Hardly anyone enjoys learning how to use a carpet cleaner machine, but most enjoy the results after it is done. This could describe a lot of scenarios. Exercising. Painting a room. Cleaning the shower. Birthing a baby. And cleaning your carpet. This article will tell you how to use a carpet cleaner, as well as how a carpet cleaner works. Learn the steps involved in the process. Discover tips to make carpet cleaning as easy and as effective as possible. And answer the question everyone wants to know: how does a carpet cleaner work?
The Carpet Cleaning Process Step-by-Step
Remove all the furniture from the room you wish to clean.
Granted, this is a lot of work, especially if your rooms are like my mother-in-law’s and chock full of heavy furniture covered with porcelain cats. How about this: remove most of the furniture from the room you wish to clean.
Wipe down all the surfaces
Wipe down the furniture, as well as the walls, vent covers, and ceiling fan blades.
Vacuum the carpet thoroughly.
Use the edger piece of your vacuum and make sure to vacuum the corners and trim thoroughly. Take off the vent covers and vacuum as much debris as you can out of the ductwork. While carpet machines have some suction, they are not the same as a vacuum. Do not skip this step.
Top Related Article: Lightweight Vacuum Cleaners
Look for stains on the carpet that need pre-treating as you vacuum.
Mark the stains with whatever you have handy – pieces of paper, shoes, or post-it notes.
Pre-treat any stains you find with carpet stain cleaner.
For some instances, it is recommended that you use the carpet machine to work the stain remover into the carpet. Others recommend you use a clean cloth to blot up the stain. This usually depends on what type of stain removal product you purchased. Read the label and follow the directions. Keep reading to find tips on how to treat specific types of stains later in this article.
Learn how your carpet cleaner works.
Read the directions. Look for online tutorial videos. Look at the machine’s settings. Make sure you understand how to use the rug cleaner. Some machines require you to pull it backwards across the room, while the forward action sucks up the water. Some carpet cleaners work while moving forward. Make sure you know how to use your model, or else you will go through a lot of work with minimal reward. How unsatisfying would that be?
Learn about the surface you are cleaning.
Rug shampooers use heat to activate the soap within the machine. Using warm or hot water on rugs with natural fibers may cause the rug to shrink. Most household carpets can withstand the heat, but some rugs may be made of wool and would be destroyed by the carpet-cleaning process.
Start in the corner of the room furthest from the doorway.
Keep in mind that the carpet will be damp as you shampoo it. Any debris at the bottom of your shoes may “wash off” on your damp carpet, so it is advisable to either wear immaculate shoes while carpet cleaning or wear no shoes at all.
Move slowly from the starting corner to the wall on the other side of the room. As you turn around, overlap your first swath to make sure that each section of your room receives at least two treatments.
Move slowly and methodically throughout the room.
Most carpet cleaners spray soapy water into the carpet and then suck up the now dirty water back into the machine. If you move too quickly, the machine will not have the appropriate amount of time to suck up the dirty water. Consider walking one step per second or slower.
Listen to your machine as you use it.
Some machines have no indicators alerting the user when more soap or water needs to be added. Your machine may be the same way. Pay attention to the water level and any change to the sound of the machine that might indicate a change needs to be made.
Related: Best Canister Vacuums
Empty the dirty water into the toilet or outside.
Keep in mind, some machines may pick up carpet fragments or other solid debris. Dumping this debris down the sink or tub may cause the pipes to clog.
Look at the dirty water you are dumping.
You can now choose to stop and congratulate yourself on a job well done, or if your water seemed especially dirty, you might decide to repeat the process.
Repeat at a 90-degree angle
If you chose to repeat the process, consider running the carpet cleaner at a 90-degree angle from where you ran it the first time.
Run the shampooer again
If you are satisfied with the color of the water you are dumping, run the shampooer a final time. If during the second run the wastewater is still extremely muddy looking, you may consider running the shampooer the third time.
Run the machine a final time.
Once you are satisfied with the carpet’s cleanness, run the machine a final time with cold water and no soap. Using hot water will cause the soap in the carpet to produce suds again. Cold water will work to rinse the carpet.
