How Does a Carpet Cleaner Work?

How Do Carpet Cleaners Work

Most of us pride ourselves in having super-clean homes; however, we don’t always pay as much attention to our carpets as we could. We tend to assume that vacuuming in the carpets so they look clean is enough, but often there is hidden dirt and grime underneath the surface which means they’re much dirtier than we imagine.

Carpet cleaners are traditionally easy to use and the motion of using one is much like a vacuum cleaner. Depending on the brand of cleaner you use and how stained your carpet is, you might use a pre-treatment on the carpet to get it ready for cleaning.

Carpet cleaning devices use a mixture of cleaning solution, scrubbing brushes and suction. The combination of these three means that they’re effective at cleaning carpets even those with stubborn stains.

Inside the carpet cleaner, there is a section for cleaner water (and cleaning solution) and dirty water.

Once you switch on the cleaner, clean water is injected into the carpet at high speed. The vacuum part of the cleaner then works this into the carpet and sucks up the water (and dirt) into the tank that stores the dirty water. Often in the process, the water can be heated which can make it more efficient when cleaning carpets that are particularly dirty.


Looking After Your Carpet

Buying a brand new carpet is often a costly exercise which is why it makes sense that we’re going to want them to last. It doesn’t matter what grade of carpet you buy if you don’t look after it then it is likely to get ruined pretty quickly.

A big part of this is making sure that you use a carpet cleaner on it regularly. This allows you to pick up all of the dirt and grime you can’t see and will mean that your carpet stays in great condition for much longer. Of course, they’re also fantastic for odd stains on your carpet which look unsightly and are likely to be something you want to disappear as soon as possible.


What is a Carpet Cleaner?

What is a Carpet Cleaner?

Carpet cleaners are designed to get rid of stains and dirt from carpets and rugs. There are many different carpet cleaners you can buy, so make sure you do your research and buy one that you know will suit all of your needs.

They’ll require being plugged into mains power to work and generally come with different accessories which means that you can clean all of the nooks and crannies in your home (or business premises!) with ease.


How Do Carpet Cleaners Work – The Mechanics

The motor within any carpet cleaner is essential for creating the suction part of the process – some carpet cleaners even have one that one motor. Electricity moves through the coils within the motor, this creates a magnetic field that causes another magnet to spin and gets a set of blades moving – which then creates the suction!

This spinning then causes the cleaning fluid to move through the system, through the plastic tubes within the device and then to be injected into the carpet at speed when you press the trigger at the end of the hose. This allows you to spray water/cleaning solution into the area of the carpet that you wish to clean.

Within the carpet cleaner, a large motor also moves which spins a larger set of blades. This spins the blades and they press against the air particles at the front while moving away from the air particles at the back. This is what causes the vacuum effect as the air surrounding it rushes to fill the gaps.

While this vacuum process is in effect, the suction works to capture any of the water and dirty within the carpet, which is pulled in through a slot at the end of the brush attachment, which you can use to scrub carpets and ensure they’re as clean as possible throughout the process.

You’ll need mains power to do all of this as it takes a lot of power to work one of these machines and all of the motors inside.

A Closer Look At the Elements of a Carpet Cleaner

The Pump

This is what helps get the water deep into the carpet. There are different pump pressures you can get for different machines, but generally, they inject water into the carpet between 60 pounds per square inch (psi) to 500 psi. You’ll probably want a carpet cleaner with a powerful pump as it is the water going into the carpet that is going to help get the area clean.


The Vacuum

Once your carpet has been suitably made wet by the pump the vacuum works to extract this water and therefore any dirt that it brings with it. The vacuum itself is driven by a motor and as you would expect from a machine like this there are different configurations for this.

Choices are single 2-stage motors, two 3-stage motors, and three 2-stage motors. We would recommend a motor with at least two stages for optimum performance and longevity.

To know how powerful the vacuum motor is you’d need to look at both the airflow it has (cubic feet per minute, or CFM) and the water lift.

