What to Look For in a Carpet Cleaner
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Even when carpet is vacuumed frequently, there eventually comes a point when a deeper cleaning treatment is required. This generally involves the use of a carpet cleaner, sometimes referred to as a steam cleaner. These devices operate by combining hot water and detergent into a solution that is then squirted into the carpet. Brushes on the bottom of the cleaner work the cleansing solution into the carpet fibers. Finally, dirt and the solution are suctioned from the carpet.
For occasional use, many people choose to rent a carpet cleaner or pay a professional service to do the job. However, these can have drawbacks. Rentals tend to be bulky and awkward to transport. They also have to be returned during a specified time frame or the consumer risks being charged for another day of rental. If using a professional service, care should be taken to get a detailed quote. Otherwise, consumers may find themselves being charged excess fees for things that they thought were included. Misleading pricing is a common complaint with professional carpet cleaning services.
Consumers should keep in mind when purchasing a carpet cleaner that these can have problems as well. It is not unusual to find highly rated cleaners with complaints about leaking, overly damp carpets, inadequate cleaning power, and lack of durability. This is especially true of hand-held, portable types. To find the best carpet cleaner, there are some things that should be considered.
- Consider where the machine is to be used to determine optimal cord and hose length. In small areas, shorter ones will be fine. However, when cleaning large areas, a cord that is too short in length will hamper efforts. While it is possible to simply move the cord down to the next available outlet in the room, this adds a lot of unnecessary time and effort to the cleaning. Typically, cords range from fifteen to thirty feet. Hoses generally are between five and eight feet in length.
- Think about how the machine will be used. Carpet cleaners can be used for more than just carpets. Many consumers also use them for stairs and upholstery. For these uses, the machine should either be small enough to complete the job without excess effort or the proper specialty attachments and tools for the job should be included. In some cases, it may be necessary to purchase the attachments or tools required.
- Look at durability, not price. A common consumer mistake is to purchase one of the cheaper models of carpet cleaners. While there are some lower-priced cleaners that are good, in many cases, materials of lesser quality were used. This can decrease the lifespan of the carpet cleaner, leading to the necessity of replacement. A buddy of mine who owns an appliance repair in Calgary told me to service a machine is $100 just to look it over! A higher priced model that offers better durability may be cheaper in the long run.
- Don’t be deceived by names. Many carpet cleaners call themselves steam cleaners, despite the fact that no steam is actually used in the cleaning process. Machines that say powerbrush may simply mean that the brush is powered by the consumer.
- Think about the expense of the products used in the carpet cleaner. Most manufacturers recommend the use of their own cleaning products. Failing to do so may even void the manufacturer’s warranty on the machine. Brand name products, however, can carry a high price tag. While there are less expensive cleaner substitutes available, care should be taken to read the warranty carefully. If the warranty requires the use of a specific product, the price of that product should be factored into the cost of the carpet cleaner. Otherwise, consumers should be prepared to foot the bill for any problems with the machine.
- If the area to be cleaned includes stairs, upholstery, or small spaces, a portable model of carpet cleaner may be an option to consider. However, these are often prone to problems. Consumers should balance the potential for problems with the expense of attachments or tools for more durable models.
Finally, it is important to keep in mind that while carpet cleaners can aid in keeping carpets looking fresh, they cannot cure all problems. With heavily soiled areas or set in stains, the machine’s effectiveness at cleaning may be greatly reduced. Pre-treating may help, but if stains have been present for a while, it would be difficult, if not impossible, to find a carpet cleaner that can remove them.
Rent or Buy Carpet Steam Cleaner – Which is Better?
Renting a Carpet Steam Cleaner for a day can be the best option if costs are cheaper than buying one. If you plan on cleaning your carpets every quarter, then it might be cheaper just to buy one.
Renting Carpet Steam Cleaner Costs vs. Buying
The famous RugDoctor carpet steam cleaner can be rented for about $20-30 per 24 hour period. The cleaning shampoo can be purchased for an additional $10.
In comparison renting a qualty steam cleaner can set you back $150 (Hoover SteamVac F5914-900) for a top-rated carpet steam cleaner. Many consumers say that the Hoover SteamVac serious can give as-good as results as professional carpet cleaners.
As long as you plan to use the carpet cleaner four times a year, it pays for itself within one year. There is no definite amount of times one should steam clean, but around two per year is average (with one usually before holidays).
Other Things to Consider
- Transportation: If you use the RugDoctor or something similar; transportation costs may be high for you, as you have to transport to and from.
- Late-Fees: There may be a late fee with renting a steam cleaner, and if your late it can mean higher costs.
- Cleaning Shapoo Costs: It will costs roughly $20-30 for a large bottle; but it will lasts dozens of steam cleans.
- Shipping Costs: Many carpet cleaners we’ve reviewed, are not taking into account the shipping costs from online merchants.