Having a nice, clean carpet is wonderful. It feels good on your feet when you walk on it, and you don’t feel embarrassed about stains when company comes over. Buying your own carpet steam cleaning machine may seem like a big step compared to renting one or hiring professionals to clean your carpet, but it might be one of the best purchases you’ve made in a while.
The first thing you need to do is some research to make sure you won’t regret your purchase. Online reviews on sites such as Amazon are a great place to start. There are usually good and bad opinions about every carpet steam cleaning machine out there, which gives you a feel for how often a particular machine has problems. You also get to hear about whether particular features are worth paying extra for or if you could easily live without them.
In general, there are two things you need from your carpet steam cleaning machine. It needs to scrub your carpet well with the hot water you put into it. Then it needs to remove the water effectively so your carpet dries quickly.
How well the machine scrubs your carpet is important because that’s what will help the hot water and detergent get the stains and unseen dirt out of your carpet. You don’t want it to scrub your carpet to pieces or anything, but when you have stains, you want them gone. You don’t want to have to get down on your hands and knees to work at it. You want the machine to do the work for you, and to do it well.
A part of this is how hot it gets the water and how effective the detergent is. Most machines made specifically for cleaning carpets don’t actually produce steam, and heat the water only to a certain degree. You can usually safely put in hot water to make it work most effectively.
It’s nice if you can control how much detergent it uses. Most of your carpet won’t need a lot of detergent. In fact, using a lot of detergent means more work for you, as you need to get it out. Leftover detergent in the carpet will attract more dirt, making your carpets appear dirty much sooner than if the detergent was successfully removed. Any place on the carpet where you need to use more detergent, make sure you do a really good plain water rinse to get the excess out. This will help to keep your carpet looking better a little longer. How long depends on factors beyond the control of your steam cleaning machine.
You also need the water pulled back out of the carpet effectively. This helps your carpet dry sooner and protects the padding and flooring beneath the carpet. Too much moisture can lead to mold growth or ruin the flooring under the carpet. Wood flooring in particular is susceptible to excess moisture problems.
This is in part the machine’s job and partially your job. The machine sucks the water up, but you have to give it the time to do it’s work. If you move too fast, it’s not going to pull that water back up. Slow and steady is the name of the game. If you can still see the water being pulled up, the carpet is too wet.
Beyond these features, there are some nice extras which you may or may not want. Keep in mind what you’re really after as you shop and read reviews, and don’t pay for features you don’t need.