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Carpet Hot Water Extractor hire: 7 things you need to know


Almost every householder has made this mistake…

They spend a fortune on their beautiful carpets and upholstery. Take all the necessary maintenance measures, like spot cleaning and regular vacuuming.

Until eventually they realise that their carpet or upholstery needs to have a proper clean. The furnishings look dull and the fresh smell that was there has long gone.

So what do they do?

Well, for most it means a trip to the local hardware or supermarket. Hire a carpet hot water extractor machine, and do it themselves.

I mean its going to be cheaper than using a professional carpet cleaner. It looks like a pretty simple job, and besides, the machines all come with instructions.

What could possibly go wrong?

Well the answer to that question is, plenty!

So in this article I’m going to delve into the kinds of things that can go wrong and why.

You’ll learn:

  • Why cleaning your own carpets or upholstery doesn’t save much money over the longer term.
  • How easy it is to wreck what are major investments in your home.
  • How inadequate equipment and knowledge can even impact your health.

So lets take a closer look at why you should think twice before you hire that carpet hot water extractor.

Cleaning your carpets or upholstery yourself, could end up being an expensive mistake!

Store rented carpet hot water extractor machines: Just how effective are they? 

Carpet cleaner rental

Now, you have to realise that to be able to hire out a hot water extraction machine to the public, it has to fit 2 criteria:

  1. It has to be light weight and easy to carry.
  2. It has to be compact enough to fit into a car.

This means the high horsepower motors used in professional cleaning machines aren’t used. They end up being sacrificed for lighter less powerful motors.

Of course the result of this is that there is a lot less vacuum power. This is vital for removing the soils and excess moisture during the extraction process.

Without good suction you run a real risk of overwetting the carpet. Not to mention that the dirt may still remain in the fabric.

The other issue to consider is that there is no heating element built into the hire machines either. This means the water will only ever be as hot as what’s poured into it.

In fact by the time its turned on and travels down the hoses to the fabric surface.  It will be a lot cooler.

It’s unlikely you’ll be extracting at anywhere near the right temperature needed.

Professional carpet cleaning machines operate at high temperatures and pressures. This enables much better soil extraction. The temperature can also be adjusted depending on the type of carpet being cleaned.

So you can see from these equipment comparisons. The rental units are nowhere near powerful enough to do an effective job.

Is it any wonder that the most common complaint is that they leave everything saturated.

Overwetting of carpet or upholstery.

Saturating your carpets or upholstery when cleaning them is the No 1 thing to be avoided at all costs. It brings with is so many potential problems and can totally wreck the fabric.

Unfortunately with a hire machine this is generally going to be the No 1 problem.

Carpet shrinkage and rippling.

When a carpet is saturated it is mainly the backing that is affected. In a lot of cases this is a natural fibre backing. These fibres absorb water and swell. The result can be a rippling and looseness of the carpet.

rippled carpet

The damage done to the carpet through overwetting, may not be immediately noticeable either. You may think you have done a good job of cleaning only to find that as time goes on the carpets get looser and looser.

The backing can also shrink. The result of this is the carpet pulling away from the edges of the room as it does.

Overwetting can also cause the backing to completely separate from the pile. This is known as delamination of the carpet.

Once this happens you may as well throw it away.

Mould, mildew and dust mites

In extreme cases where the carpet is saturated right through to the backing and underlay. There is a high risk of moulds and mildew forming.

They usually show as darker areas on the carpet but may not always be so obvious. The mould and mildew usually grows on the backing turning it black.

The smell is usually the first most noticable thing.

The real danger here are the spores that get released. These can pose a health risk for people who suffer from asthma and other respiratory problems.

High humidity due to carpets being damp can also increase dust mite populations. This means that a suitable dust mite control program needs to be implemented.

Carpet browning.

Carpet or cellulosic browning occurs when carpets are left too wet. It causes a brown sheen over the surface of the carpet and it can happen to upholstery as well.

This occurs in carpets with any natural fibre backing that contains cellulose. The cause is the oxidation of a sugar called lignin that is in the cellulose .

This then wicks up through the pile of the carpet to the surface and “browns it off”.

Mouldy carpet

Cleaning solutions with a high PH increase the risk of this occuring.

When you rent a carpet hot water extractor machine the chemicals that come with them can be too alkaline.

These chemicals along with over-wetting of the carpet increase the chance of cellulosic browning.

