A dedicated carpet cleaner is a great addition to your cleaning arsenal if your floors are carpeted and you have a lot of foot–or paw–to clean it up. This carpet cleaner can remove dirt and stains quickly in a way that no other vacuum can.
Although they look similar to upright vacuum cleaners, carpet cleaners are not like standard upright vacuums,” states Larry Ciufo who oversees Consumer Reports’ carpet cleaner testing. According to the instructions, you should vacuum your floors first with a regular vacuum cleaner and then use the carpet cleaning machine to remove any dirt or embedded particles.
Some deep cleaners are also available for rent at hardware and grocery stores. These cleaners are usually larger and more robust than full-sized upright cleaners. They have twice the cleaning power, twice the cleaning capacity, and at least twice as much weight. They are also more difficult to maneuver because of their size.
How we test carpet cleaners
Our cleaning-performance tests take three days to test one carpet steam cleaner. Large swatches made of nylon carpet in off-white are soiled with red Georgia clay by our engineers. To simulate a customer cleaning a spot on a well-used carpet, they run a carpet cleaner for four wet and four drying cycles. They then repeat the test with two more swatches.
Our experts use a colorimeter to measure the absorption of light wavelengths. They take 60 readings per carpet during the test. 20 are taken in its virgin state, 20 after it is soiled and 20 after it has cleaned. A total of 180 readings are taken on three models.
How to choose a carpet cleaner
Our carpet cleaners range in price from $100 to $500 for a deep clean. Although the deep cleaners may be twice as powerful, they still clean as well. You don’t need to spend a lot to have a spotless carpet. These are five important things to remember when shopping for carpet.
1. Carpet cleaners are very heavy when empty, and even more so after you fill the tank with cleaning solution. Each model page lists the carpet cleaner’s weight when it is empty and full.
The Rug Doctor Mighty Pro X3 Commercial Pro cleaner, which is the largest cleaner in our ratings and weighs 65 pounds, may prove difficult to transport. The Hoover PowerDash Pet FH50700 is one of the lightest models that we tested. It weighs in at 12 pounds empty and 17 when full. If you are concerned about the weight of the machine, look for one with a handle.
2. Make sure you check the settings, accessories, hose lengths, cord, and cord lengths. We found it more convenient to have separate tanks for water and cleaning solution. Some dispensers automatically add the cleaning solution to the water. This saves you the effort of measuring out each tank.
Considerations to make: Manufacturers claim their models can clean carpets and hard floors like tile and wood. You can also find carpet cleaners with dry-only settings that allow you to absorb more water after the initial cleaning. This may help speed up drying times. Although an independently rotating brush won’t give you a thorough clean, it will scrub the carpet more vigorously than a fixed or no brush. Some models have a range of tools that can be used for specific applications such as upholstery, pet stains and stairs.
You can save time and effort by using a longer cord and a long hose. Most models in our rating have cords between 20 and 22 feet. However, some may run up to 25 feet. A hose is particularly useful for cleaning stairs, upholstery or other difficult-to-reach places. Ciufo states that if your stairs are carpeted, you will need a longer hose in order to reach the top. These machines are very heavy. It’s not a good idea to pull the hose too far.
3. For most cleaning, stick with the standard cleaning solution. They might also sell a wide range of specialty solutions. Hoover is one example of a company that offers many different options for flooring and carpets.
For routine carpet cleaning, however, you don’t need to use spot stain and specialty formulas. For stubborn stains like pet hair, save the specialized products.
4. Carpet cleaners can make up to 70 decibels. Carpet cleaners are much louder. The average noise level in our tests was 80 dBA. A decibel reading of 80 is two times as loud as 70. We recommend hearing protection at this decibel level, especially if the machine is being used for a long time. You can get noise-canceling headphones and earplugs with 85 dBA protection. These tips can help prevent hearing loss.
5. Carpet cleaning can take time. But a carpet cleaner? But not so. You first need to move your furniture from the area you want to clean. Next, vacuum the carpet. Then, you need to fill the machine up with water and cleaning solution.
You use a carpet cleaner in the same way as a vacuum. Pull the carpet cleaner to an arm’s length and then pull the trigger back. Release the trigger to complete the dry cycle.
Make dry passes with your carpet cleaner to remove the cleaning solution. If your carpet remains dirty, you can make more wet and dry passes to remove the cleaning solution. After you are satisfied with the results, let the carpet air dry completely before your pets or you walk on it.
But you are not finished. You are not done after admiring your work.