Carpet Cleaners vs Vacuum Cleaners

If your home has carpet or rugs, you know how hard it can be to keep a carpet looking clean and stain free. Many people consider a vacuum cleaner a must-have for their home, but what about a carpet cleaner?

Depending on how much traffic your carpet gets, it could start looking dingy, and you may need more help than a traditional vacuum cleaner will give you.

Vacuum Cleaners

Your vacuum cleaner removes a lot of dirt, dust, hair, and loose debris from your carpets via suction.

However, your vacuum is limited to cleaning the surface of your carpet. It simply isn't powerful enough to get down to your carpet's base and strip away all of the ground or set-in stains. Almost every home has a vacuum, and they're great for quick once-overs and cleaning up surface stains. 

How often you'll vacuum your home depends on how much traffic goes through it. For example, someone who lives alone and who don't have any pets may only need to vacuum twice a month. However, someone who has pets, kids, or many people in a home may need to vacuum once or twice a week.

Pros

  • Lightweight - Easy to Store
  • Ease of Use
  • Removes Surface Dirt, Dust, Hair, and Debris

Cons

  • Can't Remove Stains
  • Only Cleans Surface Dirt

Carpet Cleaners

Another less widely used tool for cleaning your carpets is the carpet cleaner. This item tends to be bulkier than your vacuum cleaner, but it also works to clean your carpet down to its base.

Your carpet cleaner uses water, shampoo, and scrubbing brush heads to get down to the base of your carpet and shake the trapped dirt loose, and then it extracts the dirty water and most of the dirt back out. You dump the dirty water down the drain, rinse the tank, refill the water and shampoo, and repeat.

Again, how often you scrub your carpets with a carpet cleaner will depend on the amount of traffic the carpet sees. If your carpet isn't prone to getting stained or looking dingy, you may only use your carpet cleaner once every six months.

If the carpet gets stained quickly or if there is a lot of traffic, you may scrub your carpet three or four times a year. 

Pros

  • Scrubs Every Section of Your Carpet
  • Uses Hot Water and Shampoo for a Deep Clean
  • Extracts Most of the Water Out

Cons

  • Heavier, More Bulky Design
  • Leaves Your Carpet Damp
  • Reasons to Use Both

To keep your carpets looking their best, you will want to eventually use both machines. Your vacuum will obviously see more use than your carpet cleaner, but your vacuum has limits. Also, it can be beneficial to vacuum your carpets before you scrub them.

If you're going to scrub your carpets, vacuum them first. This will lift out any surface dust, dirt, or hair. It can also get rid of small debris or parts that may clog your scrubber. Additionally, it'll also help to loosen up your carpet fibres so the carpet scrubber can really get down to the base of the fibres.

It is also a good idea to pretreat either your whole carpet or any spots or high traffic areas. You can purchase carpet pretreatment cleaners, and you usually just apply a thin layer to the problem area. Some require the solution to sit for a few minutes, and others require you to scrub it in lightly, so make sure to read the instructions.

Alternatives

If you don't want to scrub your entire carpets, you can also purchase a smaller spot clean carpet scrubber or a carpet steamer. A spot cleaner is just that, a smaller version of a carpet scrubber that uses brush heads and scrubbing to get any spots or stains out of your carpet. You can use this machine as much as you need to, and it'll most likely see a lot of use depending on how much your carpet picks up stains.

A steam cleaner is another alternative a lot of people use. A steam cleaner typically uses a liquid cleaner and heat to lift stains or spots. Once the area is treated, the cleaning solution stays on the carpet to protect it. Your carpets are left dry, clean, and refreshed.

Final Thoughts

It is a good idea to use both a vacuum cleaner and a carpet cleaner regularly on your carpets. You could even set a schedule and vacuum at least once a week while you only use your carpet scrubber every three to six months.

These two machines will ensure that your carpet stays looking clean and neat all year round.