Newly carpeted living spaces are appealing to see and the feel of fluffy carpet fabric on the feet can be relaxing. Carpets are worthwhile the investments, but only if the best carpet cleaner is used to ensure their durability through proper care and maintenance.
Carpets by their nature easily attract dust, trap dirt particles and mites and retain stains, making it crucial to clean them from time to time to ensure their durability and a healthy environment. A carpet cleaner is a machine used for cleaning stains, dirt, grime, mites and bacteria from carpets.
They’re designed to reach into carpet’s fabric and piles and lift out deeply embedded dust and particles. Rug cleaners are typically used with steam and cleaning solutions to give your rug a deep clean.
Benefits of Using a Carpet Cleaner
Keeping a clean home is very important and if you have carpets running from wall to wall, it’s important to have your home kept neat all the times. This is because if not properly cleaned and maintained, carpets can be a breeding place for molds, dust mites and other dangerous elements that can be detrimental to your health and well-being.
Dealing with carpet stains, whether from muddy paws, sticky liquids, syrups, jellies, sauce chunks, paints, wine and a lot of other substances can be quite challenging unless you’re using the right rug cleaner.
Some of the benefits of using carpet cleaners include:
Extends the Life of Your Carpet
One of the significant benefits of rug cleaners is that they help to extend the life of your carpet. Most times dirt, allergens and debris accumulate in carpets which may cause them to deteriorate. Using a rug cleaner to remove these dirt’s can improve the longevity of the rug.
Completely Removes Dirt and Bacteria
Using a cleaner for carpet also helps to keep the environment free from allergens. Sometimes dust that gets trapped in carpets ends up into thin air and causes respiratory problems and allergic reactions. However, they’ll kill allergens and leave the surfaces thoroughly sanitized.
In addition, using a carpet cleaner removes all bacteria from the rug and gets rid of odors, thereby improving airflow.
Removes Carpet Stains
Carpet cleaners also help to remove tough stains and keep the rug neat at all times.
Improves Overall Appearance of the Room
When carpets are dirty, the room also becomes dirty and outdated. However, carpet cleaners make the rug’s fibers look as good as new and improve the general appearance of the room.
How Carpet Cleaners Works
Carpet cleaners work by making use of powerful scrubbing brushes, vacuum suction and a cleaning solution.
First, they inject a mixture of cleaning solution with water deep into the carpet’s fibers, which soaks for ten minutes, then the brush loosens the dirt while the vacuum lifts the trash away. Rugs take less time to dry when cleaned using a carpet cleaner.
Types of Carpet Cleaners
The shampooer was very popular for a long time until the 1970s when the encapsulation technology took over.
The shampooer works by dispensing the cleaning agent (carpet shampoo) and water to the carpet surface and it runs on the surface while its power brushes scrub the carpet clean. It also vacuums water residue simultaneously as it washes.
This type of carpet cleaning, also popularly known as hot water extraction, employs the use of high pressured hot water and cleaning agents to clean out dirt, stains and grime from carpets.
The carpet is first pre-treated with a cleaning solution. Hot water is then applied to rinse it out, along with the dirt, sand and other particles.
After that, a high-powered wet vacuum is used to suction wastewater, sand particles and cleaning solution residue from the carpet. The steam cleaning method is sufficient enough for most carpet types.
Dry cleaning technique is similar to the steam cleaning technique. The distinction between the two is that instead of a cleaning solution and hot water, dry cleaning uses a chemical foam solution.
This foam solution is laid over the carpet surface, allowed to permeate into the fabrics of the carpet and attract dirt, dust, grime and particles. The cleaning residue is then sucked out using a suction hose.
With this method of cleaning, the carpet is pre-treated with a foam-like encapsulation cleaning solution. This encapsulation foam works by trapping dirt particles, dust and stains.
A specially designed machine is then run over the carpet to plow into it and allow the cleaning solution to penetrate the carpet’s fabric. Loose crystals form once it dries and you can remove them using a vacuum. This carpet cleaning technique leaves behind less chemical residue.
This type of cleaning is excellent when your goal is surface cleaning because the process primarily involves cleaning the rug’s surface. The bonnet cleaning process begins with the application of a liquid cleaning solution on the surface to attract dirt and dust particles and then break them down.
After that, a buffing machine which has an absorbent pad or bonnet attached is run on the carpet surface to soak up the cleaning solution and dirt deposits. Soiled absorbent pads are replaced continuously, until every bit of cleaning solution and dirt is removed.
