You know those items that you finally buy and then kick yourself that it took you so long to finally do it because they just work so well and make your life so much easier? If you have carpet, rugs, upholstery, or a car, you might want to consider getting your own carpet cleaning machine. Luckily for you, I’ve done the homework to find the most highly rated carpet cleaners that fit both small and larger budgets.
How I USED to clean my carpets
Like most people, I like to have a clean house. That includes my carpets. Despite having sheets down on the floor in the living room for Ruby’s dog bed and the bedroom for Abby’s dog bed, providing a spot for any of the animals to sleep, hang out, etc. while trapping their loose hair and dirt, the carpet still manages to get grungy, especially around the edges of those sheets and in the high traffic areas.
For the past seven years, I’ve used this little Bissell Spot Bot http://amzn.to/2sF7Dlw to clean those dingy areas and also spot treat the areas where someone gets sick, has an accident or we spill something. Sadly, I can’t recommend it and was just tired of it. Long before I decided to stop using it, it was slowly falling apart on me. First, it started getting cracks in the key plastic parts, which were pricey to replace, so to get by, I just used super glue and duct tape to keep the areas from cracking more and leaking. My cheap fixes worked, but it was still annoying since it was a costly machine and I didn’t even use the thing that much because it was a pain to use and also because I didn’t have all the animals I have now.
Despite the Spot Bot being handled gently, it continued to break apart. The final straw was when it began to just sit and drip water somewhere out of the bottom while I was using it or if it had any water in the tanks. It did work well for doing car upholstery, but for what it costs, I really believe the upright carpet cleaning machine that also does upholstery is a better investment.
Now, I’ve had my carpets professionally cleaned a couple of times in the past, but the last guy was a disaster in a 1980-something minivan that looked like the end result of a Griswold family cross-country road trip that left my carpets wet (not damp, but WET!) for several hours. I’d read in Consumer Reports once that the steam cleaning companies did the best job of removing stains, but between the cost and the fact that my household had grown from zero indoor/outdoor cats to six and one indoor/outdoor dog to two, made pulling the trigger hard to do. Having a loud stranger come in and disrupt the household, leaving my furniture out of place, my carpets damp and susceptible to tracking from animals that have no concept of clean carpets or money, was honestly, something I just couldn’t bring myself to do.
Researching and choosing the right carpet cleaner machine
The first part of January, as I was cleaning up several places where someone had gotten sick in the overnight or early morning hours, I decided enough was enough and I was going to just buy my own full-size carpet cleaner (as a late Christmas present to myself) that I could do the entire floors with as well as use on an as-needed basis and that wouldn’t create another mess in the process. I grabbed my Consumer Reports magazine and hit the Index section, looking for their review of carpet cleaners. Unfortunately, they have not reviewed carpet cleaning machines, so I was on my own on this one to research carpet cleaners for the best one that I could find and afford.
After hours of research and deliberation, looking into customer feedback, including user problems associated with the machine, cost of replacement parts, etc., I narrowed my search down to two models:
The Bissell Big Green Machine http://amzn.to/2rGc1kT
The Hoover FH50150 Carpet Basics Power Scrub Deluxe Carpet Cleaner http://amzn.to/2rueFpK
If I’d had the money, I definitely would have bought the Bissell Big Green Machine, given its nearly 5-star reviews from close to three thousand reviewers. It was larger than I really had room for, but the idea of sparkling carpets and those before and after pictures people posted were enough to make me want one to magically appear before me.
The carpet cleaning machine I chose
Unfortunately, since Abby’s one lipoma seemed to be ballooning by the day and knowing at least one expensive surgery was in our future, I decided to go with the more economical Hoover FH50150 Carpet Basics Power Scrub Deluxe Carpet Cleaner, which has turned out to be an excellent choice as well.
After the initial carpet cleaning rampage we went on that first week of ownership in January, I have continued to use the machine around 2-3 times per month for animal related ickiness or just touch up in areas that get spills or start to look dingy. The machine is just so handy and easy to use, it doesn’t even feel like a chore to use it when you suddenly notice less than sparkling areas.
