How to Use a Carpet Cleaner

Last update February 15, 2019
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Those who have kids and pets know firsthand how much mess they can make while playing. They seem to turn everything upside down: scatter food, spill liquids, bring mud and dirt from outdoors, and so on and so forth. All these, unfortunately, often result in appearance of hard-to-tackle stains and stubborn dirt that is difficult to remove, especially if it's stuck to carpets, rugs, and upholstery. This is where a carpet cleaner comes in, an appliance that can help put your house back in order and clean those soft surfaces you were desperate to clean.

How to Use a Carpet Cleaner: Get the Most out of Your Appliance

How to get the most out of a carpet cleaner

When your vac fails to refresh your soft floorings and remove ground-in stains from carpets and couches you purchase a carpet cleaner. Thoroughly checking technical specifications and performance characteristics and selecting between several most popular carpet cleaner models, you try to choose the best carpet cleaner that will faithfully serve you for years. However, having a quality carpet cleaner is only half the battle. To get the maximum out of your cleaning appliance functionality and achieve the desired cleaning results, it is essential to know how the unit works and how to use it in a proper way.

What Is a Carpet Cleaner and How It Works

What is a carpet cleaner and how it works

Most carpet cleaners look pretty much like conventional upright vacuums. Many people compare them and wonder which one is a better option for cleanups. The answer here is simple, if you have a lot of carpets around your home, it’s recommended that you have both. Largely, these are completely different machines that will maximize each other’s performance and help you keep your home ideally clean and fresh on a regular basis. While most canister vacuums and bagless vacs are meant for dry cleaning only, carpet cleaners are also designed for wet cleaning of carpets, which is especially important for owners of large houses with soft floorings as well as for families with pets and kids. Featuring considerably higher suction power than conventional vacs, carpet cleaners can efficiently beat out deeply sitting dust and debris from high-profile carpets and tackle embedded dirt and stains. Basically, we can differentiate between full-scale carpet cleaners for regular extensive cleanups of large carpeted areas and smaller handheld models specifically created for occasional spot cleaning.

Modern carpet cleaners usually consist of several components that explain their operational principle. These are a pump, vacuum, rinse water tank, dirty water tank, heater, and a few accessory attachments. The basic procedure is to apply some cleaning solution onto a preliminary vacuumed and free from furniture carpet to let the dirt soak and lift a bit. Then a carpet cleaner is used to absorb the detergent and dirt mixture from carpet fibres, meanwhile pumping in clean water for thorough rinsing. There are more sophisticated models that deliver steam for even deeper cleaning. A number of accessories most units come fitted with ensure the utmost functional versatility, making carpet cleaners suitable for wet and dry cleaning alike and allowing you to manage both light and heavy kinds of pollution, be it dried mud and dirt or wine and coffee stains.   

Does a Carpet Cleaner Really Remove Spills and Stains?

A carpet cleaner removes spills and stains

One of the features we're all interested in when getting a carpet cleaner is if it is going to be efficient on different kinds of stains and spills. If you have the same concern, you can rest assured since removing ingrained dirt is one of its intended uses of all carpet cleaners. The reason why many people do not achieve much when cleaning carpets and what, obviously, then makes them question the efficiency of carpet cleaners is that they simply do not know how to use carpet cleaners properly so that they would eliminate stains. All stains are different and require different treatment. You will hardly be able to simply suck up oil, ketch, ink, coffee, wine, pet urine, or some dried food stains. If that's the type of dirt problem you've got, be ready to spend some time on pre-treating the surface first. Below, we provide several handy tips on how to quickly get rid of stains that are considered hard to tackle:

How to remove food and drink stains, wine stains, coffee stains
  1. If you have a fresh spill on a high or low-pile carpet or soft rug, initially, blot it with a dry soft cloth to absorb the moist and grime to the maximum. Do not scrub. This way, you will press the dirt even deeper into and in between the fibers.
  2. Always use chemical removal solutions which match the material that your carpet or soft flooring is made of. To enhance the cleanser action on heavily soiled synthetics, use warm water. Warm cleaning solutions work great on organic substances such as food, tea, coffee, red wine, and pet urine. Yet, refrain from using hot water on natural fibers like wool or cotton that might shrink under high temperatures.
  3. Do not pour liquid solution over the stain but rather spray it to avoid applying too much detergent that will be hard to rinse off.
  4. To treat blood spots, use only a cold water in a mild solution with some high-quality dish liquid and bleach-free detergent with active oxygen.
  5. A mixture of lukewarm water with vinegar and non-bleach detergent work great for old coffee and wine stains.
  6. For fresh oil and grease spills, apply some special dry absorbent first to remove the initial mess and then use some grease-fighting detergent.
  7. To tackle ink stains, dampen a soft clean cloth with high-percentage isopropyl alcohol and blot the ink spot on the carpet until it’s wet, and let it soak for a few minutes.

