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Carpet Shampooer Recommendations

Does anyone know which store bought carpet cleaning machine works best and easiest on cat messes? I need to tackle my carpeting and the cats have been bad. I have CFS and need a simple, quick and effective method.


Buttercup admits it: "We're guilty!"

By IceyPink1 from Alta Loma, CA

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January 14, 20110 found this helpful

I have a Bissell Pro Heat. I don't recall the exact model, but it's an upright. They have one marketed for pet owners. I don't know why or what makes it better than the non-"pet" models.

Carpet cleaning is still no fun, but the upright is *much* easier than the old canister carpet cleaner my mom used to have. The weight of the machine does the work for you. It's like a big, heavy vacuum cleaner. With the canister, YOU have to apply the pressure to help squeeze/extract the liquid. I don't get a backache using the upright.


Since you're dealing with messes from your cats, also consider an enzymatic cleaner. It helps to break down the biological messes so that the cats don't come back to that same spot. Enzymatic cleaners can be found at pet supply stores, or even stores like Wal-Mart.

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January 15, 20110 found this helpful

I just bought the Bissell ProHeat 2 brush upright model. It's better than the 1 brush model. The button for the heat keeps the water hot and carpets dry really fast...always best to vacuum about an hour after it dries to make carpets very fluffy. It has a "pet attachment" to extract those stubborn hairs, stains and it comes with 2 solutions: one is for heavy traffic stains and a cleaner which is their "Pet Stain and Odor" bottle (also comes with a 'pet stain eraser' attachment). (These solutions found at Walmart). I actually got my Bissell cleaner at Ollies on sale for $150 just this week (Walmart sells for $279) you might check there at Ollies if you have one, and do it right away! (Just went on sale Thurs Jan 13th). I believe Bissell might have coupons on their website. I have a long-haired big cat and this machine does a beautiful job and the carpets smell really great! I recommend buying the best model so you will always have it for years and years and can clean/refresh your carpets whenever you want.


On the box it says it has Scotchguard-it cleans and protects in one easy step, and the unit also has Microban anti-microbial product protection helps prevent the growth of odor causing bacteria, mold, and mildew in the unit. You can do your furniture as well....very worthwhile as compared to always having to call professional cleaners each and every time!

EDITING to add: the unit has choices for heavy traffic, normal clean, light clean or water rinse, and the ProHeat 2X will adjust the right amount of cleaning solution to mix with the heated water to fit your cleaning need. Also follow the instructions: move unit in a slow motion. People often have problems because they may not be following the directions carefully. This unit is like "self-propelled" and easy to use with my bad back and arthritis. Good luck! (Pets :D What we don't do for them.)

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January 15, 20110 found this helpful

We have a Hoover upright, but the thing that really works on stains: pet, food, ink, coffee , blood, grease, cosmetics, rust, even wine, is a product called Folex Instant Carpet Spot Remover. My husband got it at Lowe's or Home Depot and it is great! You spray it on a stain and wait a few minutes, then blot by hand or go over the spot with your shampooer. (I usually put a little of it in the water reservoir as well.) My father-in-law spilled a whole glass of red wine on the carpet on Thanksgiving and you can't even tell where it happened!

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January 17, 20110 found this helpful

If kitty is messing et outside his litter box it maybe time to see your vet. If the litter is kept clean, perhaps there are health issues here? Does the cat cry when going to the bathroom? If a cat feels pain when going it may pee. Or poop in you bed as the association with pleasure, if it sleeps with you, helps ease the pain. Please check it out as kidney, or urinary track issues can be serious. Don't use an ammonia base or anything that smells like ammonia as it will attract the cat to mess there. Good luck to you.

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January 17, 20110 found this helpful

I have the Dirt Devil CE7900 Platinum Force Carpet Extractor/Shampoo Steamer. My sister had the same and so did my mom. All houses with pets. My sister's finally wore out (she kept lending it to other people) but mine is 8+ years old and I love it yet. With kids/grandchildren/dog in the house, this is the best I found. Anyway, make sure it is a hot water type of steam cleaner.

I always put Febreeze (about 1 TB) in the water tank to rinse the carpet as a final step after cleaning it. It keeps it nice smelling and fresh. Remember to vacuum daily when you have pets. This helps. Also make sure you change out the belts on these items often too, they don't have to break to be replaced. A tight belt makes the vacuum work and pick up better, making the carpet look better longer.

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March 17, 20110 found this helpful

All good advice: I was thinking of trying one of the Hoovers at Target but I should study all these models mentioned here again on their websites. I have an old Big Green Clean Machine from Bissell but I don't think it can handle the toughest spots. They have these odd boxy red carpet cleaners to rent at Food 4 Less that seem to be entirely made of light weight plastic. I wish Stater Brothers still had their rental line as they were really sturdy. Anyone remember what brand manufacturer those were?

