Carpet shampooer review

CHOICE is planning a review of carpet shampooers (the appliances, not carpet cleaning services). We’re talking about the sort of appliance that looks like an upright or barrel vacuum cleaner, but which washes your carpet rather than simply vacuuming it.

We’d like to hear about your experiences with such machines. Do you own one? If not, are you curious as to whether they are worth owning? Perhaps you’ve hired one before from a local supermarket or hardware store. Whatever your experiences, please let us know what you think about these appliances and what you’d like to see from our test.

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We have a BIssell “Little Green Machine” - a handy portable “steam cleaner”. It is a lifesaver for spills and pet accidents on carpets and upholstery. It is a category almost by itself, but the ease of use factor when you need to suck something up “right now” is often a biggie.

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Thanks @pdtbaum - I’m aware of Bissell’s spot cleaner models and we may well include some of this type too.

I have the bissell healthy home which is a similar design to the rug doctor you can hire from supermarkets. Having a family of 6 including 4 kids ranging from 10 months to 9 years, accidents happen, the bissell has managed to lift all stains as well cleaned couches amd car interior. Easy to use although doesn’t get close to skirting and have to use the upholstery tool to do edges.

I bought a used car which had a cigarettes odour that became apparent a couple of weeks after purchase - it had a deodoriser put in by the dealer that masked the smell until that time.
I hired a carpet shampooer from the local supermarket, and used it with the upholstery nozzle to clean the car’s carpets and seats.
I was pretty much amazed at how filthy the water was when I emptied it out. The seats and carpets had looked clean before I started, but were quite evidently not !
It produced the result I was seeking - the car immdiately smelt clean and fresh and stayed that way.
I’d like to know whether the hire type are any better or worse than the ones you can buy.
After cleaning a car’s interior, you can leave it in the hot sunshine with the doors open, so that it can dry out fully. I’m a bit hesitant to do our home carpets with a similar machine unless I’m certain that they won’t be left very wet.

When looking for a carpet cleaner, my one and only criterion was non-toxic 100% natural eco-friendly. I couldn’t find anything, so I paid for a company to do the job for me. Much more expensive but at least I kept my house and family healthy.

For a considerable area of light cream coloured carpet, I purchased a “demonstrator” Vax Rapide Ultra2 carpet washer. It works well enough to remove general grime and minor food stains, though setting it up is not just a few minutes operation. Nor is the after-use cleaning. The dirty water tank is a complex shape and impossible to clean of residual scum. Like other units that I previously hired, it is vitally important to clean out the suction head before next use, or dirty residue stains the area you are attempting to clean.

I often use the super market version to maintain the carpet in a good condition, find they do a great job if one is careful. Residual gunk needs to be removed and go lightly on the detergents. Now considering a purchase so your review will be very useful.

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I have been looking for a carpet shampooer to purchase. I have been tempted to buy the Hoover Gladiator when it’s been on special. I’m glad I didn’t as I will be very interested to read your review.

Thanks @vivhalaska. I don’t expect the review to be published until late December this year at earliest; more likely in January 2017. I hope you can wait until then!

We have a Bissell “Quick Clean” It is very efficient for small areas of carpet. We use it particularly around the dining table, and between the table and the refrigerator. We hire a contractor for 3 carpeted rooms about once per year.
Michael Barnett

I for one would love to see a review on carpet shampooers. I have used hire ones in the past and I have seen “professionals” do the job but haven’t always been happy with the results. It seems that the carpet looks great while it is still wet but once the carpet dries the same old grotty marks are back.

Have recently hired a cleaner, with all cleaning agents from Woolworths. A bit laborious, but fantastic job… very pleased with result, as was our neighbor. We both did all our fabric seating. great result there also


I have a Bissell Quick Wash Shampooer which I haven’t used in years, and don’t recall how good it was. I just remember that emptying it was a hassle. I do plan to shampoo my son’s bedroom carpet soon, so I would be happy to report back afterwards.

