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A Guide to Buying a Carpet Washer

With Spring now firmly on the way, there’s one over-riding thought that’s hitting millions of people across the UK – and that’s “It’s time to give the house a good clean.”

After the excesses of Christmas and New Year, and the dirt and mud of Autumn and Winter, that carpet is bound to look a mess. That’s where a Carpet Washer comes in, and thanks to a drop in both price and size over the last few years, they’re now so user-friendly that every home can accommodate one.

But if you’re confused by how they work, then read on. In this Buying Guide, we take you through the different Carpet Washers on the market, help you decide which extra features you may need and explain a little of the jargon at the end.

Happy cleaning!

What does a Carpet Washer do & how much does one cost?

You’ve probably noticed over time how your carpets will become faded and dirty, especially if you’ve kids or pets running around the house.

A Carpet Washer is a simple, but very effective, way to get them bright and clean again – bringing the carpet back to life by lifting and grooming the pile while removing the dirt. It also brings health benefits, as it can kill germs and bacteria that have been lurking underneath your family’s feet and causing allergies or ill health.

The machine works by mixing warm water and detergent and you simply go over your carpet with it as you would using a normal vacuum – before leaving the carpet to dry for a few hours.

You can currently buy a good quality Carpet Washer for under £100, although if you want all the fancy add-ons – which we’ll go through later – then a top notch ‘multi-function’ model will set you back about £250. The two main brands on the market are Bissell and Vax.

Check out the range of Carpet Washers on sale at Comet.

Aren’t they difficult to use though?

No, there are many myths about Carpet Washers that are simply untrue. They are very simple to operate and, used regularly, will result in a much cleaner house.

The other commonly heard myth, that they shrink carpets, is also totally false.

What should I be looking for in a standard Carpet Washer?

The first point to consider is the storage you have at home. While bigger models have extra features and capacity, many people prefer the small and lightweight cleaners, which are easier to keep under the stairs or in a utility room. Some Carpet Washers also have folding handles, which are excellent for storage.

The other key consideration is how much cleaning you need to do. If you have lots of carpets in your house then you’ll want a machine that can hold more water – both clean and dirty. For those with less carpet space, you can save money by going for a lower capacity model.

So the key thing to look out for is clean and dirty ‘water capacity’. The higher the number, the more it can hold. The starting point is often two litres, but many models can store much more.

Nice extras with the standard models include upholstery and stair tools, so look out for those, but they can only be used on carpeted areas.

What extra benefits do multi-function machines bring?

The main thing a multi-function Carpet Washer adds is the ability to vacuum as well. This can help save space and cash – as you won’t need to buy a separate appliance.

The other big advantage they offer is the ability to clean hard floors, although always check the instruction book to find out exactly what surfaces your purchase can and can’t be used on. Not all are suitable for all types.

Higher-priced models also have drying facilities – helping to dry the carpet more quickly after washing – and features such as ‘spin scrub’ to get rid of embedded dirt and ‘turbo’ to squirt extra solution onto certain areas for tougher stains.

Of course, many people still prefer to have a separate vacuum cleaner and if you want to go down that route then we have a handy Buying Guide for Vacuum Cleaners too.

Jargon Buster

  • Dual V Technology – The new system on higher-end Vax machines offering deeper cleaning and quicker drying
  • DryAire System – A feature of some rival Bissex models, which mean they dry at the same time as they clean
  • Hard Floor Tool – The ability to clean non-carpeted areas of your home, although unsealed flooring should always be avoided


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