Everyone vacuums their carpets, but not everyone is completely aware of what really hides deep inside. It doesn’t matter whether it is a cheap or expensive carpet, they all have fibres. Between the carpet fibres is the storage space of dirt, where tons of bacteria and dust mites reside. Imagine what you're stepping on every time you walk over the carpet in your home.

Certainly, giving a regular vacuum of your carpet keeps loose dirt and dust away, as well as most pests. But that doesn't change the fact that you share your home with millions of tiny organisms. This is the point where one should consider a better cleaning solution. And that's exactly where portable dry or steam carpet cleaning machines come in.

Which carpet cleaner should I buy
What to know about carpet cleaning

Which is the best home carpet cleaning machine?

Science and technology now are more developed than ever, and they keep advancing further. Today, on the professional cleaning market, lots of cleaning machines exist. Deep cleaning extractors with dual tank systems, contra rotating brush machines and more.

There are even branches like Rug Doctor, who offer portable machines for hire at affordable rates. Most of them are usable not just on regular carpet, but for cleaning stairs and upholstery as well.

Speaking of developing science and technology these days, carpet cleaning is nothing like what it was a century ago. If you are a homeowner or business owner and struggle to keep the carpets clean, don't worry. The first thing you should consider buying from the market is the carpet cleaner machine.

Why choose dry carpet cleaning?

Dry cleaning, done with contra rotating brush machines or manually, is a good solution to some cleaning issues. It involves the use of powder or granule chemicals, and a minimal amount of moisture. The humidity level never exceeds 10% in dry cleaning services, which is why they're popular in commercial buildings. Hotels, offices and restaurants are among the top clients of dry carpet cleaning companies.

Dry cleaning is also the only way to clean certain carpet and upholstery materials, such as sisal or chenille. These delicate types of fabric do not handle water cleaning, and must be cleaned without it. With dry cleaning, the carpet is always ready to use right after the service.

However, dry carpet cleaning is not the ultimate method, as it has downsides as well. It rarely reaches deeper between the fibres without the use of special equipment. And in terms of stain removal, it is not a very effective cleaning technique.

Steam cleaning

Why choose steam carpet cleaning?

To understand what is a great answer to most cleaning problems, we have to take a look at the power of steam. To begin with, it is common knowledge that high temperatures kill bacteria. Due to the heat, 100% of allergy causing bugs like dust mites will be a problem of the past.

Secondly, by steaming your carpet, the reduction of the carpets drying time is significant. Due to extraction technology, the chances of forming mould and mildew inside the damp carpet are almost zero. Of course, ventilation still needs to be observed by the customer after the cleaning.

Third, steam cleaning removes a good amount of carpet stains on its own. When combined with powerful suction, and cleaning solutions, the results are incredible. Spots, stains and even odours can be removed from your carpets and rugs with almost no effort.

The more advanced machines also allow cleaning with warm or cold water, instead of hot. This feature is very helpful to treat certain material like wool, which shrinks when steamed. It also allows the cleaning of certain stains that might become permanent with hot water, such as blood.

Yet steam carpet cleaning is also not the "be all end all" of cleaning methods. As it involves an amount of water, there will be a drying time before the carpet is usable. This can be shortened by using equipment that can extract the water, but it can never be avoided. And the aforementioned cold water cleaning does affect the chances of stain removal somewhat.

Check also: How to clean nail polish out of carpet?

How do carpet cleaners work?

For simplicity's sake, we will not be discussing vacuum cleaners in this article. You can read about the best hoovers in our specialised article. The two main types of carpet cleaning machines are contra rotating brush machines and hot water extractors. Let's look at how both types of carpet cleaning machines actually operate.

Contra rotating brush machines have two brushes that rotate in opposite directions, and a hoover. This serves to scrub brush the dirt out of the carpet, where it can be picked up by the hoover. Some also come with a water tank, where cleaning solutions can be inserted, diluted or pure. The spray cleaning attachment ensures you only use products where required.

Hot water extraction cleaners heat water on their own to the selected temperature. Then, they spray it under varying pressure deep within the carpet fibres. The pressure can vary based on settings, and based on which nozzle is currently in use by the machine. Due to laws of physics, the smaller nozzles allow for more pressure than the bigger ones.

Some of these machines are so powerful they need to be mounted on trucks. The big portable extractors weigh around 80 kilos. However, small portable versions weighing about 20 kilos empty also exist.

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How to choose a good carpet cleaner?

