How to Use a Carpet Cleaning Machine

Using a Carpet cleaner is simple enough, but with a little preparation, the job could go much faster and be free of frustration.

In our eagerness to get any cleaning task done quickly, we sometimes overlook the obvious.  We have listed a few basic steps to ensure your carpet is washed and dried in record time.

1. Getting Ready

You’ll need the obvious things like an actual carpet cleaning machine (duh) and detergent, but there are a few other things to consider which will make life a lot easier.

Most importantly, ensure you have the right carpet cleaning machine reviewed here, as some machines suit specific cleaning tasks better than others.

If you’ll be cleaning a large area, make sure you have a long enough extension cord to be able to reach every corner. You don’t want to be stuck halfway, and then have to go grab one from the store.

Once you get started, consider wearing some old socks (or go barefoot) so you don’t trample dirt into the carpet while you’re working.

You may need to open some windows to allow for ventilation while you work, depending on the chemical smell in the detergent. Just be sure no dirt or leaves get blown into the room from outside while you’re cleaning.

2. Clear the Space

Remove all the furniture and smaller rugs from the main carpet you want to clean. Make sure you tie back or lift any drapes or curtains that may be touching the carpet.

Also make sure the kids know not to come running across the carpet while you’re cleaning it. (The wide open space may be much more tempting to them than you think.)

 3. Dry Vacuum the Area

It’s important to remove any pet hair, dust or loose dirt before running over the carpet with the carpet cleaner.

Carpet cleaning machines are primarily designed to loosen stubborn dirt and stains in the fibers of the carpet. Once the washing process begins, you wouldn’t want to worsen the problem or make the cleaning job more difficult by having unnecessary particles in the mix.

Small amount of pet hair and dust are understandable and will also be picked up by the machine. Some machines have a filter which will catch any loose dirt you missed. The brush roller on your carpet cleaner will also trap any loose hair; this can be cleaned out when you are done.

 4. Pre-treat Stains

Pre-treat heavy stains before running over them with your carpet cleaner. If you are cleaning a new pet urine stain, first absorb as much of the moisture up with a paper towel. Using the carpet cleaner on a saturated stain could cause the moisture to seep into the base of the carpet and this can be more difficult to get out.

Pet urine should be treated with an enzymatic cleaner which helps break down the protein particles in the urine which stain and cause odor.

Ensure the products you use are compatible with your machine for the best result.

5. Fill the Water Tank & Start

Fill the water tank with warm water. Add detergent as recommended in the user manual of your machine.

If you are cleaning a large area, refill the tank when necessary.

Set the machine to the correct setting for the cleaning task and start.

6. Machine Clean the Carpet

Start in the furthest corner of the room and work your way backwards.

Make sure your cleaning strips overlap slightly. This will ensure you don’t miss a section or have visible streaks when the area has dries.

Make a slow pulling motion to ensure an area is thoroughly cleaned and to allow the machines suction power to lift the dirty water.

Pre-treated areas may require an extra run over to ensure stains and cleaning chemicals are properly lifted. Some carpet shampoos can leave a sticky residue if not thoroughly removed.

7. Clean the Machine

When you have finished cleaning the area, empty out the dirty water tanks and wipe down the machine.

You may need to remove fine carpet fibers that have build up on the cleaning brushes if you have a long fiber carpet.

8. Let Carpets Dry

Allow the carpets to dry thoroughly before walking on them.

If they are not fully dry and are in a high traffic zone, place towels over the carpet to avoid dirt settling into the wet fibers.

Better ventilation will speed up the drying time so leave doors and windows open if the weather is warm.

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