Gotta clean my carpets . . . what's best to do it?

andaleeAugust 8, 2006

We're getting ready to sell our home, and our carpets need some help. We've taken the yard from bare dirt to landscaped, and despite my best efforts, there has been a LOT of dirt tracked into the house. Add to that the messes that four small children can make (a couple spit-up and some apple juice spots), and it's looking pretty sad. It's a cheap, synthetic berber, and so vacuuming is marginally helpful. Before we bought this place, I liked berber . . . but anyway. When we moved in, we paid several hundred dollars to have the carpet cleaned, and now we're thinking that it would be more economical to just buy a carpet cleaner and do it ourselves. I'm also highly sensitive to chemicals, and after the carpets were cleaned last time, I could hardly breathe for days. I'm rambling, so I'll cut to the chase:

We want to buy a carpet cleaner. Which ones do you own and like? What should I look for in a cleaning machine?

Is there any way to really clean well without harsh chemicals? I've read reviews about steam cleaners that say they're less than great on carpet, so I'm not interested in one of those.

We're looking at spending around (or preferrably less than) $300.

Thanks so much!


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I purchased a Hoover model several years ago for less than $300. I feel like it paid for itself the first time. We had around 2,000 feet of carpet. After I used up the original chemicals, I just used Simple Green. I know the instructions say not to use anything else, but even a very mild solution of detergent worked well. I rinsed several times.

Our carpet was also worn out (four kids here) so it didn't always look so great, but I could definately tell it was cleaner. I really liked not having to clear everything out like you do with professional cleaners. I would just hit the traffic areas, which was all that was needed. It came in handy to suck up water when the washer hose came loose, too.


    Bookmark   August 9, 2006 at 2:12AM
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I have a Hoover also and think it does a good job. A friend of mine uses nothing but vinegar as a carpet cleaning solution and she says it does a very good job. I use the Hoover cleaning solution with Oxyclean mixed in with it, then rinse with either clear water or some Oxyclean in the rinse water. I have 4 dogs and a cat so your kids have nothing on my gang.

    Bookmark   August 9, 2006 at 4:03PM
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Well, DH ordered a Hoover from today, and with $4 overnight shipping (DH pays for Amazon Prime with his home business) and a $25 rebate with a promotion they're doing, we're getting it for something like $135 shipped. Woo-hoo!

Thanks so much for the feedback. That, combined with the awesome amazon reviews, was just what I needed. :o)

    Bookmark   August 9, 2006 at 10:45PM
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As Andy Griffith would say, "Call the man" = hire it done.

    Bookmark   August 11, 2006 at 10:07PM
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I have a cleaning recipe which I was told was better than anything you can buy. I can't vouch for that as I have not tried it yet , but here it is if you would like to try it yourself. Mix the following ing. into 1 gal. hot water, 1/2 cup liquid Tide, 1/4 cup clorox 2 color safe bleach, and 1/4 cup vinegar. You can also put some in a spray bottle and pretreat spots with this if you like. I am planning on using this today. Hope it's as good as I hear it is. marymac

    Bookmark   August 13, 2006 at 7:13AM
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I usually use something close to what marymac recomends. I clean up after a older dog. I use wisk HE detergent, Biz and a bit of water to thin it out a bit.
I spot treat with that and put a bit of Biz in the carpet cleaner with the detergent to do the full carpet.
Tried the OXY products and they were only so-so. I am falling in love with the Biz.
I started using it since it suds to much in my front loader maching, not wanting it to go to waste. Nice find. low scent and leaves the carpets soft.
I am interested to see how marymac likes her mix.

    Bookmark   August 13, 2006 at 11:36AM
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I like my carpet cleaner & use it often, but I have found NOTHING that compares to the rug doctor rentals..for $20 a day you will be amazed at how good of a job it does!

    Bookmark   August 15, 2006 at 12:07AM
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Woolite makes a good carpet cleaner for steam machines, it's the Woolite Oxy. My mother has a Hoover Steam cleaner that works pretty well. Have trouble cleaning her family room berber tho. Too many peaks and valleys in the carpeting. If she has any spots or in high traffic areas (near the door) I have to use the hand attachment with spinning brushes to better get between the peaks/valleys of the fibers. Helps with the Hoover to do a light rinse cycle with clean water (you'll be amazed at the dirty water still pulled into the tank) and really do a lot of suction laps, then put a dehumidifier out and whole house fan on to help it dry faster (including padding).

    Bookmark   August 21, 2006 at 7:50AM
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I highly recommend the Bissel ProHeat Upright cleaner. And if you have children or pets it is an absolute must. When our home was on the market in DC, the white carpet throughout looked brand new. You would have never known we had an incontinent dog and a bulimic cat. LOL!

Our current home has tile throughout, so I gave my beloved Bissell to my father who is eternally grateful for it since he has a senior dog that has lots of accidents.

This machine will pay for itself in no time and you will wonder how you ever lived without it!


    Bookmark   August 22, 2006 at 6:00PM
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I, too, have a Hoover model. It has a separate "rinse only" function and a hose with a spinning head cleaner. I got in sale at Sears for approx. $265.

I use the "pet cleaner" type of soap, whichever is on sale. When I don't use Hoover-brand products I also add a squirt of the "anti-foam" additive to the dirty water bucket to cut down on foam... I've had it be a problem with some brands (but don't remember which ones right now... I think the "pregnant brain" is taking over!)

This is my second Hoover. I did alot of research on epinions and other review websites, as well as consumer reports and similar before purchasing. I do my furniture, my carpets, and the carpets of my family all the time (ok, so I let them borrow it... I don't do it for them. ha!)

    Bookmark   August 22, 2006 at 9:53PM
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I would strongly discourage you from making your own carpet cleaner. There's a number of reasons for that. 1st, the way chemicals & cleaning products may react to your carpet may not be what you want. You don't want to discolor anything or cause any damage. Next, if your carpet had ever been cleaned with anything, and that previous cleaner might be lodged in your carpet somewhere, it may react to what you have made. Seriously, you do not want to play with your carpet like that. Another problem may exist if you have pets. So many people WRONGLY suggest ammonia or vinegar. If you have pets, you should never use this as those chemicals have some of the same compounds that are found in urine. If your pet smells this, they are very likely to urinate in the spot where the odor of vinegar or ammonia is coming from.

Seriously, you can cause far more damage then harm mixing your own things. You are far better off buying a good, reliable cleaner. I personally use Genesis 950. It cleans the carpet, takes out stains - from the pets and kids, it smells good, and it is environmentally friendly.

    Bookmark   May 30, 2013 at 12:42PM
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I will agree with the post about the Bissell Pro heat. Someone at work recommended it to my husband and I told him there was no way it was as good as a rug doctor. I was wrong. With three dogs, I use it all the time and it is both easy to use and works. great. I love that I clean up a mess right away, almost as easy as getting out the vacuum cleaner. I am such a huge fan they should hire ,me for advertising! I have used it on my car too. Not quite as easy there, but it did do the job!

    Bookmark   July 21, 2013 at 3:27PM
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I think you'll be happy with the Hoover, I used (when we had carpet) the Hoover Dual V with separate rinse. IMO that is an essential function as rinsing the detergent afterwards prevents dirt from sticking to detergent buildup. If you don't have that function, shampoo the carpet and later rinse the hot water container and fill with water only, then go over everything again with water.

I used the Hoover platinum formula detergent it worked great - minimal smell and got all the dirt out. You should pre-treat any bad stains with a mix of the detergent and water spray on a bit and let sit for 15-30 minutes before shampooing the carpet.

    Bookmark   July 21, 2013 at 3:33PM
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