I am late to post this. :)

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January 13, 20110 found this helpful

Want is the best home carpet cleaner machine to purchase for soiled traffic stains?

By nosey70

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July 25, 20100 found this helpful

I am thinking of getting a carpet shampooer. I really don't know what to look for. If you have one, can you tell me what the pros/cons of that particular machine are? I appreciate any input. Thanks!



Carpet Shampooer Recommendations

I have a Bissel ProHeat and it's been OK, but just OK. It has come in handy at times with a dog, cat, and 3 grandkids, but it is very temperamental. The soap dispenser doesn't always work properly, the tank isn't very big so you have to dump the water often, and I don't think it heats up much at all. I agree that it's good to have one around for quick clean ups, but I personally would not buy another Bissel (05/13/2008)

By Kayray

Carpet Shampooer Recommendations

I had a Bissell that broke. When I took it to my local vacuum repair he told me he would not touch it. Told me to only buy Hoover if I am going to buy one. I have had a couple of Hoovers and so have my parents and have not had any trouble with them other than normal wear and tear. (05/13/2008)

By MurphTheJo

Carpet Shampooer Recommendations

I have a Rug Doctor. While it's kind of big, it does a great job of cleaning. It's like the kind that you rent. The part I like is that it doesn't just let the water set on the carpet, but sucks all the stuff up. Dirt is attracted to soap, so models that scrub and allow the dirty stuff to stay in the carpet just make things worse. After cleaning, I often will do a second time with plain hot water just to make sure that everything has come out. The suction is great on these, so the carpet dries really fast, too. (05/26/2008)

By susanmajp

Carpet Shampooer Recommendations

I have owned a Hoover shampooer for years. I had a Golden Retriever. Max had a few accidents over the years. Hoover cleaned terrifically. It is a little heavy, but it is wonderful machine. I have always had new looking carpet after using the Hoover and it always removed the smell. Hoover Pre-spot cleaner is terrific product, also. (07/09/2008)

By Debbie

Carpet Shampooer Recommendations

I bought a Bissell Proheat shampooer about 2 years ago. It broke down two months ago because the shampoo sprayer stopped working and the plastic around the screws holding the bottom of the shampooer cracked. These two things happened about the same time. I would never buy a Bissell product again. I found the quality of the product and workmanship poor. It is also extremely expensive to replace the broken parts. It would be cheaper to buy a new shampooer. I am thinking of Hoover. I bought the Bissell because the department store salesperson recommended it. That was a mistake. (07/22/2008)

By Wayne

Carpet Shampooer Recommendations

We have a Bissell Pro-heat X2 and we love it. Our house always smells so nice and clean and it sucks up the water better than any other we have used including having the professionals come in to steam clean. We have used our Bissell several times, our neighbor used it to clean up after visiting dogs and our son has used it to clean up his dirty carpet and truck. I wouldn't rent another steam cleaner from a store again. The last time we rented our house smelled terrible from previous use. (08/16/2008)

By Patty

Carpet Shampooer Recommendations

I recently bought Kirby Sentria that was demo model for $900. The vacuum removes the embedded dirt, and the shampooing attachment just literally shampoos the top of the carpet. Works well for normal skin oil buildup from bare foot traffic. Spots/stains require elbow grease. If you start with a newer carpet and regularly shampoo (maybe twice a year) your carpet should look almost like new for a very long time.

You basically just need to shampoo the regularly trafficked areas and vacuum the rest and your carpet will stay clean. Once in a long while you might want to shampoo everything. If you're starting with an older, dirty carpet, I suggest you vacuum very well (slowly) a few times especially over the regularly trafficked areas and rent a carpet cleaner that steams/agitates/vacuums deep down and then you'll be able to maintain the cleaned carpet with regular vacuuming and shampooing using the Kirby system.

