I took yesterday off to clean all of the carpets in the house with my trusty Bissell Proheat 2x. It was worth every penny for a number of reasons:
1. I like to clean my carpets every 6 months or so. With two big sporting dogs, our carpets get really dirty and it was cheaper to buy a carpet cleaner than to rent one of a continual basis.
2. Carpet is expensive! I would rather keep cleaning what I've got than replace it.
3. It works really well and gets out more dirt and dog hair than I ever thought possible.
That being said there are a few things I have learned that will help you maximize your carpet cleaning experience.
1. VACUUM First! -- The manufacture recommends vacuuming before shampooing. This does not mean a lazy pass of the vacuum, this mean a thorough vacuuming of all areas to be cleaned. In fact, I would recommend vacuuming the day before and the day of the cleaning to make sure you have picked up as much dirt/hair as possible. Trust me, it is worth this extra step not to have to pick out a wet hairball from the carpet cleaner.
2. Periodically Clean out the Carpet Cleaner -- If you are cleaning more than one room, stopping between rooms make the most sense. If you have a particularly large room on your docket you might want to stop halfway though. Turn the machine off, unplug it to be sure, remove the canister/tank where you fill it with water, and flip the machine upside down to get access to the brushed. Take you fingers (this is why your turn off and unplug) and pull out any clumps of hair, and there will be clumps of hair, and throw them out. if you skip this step, the machine will throw up the hair balls while you are cleaning and then you will have to pick them off of the carpet. It is easier to pull them out of the machine before they form a super ball.
3. Switch Arms -- This may sound like the stupidest tip ever, but there is a reason behind its inclusion. The first time I cleaned all of our carpets I pushed and pulled the machine with the right arm almost exclusively (i am right handed). I didn't think about it and my arm felt fine while I was doing it. It wasn't until a few days later when my arm was throbbing that I realized I over worked the tendons and gave myself tennis elbow that lasted for 6 months! Switch arms, save yourself.
4. Dr. Browns Bottle Brushes Work Best -- For cleaning out the intake (you know, the part that sucks up the dirty water). I found it impossible to get all the hair out of this part of the cleaner until I realized that these little brushes were the perfect size to get in there and grab all the fuzz. I keep the dead ones to use for just this purpose.
Now, in case anyone is interested I did find out that there are 2 types of organic/chemical free shampoos that can be used in upright carpet shampooers: one is by bi-o-kleen and the other by Earth Friendly Products.