DEEP cleans, just like it says, and for less than renting.
Written: Mar 24, 2007 (Updated Nov 8, 2008)
a Very Helpful Review
by the Epinions community
I am a previous owner of a Bissel ProHeat with 3 dogs (at the time). To make a long story short, I often resorted to renting a Rug Doctor to *really* clean the carpets, as the Bissel never seemed to do so. The rollbrush construction of the Bissel simply brushed the pile of the carpet in one direction, and didn't really suck up the results (even after vacuming prior to use, with my $1,300 Rainbow vacuum cleaner, but that's another story...). Agitation is the key, and most stains and dirt are deep below the surface. Think of it like washing your hair...
After a particularly nasty mess when I didn't want to reuse my Bissel and couldn't afford to rent the Rug Doctor, I borrowed my father-in-law's Hoover SteamVac (one of the earlier models). I went to town with it and it did a fabulous job. At that time, I also had light upholstered furniture and stairs that made the upholstery tool very valuable. I reluctantly returned it 2 months later. That was 6 years ago.
Upon recently purchasing a "fixer upper" with severely stained and dirty (but nearly new) beige carpet throughout, with a very distinct "pet" odor, or something similarly funky (as soon as we first opened the front door). Being extremely clumsy, accident prone and a mother of a 5 year old boy, I knew the $300 investment was worth a chance, versus $1,000's in new carpeting. For once, I was right.
1) The Bissel ProHeat's main claim to fame is "heated water". Let me tell you, you will use the clean HOT water in any machine before it has a chance to go cold (unless you leave it sitting for an hour or two after filling). Fill it with hot water, as instructed, and you'll be fine. Even with the Bissel, the water was barely warm mid-project, it doesn't keep it "scalding hot" as one might think (which might make people think it should break down oil and grime better-as it did me when I bought one when they first came out).
2) The Hoover is very easy to fill, and since the cleanser tank is seperate, there's no need to measure anymore. You fill the soap and clean water tanks independantly. I also think this has greatly reduced the amount of soap used. The only caution: be sure to hold the new water tank handle down firmly when you put it into place-then guide the handle upright. You can't just push it into place for it to click, I read another review that someone said they'd broken this latch a few times, and I can see how that could happen. USER TIP: If you have hard water, like I do, add about a teaspoon of baking soda to the freshwater--there's a VERY noticable difference in performance (this may even make a difference without hard water?).
3) This is very light and easy to use. They've apparently gotten the balance factor in line and it doesn't feel like you're using an old dual buffpad scrubber. (If you're too young to remember, picture trying to scrub your carpets with a stick with two vigorously rotating, fluffy, bowling balls). Even the Bissel was heavy and seemed difficult to maneuver.
4) The brushes on the Hoover SCRUB the cleanser into the carpet, in every direction. The Bissel brushes everything forward (and now backward, with the "dual brushes"), what about the "gunk" under the top fibers? Again, think about it like washing your hair....
5) The Dual V suction has improved a product I thought couldn't be improved upon. It sucked so much gunk out of seemingly "clean" beige (light beige) carpets (even without soap), I almost fell over! Beyond "chocolate milk" to "chocolate pudding". Upon finishing the carpets, they are about 30% damp and quickly dried. The key is to go very slowly (not at a snail's pace-there's no reason to saturate your carpet & padding), because this machine, with the dual v WILL pick up most of the moisture and dirt. You obviously *can't* use this like a normal vacuum cleaner. However, at a slower pace, I can still do at least a 15'x17' room before refilling--even using my "pre-wetting" tactic.
6) Traffic areas are nearly impossible to deal with, but after about 5 or 6 runs with the Hoover, even the well worn spots of the carpet are looking decent and no longer like they're begging for ceramic tile. I won't lie, it took at least that many passes to get the traffic spots out, and I could likely go over them again, but the fact is, it still did a better job than the rental.