I was hoping that the shampooer that attaches to the Kirby was better, but it is limited because it cannot "vacuum" the carpet as it shampoos. Maybe a future Kirby will be able to. Please note that this is my personal opinion and recommendation and any other opinions are highly encouraged because we all have different experiences. (10/03/2008)

By Larry

Carpet Shampooer Recommendations

I have sold Kirbys for more then 8 years. They work great if you use them and only if you use them. The problem is that most people have a bad vac and when they go to clean their carpets they just push the dirt deeper which in turn makes your carpet get more stains in a few weeks when you walk on it. If you have a problem with your Kirby call the local office and they will come out and show yo how to use it. (10/21/2008)

By Matt

Carpet Shampooer Recommendations

No one has mentioned the Rainbow. We have a cleaning lady come over and she brings her Rainbow E series tank system with the shampooer attachment and I am really impressed. It does as well as hiring the pros to come in. We have had a Hoover steam vac, but it has lost suction and leaves too much water in the carpet. I am looking for a used or rebuilt Rainbow. Any other Rainbow users out there? (11/13/2008)

By Jeff

Carpet Shampooer Recommendations

Ditto on the Bissell Proheat, mine broke after a couple of uses. I phoned them and they also have terrible customer service people. Don't waste your money on Bissell. (12/17/2008)

By Tim

Carpet Shampooer Recommendations

If you need to shampoo often a Bissell will not hold up. They work great when they work but the parts that go out the most they will not sell to consumer, all planned I am sure. Take bad motors to a alternator starter repair shop, some of those guys can redo motors. (02/07/2009)

By Cliff P.

Carpet Shampooer Recommendations

As a mom with a husband, 3 kids, 3 dogs and 2 cats, I am forever cleaning! I have owned the Bissell, Hoover, and Dirt Devil shampooers. (The Bissell and D.D are junk! The Hoover, is not a lot better.) My Hoover just quit working last week. When I had seen the infomercial on TV for the Rug Dr, I had to give it a try. It's the best! My floors have never looked, smelled, or felt so good. This machine is truly amazing. The vibrating bristles make sure ever fiber is cleaned and fluffed, and it sucks the water up so good, my rooms are dry in no time.

It's a pricey machine starting at $500, but worth every penny. I will never waste money on the other ones again. Plus, they have payment plans, and you get $150 of free cleaning solutions. If your not happy with it, you can return it. So, you have nothing to lose. You can also order on the web site ( and see the machine in action. Walmart has the smaller Rug Dr. for only $499. I have the wide track model, but I am sure it works just as well. (10/22/2009)

By Super clean freak

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May 12, 20080 found this helpful

I am thinking of getting a carpet shampooer. I really don't know what to look for. If you have one, can you tell me what the pros/cons of that particular machine are? I appreciate any input. Thanks! - Diane


Carpet Shampooer Recommendations

I just went through this exact process. In my search, I decided to see what Consumer Reports says about these things. I have come to value their opinion on many things. Most recently I looked to them for their unbiased recommendations when it came to purchasing my refrigerator and my cordless answering machine. In any case, their opinion with Carpet Shampooers is don't waste your money on owning one because none do as good of a job as the machines you can rent. In their opinion it was much more economical to rent this machine a couple times a year than to spend the $200+ on a machine that wouldn't do nearly as well. I opted to heed their advice and NOT buy. Besides, I don't need another THING around the house!!! My subscription to Consumer Reports Magazine and online version is the best money I ever spent! Has saved me big $$$$$. Good Luck. (03/04/2001)

By dibaby718

Carpet Shampooer Recommendations

I have a HOOVER with 4 Brushes. Does a very good job - HardyBlueByrd (03/05/2001)

Carpet Shampooer Recommendations

I have a cannister Bissell Power Steamer. It cost about 80 dollars. It works well but what I don't like about it is you have this long hose that you need to hook up to the kitchen sink to provide the hot water. If I was going to buy another, I would buy one that holds the hot water in the unit or heats it's own water. I like the fact that it has attachments for different purposes. I had wanted to be able to use it to clean carpets and upholstery in the car, however, I don't have a hose long enough to stretch from the kitchen sink to the driveway. Do check out recommendations and features that each machine has. Also think about where you would like to use it. With the one I have you must have a hot water source (or a extra long garden hose) nearby to use it properly. - Susan (03/05/2001)

Carpet Shampooer Recommendations

I also have a Hoover Steam Vac and when it wears out believe me, I "will" buy another. I will never be without one again. We live upstairs in an apartment and I would hate to think I would have to lug one of those rentals up the stairs. It has come in so handy, so many, many times. I would again pay a few dollars more and get one that comes with attachments to clean furniture, inside of the car, etc. You will never spend your money more wisely. (03/18/2001)

By JSRS443

Carpet Shampooer Recommendations

Go to and click "Schedule a personal in home demonstration today!" your nearest Kirby office will come out and show (not tell) you what their system can do. I've had a Kirby for over 20 years with ZERO problems and outstanding performance. I just upgraded to the new model with the transmission and I'm again more than happy with it. Just think, you have nothing to lose. They will come to you, show you what the Kirby can do, clean any room in your house for you FOR FREE!!!!!! And if you for only God knows why don't like it they will take it with them, no strings attached. My Kirby has saved me thousands of dollars in carpet replacement alone. In fact, even with 5 of us living on this carpet, it looks as good now as it did 20 years ago. All we do is vacuums once a week and shampoo once a year. I know of no other system that can do that. But again, you have nothing to lose, and thousands to save. It was one of the best decisions I ever made. (01/15/2005)

By Matt

Carpet Shampooer Recommendations

It's been ten years since I owned a cleaning service, so technology has improved, but I tend to agree with dibaby. A $200 POS is not going to do the job that a $5000 machine will.

