Carpet Cleaners and Shampooers


The Question
I have been comparing prices on rug shampooers and cleaners for months now, trying to commit (on average) $200.00 to the dream of having a *really* clean carpet (my husband and I both have allergies) year-round. Has anyone out there used the Cleaning Machine from Kobletz that is currently on infomercial? (or if you have a retail machine, which, and do you like it?)
-- Chris

Editor's note: we had about 50 responses to this question and not a single one mentioned the Kobletz machine. Guess it's not selling too well! Almost all of the responses were positive with convenience being a major factor.

Big Green Machine
We have two kids with asthma and live in a mobile home with rugs on every floor. Four times a year or more, my husband and I clean the rugs with our Big Green Machine. It cost $129 new and has saved us not only on cleaning bills, but on doctor bills, prescriptions, pain and suffering. It's easy to use, has stood up to four years' use with no problems and came with clear instructions. I'd recommend it to anyone with allergies, who doesn't mind spending time and doing a little work to save money on rug cleaning. And btw, we had our rugs professionally cleaned just before we got the BGCM and they were no cleaner than we get them with it. We got our machine at Damark on sale. Sometimes they have refurbished ones even cheaper and they have a no questions asked thirty day guarantee.
Lil in Maine

Hoover Steam-Vac
I have used both the carpet cleaners that you have to hook up to the sink and that have their own containers for the liquids. I find the self-contained models much easier to use and less likely to overflow too! I have a Hoover Steam Vac with rotating brushes now and like it. It has returned some area rugs in my home to near-new condition; not an easy task with three dogs and Georgia red clay in the yard! It is fairly light, easy to use and assemble, and seems effective too. I also find some simple and cheap household pine cleaners diluted into the reservoir are just as effective as the commercial mixes. Just test them first on the underside or an inconspicuous corner to make sure they don't discolor your rugs though. Check with neighbors to see if anyone wants to either "rent" the machine from you on occasion or go in with you to purchase it. Good luck!
-- Evan

I own an Electrolux. It is easy and simple. The cap is a built in measuring device, and there is a clear marked line for adding the right amount of water. I bought it 7 years ago for $200 and then gave it to my sister since now I have hard wood floors. It stores easy and cleans well. I would not suggest a "Steam" cleaner. I had one by some company and when I ripped the carpet up, it was nasty and the carpet guys said it was from my "Steam" cleaner. He said all the water never gets picked up. The Electrolux Cleans with Dry chemicals and brushes on top of the carpet. It kept my carpets clean and dis infected
-- MB

Bissell Power Steamer
We recently "sucked it up" and bought Bissell's PowerSteamer. It has been a God-send!! We researched the information on all carpet cleaners as best we could and found that for the price, the Bissell promised the most. Subsequently, we've found it delivers, too. The carpets are *noticeably* cleaner, and the solution can be bought inexpensively at Sam's Club by the gallon. We figured out what we would have paid to have the carpets professionally cleaned as many times as we have done it ourselves, and the machine has already paid for itself after 3 cleanings!! We heartily recommend this machine.
Sue T.

Save on Cleaner
A cheaper cleanser to use other than brand name that matches the rented steamers. Try Clorox2 for colors. I works great and smells great too. And it's a third of the brand name brands.
-- Lara B.

Go Dry
I refuse to put steam or water onto my carpets. Try HOST CARPET CLEANING SYSTEM. available for rental at fine furniture stores or larger hardware stores. HOST consists of a substance that feels and looks like damp corn meal. You toss a handful around (directions on the box) and then use the rental brush (electric) that "grinds" (not a good word!) it down into the carpet. Let it sit for specified amount of time until the "cornmeal" feels dry to the touch and turns white then vacuum up with your vacuum cleaner. Worked for my parents - works for me!
-- Cynthia C.

Find a Commercial Machine
I have a used commercial floor scrubber machine I bought at a school board auction for $15 that would have cost $400 new. It didn't work because the wire in the plug had come apart. I fixed it with a screw driver. I bought from Hesco janitorial company a shampoo kit for this machine. It requires a special brush with a connecter and a shampoo tank with a hose. This was about $100 or so. For shampoo I use a no residue chemical that dries as a crystal powder around the dirt particles which can be vacuumed up when dry. several companies make this. A $12 carpet rake does wonders for restoring the pile. A spray bottle and a scrub brush are useful for pretreating spots. The most important tool is a good vacuum before you clean. Don't go with a cheaply made household shampooer. They aren't worth it. My machine cost less and does a lot more, and will outlast the household models even though mine was used. If you can't find one the way I did you might try a commercial janitorial supply. They may have a reconditioned one or may know of someone who has a used one for sale. They may also be able to rent you one to try out. Do not rent an extraction (steam) machine. They only work well when they are big truck mounted machines. The rental extractors do not have enough suction to pull out the moisture, leaving a gooky mess to breed in your carpet.
-a former janitor

Advice from a Pro
I was a ServiceMaster carpet cleaning owner/operator for 4 yrs and just want to alert any do-it-yourselfer to always final rinse carpets with hot, *clean* water....i.e., do not add soap or cleaner to the rinse tank!

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