Wait for your carpet to dry.
Consider running ceiling fans and the air conditioner to promote drying conditions. Your home’s air conditioner works to pull moisture out of the air, so it is an effective tool in drying your carpets as quickly as possible.
Stay off damp carpets
Don’t go back onto carpets until they are completely dry. Keep pets and children out of the area. Drying may take overnight. Put fans on and open windows to help it dry faster and prevent mold.
Move furniture back into the room.
Keep in mind that the carpets may seem dry to the touch but may have some dampness in the deep fibers. If your furniture has any metal on the bottom of the legs, place the legs on coasters. If you place metal on wet surfaces, you may discover rust-rings in your carpet the next time you move the furniture.
Related: Best Commercial Vacuum Cleaner
Rinse out the tanks on your machine.
Allow them to dry completely before putting the lids back on the tanks.how to use a carpet cleaner
How Does Your Carpet Cleaner Work?
There are a wide variety of carpet cleaners or carpet shampooers on the market. One can purchase a unit to use at home or rent one through grocery stores or home improvement stores. Even though the technology behind carpet cleaners vary from brand to brand, most work in a similar fashion.
The operator fills up the unit with water and soap. The sizes of the tanks vary greatly and depend on the size of the machine being used.
Some cleaners recommend using only their solvents on their machines. Since carpet cleaners are relatively expensive, it would behoove the user to follow these instructions.
Some units heat the water in the tank. If your machine has that capability, let the water heat before beginning the operation. Some units have the ability of heating water to 210 degrees Fahrenheit within three minutes.
Regardless if the water is heated or not, the water combines with the soap and is injected onto the surface of the carpet. A pump generates the pressure to spray the water. The pump pressure on carpet cleaners is usually about 60 pounds per square inch. Although, it can go as high as 500 pounds per square inch.
Once the soapy water is sprayed over the surface of the carpet, a vacuum sucks up the water into an extraction tank. This vacuum can be measured by its airflow, or how many cubic feet of air per minute it moves through the machine, as well as how many inches of water the vacuum suctions out of the carpet. The typical airflow for carpet shampooers is 100 to 200 cubic feet per minute. The water lift usually ranges from 100 to more than 250 inches.
The dirty water is sucked into a recovery tank. The size of this tank varies significantly between the models of the machines.
Some carpet cleaning machines do not work this way. Steam carpet cleaners are also available for purchase or rent. These units use dry vapor steam to clean the carpets. This is not as common as the previously described models.
Related: Best Vacuum for Pet Hair
Keep in mind, carpet cleaners are not just for carpet. Most carpet shampooers come with a variety of attachments that can be used for other areas of your home besides your carpet. Some attachments allow users to clean upholstery and curtains.
How to Get Stains Out of Your Carpet
Stains happen, unless you are a famous singer that only allows clear drinks in her house. Most of us do not operate on that level of OCD, so most of us have to deal with stains on our carpet at some time during our lives. Here is a general guide to help you remove these imperfections from our floors.
Blot. Don’t rub.
If the spill just happened, use a clean cloth or paper towels and push down on the liquid to soak it up. Aggressively rubbing the area can cause the carpet fibers to break down prematurely. Rubbing can also cause the particles to get ground into the threads. While blotting, remember to start from the outside edge of the stain and work inward. Blotting from the inside of the stain outward can spread the stain.
Use club soda or vinegar and water to get out stains from beer and wine.
Dampen a clean cloth with club soda. Use this cloth to blot the area stained with beer or wine. If this doesn’t work, spray a mixture of white vinegar and water onto the area. Use a clean sponge or rag to soak up the liquid from the carpet. Press a clean towel to the area and apply continuous pressure with something substantial.
Say hello to shaving cream, yes, shaving cream.
While spot carpet cleaner is usually your best bet to remove stains, a desperate situation calls for extraordinary measures. Consider trying ordinary shaving cream to get out general stains from your carpet. Apply the shaving cream to the stain and let it sit for about 30 minutes. Blot the shaving cream away with a clean cloth.