One benefit of the commercial machines is in the stronger pressure of the cleaning chemical being forced into the carpet fiber. More pressure = greater penetration of the fiber.

The brushes are much better also on a commercial, they really contact and scrub each fiber in a given area.

Another benefit is that a commercial machine will have stronger suction -the ability to extract all that yucky "dirt juice" you just created. If you don't get all the juice out, then you leave a residue or film on the carpet fiber.

Even the people who use the $200 machines regularly still need to use a commercial machine every 3 years or so, otherwise the dirt will just accumulate and grate against the fibers of your carpet, wearing it out sooner.

I haven't seen a residential shampooer yet that is any good, but then again I got used to professional quality machines and am quite particular about my carpets. I wish Dyson would make a residential shampooer, they seem to be quite particular about their vacuums for home use.

The motors on residential vacuums/shampooers are designed to overheat if you use them more than 30 minutes at a time. This will shorten it's working life span. (01/21/2007)

By compulsive cleaner

Carpet Shampooer Recommendations

Oh I guess I should say that the advantage of the residential shampooers is that they are better than nothing, and many people might keep their carpets cleaner, since they are easier to use.

I'm considering one for the same reasons. ;) (01/21/2007)

By compulsive cleaner

Carpet Shampooer Recommendations

I have owned the Hoover residential cleaners.

They will never be as good as the rental units. But in my case I had 2 dogs in a small house. Having the ability to clean up quickly and often is well worth the cost in such a situation. Best money I ever spent.

Still would not hurt to rent one every now and again and if you do not have messy pets or kids with an inability to remove shoes. It is probably cheaper to just rent.

By Dave

Carpet Shampooer Recommendations

As of today I am on my third Hoover in thirteen years.
While that might sound like much, please know that
I have used these machines until they exhaust.
Thirteen years, two machines between,
hey, I'll gladly get a new shampooer every six to seven years,
especially when they are so inexpensive.

Three guys in the house, animals and living in
the country, I don't want my home to reflect that.
I've used the shampooers in the house, on the
porch (outdoor carpet) and everywhere I can.

The first unit, I'm not sure what happened to it,
it's been a while. The second one I've had for a very
long time and it has slowly been dying.
It refused to pick up water and sounded like
a dump truck grinding gears. Today I shopped until I dropped
and what did I come home with? Yet another Hoover.

The other machines not only cost twice as much, but
the plastic is cheap, the machines with all the fancy bells
and whistles give it just one more thing to break.

Hoover has definitely made improvements to their
basic SteamVac. It is lighter and seems to pick up
more water. I even shampooed in my socks as the
ultimate test. Indeed, Hoover, you've done well.

My suggestion? Unless you just have extra cash
laying around for the hoity toity name brands with
bright colors and chrome siding, stick with the good
stuff. Hoover SteamVac with heated cleaning, spin
scrub and a 12 amp motor.

If it can clean MY carpets, you will be quite pleased.
$139.00 at Wal Mart. Yes, I shopped around.

Renting a machine is a pain in the butt, especially
living in the country. When I get on a cleaning whim,
I want to pull the Hoover out of the closet and get
the job done, not drive back and forth with rented
equipment and such. It's mine and I'm going to
use the ever-lovin' heck out of it. :-)

By the way, did I mention the same model now
has a clean surge, for those tough spots? Mine
came with Clean Surge, but some come with a
power hand tool or other goody. I love it.
When this one dies, I'll buy yet another.