How to Choose the Best Carpet Cleaner
There are several factors to consider when choosing the best carpet cleaner for you. Some of them are:
The type of a carpet cleaner you want to buy will mostly depend on what you need it for. For example, if you have rugs running from wall to wall in a space, it’s a great idea to get a carpet cleaner that has a large tank, as this will help you save energy and time from moving back and forth to refill the tank as you clean.
If you have little children, there are bound to be accidents now and then leaving chunks of sauce, food and drink droppings on the carpet. A convenient way to tackle these types of messes is to clean them up quickly as they occur.
Having a portable cleaner is crucial in this kind of situations, plus they’re very efficient for spot cleaning. If you have pets, it’s a good idea to get a carpet cleaner that’s designed with pets in mind, to effectively get rid of hairs and stains which pets leave behind.
This is especially important if you’re opting to either shampoo or steam clean your carpet. These two carpet cleaning methods use the most amounts of water thus it’s advisable to go for a very high-powered suction device to ensure proper suction/extraction and relatively short drying time.
Water heaters are necessary to increase the effectiveness of cleaning. Some carpet cleaners, like the cylinder steam cleaners, require that you wait for a few minutes to heat up, while others heat up simultaneously as you clean.
However, for those that need the initial wait, the steam time is unrivaled and the steam itself is sturdy making it perfect for dissolving and lifting ingrained dirt and stains which is useful for scrubbing hard floors and carpets. This factor should be put into proper consideration, especially if you’re looking to pick the best steam cleaner.
The variety of carpet cleaners means there are also a variety of brushes to serve different cleaning purposes. Some of them are dirt lifter power brush, spin scrub power brush and rotating brushes (which is particularly very effective at removing pet grime).
Some carpet cleaners come with a wide range of attachable cleaning tools like crevice tool, upholstery tool, etc. if you’re looking at getting the best out of your carpet cleaning machine, it makes a whole lot of sense to go for a carpet cleaner that comes with some, if not all, of those attachments.
It’s essential to consider the hose length of a carpet cleaner when choosing one. A long hose will enable you to clean out far corners and stairs (if your home has one), without having to move the machine continuously.
One thing to consider in choosing the best carpet cleaner is how portable/or not it is. If you’ll need to move it around within a large area while cleaning and you don’t have enough space for storage, portability is a vital thing you should look out for.
Alternatively, wheels can help to handle maneuverability for the reasonably heavy carpet cleaners. However, you should check to ensure that the wheels are rubber-clad to avoid harming your floor surfaces.
In choosing the best carpet cleaner, you have to put into consideration the nature of your floors. If your home has a combination of carpet and either hardwood or laminate, it’ll be a good idea to go for a canister carpet cleaner, as this will allow you to use the same machine for cleaning different surfaces.
The type of filter fitted to carpet cleaner is a vital factor in picking an ideal option for you, especially if you suffer from allergies.
Efficient filter functions in such a way that dirt, fiber, pet hair and every other particle lifted off surfaces during cleaning aren’t released back into the living space. HEPA filters, for instance, are known for their high efficiency.
Cord or Cordless
When choosing between a cord or cordless carpet cleaner, it’s crucial to identify the job/cleaning you want to do, battery life and durability. A corded machine relies on power to operate and usually restricts your movement to certain areas.
A cordless device, on the other hand, allows you to easily clean hard to reach angles and spots without relying on power. It’s also usually portable and quite easy to use.
One major snag with a cordless machine is that the battery life isn’t long. It usually lasts somewhere around 5–20 minutes, depending on the power setting. Durability is another issue with the cordless version as the batteries have a finite amount of charges before they finally run down entirely.
It’s crucial that you put your budget into consideration when choosing the carpet cleaner that’s best for you. If you’re on a tight budget, with a proper search, you can find budget-friendly carpet cleaners that still clean efficiently.
Carpet Cleaner vs Types of Stains
Carpet Cleaner vs Dust
Regular vacuum cleaners are very effective at removing surface dust, dirt and particles from the carpet, while a carpet cleaner can reach down into carpet fabrics to clean embedded dust, dirt, grime, stains and particles which the vacuum cleaner can’t possibly reach.
Carpet cleaners are very efficient in cleaning dust. They shake off dust particles from the carpet pile and also wash the dirt off the carpet threads.
Carpet Cleaner vs Hard Stains
Carpet cleaners with the help of a combination of steam and cleaning chemicals can remove hard stains from carpets. Usually, the type of stain to be tackled decides the kind of cleaning agent to use. After the application of cleaning chemical and steam, the carpet cleaner works through the carpet fibers with its brushes to scrub and clean hard stains.
