I recently was loaned a Rugdoctor carpet cleaning machine to give my thoughts on after trying it out in my home and I have to say I was amazed at the results and got first hand proof of whats in my carpets and although I am someone that has a 'no shoes upstairs' policy (when the children remember as they dash upstairs) I was more than a little surprised at the dirt that came out of my carpets.
The Rugdoctor machine can be hired from many outlets including Homebase for either 24 or 48 hours and work by covering the carpet with a solution of carpet cleaning detergent (sold separately) and hot water whilst the machines vibrating brush works the solution into the carpet. This is then sucked back up via the vacuum suction in the Rugdoctor machine - along with the dirt hidden in your carpets.
Although my carpets looked relatively clean to the naked eye I soon found out that they would look quite a few shades lighter when I had finished! As with most vacuum cleaners they can only get to so much dirt as much of it becomes embedded deeper down in the carpet fibres.
The machine was really very simple to use. Using the Rugdoctor range of cleaning detergents (available from where you hire the machine from) simply remove the plastic dirt collection tub, add the detergent to the machine according to the bottles instructions, top up with hot water - there is a clear maximum fill level on the machine itself and again instructions on the detergent bottles. Replace the detachable plastic collection tub on the top, secure in place and then turn on the machine. This is explained far better here on the Rugdoctor website.
The cleaning process is just as easy. First vacuum the carpets using your normal hoover then ideally the most effective and easiest way to get the whole floor clean is to remove the furniture from the room. With limited space I had to move the furniture to one side of the room, clean using the Rugdoctor and then return the furniture once dry to then move all the furniture to the now clean side of the room to start the process again on the uncleaned side. I was a little disappointed in how long the floors took to dry compared to the suggested possible 2 hours on the website on shorter fibred carpets. Long pile carpets naturally took longer to dry. I had to leave the windows open to allow them to dry properly and this took overnight in some cases.
The machine is used by pulling backwards slowly whilst holding the spray bar on the handle to spray the mixed detergent solution across the carpet under the machine and as you move backwards this spray is then vacuumed up along with the dirt.
Once I had filled the dirt collection tub once and seen what came out from my carpets I got a little addicted and became like a woman possessed cleaning every inch of my carpets. I have to say I got a great deal of strange satisfaction with each tub load of dirty water I removed from my floors. It was literally a cleansing experience!
One thing I would warn you about is that the machine is very heavy once filled with the detergent solution so don't make the mistake I did at first by filling it anywhere other than in the room you want to clean, otherwise it is just too heavy to move. You can wheel it full but it is just so much easier to add the solution in the uncleaned room even if that means carrying a bucket of solution to the machine.
I ended up cleaning all the carpets upstairs in a weekend which was quite tiring, what with moving the furniture as well, but I was pleased with the results. Although a few marks remained these were mostly, so I worked out, where the children had dropped sticky tack that they use to put up posters which had then stuck to the carpets and become embedded into the fibres. Dirt then stuck to the tack leaving a dark splodge. The Rugdoctor did a great job at removing the dirt on the top and softening the tack which then once dried I simply flaked away with my nail or used a course brush on (with care as not to damage the carpet)
With the spilled paint drops, the Rugdoctor lightened these well - a lot of paint these days is water based -but did not remove completely. They are so faded now that I don't think you would notice them unless you knew they were there.
So next time you are thinking of hiring a carpet cleaner or getting in a professional have a look at a Rugdoctor loan machine - you may just be surprised (and embarrassed!) at the results - I was.
This is my experience of using the machine loaned to me by Rugdoctor. (Results may vary - only use according to the manufacturers recommendations which include testing any areas to be cleaned for colour fastness. Always read any instructions fully before use and check all manufacturers guidelines.)