One thing that would play a role, I would think, is the carpet shampoo that you use. I searched everywhere for recommendations for a good carpet shampoo, to no avail. Nobody seemed particularly happy with what they had used. In the end I’ve decided to go with a homemade recipe that somebody posted, that seemed to be much more effective than the store-bought varieties!

Thanks @beth.ten.have. The shampoo is a factor we’ll need to consider - I’m thinking we will use each model with with whatever is supplied with it or recommended for it, but hopefully also try a few different shampoos in at least one machine to see what difference it makes. Can you share the carpet shampoo recipe you used?

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Ahh the Bissell little green! I have never had an appliance that is so well designed to not only use, but actually put away and store. The hose wraps around the unit and locks in the hand piece perfectly, the cord storage on the back with the little clip on the plug and the small arms that flip up to hold the cord in place shows that whoever designed this little machine really put some thought into it. Small things but make me appreciate it everytime I use it.
As for the machine itself - Its brilliant for cleaning cars upholstery/carpets and for spills and small clean-ups at home. While it is only little, I have done my lounge with it - A slow process but it removed a disgusting amount of grime. I do wonder what the bigger Bissells are like.

I agree … I have one of those because my cat chucks up on the carpet on a regular basis (it’s her hobby).
I was lost before i got the little green machine for cleaning up from the little white machine! Definitely review those …!!

I have a Bissell upright steam shampoo machine, for both hard floors and carpet. I was initially quite happy with it - for carpet. I could never get it to work efficiently on hard floors.

Using it a few months ago on carpet I couldn’t get the water to come out properly. Rather than a spray of water, it let out a stream. Ended up with very wet carpet with the stains spreading over a wide area when it “dried”. A few weeks ago I replaced the carpet in my lounge room with tiles. When the carpet was taken up, the underlay was very damp and mould all over the floor underneath.

After this experience, I would get in the experts to clean my carpets.

I hire a Rug Doctor from Woolworths (Bunnings have them as well). I clean my carpets every year, it does a very good job, but does require some work. First you have to fill the machine with the cleaning solution, pull it over the floor one width at a time, and empty the cleaning tank every so often. I use far less detergent than is recommended, as I do not tolerate perfumes. I like to do a clean water rinse as well, which a professional cleaner may not do. Although the suction is good the carpet may be more damp than a professional cleaner, so I always use it during hot dry weather. One year I had a professional cleaner to do the job, but I don’t think it was much better than the Rug Doctor. However it is a lot easier to get someone else to do the work. You can also get an attachment to clean upholstery, which does a good job too.

George Vacuum Cleaner
Numatic GVE370-2 George Wet & Dry Bagged 3 in 1 Cylinder Vacuum Cleaner

I purchased this Very Expensive UK product as I wanted a great vacuum and a carpet shampoo machine. After reading many online reviews it seemed George was a winner.
Found supplier in Queensland which had free transport to Melbourne and on asking said had local service arrangement should I have any problems.
I paid $750!! thinking at last I had purchased a long lasting quality vacuum and could easily shampoo messes after puppies and toddlers

HUGE MISTAKE problems from day one, incorrect connections, sorted by texts and visiting local agent - only two hours of my time no cost.
Then problems with hose on shampooer, another visit, wait for replacement, another visit, purchased a $100 ‘powerhead’ to increase pick up of pet hair.
Problems with powerhead.
More problems this time this time salesperson vised to see what was wrong. Entire vacuum was replaced after waiting 2 weeks.
More problems, another visit from salesperson who then broke the powerhead.
No more texts / calls / returned.
$850 worth of rubbish taking up A Lot of space.
VERY Frustrating VERY Angry at poor product and No Refund as promised the last time salesperson visited.
I was too ill to pursue it further with small claims. George’s smiling face made me depressed so gave it to someone who thought they could fix it - they couldn’t.