How to use a carpet cleaner

Cleaning Tools & Supplies

Without regular deep cleaning, pounds worth of dirt can accumulate deep within the pile of the carpets throughout your home.

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Best way to use a carpet cleaner

The results you can get from using a carpet cleaner are amazing. Not only does your carpet gather dust, dirt and debris from you, your family and your pets, it also gathers up a lot of harmful bacteria, too. This can, in the long run, become a health hazard. 

It can also lead to your home developing a smell if not cleaned and maintained regularly. However, a carpet cleaner can give your home the pampering it deserves. Not only will a carpet cleaner leave your carpet looking good as new, but it will also give it a fresh, clean scent to fill your entire home. 

Types of carpet cleaners

There are a number of carpet cleaners on the market. However, generally speaking they all follow the same logic. This means that they tend to use water and solution to give your carpet the deep clean it needs. 

Aside from this core functionality, you can choose from carpet cleaners with different suction powers, types of brushes, tank sizes and accessories, depending on the type and size of carpet you wish to clean. 

Apart from these features, you may also want to consider the type of carpet you have. Antique rugs or carpets made from delicate fibers may require a lighter touch, such as hand-washing or professional cleaning. 

How to use your carpet cleaner for best results

Step 1: Prep the room


The first step when using a carpet cleaner is to empty the room. This means that you need to take out any furniture that may impede your cleaning. It’s also important that you vacuum the room and make sure that there’s no excess dirt, debris or pet hair on the floor by the time you start to use your carpet cleaner. 

Following this, get down on your hands and knees and check for any jewelry or metal objects that may damage your cleaner when it’s in use. It’s also wise to perform this step to make sure that you don’t unintentionally lose any items of value during your clean. 

Step 2: Prep the water

The solution you use will make all the difference to your carpet or rug. This means that it can affect the overall brightness of the fabric and, most importantly, the smell, once your cleaning is complete. 

Generally speaking, there are two core water storage systems on any carpet cleaner. The first water storage component will suck up the dirty water, while the other water storage container will have the water and solution that you are going to clean the carpet with in it. 

It’s almost always best to use an oxidizing solution to clean your carpet or rug. This is because an oxidizing solution can aid the breakdown and removal of deep-rooted dirt and debris from deep within the carpet. What’s more, by using this technique, you tend not to damage the carpet or rug and generally only have to go over a specific area once. 

When adding water to the carpet cleaner it’s best to use warm water. Next you add in the recommended amount of cleaning solution. A top tip is to add the water to the bucket first and then add the cleaner so that the solution does not foam up on you. 

Step 3: Prep the machine

Machines tend to come with instructions and it’s important that you follow them. However, generally speaking, they work according to the same fundamentals. The first step will be to add the hot water with your solution in it to the machine. This simply means that you pour the water into the reservoir of the machine. 

You won’t need to worry about spillage because, in a matter of minutes, you’ll be cleaning your carpet anyway. However, it’s important that you don’t overfill the machine. That said, you want to get as much water into the machine as possible, so that you can clean your carpet in one fell swoop. Next, you need to make sure that you attach the dirty water bucket onto the machine so that all the dirty water extracted from the carpet is swept back up and not spat out onto your carpet. 

Step 4: Clean the carpet 

Take the cleaner to the far side of the room and activate the machine. Next, depending on the style of your machine, pull the cleaner from one side of the room to the next. At this stage, it’s best to move in straight lines. This means that you want to go in straight lines until your back or the front of the machine touches the wall. 

Next, turn the machine off or deactivate the water and turn the machine around and repeat to make sure that you have gotten the full breadth of the carpet. Some pros also recommend going around the room following its shape in a clockwise fashion after you have completed each line to make sure that it is evenly cleaned in all areas. 

Step 5: Allow the carpet to dry

Depending on how dirty the carpet is, one sweep with the cleaner should do the trick. It’s recommended that you clean your carpets every four months or so. Finally, leave your carpet to dry before moving furniture back into the area. If possible, leave the heating on in the room and only move your furniture back in once the carpet is fully dried. 

What you need to use a carpet cleaner

BISSELL TurboClean PowerBrush Pet Carpet Cleaner

BISSELL TurboClean PowerBrush Pet Carpet Cleaner

This is one of the most powerful consumer carpet cleaners you can get and it’s ideal for everything from light cleaning to removing deeply rooted dirt from your carpets. It’s also fairly easy to fill and use, remaining pretty lightweight even when the tanks are filled.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon, Kohl’s and Wayfair

Hoover Power Scrub Deluxe Carpet Cleaner Machine

Hoover Power Scrub Deluxe Carpet Cleaner Machine

SpinScrub brushes lift deeply embedded dirt and stains. It includes an 8-foot hose, stair tool, upholstery tool, crevice tool and sample bottle of carpet cleaning solution.

Where to buy: Sold at Amazon

Hoover Power Scrub Deluxe Carpet Cleaner Machine

Hoover Smartwash Automatic Carpet Cleaner

This offers automatic cleaning technology, which means you simply push it forward to clean and pull it back to dry. It has a 12-foot hose and comes with an accessory bag and sample bottle of carpet cleaner.

Where to buy: Sold at Amazon

Carbona 2-In-1 Oxypowered Carpet Cleaner

Carbona 2-In-1 Oxypowered Carpet Cleaner

The powerful formula of this solution helps to lift stains from carpet and completely remove odors, which is perfect for pet owners or carpets that haven’t been shown some love in a very long time.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon and Bed Bath & Beyond

Bissell Deep Clean Pro

Bissell Deep Clean Pro

This cleaning solution is for tough, ground-in dirt, stains and odors. Plus, every Bissell purchase benefits pets, with its Bissell Pets Foundation. 

Where to Buy: Sold by Amazon


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Lauren Farrell writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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