Once you’ve treated the stained area with some cleaning solution, you can apply your carpet cleaner to remove the liquid with dirt, rinse the carpet, and vacuum it until almost dry. So while some of you may possibly experienced that carpet cleaner failed to remove dry food and drink stains, subject to due chemical carpet treatment they will do a great job.

The Most Popular Carpet Cleaner Models

Most popular carpet cleaner models

To describe the most popular carpet cleaner models available on the market and understand why they excel, first, it’s essential to briefly specify what makes a really good carpet cleaner. Just like with vacuums, the most important thing about carpet cleaners is powerful performance. The more power the unit motor yields the better suction and dirt absorption level it will deliver leaving your carpet clean and almost dry after use. Though the majority of modern models are now produced as two-in-one appliances meaning they can both vacuum and wash your carpet standard models meant only for carpet washing are still present on the market. Hence, always check the functionality of a carpet cleaner if you don't want to be disappointed with its cleaning performance after you make a purchase.

One more important selling point is the appliance design. Similar to conventional vacuums, carpet cleaners are available in several designs. Bulkier and heavier upright models are real workhorses that will come in handy when you need to routinely maintain large carpeted areas. Usually, they are fitted with transportation wheels for easy mobility, yet, they will still require some effort to drag it around the house. Small and compact canister models with long hoses are specifically designed for residential use. They are portable, lightweight, and don’t take much space for storage, making them ideal for small- or average-sized homes and city apartments. And you can even find cordless handheld models used for emergency spot cleaning, to clean upholstery or spruce up your car interior.

An accessory package will define the appliance functionality. A rotating brush attachment will let you efficiently scrub the pile to combat stubborn grime. An upholstery wand is great for washing couches, sofas, and armchairs while a spot attachment allows easily handling single spots saving you the need to wash the whole carpet.

The most popular brands of vacuum cleaners

The leaders among carpet cleaners, when it comes to brands, are Hoover, Bissell, Vax, and RugDoctor. Specifically, talking about dry cleaning, Vax vacuums are often compared to Dyson vacuum cleaners. The feature all Vax carpet cleaners are renowned for is high performance allowing them to deliver professional-grade cleaning results. The only caveat about them is that they are rather heavy due to their full-size design, which makes them more suitable for spring clean-ups.

The majority of RugDoctor carpet cleaners fall under the class of commercial and industrial models used for busy spaces and high-traffic areas like offices, restaurants, hotels, schools, conference halls, etc.

Talking about residential carpet cleaner models for routine domestic use, Hoover and Bissell are the names that stand out. They offer a whole variety of carpet cleaning solutions to suit various situations and cleaning tasks. And since our article is geared towards residential models, let's take a closer look at these two brands and find out together how they compare. We won't make a a side-to-side comparison. What we'd like to do is point out the main highlights of each brand and provide you with a few (and hopefully useful) recommendations on Hoover and Bissell carpet cleaners use.

Using Hoover Carpet Cleaners

Using Hoover carpet cleaners

In Hoover, they know everything about house cleaning. Started as a small workshop over 100 years ago, today Hoover is a renowned manufacturer of house cleaning appliances. Over decades, engineers have been working on improving and designating new methods of cleaning various surfaces, and today they offer a whole lot of highly functional and efficient cleaning appliances packed with advanced technologies and handy features. Seeing the number of vacuums, hard floor cleaners, and carpet cleaners the company deploys each year, it's not surprising that Hoover now takes a leading position in the carpet cleaner segment. Hoover knows how to merge well-thought design solutions with performance so that their carpet cleaners could cover both basic and specific soft floor cleaning needs. The range of Hoover products includes many different vacuum cleaners ranging from upright full-size models to compact, lightweight, and portable machines.

Hoover SmartWash

With the invention of the SmartWash+ automatic carpet cleaner, Hoover made a real breakthrough in carpet cleaning industry. This model is much more than a simple carpet cleaner, it’s an intelligent cleaning assistant that can do all the cleaning job for you and take all guesswork out of carpet cleaning. With the SmartWash+, you can rest assured knowing that the cleaning results will be pristine, and you will achieve clean carpets irrespective of how soiled they originally have been. The vac will intelligently measure the necessary amount of detergent, then mix it and spray on carpets. Also, it will check the carpet cleanness and automatically dry the carpet afterwards. All you'll need to do is choose a proper chemical cleanser and guide it around your house, moving it back and forth holding it in your hand.