7) I initially thought the "rinse" feature was kind of stupid but, after cleaning the carpets and testing the "rinse" feature, it pulled so much soap out I couldn't believe it. After using up all the soap, I went over the areas again and still pulled a lot of extra dirt and soap out of the carpet. USER TIP: Use the rinse feature to lightly "pre-wet" the carpet before scrubbing in the soap, otherwise, it will take a few passes with the carpet dry(and use much more soap)before there's actually enough moisture for the vacuum to begin sucking the dirt out.
8) Emptying: well, this is a bit of a downfall. For some inexplicable reason, no matter how careful I was, it seemed to drip extremely dirty water on my path to the destination, and I don't know where from. *UPDATE* I figured out where the "leak" came from: To empty the reservoir tank, you have to completely open the hollow handle. I think the dirty water splashes into the handle, which then releases the water when you put it upright to carry it. The reservoir tank (dirty tank) has a lot of deep, shot glass (1 oz) sized crevices that hold the gunk and don't just "slide" or "rinse" out. This is gross after cleaning up a pet mess. Very important: Be sure to keep the little plastic filter screen that's about 1.5" square clear or this will greatly hinder suction.
Results: Fluffy clean, nearly white, "used" carpets that I don't have the slightest qualm about rolling around on. No more funky smell-from carpets that I even felt queezy about walking on when I first viewed the house. (and I'm NOT a queezy, foofoo kind of person). I've even used this with great success on ceramic tile floors (an absolute nightmare to clean otherwise, particularly in bathrooms)-not a speck of dirt left in the crevices, and it leaves the floor shiny and near dry (a very nice alternative to mopping/scrubbing).
This product is so easy to use there's not a problem just whipping it out for the occassional spilled chocolate milk, spaghetti, mudtracks or old doggie "oops".
I have leather furniture so I really don't have a need to test the additional tool also has the scrubbing, rotating brushes. However, I know from experience that I again lived in a house with stairs, this would be invaluable.
*UPDATE* I used the attachments to try to clean some upholstered chairs-smooth surfaces. The spin attachment is pretty much worthless--the brushes are too short and turn too slowly to scrub and it sprays way more water than it can suck up. The attachment without brushes seems to work much better.
The only "I wish" I had about this product is that it had a way to regulate the amount of soap used.
IMPORTANT UPDATE:Two big "flaws". There are two clips that lock the receptical container in place. Several months ago, I went to flip them into place and one broke in half (the plastic lever). I was surprised because I hadn't forced it at all, there was no resistance. I could still latch the container, so it didn't seem like a problem.
BIG PROBLEM: Last week (after maybe only a month or so of not being used) I decided it was time to do all of the carpets. I started with the rinse and couldn't believe how much soap (and dirt) was being sucked up. I figured it was just residual soap. I kept going over the spot without spraying to try to get some of the moisture out. That's when I noticed something spraying on my ankle. I looked and for some reason, water was spraying out from beneath the shampoo container. I stopped, checked to make sure the gaskets were in place and the lids were screwed on tight, didn't make a difference. I left the unit sitting for a few moments while I emptied the dirty water and rinsed the container out and the carpet beneath the unit was completely SATURATED (took several towels and two days with a fan blowing on the spot to dry it). There's a MAJOR leak somewhere in the machine out of the blue. This has never been dropped, bumped or mishandled in anyway. I'm quite disappointed that it seems to have fallen apart in little over a year. NOT an investment I'd planned to do yearly when we purchased this.
DISCOVERED THE SOURCE OF THE LEAK: They're skimping on the quality of the plastic for crying out loud (I'm sorry, but so many good companies like Hoover looked overseas to save costs and threw their reputation down the drain with it)! Well, I figured it was just one of the rubber gaskets that had dried up, went to fill it and search for the leak. Sure enough, it was the NEW water reservoir tank, water was spraying out of it. I turned it upside down in the sink to see if the gasket was twisted and just as I was feeling around the gasket, the "hard" plastic hole it fit into just crumbled into pieces! This ISN'T a spot that gets constant wear, I'd already shrugged off the lever holding the tank simply snapping off when I pushed it into position, but this was over the top. Companies need to wake up and realize they're getting what they pay for, and to try to push that junk onto their customers as the "same" and only a move to reduce retail price is shameful.
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