First of all, one of the main factors is the weight of your carpet cleaner. Keep in mind, usually the machine itself is heavy enough when empty. Just imagine what it weighs when it's full of water and cleaning products. Averagely, that could add another 3 to 8 kilos to the total weight, or maybe even more.

However, most carpet cleaners these days are on rubber wheels, so you need not worry. They are built this way to make them easy to manoeuvre around the house or office. What is more, the rubber also prevents the machine from harming your flooring when you move it around.

One of the largest portable carpet cleaners is Ashbys Ninja, which weighs about 80 kilos empty. It has a clean water tank and a dirty water tank, when either is full the machine weighs 105 kilos. The lightest carpet cleaner would be Bissel PowerLifter PowerBrush 1622, which weighs 7.25 kilos empty, and 10 kilos when full.

What solution do professional carpet cleaners use?

Secondly, almost every brand out there on the market recommends its own cleaning solution with their carpet cleaner. There have been tests of the machines cleaning with and without cleaning products. Even the most powerful machines do not achieve the same results without professional cleaning products.

The final result suggests that the machine’s cleaning performance is still quite relative to its design. Of course, it always depends on the particular type of stain over the carpet, and the type of carpet fibres. In some cases, you will need to invest some more money into the stain-specific detergent. Universal removers like Prochem Stain Pro are effective on most, but specific cleaning products are always beneficial.

Does a carpet cleaner need a long hose?

Third of the main factors would be the accessories and tank capacity. Some carpet cleaning machines have only one tank, in which the water unit and the cleaning products are poured. It is more convenient to have 2 separate tanks, one for clean water and cleaning products, and another to extract the dirty water into. The handle of the carpet cleaner is also important, as it should be one that helps you move the machine around with ease.

Additionally, each carpet cleaner has a different hose length, which may be the key factor for some. The longer the hose, the better, as it will be much easier when cleaning tough-to-reach areas. You do not want to carry your heavy carpet cleaner to the top floor because of a short hose.

Is it normal for my carpet cleaner to be loud?

Fourthly, it is commonly known that carpet cleaners are loud. Most of the machines make noise measured at 80 decibels or louder. To give you a better understanding, let's compare it with the types of vacuum cleaners:

The average hoover makes between 61 and 70 decibels of noise, and the loud ones are between 70 and 76. The very loud ones are higher than 76 decibels, wherein they rival carpet cleaning machines. And the so-called silent hoovers produce around 60 decibels of noise. They're not like silencers in action films, but you will be able to hear the TV over one.

If you aim to use your carpet cleaner regularly, you should definitely think of buying some ear protection. A good pair of noise-cancelling headphones or earplugs would protect you up to 85 decibels. Surely, you do not want anything connected to hearing loss as a result of cleaning your carpets.

Home cleaning 2

How long do i need to wait before i can use my carpet cleaner?

Last but not least, a carpet cleaning machine definitely takes some time to prepare itself for the cleaning. Unlike a hoover, which could be taken out of the closet and the vacuuming could start immediately. Let's briefly walk you through the steam carpet cleaning process:

To begin with, the carpet area should be unfurnished, so you can give it a good hoovering. If you do not, the loose dirt would impede the actual steam cleaning and affect the results. Additionally, if there are shoe marks on your carpets, the steam will turn them into mud.

Afterwards, the machine should be filled with cleaning solutions and tap water. You can also apply the solutions by hand if they are ready-to-use. Examples of ready-to-use carpet cleaning products are powders, or chemicals sold in spray bottles.

Whilst cleaning with the machine, the nozzle should be pushed back and forth like a vacuum cleaner. Also, the trigger should be squeezed in order to release the water and cleaning solutions. To suction the carpet cleaning products, you need to make dry passes with the carpet cleaner. If dirt persists, repeat wet and dry passes so that no residue is left over the carpet.

Once the expected result is achieved, the carpet should be left to dry before returning the furniture inside. Then, you have to unplug the carpet cleaner, clean out the tank, and remove any debris from the brushes. Always make sure you follow the instructions in the manufacturer’s manual.

Read also: How to Clean Carpet Spills?

Is professional carpet cleaning better than doing it yourself?

In the end, not everyone can afford a carpet cleaning machine for home use. And if you have children and pets, it is not cost effective to rent a machine every day. If you are not that experienced, but really want to get your carpet cleaned, put your trust into the professionals’ hands.

Look it up online and see what professional carpet cleaning companies offer, as there are many in the UK. They can provide you an excellent service, performed by highly-trained and qualified professionals. They make their living by using first-class carpet cleaning machines, which are normally not found in stores. Additionally, they perfectly know the cleaning solutions for germ, odour and stain removal.