Pros: Cleans the carpet well, inexpensive to rent, optional furniture attachment
Cons: Doesn't heat water, the schmuck who rented it before might have left it dirty
Small children ruin everything.
This destruction comes from shoes, food, drinks, and various body fluids that the children are not supposed to spill. The main target of this abuse is usually the carpet. When we bought our house, we got cheap carpet. The reason for this is because we knew the children would ruin it and we didn't want to keep paying for the carpet in our mortgage after it had been replaced. So to ensure the longevity of this cheap-o carpet, I rent a Rug Doctor every 6 months and go to work on it. Is it worth the rental? Does it clean the carpet?
Read on, dear reader...
•• What it is ••
The Rug Doctor is a carpet cleaning machine that you can buy for an obscene amount of money or rent from pretty much anywhere for about 20 bucks a night..
•• Features and Commentary ••
The Rug Doctor is available at most grocery stores. Renting it is as simple as finding the customer service desk, waiting while the employee tries to find the check-out book, signing your life away and providing 2 forms of ID. Then you take the Rug Doctor out to your car and take it home. Thankfully, the machine has sturdy wheels on the back so wheeling it out the car is simple. And the large handle folds down so that the entire unit fits in the trunk of most compact cars.
Once you get it home, usage is fairly easy. Take off the reservoir and pour hot water and your favorite soap into the filter below. Reassemble it and turn it on. There is a brush on the underside that gently beats the dirt out of the carpet. The trigger on the handlebar sprays the hot water and soap concoction which is then sucked up by the vacuum part as you pull the machine backward. Yes, the machine requires you to walk backward for the entire process.
Don't call this machine a steam cleaner, because it does not heat up the water or produce steam. The water that is put on the carpet is only as hot as the tap it came out of. We have always had very hot water (I'm a bad parent, I know, I should turn down the water heater.) so the temperature of the cleaner has never been a problem.
There are 2 kinds of Rug doctors you can rent: normal and wide. There are a couple of advantages to renting the wide. The width of the vacuum is a few inches more which allows you to clean a room in less strokes. As well, because the unit is wider, it holds more water which means less time refilling the machine. However there are a few drawbacks. The machine costs $5 more to rent and is bigger and heavier to operate, especially when the thing is full of water. I've used both and I don't think the wide one is really worth the extra cash. The again, I don't mind the whole carpet cleaning process. Your mileage may vary.
For an extra $3 you can also rent the stair/furniture attachment. Since the couches are the 2nd magnet for all childhood fluids natural and otherwise, I usually rent this package along with the Rug Doctor. This attachment has a very generous hose to reach into all corners of the furniture. While it doesn't have a beater, it has good suction and the user has full control of the water spray. My couches always look great after a good 30 minutes of lovin' with this tool.
I'm always pleased with the way the carpet turns out after using the Rug Doctor. They are always clean with no damage. Usually the smell is clean and fresh, but sometimes it can smell like a wet dog. Don't blame this on the rug doctor. It's usually because you have a pet and the cleaner is bringing up dander and smells that have long been buried in the carpet. If such smells arise, then it might be in your best interest to run the Rug Doctor again until the smell is gone. The carpets can be a bit damp afterward, but they are never sopping wet. I recommend opening some windows afterward or setting up some fans to avoid mildew.
The big indicator that the Rug Doctor is working is the color of the water that is spit out into the reservoir. If you have children and a dog, it will range from black to dark black. Keep running the Rug Doctor until the water in the reservoir is clear. This will never happen and instead you'll stop when your back gets tired. But this nasty brownish black water is the real sign that the unit is working. If you aren't too disgusted by the fact that that junk was in your carpet, you may have some consolation that it is no longer in your carpet.
I also use the Rug Doctor in some unconventional ways. I use it on some white throw rugs we have and they turn out great. As well, the rugs at the front of the doors get some special lovin' from the Doc since that's where people wipe their shoes (when they remember to). I also use this thing on the linoleum. This is not the recommended use, but I find it works great. The water sprays out, and the vacuum sucks it up. It rarely leaves any water on the floor and leaves them shiny clean.
Some things to note: It should be warned that the Rug Doctor is a bit heavy and should be used by those in good physical shape. I chose to ignore my own advice and used it myself. I was a little sore the next day. But my carpets were nice and clean. Also, the unit can get rather hot, so give it a rest every hour or so.
•• Conclusion ••
For clean carpets, go rent a rug Doctor!