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Old 11-18-2008, 12:36 AM
Location: Lincoln, CA
505 posts, read 1,664,582 times
Reputation: 553


So my wife and I had a big debate over a carpet cleaner today. We are moving out of our current home into a bigger one and looked for carpet cleaners. Most we looked at charges $25-30 per room. With our current 4 bedrooms, that's $100 plus the new 6 bedroom house, that's another $150. So about $250 total. She wants to purchase a carpet cleaner from Best Buy arguing that it will save money in the long run. My argument is that we'll use it once, what, 3 years?

Anyone own a carpet cleaner/steamer and can comment? Are they worth it or would you rather hire someone?
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Old 11-18-2008, 08:51 AM
Location: Grosse Ile Michigan
30,708 posts, read 79,802,285 times
Reputation: 39453
We own two. One we bought at a store, the other came from a church auction. Same brand. The second one is newer and cost $5 while the first cost $300.

People buy them and then find out that they do not use them much due to the effort to set them up. They often apepar at garage sales and auctions for next to nothing.

They work OK. They are actually hot water cleaners, not steam cleaners. Steam cleaners cost in the thousands.

I am told that these machines are essentially the same as the commercial ones. The commercial ones sometimes have better suction and dry the carpeting out better (but not completely). Otherwise they are the same. I have also been told that the one made by Bissel does nto work worth a *(&^*. THe ones we have are both Kenmore brand and seem to work pretty well.

Nothing will totally clean carpeting and you have to be careful to dry thouroughly or you will leave the padding wet and get mold. Put fans and a dehumidifier in the room for several days after cleaning.

My favorite solution is to remove the carperting and re-finish the wood floors underneath. Now we do not need our carpet cleaners so we just use them as shop vacs.
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Old 11-18-2008, 10:44 AM
Location: WA
5,641 posts, read 24,953,484 times
Reputation: 6574
Although I own a carpet cleaner for occasional use, I always hire a professional service for large areas. A good service can do a better job much more quickly, can employ commercial enzymes where needed, and some will even stretch and re-seam carpets when needed.
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Old 11-18-2008, 11:10 AM
Location: Out of the frying pan....
151 posts, read 798,755 times
Reputation: 138
We have gone both routes in this area, and after considering a whole house clean last year, ended up purchasing a Bissell (it's red) Pro Heat cleaner...and it is AWESOME. Very easy to use, set up like a vacuum, lightweight, easy to chage out the water, etc. I am telling you there were stains on some areas we figured were going to be there until we replaced the carpet (so, not very new stains) that came out when we used this thing.

I love it and would never have someone else clean my carpets again. An yes, easy to use for just a spill, or for the whole room.
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Old 11-18-2008, 11:11 AM
Location: Charlotte, NC
973 posts, read 3,304,759 times
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I have a carpet cleaner that I purchased about 4-5 years ago. It cost me about $250 and I have gotten plenty of use out of it.

These types of carpet cleaners do NOT have the suction power of a commercial cleaner but can still serve their purpose. Since I am a clean freak, I probably used mine more than the average person. The carpet in both of the last 2 houses I owned was off-white berber and a dirty "trail" in the main walkway areas would develop every couple months.

I used my Hoover cleaner to clean these areas and it did a fine job.

However, it didn't handle the occassional pet stain (pee or vomit) quite as well.

Once or twice a year I will rent a Rug Doctor from Lowes or the grocery store to handle the tougher dirt and stains and it does a great job. They are available for purchase.

I will never hire a company to come out and clean my carpets again because I have used them twice in the past and they did not do a good job. My parents had a couple coffee spills on their carpet that the people couldn't remove but when I used the Rug Doctor to clean it, it took the stain right out.
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Old 11-18-2008, 01:43 PM
Location: St Augustine
604 posts, read 4,621,542 times
Reputation: 354
I agree w/ mrscoach...I have a bissell proheat machine for over 5 years. I used to borrow my parents but eventually bought my own b/c i needed it so much. We have tile thru out living areas and only have carpet in bedrooms. When we sold our old house people were amazed when I told them the carpet was 8+ years (even stairs/hallway) b/c I would clean it monthly it looked good still. If you have kids, a cleaner is a musthave IMO.
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Old 11-18-2008, 02:04 PM
Location: Southwest Nebraska
1,297 posts, read 4,769,773 times
Reputation: 910
Wife and I too are looking at getting a carpet shampooer so this is good thread. We just had a Kirby G4 rebuilt for 145.00, we got it free. We heard you can buy attachments for it and one is a shampooer but don't know if it works well.

Also if you google there are several sites that have reviews on different shampooers.
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Old 11-18-2008, 06:18 PM
23,596 posts, read 70,402,242 times
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I have more experience with dirty carpets and what works and does not work than 95% of people. When you have to get many movie theatre carpets cleaned, you deal with sugar (soda syrup), salt from popcorn, oil, soil and dirt, vomit, chocolate, etc.. Steam cleaning is effective at removing all of the above if done properly.

To put it bluntly, if you are making big bucks, you'll pay someone else to do the job. If, however, you are frugal and are willing to do a little labor, the home machines can save you a bundle and rescue you from bad situations. A steam cleaner is a wet/dry shop vac with a spritzer. If your water heater or AC drain leaks and you need to sop up the water before it molds the sheetrock, a steam cleaner will do it. If you had a pet toss up on a sofa before your company, a steam cleaner will clean it. If you want to do a freshening up or deep cleaning, a steam cleaner can do both. However, if you use it for more than spot jobs, you will work up a sweat. Hot water and a vac make for high humidity and raised temperatures. It doesn't bother me, but it might some people. The big issue with the little machines is the level of extraction and the number of times the tanks need to be filled and emptied.
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Old 11-18-2008, 06:44 PM
Location: Coastal Georgia
50,369 posts, read 63,964,084 times
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I have a Bissell Proheat that heats up the water. It was about $250.00 and does a fine job WHEN IT ISN'T BROKEN..which is most of the time. It seems like every other time I go to use it it's broken. The repairs are never very expensive, but they're starting to add up..plus there's the aggravation of getting all set up and then it doesn't work.
I use it about 3x a year, so despite everything, it still has been cheaper than hiring it done.
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Old 11-19-2008, 02:40 AM
Location: Lincoln, CA
505 posts, read 1,664,582 times
Reputation: 553
Thanks for the responses everyone! More than helpful!

We went to Best Buy today and the kid trying to sell us the cleaners said that cleaners now are improved quite a bit from a few years back. He said the same thing about the Bissell machines and recommended the Hoover models. I think I will pick one up to see how well it works. We can always return it if it's not clean after a week.

I Googled some reviews and the Hoovers seems like a good idea:
Best Carpet Cleaners: Carpet Cleaner Reviews

The kid at Best Buy also recommended hard wood cleaners too. I never even heard of such a thing! I always thought you just mopped it and it's good to go, but apparently there are all kinds of hard wood cleaners too. Anyone have experience with hardwood cleaners? There's a lot of carpet and hardwood cleaners on sale right now on Best Buy too so I think I will get some before the sale ends.
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