Karen Marie



RE: Carpet Shampooer Recommendations

Carpet Shampooer Recommendations

I have a Hoover Dual V and with all the pets and traffic that come through the front and go out the back, I will never be without one. The only gripe I have with a home version of a steamer/shampooer is the tanks are usually too small. So if you are in the market to buy a steamer/shampooer this is a must on your consideration list. Does my Hoover do a good job, you ask? A very good job. I have 6 very large dogs and 26 cats, yes I said twenty-six, and when someone arrives at my home for the first time they always say " WOW your house is spotless and it smells good too " I don't think they would say it unless it was true. (10/31/2007)

By Jennie

Carpet Shampooer Recommendations

I too was wondering about getting a small hand held carpet cleaner because i live in an apartment with white carpet. I do not have the space for a large vacuum, but the carpet badly needs to be cleaned. I am a poor young adult, and I do not have the time or money to waste on stuff that is not going to work. Does anyone have any suggestions for me? I had been thinking about the dirt devil spot scrubber but heard it was bad. I cant find any info on the smaller models.. i also figured it would more worthwhile to get my own then rent because of how frequently I would be using it. If anybody can offer me any help I would appreciate it. If you would send them to me in an email at jennyjs83 AT Thank you (11/30/2007)

By Jenny

Carpet Shampooer Recommendations

DO NOT BUY A BISSEL PRO HEAT X2. I'm actually taking mine back today b/c it does not suck all the water up, and to empty the dirty tank. There just isnt any water, except in my carpet. I came on here to see what I'll get in it's place, and I'm definitely thinking about a hoover. Thanks everyone u guys helped me out too. Just dont buy a bissel. It sux (02/08/2008)

By teela

Carpet Shampooer Recommendations

Don't purchase their cleaner! Use one cup of lemon ammonia to 1 gallon of hot water! A MUCH, much better cleaner and does not leave behind any residue! (02/08/2008)

By wes

Carpet Shampooer Recommendations

I have owned a Bissel Proheat and a Hoover Agility. By far the Proheat is a much better machine. The hoover just pours water out of the bottom of the machine so you spend you time cleaning up all the leaking water and NOT cleaning your carpet. I returned 3 of the Hoover Agility's hoping the machines were damaged, but it is just a bad design. (02/18/2008)

By LBrown

Carpet Shampooer Recommendations

Hasn't anyone else had a problem with the Hoover's suction hood cracking? I have had three hoovers and each has had the same problem. The plastic hood, that provides the channel for suction, breaks. The corners crack off and there goes any suction. Until that happens, it works great. I have had to purchase two replacements and now my third hoover has the same problem. I don't think my carpets are any more difficult to clean than anyone else's! (03/24/2008)

By Mark

Carpet Shampooer Recommendations

I have just about thrown up my hands when it comes to carpet shampooers. I am very tired of replacing them or taking them back after gently using them a few times. Hoovers clean really good for the first couple shampooings ,but they break easily and the attachment hose clogs up and quits working. I have owned about four different Hoovers, six if you count the ones I exchanged.

I next tried the Bissell Proheat, the first one heated itself up so hot it melted some of the cheap components inside had trouble getting Target to exchange it even though it was within the exchange period got it exchanged it fell apart so my husband rigged it to work until I could get a new one. I bought a Eureeka Atlantis, (the green model) it is simple to use, but again I have problems with it the attachment sprayer for upholstery sprays on too much water and soaks everything even leaves water marks on my lighter furniture.

It also leaks and leaves a puddle of water on my floor under the machine that I have to mop up when I am done. It does alright cleaning carpets just gets them too wet and I have to open windows and turn on fans to dry them. Little worried that if I didn't it might cause mold.

I just bought a new Kirby Ultimate G but haven't been able to figure out how to use the shampooer. I read the manual and followed the instructions but it is not working right so I must be doing something wrong, but one thing with this Kirby is that the parts are built a lot more durable than any others I have owned. Just hope that I can get the shampooer hooked up right to actually start trying it out.

I have heard from an in-law that owns a new Kirby that is cleans carpets so well they look new again. Too bad she lives out of state so she can't come over to show me what I am doing wrong. I don't get it she is blond too. I guess I am the real dumb blond that just don't get it. Well just thought I would put my word in about experiences that I have had with shampooers hope it helps. I will get back to looking for some how to instructions for my Kirby so that I can finish my spring cleaning. (03/29/2008)

By Gina

Carpet Shampooer Recommendations

I used to sell Kirbys. grew up in a Kirby home. Awesome machines, but way high dollar ($1,600-$2,200 New). Call for a demo to learn the machine (beware of the "not-a-high-pressure-sales" pitch), then call your local vacuum clinic and buy a used one (I'd recommend a G4 or newer. The vacuuming is what saves the carpet, the shampoo is only for the surface oils and grime that build up.

Recently moved into an old house where the former renter had several indoor dogs. Stunk to high heaven. The commercial steam cleaning only made it stink worse. So I bought a Kirby, laid out four HUGE boxes of baking soda, vacuumed, and then shampooed the whole house three times. No stink. And....Kirby's last for 20-40 years. I used to take in trades from people who bought theirs in the 1960s-1970s. Awesome machines. I have converted several skeptical girlfriends into huge Kirby fans over the years. (04/16/2008)

By Mark

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