The Elite carpet cleaner is distinguished by its extremely powerful performance, exceptional scrubbing action, and several operation modes. All these make it a perfect all-around helper suitable both for routine quick surface cleans and deep cleanups. By simply switching between the modes, you’ll achieve excellent cleaning results and bring your carpet back to almost brand-new condition without compromising its quality. A compact PowerDash carpet cleaner is a favorite of all pet owners since it perfectly manages pet messes, and the Spotless portable cleaner is specifically designed for cleaning upholstery, stairs, and fighting dirt in tricky nooks and corners.

Specific features of Hoover carpet cleaners

Brand-specific Features

All Hoover carpet cleaning appliances come complete with special patented and patent-pending technologies designed to enhance the cleaning performance and efficiency to the maximum.

  • The SpinScrub technology incorporates a system of counter-rotating multiple brushes that quickly spin at 360 degrees to ensure all-around clean.
  • The DualTECH cleaning system combines the SpinScrub technology with a rotating brush roll which allows the vacuum cleaner to press bristles deep in between carpet fibers so that it can efficiently capture and extract the ingrained dirt.
  • The Dual tank system enables appropriate clean and dirty water separation.
  • The DualV nozzle with a wide path allows sucking more dirt and grime at a single pass for quicker and more efficient cleaning.
  • The HeatForce technology automatically blows forced heated air onto the carpet to dry moisture quicker.

Using Bissell Carpet Cleaners

Using Bissell carpet cleaners

Bissell is another top-rated trademark in house cleaning industry. Backed up by more than a hundred year history, the company is a family business that greatly defines its business strategy, approaches, and operational principles. The philosophy behind Bissell products is to let people spend more time together and save them from the need to clean mess which most friendly get-togethers usually end up with. For this reason, the manufacturer produces a truly extensive range of cleaning appliances - from vacuums and sweepers to steam, hardfloor, and carpet cleaners - to help you keep your living space free from dust and dirt.

Bissell carpet cleaner

When it comes to carpet cleaners, Bissell boasts by far the widest choice of models. All carpet cleaning units manufactured under this brand can be divided into three categories.

Upright models include a great number of units ranging from commercial-grade heavy-duty machines to lighter cleaning appliances, all delivering professional cleaning results owing to the powerful operation and deep scrubbing action. Pet messes, stinky odors, yuki stains, Bissell upright will handle those problems with ease.

A canister carpet cleaner is the Bissell’s innovation that combines the functionality of a carpet cleaner, hard floor cleaner and a water-filtration vacuum. Not only does this appliance easily clean hard floors and deep clean carpets and upholstery but also it can vacuum different floor surfaces. On top of that, as these carpet cleaners use a sophisticated 3-stage filtration system, the air will come out perfectly clean and filtered from the finest dust particles.

Portable carpet cleaners include more powerful yet compact corded models for quick cleanups and cordless handheld appliances for spot cleans. All of them combine strong spray with forceful suction to combat accidental spills, spots, and stains.

Bissell technologies

Bissell Technologies

Similar to Hoover carpet cleaners, Bissell models also feature common technologies maximizing their performance.

  • The DriftLifter Power Brush allows a cleaning brush rotation to loosen and beat dirt out of carpet pile.
  • The EdgeSweep technology combines two rotating power brushes which allows the vac not only to remove ground-in dirt but also clean in hard-to-reach areas.
  • The Surround Suction technology is used to efficiently spread a powerful suction over the entire surface rather than keep it focused on a small spot.
  • The HeatWave technology allows maintaining consistent water temperature to achieve excellent cleaning results on all types of stains.

How Long Does It Take for a Carpet to Dry?

How long do carpets dry

Generally, after all-around extensive cleans, your carpet will be dry enough to walk on in about 4 to 5 hours. And in 24 hours, it will be completely dry. However, the majority of modern carpet cleaners will leave carpets dry almost immediately. For that, though, you will need to make sure that you do not apply too much cleaning solution so as not to make your carpets soaking wet.

Carpet Cleaner Benefits

Benefits of carpet cleaners

To conclude, carpet cleaners are pretty easy to use and require no specific skills. They will deliver amazing cleaning results and help you tackle almost any kinds of stains, spills, and pollutions subject to using proper cleaning substances. If you feel hesitant about what type of cleaning solution to use, most manufacturers supply their vacs with detailed instructions where you can find this information. Or you can follow our tips, as we've tried to cover the most common types of stains which people usually need to remove.

If used properly, carpet cleaners can provide a great number of benefits. One of them is, you'll have an opportunity to spruce up or deep clean your carpets anytime you want so that they look nice and clean. And you will not need to pay for professional cleaning services. Another one is, your carpets will be clean and really fresh with no pollutants such as pet dander, hair, dust mites and other allergens. The last but not the least benefit is that your home will be protected from mold since carpet cleaners not only clean but also dry carpets well, which is essential if you live in high-humidity areas (or with kids that splatter water here and there).