A carpet cleaner, also called a carpet steam cleaner or carpet steamer, is sometimes also confused with other types of steam cleaners, as well as steam mops and hard floor steam cleaners. Although carpet cleaners are sometimes called steam cleaners or steam mops, there's no steam involved in the cleaning -- a fact that causes a lot of confusion and disappointment among user reviewers |
If you have carpets in your home, you'll either need to rent a carpet steam cleaner occasionally or have someone in to clean your carpets, or buy your own carpet cleaner, if you want to keep carpeting looking good and smelling nice.
There seems to be a lot of confusion as to the difference between a vacuum and a carpet cleaner. Even retailers often incorrectly include carpet cleaners in vacuum categories, but these two floor care appliances are not the same type of cleaning machine. While both will clean your carpet - a vacuum removes dust, dirt by dry suction; a carpet cleaner sprays hot water and solution on the carpet, scrubs and then removes the dirty water and solution. A vacuum will not remove stains; that's a job for a carpet cleaner.
Gone are the days of dragging a carpet cleaner water line/hose from the kitchen sink faucet through the entire area being cleaned. Today's carpet cleaners are more user-friendly and easier to handle with on-board water tanks and tools.
And while earlier carpet cleaner models used the word 'steam' in their title, it was mostly to emphasise that the cleaner used hot water to clean; it's not likely that steam is generated even with most of today's models. Creating steam would require achieving higher water temperatures and though some models have on-board water heaters, many models are called carpet steam cleaners.
A carpet cleaner with an on-board water heater does keep the water hot, which helps to dissolve the cleaning solution and usually does a better job of cleaning carpets.
As for size, carpet cleaners are generally slightly bigger than an upright vacuum, but often just as easy to handle. While features vary with different brands, these are the best features.
Dual water tanks or separation of clean and dirty water On-board water heater Portability - non-bulky design (upright) Spray trigger - to regulate how much water/solution is used At least two rotating floor brushes (upright models) Light (upright) Once you've decided to buy a carpet cleaner, the most important choice is between an upright and a compact carpet cleaner. Upright cleaners are larger and typically cost more; they can also be heavy, although not as heavy as bulky rental units. Compact cleaners are easier to maneuver and, according to owner reviews, can be very easy to use. They can also fit into smaller spaces than uprights. However, these cleaners are only useful for spot cleaning; they can't cover an entire carpet.
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