Renting a Carpet Cleaning Machine or Using Your Own

So you want to clean your own carpets! Do you own a small machine or are you going to hire one? What about stain removers and detergents? How much will the total hire package cost? How do I do it? How long will it take? Hot water or cold? Errrrrrh…… So many questions and lots of conflicting information on the net!

What is the Truth

Good question as everyone has their own opinion and then there are bloggers who just want to write a blog to get you on their site. They usually have very little experience. Anyway…I am not against people cleaning their own carpets. Should I be? But and this is a big BUT, there is a right way and a wrong way. Let’s try and break it down.

The Machine….

You may own a Vax or similar or you may want to rent a Rug Doctor. I personally hate them but there are ways to get better results and not wreck your carpets at the same time. If you own a small machine then great but if you need to rent then compare machines.

Pay particular attention to pump pressure and vacuum motor watts. Higher on both the better. Our machine, for example, has a variable pump pressure of up to 600 psi and twin 3 stage vacuum motors totalling 3000 watts. Rug Doctor has a pump pressure of 32 psi and one vacuum motor of about 1400 watts (depending on model). READ REVIEWS PEOPLE. Rug Doctor has some pretty bad ones, plus I have heard horror stories. Like I said there are ways to get the most out of these machines.

You WILL Need These Items

  • A pump up sprayer. It can always be used for other things so well worth investing in
  • A small spray bottle 750 ml – 1 litre in size
  • A plastic long handle brush (broom) with soft to medium stiff bristles (must be new and only used on carpets)
  • A hand brush for stain removal and agitating the stair carpet – this one is the best
  • A tub of Oxy Plus stain remover
  • A good quality professional carpet cleaning detergent (try ebay – Comet seems reasonable)
  • A good quality all round stain remover like Prochem, Craftex, Chemspec (try ebay)
  • A measuring jug and spoon for mixing
  • A good vacuum cleaner. Empty it or change the bag so we get the best suction.
  • Oh and of course a carpet cleaning machine

Getting Started!

OK – you have everything ready. Clear your room or rooms and vacuum thoroughly and I mean thoroughly! Vacuum all the areas you will be cleaning.

Now let’s make a pre-spray and stain remover…..

The pre-spray (carpet cleaning detergent) goes in the large pump up sprayer. Make it up according to the directions with hot water. Add a few scoops of oxy as this will boost it. Mix well. NOTE: if the carpet cleaning detergent is a ratio like 20:1 then use this equation – litres of spray bottle x 100 divided by ratio = ml of detergent required. Example – 5 litre spray bottle at 20:1 detergent (5 x 100 / 20 = 250 ml detergent. Hope that makes sense.

Now make up a small spray bottle of stain remover as per directions.

Spray & Dwell

Work on 1 carpet at a time. Spray the carpet all over, evenly and at a steady pace. Wet the carpet but do not soak it! Allow to work (dwell) for about 10 minutes. At the same time spray the stains with your stain remover. If you have any heavy traffic areas or bad spots then spray again.

Now we brush……

Get your long handle broom and brush backwards and forwards on the carpet whilst moving across the room. Then start a new line and repeat until the whole area is brushed. Pay particular attention to traffic areas. Apply more spray if needed. If stains are still there then apply some more stain remover and gently tap the stain with the brush (tamping) until all the stain remover is worked into the fibres. Very, very, very, gently brush the stain if it is stubborn but do not damage the fibres!!! Not all stains can be removed as they are permanent. Stain removal is quite complex and requires knowledge plus many types of stain removers.

Fill Your Carpet Cleaning Machine

Set the machine up and fill with hot water. Nothing else! The next step is to rinse the carpet and at the same time extract soil (dirty water).

your enthusiasm will pay dividends

Work from the far end of the room and work back out of the door. Do passes of about 3-4 ft long (36-48 inches). So here we go. Turn on the machine, both vacuum motor and solution pump. Place machine or wand on the carpet (if a wand make sure it is connected to the carpet and feel the suction). Pull back at a medium pace with the solution trigger pressed. At the end of the pass let go of solution. Now place machine or wand at the beginning of the pass and just pull back with suction ONLY. Repeat this sequence 2-3 times and then move to the next pass. Feel the carpet from time to time and if very wet then do more dry passes (solution trigger off).

Dirty Areas & Traffic Lanes

You may find that your carpet will be worn in certain areas and this will look dark or dirty. Do not make the mistake of thinking it is dirt and keep trying to clean it. You will most certainly soak the carpet! Clean these areas the same as all other areas. Wear and ‘carpet greying’ cannot be rectified.


If the weather is a bit chilly then turn on the heat. Open some windows and doors. If you have fans or fan heaters place them in the room. This part of the process is very important as wet carpets will smell and could shrink.

Please leave your comments and let us know how you get on

Happy Cleaning!


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