DIY Carpet Cleaning Machines

DIY carpet cleaning machines (available from your supermarket or hire centre)

These hire machines are quite popular, although there are some real dangers and pitfalls, associated more with operator error than machine design. Essentially, these machines are well designed, but can have a number of limitations on anything more than lightly soiled carpets. Hirers should follow instructions TO THE LETTER to avoid many common mistakes. Here are some common issues associated with using one of these machines:

1.   Check with your Property Manager: If you’re a vacating tenant, double check your contract. It may specify that any carpet cleaning requirements need to be handled by a professional carpet cleaning company. The last thing you need is to be reminded of that AFTER you’ve spent 4 hours behind a DIY machine…

2.   It’s hard work!  The TV ads make it look suspiciously easy… Many hirers find that it can take hours to clean a house properly with one of these small machines. The machines are well designed, but are on a very small scale, and a moderately or heavily soiled carpet can pose quite a challenge in terms of both time and effort.

3.   Watch the water usage:  It’s not uncommon for carpet cleaners to be called to correct serious ‘browning’ issues after one of these machines has been improperly used. The browning is caused by too much water being pumped deep into the carpet, and not properly retrieved. The resulting excess moisture causes the colour to rise from the jute carpet backing, and ‘wick’ up to the top of the carpet fibre, appearing as dark brown or even orange lines or marks in extreme cases. It can usually be corrected by an experienced carpet cleaner depending on the severity.

4.   Where did the ‘lines’ come from? A heavily soiled carpet cleaned with one of these machines will often leave long, dark streaks or lines at the edges of the machine. This is a sign that there was just too much dirt for the machine to cope with, and that the job needs to re done. A thorough and SLOW vacuuming prior to extraction will help to minimise this.

5.   Follow the instructions! With these machines you can’t make it up as you go along. Use the specified amount of detergent per litre of water, and don’t use bleaches or other detergents to save money. Many hirers think that mixing the detergent stronger will make it easier to clean dirtier carpets – it doesn’t! It does however create a sticky mess that can ruin the carpet. Using chlorine bleach to remove stains is another mistake many hirers (and insurance companies!) regret making…

6.   Cost effective?? If you save $40 by hiring a DIY machine, but spend hours trying to get the job done, how important is the saving to you? People often comment that the saving was not worth the extra effort required to complete the job.


Wet and Dry Vacs:

These are great for cleaning up spills as they happen. Whether it’s a domestic Bissell type vacuum or a more industrial wet and dry, they are handy for flushing spills before they dry on the carpet. Just be careful not to overwet the carpet, or use too much detergent.