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There are 2 principle types of carpet cleaner the general public can normally rent, Upright machines and Wand cleaners. Here's an explanation of how both work - each can do a good job depending how you approach the job in hand. In addition we are explaining the Hand Tool that generally is an addition for each machine - useful in removing stains or cleaning suites and settees.

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Upright Machines

How an Upright Machine Works

Upright machines are less flexible than wands. You can't get underneath furniture because they don't bend and their size reduces mobility, meaning you are forced to clean in a more methodical way. They also work in one direction only and as it's easier to pull than push pick a machine that moves backwards or one that is self propelled. All uprights come with a hand tool for cleaning spots or getting underneath furniture so you will be able to clean everything with the tools you're provided with. You can also use this for cleaning suites.

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upright carpet cleaning machine

Renting an Upright Machine

The most common upright cleaner rentable int he UK is probably the Rug Doctor, shown left.

With this type of machine you need to add water into the lower tank (red in this example). This can be at any tremperature you require, but please note that the hotter the water the more likely there is to be damage to fibres and you may set certain stains.

Dirty water is returned to the top tank (shown here in white), which has a filter unit on the top (clea plastic) designed to remove larger dirt or carpet fibres, so these can be disposed of and the simple dirty water disposed of in a drain.

As these are moved backwards, by pulling on the handle, they are probaly the simplest to use for the novice carpet cleaner. A "one pass" system, where you do the carpet as if it were a lawn in slightly overlapping lines will get the carpet cleaned efficiently.

Machines with Wands

How Wand Cleaners Work

Wand machines work by putting water mixed with soap on the carpet and sucking it up through a closely positioned vacuum. They only suck up if you move backwards and therefore if you move the wand forwards you put more liquid on the carpet than perhaps you want. However, this has a direct relationship to how dirty you feel the carpet is, you'll clearly go forward and back more over a heavily soiled area than you will a relatively clean carpet.

The majority of professional machines are wand cleaners. Top end machines will have very strong motors and pumps, enabling machines to add the water annd soap mix efficiently through all fibres and then to extract that water mix efficiently with a powerful suction motor. The narrowness of the wand head also adds to the power of these machines.

how a wand carpet machine works
hagerty blue carpet cleaning machine

Renting a Wand Machine

The most common wand carpet cleaning machine available to rent has been the Hagerty cleaner (Hagerty Blue shown left). That's because Hagerty had a policy of giving a machine away if a purchaser bought a certain amount of soap and spotting fluid. So Hagerty were really in the business of selling soap, not making machines. All their machines were made by Karcher, who normally make the same models under their own branding, in their traditional yellow livery.

They are effective carpet cleaning machines, but nowhere nearly as powerful as their professional equivalent. They are also physically harder to use, taking a toll on your back as you lean over to control the wand. If your carpet is heavily soiled then this may be the choice for you, otherwise an upright cleaner may be an easier choice.

Hand Tools

Hand Tools are very similar to wands....Here's an Example.

carpet and suite cleaning hand tool explanation

Hand tools are used for various reason, doing stairs, working on stains and cleaning settees, chairs and suites.

The vacuum works all the time but the liquid is only supplied on demand. Simply squeeze the trigger and the mix of water and soap will come out the spray nozzle.

The spray head should give an even and wide spray delivery of the liquid. If this doesn't happen then check any filter first, this may be blocked. There also could be dirt in the liquid feed line or end nozzle itself. If you're unlucky there may even be something wrong with the pump.

The tool needs to be attached to the liquid source. This is normally a liquid reservoir on the machine, the same reservoir that is used to deliver water and soap to the carpet through the a wand or an upright cleaner.

The vacuum head is in front of the spray so activates when drawn backwards, in the same way as a wand.

If you are removing a stain then always start using plain cold water, it's surpring how often that works.