Not all carpet and upholstery fabrics are the same.

There is one thing a good professional carpet cleaner will do before they begins a job. They’ll assess the type of fabric they’ll be dealing with.

Because carpets, rugs and upholstery come in such a vast array of materials these days. It’s essential that the correct cleaning method be used for the correct fabric.

For example, some fabrics do not respond well to high ph or high temperatures. Often wool or polypropylene carpets may need to have a bonnet pad run over them. If this isn’t done they are prone to streaking.

You are not going to get that knowledge when you hire a carpet hot water extractor machine from a store.

This lack of knowledge increases the chances of ruining what you are trying to clean.

Hardly worth it just to save a few dollars over the short term.

Why carpets and upholstery seems to get dirtier after you have cleaned it.

This is a common complaint and something we hear quite often. The problem lies not only in the inadequecy of the equipment. Its also due to the instructions provided with the hire machine.

I personally think that these instructions are deliberately wrong. Their intention is for your carpets or upholstery to resoil quickly so that you go and hire the machine again.

Most of them tell you to pour the cleaning detergent into the machine before you start extracting. This means the rinse tank is a mixture of water and detergent.

Can you see the problem here?

Thats right, the carpet or upholstery is not being rinsed out with clean water. Its actually getting a mixture of detergent and water rinsed through it.

The result of this is that it leaves chemical residue stuck to the fibres of the fabric.  This then leaves it slightly sticky and susceptible to resoiling.

Now when you walk on your carpets or sit on your lounge after they are dry. Dirt will tend to stick to these sticky fibres.

This is then hard to vacuum out out and soon builds up on the fibres. Within a couple of weeks your carpet or furniture can end up looking worse than it did before you cleaned it.

When carpets soil in this way, the dirt can work its way right into the fibres themselves. This is what causes the grey traffic lanes seen in the walkways of carpets.

If they aren’t cleaned properly it can become permanent.

Different stains need different treatments.

Just as different types of fabric need different treatements, so do certain stains. Again you won’t get that information when you hire a carpet hot water extractor machine.

A professional cleaning techinician will always assess the job before starting.


This is because it is crucial to know what chemicals and what water temperature is required. Every stain is different and has to be treated on its own merit.

This because it is so easy to set them in. Once that happens you have no chance of getting them out.

Again this highlights the problem with hiring a machine and using the detergent provided. If you use it to treat every stain on the carpet. You will get certainly get some out, but others will be permanently fixed in.

A great example of this is blood stain removel. Use the wrong temperature water and incorrect ph cleaner and you will never get them out.

How DIY carpet cleaning affects stain protection treatment.

An often overlooked problem is how your cleaning affects any stain protection treatment.  You may well be stripping the them out of your carpets or upholstery.

These coatings like scotchgard and Teflon do not like cleaning agents with too high a ph. When you hire a carpet hot water extractor and use the chemicals supplied. They can often be too harsh for these coatings.

This then leaves the fabric susceptible to absorbing oils and dirt. These can get deep into the individual fibres where they are almost impossible to remove.

This then leaves carpets vulnerable to permanent traffic lane staining.

Cleaning carpets and upholstery is hard work.

If you are planning on cleaning a lot of rooms. Sprucing up your lounge suite or you are elderly. You’ll find that it is hard work.

Carpet Hot Water Extractor

Unfortunatley the hire machines just don’t cut it when it comes to cleaning large areas, this is due to:

  • The hire machines not being powerful enough (as stated above)
  • The rinse and recovery tanks being too small therefore needing constant filling and emptying.
  • The wand head being too narrow. This means a lot more cleaning strokes and areas being missed or streaks left in the carpets.
  • The machines and accessories not being maintained from one customer to the next. This makes them susceptible to breakdowns and water leaking everywhere.


So there you have it.  A few reasons why hiring your own carpet hot water extractor machine may not be the big money saver you think.

Of course at the end of the day the decison is yours. Many people use these machines and have no apparent problems. The trouble is what you percieve may not really be reality.

You could be doing damage and not even realising it and I tell my own experience of that here.

All I can recommend is use a professional carpet and upholstery cleaner when you can. Carpets and upholstery are large investments in your home and believe me very easy to wreck.

In the long run you’ll save time, money, effort and worry.

Have you had a bad or good experience with this kind of machine? Leave me a comment below I’d love to hear about it.


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