and it can get stuck in the nozzle going to the dirty water tank. The brushes will stop. But it is fairly easy to clean both the nozzle and brushes. It is easy to disconnect the pieces to clean. This machine does a good job of cleaning. Instructions are clear and easy to follow. It rinses the carpet to remove the cleaning solution from the rug. All you do is remove the bottle with the cleaner solution and go over the carpet again with just clean water.
Hoover PowerDash Pet Compact Carpet Cleaner, Lightweight, FH50700, Blue
This is the ideal carpet cleaning machine for apartment-dwellers with pets and carpets. Even if you use a spot eliminator device. It is small enough to have in your closet, it is lightweight and easy to use and put together. This little Hoover is so much lighter it is hard to believe what a great job it does! The carpet looks amazingly clean. The machine is so light it is very easy to handle. The soap that comes with it is excellent. You can’t deny the results when cleaning out the dirty water tank.
BISSELL ProHeat 2X Revolution Pet Full Size Upright Carpet Cleaner and Shampooer with Antibacterial Spot & Stain Remover, 1548
You will be very impressed with this product. You can’t compare this unit to the quality of the commercial machine but it seems to be well made. The machine is very easy to use and push around. The machine is so easy to push that you have to remember to make your passes slowly and not try to use it as you would a vacuum. The other issue is that the power cord is low on the machine.
The easy assembly that takes about 2 minutes. It is a lightweight product. The cleaning tool and removable nozzle make it easy to clean. It is not as loud as other machines. It has a long power cord. It does a good job cleaning, especially with sets of brushes. You can choose between Deep Clean and Express Clean modes. It has a low profile design which makes it easy to get under furniture. Confusing manual, but Bissell has good Youtube videos. An advantage of this model is having separate tanks for clean and dirty water. It is easy to see the levels and to easily confirm that a second, third or fourth cleaning still removes dirt left by previous attempts, as well as the percentage of fluid extracted.
Rug Doctor Deep Carpet Cleaner, Large and Portable, Red
Cleaning tank capacity (gallons) – 1. Dual cross action brushes oscillate and rotate to scrub carpet fibers from every angle powering away dirt and stains to deliver a professional-grade deep clean and soft, plush results. 75 percent more suction than comparable carpet cleaning machines slashes drying time; quick dry in four hours or less; simple lift clean and dirty water tanks make refilling and emptying easy.
It cleans deeper than other comparable machines and will not void carpets. “Super Boost” gives an extra “boost” to highly trafficked or heavily soiled areas that require extra attention; perfect for old stains, rental houses, apartments, pet stains, coffee, wine, and juice. It includes removable tool caddy and upholstery tool for spot treating stains or cleaning tricky spaces like car interiors, area rugs, stairs, pet beds, furniture, or other hard-to-reach areas.
You can either heat water on the stove to put in the machine, drain water directly from your hot water heater into it, or just use hot tap water. All three methods will work. You don’t want the water so hot that it is dangerous to the user, the machine, or the carpets though.
BISSELL Turboclean Powerbrush Pet Upright Carpet Cleaner Machine and Carpet Shampooer, 2085
This is a small, more compact type of shampooer- not your typical big heavy thing you have to drag around. Sucks up water like a champ! Works amazing. This shampooer whips the carpets right back into shape. You will be amazed at how well it works. Best $100 you have spent on a cleaning machine. Some people say it is annoying because it has small dirty and clean water tanks, so you have to refill/empty more times than you do with a large shampooer, but this one is so light, and powerful, and efficient, that it doesn’t bother me one bit. Easy to put together, super easy to take apart to clean it.
BISSELL PowerBrush Full Sized Carpet Steamer and Carpet Shampooer, 1623, Orange
This little machine is lightweight, cleans very well and mechanically put together well. This is excellent for small carpets and throws rugs. The scent it leaves is not powerful but it smells great.
It comes with the machine (of course) with the attached hose, an attachment for corners and a brush attachment for furniture. So, it’s basically everything you need in a basic steam cleaner for your floors and furniture. It actually does work well.
Get the dirt vacuums to leave behind with an upright deep cleaner from BISSELL. Carpet cleaning formula and rotating brushes penetrate deep into the carpet to loosen dirt and stains, then powerful suction lifts it away. It has 5 cleaning rows on its DirtLifter Powerbrush which makes it a unique and powerful feature on some BISSELL carpet cleaners. This brush has stiff bristles placed in a wavy formation on the rotating brush, helping to scrub and lift the dirt and stains your vacuum can’t get. Then powerful suction lifts it away.
BISSELL Proheat Essential Carpet Cleaner and Carpet Shampooer, 1887
This machine works great and you will love that it is not heavy to carry and that it is narrow so it can clean the smaller spaces. The attached tools are super helpful and work great to clean furniture. The tank system is easy to use. This has brushes that get right up against the wall. It is so easy to use. With the optional bare floor tool, you can use this cleaner to clean hard floors like tile.
The beater bar really does a good job of getting the dirt up. It is also very helpful to go over the carpet once with the detergent you buy for the carpet cleaner and then a second time with a water/vinegar solution to rinse the carpet. You always want to give it a rinse and vinegar water will give it a nice rinse getting the soap out and leaving the carpet nice and fluffy. It also takes out any smell that might be there and if you have any pet that likes to mark, it takes out any smell they may have left before, so there is less of a chance they will go back to their old marking spot.
Vax Rapide Spring Clean Carpet Washer, 700 W – Grey/Orange
It is an excellent carpet cleaner for the price. It is a perfect model for dog owners, large families, clumsy folk or anyone with extensive carpeting that needs regular maintenance. The Vax does a fantastic job of cleaning it. All of the dirt and stains are removed and the carpet looks fantastic after it had dried. The instructions are straight forward and it takes about 10 minutes to put the cleaner together.
It is a big and heavy beast so you will need to consider somewhere to store it when it’s not in use. This carpet scrubber is surprisingly easy to maneuver and exceedingly efficient at dealing with wide-scale grubbiness and even some ingrained stains. It also comes with two transparent tanks (one for clean water and the other for the dirty stuff), a separate small solution tank with auto-mixing, a pre-treatment wand for difficult stains, a nice long 9m cord and an equally lengthy 4.6m hose with an extremely effective Spinscrub hand tool for stair and upholstery cleaning. As a bonus, it also comes with a squeegee bar for use on hard floors and a handy hook-up bag for the hose and accessories.
If you are in the market for a top-tier carpet restorer that not only deep cleans but removes up to 93% of bacteria while it is at it, this is the model for you.
Ewbank 280 Cascade Carpet Shampooer, Red
This is good for light cleaning. It does definitely refresh carpet and gets out light smells. It has no power. It is a manual machine and you just push it. It takes a little effort on the carpet with a thicker pile. It does not suck up water. You just squirt enough shampoo in order to clean the spot, and run the carpet shampooer over it and let it dry. It is simple to use. Great for spot cleaning.
The lightweight Cascade is robust yet easy to operate. It has a telescopic handle and simple trigger that releases high-foam shampoo onto its polymer roller with twin brush strips. The strips work the active shampoo foam deep into the carpet fibers. The shampoo is designed to lift dirt as it dries. Once the carpet is completely dry, vacuum away any residue—leaving clean and fresh smelling carpets!