I bought the machine package with the little bottle of Petplus Pet Stain & Odor Remover cleaning solution http://amzn.to/2sFi5cx and also bought a bigger bottle of it to make sure I didn’t run out once I started since I had the whole house to do and some areas that I knew would need more than one treatment. I’ve since bought the Expert Clean version http://amzn.to/2sIl6Ke because getting the dirt and dinginess out of my carpets is more my goal than a problem with pet stains and odors.
Looking back, I wish I had taken before and after photos of my carpets after that first cleaning, which were quite dramatic. There is nothing like the amazement and excitement of seeing how much better your carpets look with such minor effort, to give you the motivation to clean the entire house immediately, as so many other reviewers mentioned.
The Before and After Pictures
Because I couldn’t contain my excitement any longer for this Hoover FH50150 Carpet Cleaner, and wanted to demonstrate how well it worked for those who might be in a similar situation, I used my spare bedroom that hadn’t had the carpet cleaned during that first carpet cleaning marathon we went on after receiving the machine. While it doesn’t get the traffic and the animals are not allowed in there, I still had some mystery spots that were ugly and decided to use it as my demonstration area. I tried my best to get the before and after pictures identical, using my sewing machine leg as the reference point, and vacuuming the area before and after the cleaning. Speaking of vacuuming, I just want to say that I did see a few reviewers that rated the carpet cleaner very low because they were confused about it also being a vacuum. It is not. Vacuuming the area to get rid of all the dirt, hair and debris before using the carpet cleaner will help ensure you to get optimum results.
Here is the before picture with the spots.
Not sure what the spots were or how hard they might be to remove, I quickly pre-treated them with a stain removal concoction I keep on hand of Dawn dish soap, dishwasher powder and Oxy Clean powder mixed up in a spray bottle that I sprayed on the spots and then rubbed in with my finger.
After letting the spot treatment sit for several minutes, I went over the carpets just using the ‘Rinse’ feature and hot tap water to get the spot treatment residue out of the carpet before actually shampooing them. I was shocked to see how dirty the water was from just the small amount of spot treatment and water:
Next, I refilled the water tank with hot tap water again and turned the dial to ‘Wash’, making several passes over the carpet before turning the dial to ‘Rinse’ to get any soap residue out of the carpet. Once I was done, I turned on the ceiling fan and left the carpets to dry. I forgot to time it exactly, but it took approximately four hours to completely dry my thick plush carpet. Here’s the end result:
While not overly obvious in photos, in person, the difference was quite noticeable. Here are the two photos side by side:
While not perfect, this was just a one wash treatment and probably wouldn’t even be noticeable at all on a darker or patterned carpet. When I do a full room carpet clean in the future, I will work more on the spots using castile soap http://amzn.to/2t41igZ, Folex http://amzn.to/2sI3RIS and/or my homemade stain removal concoction, all of which I also use on laundry stains.
In addition to using this machine to clean carpets and rugs, it also comes with a bag of attachments for cleaning smaller and harder to reach areas as well as your upholstery. Included in the mesh bag that has a hook for hanging, is a SpinScrub powered hand tool, upholstery tool, stairs tool, and a crevice tool. While I’m not sure if the exact model and accessories I got is still available, the full details are available under the description of the product option selected.
Final thoughts on the Hoover FH50150 Carpet Cleaner
After having used this machine regularly at least 2-3 times per month, I am still very pleased with how well it performs and how quick and easy it is to both set up and put away. It is also relatively quiet, which is nice if you find yourself needing to clean up after a sick cat at 3 am on a weekday while another human
being is trying to sleep elsewhere in the house. And while I admit that I do vacuum often, so my animals are used to the sound of this type of machine around, I still have found that I can operate it within 5 ft. of a sleeping cat without waking them. Not freaking the house out every time I need to clean, is also a nice perk of this carpet cleaning machine.
Considering that having a professional come out once would cost as much or more than what I spent on this machine, I feel I have already recouped my cost. I also now have a machine that I can use anytime I need to clean up a spill, a bout of sickness by one of the animals, or just when areas need a touch up between full house carpet cleanings.
If you want to see pictures of all the animals and their antics and get little tips and tricks I share, like my FB page, https://www.facebook.com/savingscatsanddogswhilesavingcash/