Carpet Cleaner vs Pet Hair and Odor
Carpet cleaners explicitly designed with pets in mind are very efficient in ridding carpets of pet hair and stains. During cleaning, a carpet cleaner collects pet hair into a basket purposed for that. These types of machines work more efficiently when used with the recommended cleaning solutions for tackling pet stains and eliminating pet odor.
Carpet Cleaner on Different Surfaces
Tiles are typically a haven for dirt and bacteria, making it necessary to use steam in cleaning the surfaces, whether in the kitchen, bathroom or living areas. Carpet steamers can be used for tiles cleaning.
However, when cleaning tile surfaces, it’s advisable to work on small areas at a time. This is where a great portable steam cleaner comes handy.
Most dual-function or multi-function carpet cleaners work well as hardwood vacuums. This is because they’re structured to clean different surfaces.
Generally, steam cleaning isn’t advisable for hardwood floors, unless of course, you’re using specially designed steam mops for hardwood floors. Otherwise, the moisture from excess steam will cause damage to your floors.
Most carpet cleaners typically use brushes and steam to penetrate carpet fibers and extract dirt and because the laminate flooring doesn’t get mud stuck beneath its surface, the use of abrasive brushes and steam on it isn’t ideal, as that will tamper its durability.
When it comes to cleaning your laminate floor, it’s best to either opt for special mops for laminate flooring or the uniquely designed premium laminate vacuums. The bristles on the brushes of these vacuums are designed to clean laminate surfaces safely without causing any abrasions.
Most people consider vinyl plank flooring as luxurious, despite being affordable. According to Nucore flooring reviews, vinyl planks are the flooring of a new generation. It may be hard to believe but, today’s vinyl floors are often mistaken for real wood and natural stone.
This type of flooring, though durable, is quite sensitive. Its durability is mostly dependent on how you care for it and maintain it.
A lightweight vacuum cleaner is efficient enough to remove dirt and particles from the vinyl floor. However, if you’re looking to tackle mud stains and dirt build-up, a durable microfiber mop is more than perfect.
Having a COREtec flooring tested with this type of mop will prove as ideal, as it’ll protect your vinyl floor from any possible abrasion.
Carpet Cleaner vs Other Carpet Cleaning Tools
Carpet Stain Removers
There are a variety of excellent carpet stain removers in the market designed for removal of different kinds of carpet stains like pet stains, chocolate syrup stains, sauce stains, mud stains, wine stains, etc. Carpet stain removers tackle specific types of stains based on their formulation efficiently.
Some of them are also designed to remove odor and sanitize surfaces. A good number of carpet stain removers are also useful for cleaning other surfaces like bathroom mats, upholstery and car seats.
Upright Vacuum Cleaners
These are heavy vacuum cleaners designed to have the suction head at the bottom and the dust container mounted in between.
They have a large capacity which implies that you’ll spend less time emptying them and covering many areas within a short time. However, due to their size, they’re inconvenient for people who want to clean their stairs.
Handheld Vacuum Cleaners
Handheld vacuum cleaners are small, rechargeable and portable vacuum cleaners perfect for cleaning smaller spaces like furniture, cars and around the sofas. Their major drawback is that they have limited battery life and lack of suction power.
Does More Spending Mean More Quality
Price alone isn’t enough to tell you how good a carpet cleaner is. Other crucial factors like your cleaning needs and a carpet cleaner features matter as well.
However, several researches and tests have shown that most cheap carpet cleaners are quite ineffective at cleaning, while a few pricier ones have failed to perform as expected.
Buying a carpet cleaner is no doubt a worthwhile investment if having a clean and healthy environment is a priority. Thus, spending more to acquire the best carpet cleaner won’t be a wrong move.
How to Use a Carpet Cleaner
Carpet cleaners are designed to give your carpet the deep clean you desire. These machines generally use water (usually warm or hot water), detergent, shampoo and other cleaning solutions to remove dirt and stains from your carpet.
Step 1 – Vacuum the Surface of a Carpet
Before you begin carpet cleaning, it’s best that you first vacuum the carpet surface thoroughly to remove dirt and dust particles and to also loosen up the carpet fibers for reaching easier into the carpet pile during washing.
Step 2 – Add Water and Cleaning Solution
After this, apply a cleaning solution and water (usually hot water or steam) to your carpets, then run a carpet cleaner over the rug. As you do this, machine brushes raise and jostle the carpet fibers through their movements and pull out deep-seated dirt, stains (whether old or new) and grime, which mix into the wastewater.
