There is a lot that goes into buying or using a carpet cleaner, such as how much space you need for storage and whether you should rent or buy. Here are some tips to keep in mind.
Carpet cleaners are heavy and bulky, especially when filled with water. They can be more difficult to maneuver than regular stick vacuums. They also require quite a bit of storage space.
Tackle stains that cause stains immediately† Most households only need to wash carpets once every six months to a year, but spot cleaners are ideal for treating immediate spills, as well as being easier to store and use.
You probably won’t use a carpet cleaner oftenSo it’s okay to consider hiring professionals to do your entire house, especially if you have limited storage space. (It may also depend on how dirty and stained your carpets are.) Check out options for renting a machine from local businesses or stores like The Home Depot. You can enjoy the benefits of a professional cleaner without paying a fortune.
Clean your carpet before using a carpet cleaner† This may seem counterintuitive, but you don’t want dirt and hair to form wet clumps that block the cleaner. And if you haven’t washed your carpets in a while (or ever), be prepared for an embarrassing amount of furry clogs to fill the holding tank.
The carpet shampoo or detergent you use is important† Manufacturers often insist that you use their brand, and while other types may work well, it could void your warranty (although I have no idea how they would know). Most carpet cleaners come with detergent, but I have good experience with them Carpet Doctor’s Commercial Carpet Cleaner ($20)† It works well and doesn’t have a strong smell, and you can buy a large pitcher cheaply.
Try, try and try again. It can be disappointing to turn on a carpet cleaner and find it unable to remove that old red wine stain or ground-in toothpaste. Don’t lose heart. Multiple cleaning sessions can sometimes remove existing stains and at least reduce them, if not remove them.
Drying your carpets can take a long time† Most carpet cleaners have different settings and they will suck up some of the water, but all will leave carpets a little damp. The deeper cleans tend to wet carpets, so think about how you can speed up the drying time. Use fans, turn on the heater, or clean your carpet in the spring and summer months when you can leave the windows open.
Protect your hearing. Of all the ways you can damage your hearing, a carpet cleaner may be the least fun, so protect your ears. Some get very loud so wear earplugs while working.