Using a Do-It-Yourself Carpet Cleaner

by Carolanne Strong
(last updated September 16, 2009)

Each carpet cleaner is different, so you will need to check the owner's manual for specifics about how to operate your particular model, but most of them work on the premise of clean water in and dirty water out. You fill it with clean water, which the machine uses to rinse the carpets and then discards in a holding reservoir. To make the job go quickly and smoothly, note the following:

  • Check your machine. If machines are not properly maintained, they may do more dirtying than cleaning. This is especially true of rentals. Look over your machine to ensure that the water tanks, brushes and tubes don't contain residue from the last job. Also, make sure you have all the necessary pieces.
  • Exchange water in a water-proof area. The bathroom is usually the best place to do this because the tub or shower pan is low, making it easier to lift and drain water tanks, and the room is designed to get wet, so spill are easy to clean up. If you don't have easy access to the bathroom, another option is to change the water outside using a garden hose to fill the tank and a drain to empty it (don't empty the holding reservoir on the grass as the chemicals in the water may damage your lawn).
  • Go slowly. The carpet cleaner needs time to do its work, so pass over each area slowly. If you use the carpet cleaner the same way you do a vacuum cleaner, you won't get a clean floor, and you may increase dry time and leave cleaning solvent behind. The carpet cleaner needs time spray and suck up the cleaning solution, so pass over each area slowly.
  • Work from the corner out. Just like mopping a room, the best place to start is in the corner furthest from the door. That way you won't be walking on damp floor. To ensure that you cover the whole area, move in a straight line from the back wall to the opposite wall, and make the next pass directly next to the previous one. When you are done you will be able to "stripes" in the floor.
  • Watch your steps. It may sound silly to point out, but until the floor is dry, the moisture in the carpet fibers can attract dirt. Stay off the area if at all possible, but at the very least, don't wear dirty shoes!

Author Bio

Carolanne Strong

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