When you’re done with the scrubbing and jostling, a carpet cleaner suctions out the wastewater into its tank and it does this with the help of its vacuum or other high-powered suction devices. Some machines come with the auto-rinse feature so that you wash and also rinse simultaneously, after which it suctions out wastewater.
Step 3 – Let Your Carpet Dry for a While
After you have washed and suctioned out water, a rug will still be damp. Though you can step on it, it’s better to allow it to dry out for a couple of hours before it can take on the heavy traffic.
In trying to reduce drying time, some carpet cleaner models have the heated cleaning feature, where hot air is applied to the carpet while cleaning.
How to Clean and Maintain Carpet Cleaner
Proper care and maintenance of your carpet cleaner help to guarantee its durability. After cleaning your carpet, it’s imperative that you also clean the machine to prevent the components from clogging and malfunctioning.
Step 1 – Empty the Tanks
After cleaning your carpet, turn off the power switch of your carpet cleaner. Unplug the cord from the power source.
Empty and clean out the tanks. If you used a cleaning solution, it’s a good idea to fill up the tanks with fresh water to rinse out any trace of the solution and wipe them with a dry cloth to ensure that there’s no residue of chemicals in the tank, which can put your machine at the risk of clogging in various parts.
Step 2 – Remove the Excess Dirt from Nozzle and Brushes
Pay close attention to the nozzle and brushes. Dirt, grime, fibers and other particles collected during cleaning must be removed. Some carpet cleaners have built-in nozzles and brushes.
This makes cleaning a bit cumbersome, as the machines must be tilted or you must get down on the floor to ensure thorough cleaning. Other types have detachable nozzles and brushes which can be separated from the device and thoroughly cleaned out.
Step 3 – Clean the Exterior of a Carpet Cleaner
Clean the exterior of your carpet cleaner to prevent a build-up of dirt and dust over time. You can do this with a damp cloth after each use.
Step 4 – Leave Your Carpet Cleaner to Dry
Allow your carpet cleaner to dry out completely before storing it, as this will prevent rusting and malfunctioning from water remaining in parts of the machine for long periods between cleanings.
Lastly, as much as possible, use only manufacturers’ recommended products. Doing this is not only best for your carpet, but it’s the best way to use your carpet cleaner and ensure its durability.
More so, bear in mind that some cleaning agents are designed to work with specific models of carpet cleaners.
Carpet Cleaner FAQ
How to store a carpet cleaner?
Ensure that every component like the brushes, nozzles and tanks of the carpet cleaner are dry. Assemble the parts appropriately.
After that, roll up the cord properly on the cord hooks, usually provided on the body of the machine. Move the machine to your closet or storage space and ensure that the storage space you settle for is moisture-free, to avoid rusting of some parts of the device.
Release the handle lever of your machine to collapse the handle for convenient and compact storage.
Are carpet cleaners helpful with allergies?
Yes. Carpet cleaners are efficient at removing the accumulation of dust mites, dirt and allergens which regular vacuuming can’t remove.
Can carpet cleaners eliminate pet odor and urine?
Yes. Some carpet cleaners are specifically designed to handle pet urine stains and odor. The use of these types of machines in combination with specially formulated cleaning solutions ensures the elimination of pet odor and urine stains.
Do steam cleaners damage carpet material?
No. Steam cleaners alone don’t cause damage to carpet materials. The steam is used to remove stains and kill bacteria and mites. Any damage on carpet material following steam cleaning will be the result of highly acidic chemicals contained in cleaning solutions you use.
Carpets can be good buys, but so much has to go into their care and maintenance to ensure this. Regular vacuuming falls short in providing the necessary care carpets require.
This makes carpet cleaning an essential task. Commercial carpet cleaning does deliver all the benefits of carpet cleaning, but owning a carpet cleaner allows you to clean stains as they occur and clean your carpet as regular as necessary.
You don’t need to break a bank to buy a carpet cleaner for your home. There are various brands and models to choose from and some very efficient machines can be acquired at decent prices, even if you’re on a tight budget.
However, before choosing the best carpet cleaner, you should consider your cleaning needs in order to make the right choice. A carpet cleaner is a worthy investment for most households as it offers a more practical option compared to vacuuming alone because of its ability to reach deep into the carpet fabrics to bring out stains, dirt and grime.
Photo from: grigvovan / depositphotos.com.