Water lift looks at the suction strength of the vacuum element of your carpet cleaner and usually ranges from 100 to 250 inches. Airflow usually ranges from 100 to 200 CFM.


Solution Tank

Ranging from between 4.5 and 17 gallons this is the part of the carpet cleaner that holds the clean water which is used to rinse and clean your carpet.

It can be tempting to go for a large tank but remember that this will make the machine heavier. Think about how large the areas are that you’re likely to need to clean in one go and this should help you decide what size of solution tank you need for your carpet cleaner.


Recovery Tank

This is the part of your cleaner that is home to the extracted dirt and water from your carpet. They come in a range of sizes usually between 4.5 and 15 gallons. The larger the solution tank the less likely you are to have to change the water during a clean.


The Heating Unit

In order for the cleaning to be effective, the water must be hot when it is injected into the carpet for cleaning. The water temperature is heated to as high as 210ºF within just a few minutes within the heating unit.

There are different heating elements you can get. A single tank will heat the water in the tank unit itself whereas a double inline heating model will heat the water as it exits the machine.


Floor Wand

Lots of carpet cleaners come with a floor wand. These will have one of two jets for washing, rinsing and vacuuming carpets and are usually around 10” long.

The floor wand allows you to reach small spaces, hard to reach areas and concentrate your cleaning on one smaller area if you have a really stubborn stain or mark.


Additional Accessories

Usually optional extras, you can also get things such as upholstery and stair wands. You can also get different cleaning solutions and vacuum hoses or varying lengths if this is something that you need.

Do some research to see what you might be able to make use of. Remember that these are often option add-ons so don’t be tempted to spend money on something that you won’t ever use.


Using Your Carpet Cleaner Effectively

Clean Carpet

If you’re planning to clean your carpets, it’s a good idea to pre-treat the carpet with a cleaning solution. It is recommended you do this around 15 minutes before you plan to start cleaning as this allows it to soak into your carpet and will make life much easier when it comes to the cleaning.

You want the carpet to be as clear from clutter as possible. Move any furniture you can out of the way, remove anything from the floor and give the carpet a hoover first. Although a carpet cleaner will work around large pieces of furniture, the clearer the floor space you have the easier it will be to get your machine to work effectively.

To use the carpet cleaner itself, you mostly use it in a similar motion to you would a vacuum. Of course, you should read the manual of the carpet cleaner you have decided to buy but if you can get to grips with using a vacuum cleaner than you should have no problem with using one of these.

Make sure you pay attention to what material it is that you’re cleaning.

For example, if you’re cleaning a rug made from wool or natural fibers then you’re not going to want to use heated water on this as it could damage the material.


What To Consider When Choosing A Carpet Cleaner

Think about how much your carpet cleaner weighs and how much it will weigh when you fill-up the tank. It might be that you need to go for a more lightweight option so you know you’ll be able to maneuver it around when it comes to cleaning.

Have a think about what cleaning solution you’d like to use. For most day to day cleaning the standard solution will do the job perfectly. It can be worth investing in some specialist stain remover solutions which you can use when you have more stubborn dirt to get rid of.

What accessories are available and how much do these cost? Different brands will have different options available. Do some research into what is available for you to buy in the future in case you want it, so you know you’re not likely to be left stuck unable to buy what you need.

You should consider that carpet cleaners can be loud when in use. Give some thought to when you’re going to be able to use it without causing too much disruption to those that live with you. Of course, cleaning is also going to take some time to do so make sure you think about when you’re going to have time to do this.


Conclusion: How Do Carpet Cleaners Work

If you have any carpets in your home or business premises then investing in a carpet cleaner is a worthwhile investment.

You might think your carpet is nice and clean now, but the first time you get to work and use a carpet cleaner you’ll be surprised at just how much dirt shows in the water after you’ve given it a rinse.

Just make sure you do your research and think about what you need so you can feel confident that the carpet cleaner you have invested in is the right one for you.

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