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How To Use Carpet Cleaner

Are you looking for a way to deep clean your carpets and rugs?

Once we had kids, we quickly realized that vacuuming alone could not get rid of carpet stains. I tried vacuuming away stains from juice spills, kitty litter, and food but this did little to get my precious rugs back in shape.

Finally, I decided to shampoo the rugs using a carpet cleaner and even though I was a bit skeptical, I was pleasantly surprised to see all the stains gone.

So, if you have kids and pets and a large area of your house is covered in carpet, a vacuum for carpet can really help with keeping the floors clean and may even prolong the life of your carpets.

A carpet cleaner works a bit differently from a regular vacuum and proper operation will give you the best results. In this guide, I will give you some pro tips on how to use a carpet cleaner and get the most from it.

How Does A Carpet Cleaner Work?

A carpet cleaner, such as those used by commercial vacuum services, works by spraying a mixture of detergent and water into the carpet after which powerful brushes dislodge, scrub dirt and stains, and strong suction pulls out the dirty water.

If a large portion of your home has carpet flooring, a large upright carpet cleaner can help you cover more ground and gets the job done faster. Most households have smaller hand-held cleaners, which come in handy for instantly cleaning spills on the carpet.

Generally, carpet-cleaning vacuums feature one compartment that holds the mixture of water and detergent and another that collects the dirty water from shampooing.

That’s just the basics of how a carpet cleaner works although different cleaners will come with slightly different features and operational requirements.

Let’s jump into how to use a carpet cleaner.

Step 1

Tips For Getting The Most Out Of Your Carpet Cleaner
Vacuum the carpet

Vacuum the carpet. Prepare the carpet for shampooing by vacuuming first to remove dirt and debris. Be sure to use a carpet-friendly cleaner such as this Dyson vacuum. Depending on how dirty your carpet is, you might have to make several passes to sweep as much debris as possible of the carpet.

Step 2

add the recommended amount of detergent
add the recommended amount of detergent

Prepare the carpet shampooer. Depending on the vacuum model, you would have to first remove the collection compartment to access the clean water compartment underneath. Once you do, fill the clean water compartment with hot water, and add the recommended amount of detergent. Only use the detergent recommended by the manufacturer of the carpet cleaner.

Step 3

Reattach the collection compartmen
Reattach the collection compartmen

Reattach the collection compartment and plug the cleaner to a grounded power source. Locate the power button and select the carpet cleaning mode. In some vacuums, the cleaning mode is already the default.

Step 4

Locate a button
Locate a button

Locate a button, usually on the cleaner’s handle, to activate the mixture of water and detergent. Continue to press this button as you push the vacuum forward to cover an entire area of the carpet. You might have to do more than one passes over the carpet to get rid of stubborn stains.

Step 5

For every forward motion you make, do a backward pass over the same area. To do so, simply release the release button and gently pull the vacuum cleaner backward. This motion uses suction power to kind of wring the dirt and water from the carpet. This water is then transferred to the respective collection compartment. Repeat this process for the entire carpeted area until it is as clean as you want it.

Step 6

Empty the recovery tank
Empty the recovery tank

Empty the recovery tank into a toilet. Some cleaners have a transparent compartment and you would be able to see the dirty water filling up. It is best to empty the collection compartment when it is three-quarters full. Vacuuming with a full compartment will release the dirty water back onto the carpet!

Step 7

unplug the power source
unplug the power source

Switch the machine off and unplug it from the power source once you are done cleaning the carpet.

Step 8

Dry the carpet. Leave the carpet to dry for at least 24 hours before walking on it. If this is not possible, consider using a carpet air blower to dry the carpet.

Step 9

Clean the machine. When you are done cleaning your carpet, be sure to thoroughly clean the machine. To do so, rinse the recovery tank using clean cold water to remove all suds. Depending on your model, pour one to two gallons of hot water in the clean water tank and intermittently press the activation button on the handle. This will flush the pumping system. Be sure to remove all water from the machine before storing it away.

Step 10

Remove any debris or residue from around the brushes, replace the collection tank, and wipe down the machine using a dry cloth before storing the cleaner away.

Tips For Getting The Most Out Of Your Carpet Cleaner

Tips For Getting The Most Out Of Your Carpet Cleaner
Tips For Getting The Most Out Of Your Carpet Cleaner

Clean spills as soon as they happen. Generally, carpet cleaners do not do a great job of getting rid of dried-in stains.

A carpet cleaner is not meant for vacuuming. Use a regular vacuum cleaner such as this Shark vacuum to remove loose dirt and debris, before shampooing your carpet.

Opt for a carpet cleaner with a high star rating; the higher the rating, the drier the machine leaves the carpet. On the contrary, a lower-rated machine might not have enough drying capacity and will leave your carpet soaking wet.

A carpet cleaner is a powerful machine and it will change the color of your carpet. If possible, clean the entire carpet instead of shampooing in patches to avoid leaving unsightly marks or streaks.

Keep vacuuming your carpet until you cannot see any more water in the collection tank. Your carpet should be wet but not soaking after shampooing.


Keeping carpets spotless can be hard, especially with small kids and pets around. However, armed with both a regular machine and a carpet cleaner, you can enjoy clean carpets and rugs at home. That being said, it is not enough to buy a good carpet cleaner; how you use it also matters. Follow these tips on how to use a carpet cleaner for the best results.