The 7 Best Carpet Cleaners (2022): Budget, Spot Cleaners, Hard Floors

There’s a lot to think about when buying or using a carpet cleaner, like how much space you’ll need for storage and whether you should rent or buy. Here are some tips to keep in mind.

Carpet cleaners are heavy and bulky, especially when filled with water. They can be harder to maneuver than regular upright vacuums. They will also need some storage space.

Tackle Stain Causing Spills Immediately. Most households only need to wash carpets once every six months to a year, but spot cleaners are ideal for dealing with immediate spills, and they’re easier to store and use.

You probably won’t use a carpet cleaner often, so you may want to consider hiring professionals to take care of your entire home, especially if you have limited storage space. (It can also depend on how dirty and stained your carpets are.) Look into options for renting a machine from local businesses or retail stores like Home Depot. You’ll be able to get the benefits of a commercial-grade cleaner without paying a fortune.

Clean your carpet before using a carpet cleaner. It may seem counterintuitive, but you don’t want dirt and hair to form wet clumps that block the cleanser. And if you haven’t washed your carpets in a while (or ever), be prepared for an embarrassing amount of hairy clogs to fill up the dirty water tank.

The shampoo or carpet detergent you use is important. Manufacturers often insist that you use their brand, and while other types may work fine, you may void your warranty (though I’m not sure how they would know). Most carpet cleaners come with some detergent, but I’ve had good experience with it. Rug Doctor Commercial Carpet Cleaner ($20). It works well and doesn’t have a strong smell, and you can buy a great jug for cheap.

Try, try and try again. It can be disappointing to turn on a carpet cleaner and find that it’s unable to remove that old red wine stain or caked-on toothpaste. Do not be discouraged. Several cleaning sessions can sometimes remove established stains and at least reduce or even eliminate them.

Drying your carpets can take a long time. Most carpet cleaners have different settings and suck up some of the water, but they all leave carpets a bit damp. Deep cleanings tend to leave carpets damp, so think about how you could speed up the drying time. Use fans, turn on the heat, or clean your carpet in the spring and summer when you can leave the windows open.

Protect your hearing. Of all the ways you can damage your hearing, a carpet cleaner might be the least fun, so protect your ears. Some of them get really loud, so wear earplugs while you are working.

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