Homeowners who only occasionally clean their carpets may choose to hire a reputable professional or rent a carpet cleaner. But if you have a lot of carpeting and a house full of kids and pets, you might want to consider buying a machine. Here are the types of carpet cleaners to consider.
Rental deep cleaners
Often available at a nearby supermarket, hardware store or home center for about $20 to $30 a day, these upright machines combine a tank for dispensing cleaning solution, a second tank for holding dirty solution, a vacuum, and a fixed or moving brush into a single, heavy unit. As a result, they're cumbersome to push around. Performance and convenience vary from one machine to the next. In general, look for the cleanest, least-worn brushes on any machine that you're thinking of renting.
They’re lighter and less bulky than typical rental machines. Most work by scrubbing in a solution of water and detergent, then vacuuming up the water and dirt. The can be expensive and take up a fair amount of broom-closet space. In our last tests, they produced mixed results. All those that we tested also required you to use the manufacturer's special detergent.
For small jobs or tackling stains a compact cleaner is easier to maneuver than the bigger and bulkier full-sized model, and it takes up less closet space and can be stored on a shelf. One compact, the Bisell SpotBot, allows you to push a button and walk away while it goes to work on stains. In our tests it removed the toughest stain from carpet treated with stain protector, but didn’t do as well on untreated carpet. Bissell’s $80 Little Green compact cleaner didn’t clean as well as most of the full-sized models we tested and did little on tough stains.
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