How to Use a Carpet Cleaner to Remove Specific Stains
While you now have a general idea on how to get out stains, it is now time to become more specific and find out how to treat particular stains. Before using your carpet cleaning machine, take the time to use the following tricks to remove the bulk of the following stains…
Remove Blood from Carpets
While we don’t want to know how you ended up with a blood stain on your carpet, we will tell you how to get rid of one. First, loosen up the dried blood with a carpet cleaning detergent. Blot the cleaning solution from the area. Next add hydrogen peroxide directly to the stain. Dab the hydrogen peroxide with a clean cloth to remove the liquid and hopefully the blood with it.
Remove Grease from Carpets
Another tricky substance to remove from carpet is grease. To help remove grease stains, use dishwashing soap that is marketed to cut through grease. Spray a water/detergent solution to the area and dab up the excess with a clean, dry cloth. You may need to repeat this process several times before going back over the area with your carpet cleaning machine.
Remove Gum from Carpets
Gum can be tricky to remove from any soft surface. If you find yourself with gum on your carpet or upholstery, head to the freezer to get an ice cube. Apply the ice directly to the gum and wait for it to freeze. Once the gum is frozen, it should be easier to remove from the surrounding fibers.
Remove Candle Wax from Carpets
Candle wax on your carpet or any other soft surface should be no cause for alarm. Place a clean, light-colored towel over the wax and press the area with a heated iron. The heat from the iron will melt the wax and allow you to scrape the wax off the carpet fibers using a butter knife.
More Tips to Score Cleaner Carpets
It sometimes feels that 25 percent of the internet is full of household products that can be used a variety of ways. While it is easy to be dubious about how some household substances can be used to clean your carpet, desperate times call for desperate measures.
Some say pouring beer directly over a coffee or tea spill will remove the stain. This seems like a waste of beer to me.
Other sources say applying a paste made of milk and cornstarch to the area can clear up ink stains. Apparently, cornstarch can also be used on oil stains as well.
Is your carpet seemingly ruined because your tipsy sister-in-law spilled red wine in the center of your living room? Don’t worry. According to do-it-yourselfers, you can pour white wine on the red wine spill to dilute the color in the rug. After you clean the spot with cold water, sprinkle the area with salt and wait ten minutes. Or you could just drink more wine, and then the stain will cease to be as big of a deal as it once was.
Many of my childhood memories involve my Grandma carrying around a can of WD-40, but I don’t remember her using it to clean her carpets. Although, come to find out, many people use this miracle substance to remove ink stains from carpets.
Related: Best Robot Vacuum
Since most of us don’t have the pink powder grade school custodians use to clean up vomit, we have to rely on baking soda. First, wipe up what you can with paper towels and then sprinkle baking soda over the affected area. Dab the area with a paper towel and then vacuum.
Natural Ways to Remove Stains
Some say to forget store-bought carpet cleansers. Instead, any stain can be treated with either lemon juice, baking soda, white vinegar, and a household detergent—or a combination of the four.
Placing a paste made with baking soda and water over rust stains can help leave your carpet as clean as can be.
Water soluble stains, such as stains involving mud, beverages, or food that melts can be removed with a solution made of water and white vinegar.
Lemon juice can be used for those pesky and prevalent blood stains. The natural acidity in lemon juice works as a bleaching agent. The added benefit of using lemon juice is that it will leave your house smelling fresh and clean.
As with any cleaner, make sure you test the product in a corner of the room that does not see very much traffic before applying it to the carpet in the middle of your room.
Regardless if you prefer store-bought products or home remedies, pre-treating stains is a necessary part of the carpet cleaning process. Also, remember to remove soil and debris by vacuuming thoroughly before starting up the carpet cleaner. Run the carpet cleaner until the water runs as close to clean as you are comfortable with. Then, make sure to allow the carpets to dry completely before reloading the room. Run the air conditioner in the house to help the moisture in your carpet dissipate rapidly.
Having clean, fresh carpets is entirely satisfying. Take care to follow the process described. It is quite a bit of work, but completely worth it in the end.