Do It Yourself Carpet Cleaning?

DIY Carpet Cleaning? 3 Things Carpet Cleaning Machine Rental Companies Don’t Tell You

Companies who rent out carpet cleaning machines hope to give their customers more bang for their buck by supplying the equipment they need to achieve “professional quality” results themselves. While DIY carpet cleaning may be “cheaper”, it can result in frustration and problems for unsuspecting consumers. This article explains what you are not being told about renting carpet cleaning machines.

The Carpet and Rug Institute

The Carpet and Rug Institute (CRI) is a non-profit trade association and source of carpet cleaning industry information that helps people make informed choices about carpet and rugs. CRI provides a Seal of Approval (SOA) program that tests cleaning products and equipment and then ranks them by level, according to the effectiveness. Both professional equipment and equipment designed for consumer use are ranked by CRI. Equipment is evaluated on soil removal efficacy, resoiling, residual moisture, surface appearance change, colorfastness, pH level, and optical brighteners. CRI’s SOA program does not, however, take into consideration the following important factors.

1. How much do rented carpet cleaning machines weigh?

Carpet cleaning machines weigh a lot more than vacuum cleaners. People who imagine themselves exerting only slightly more effort to use a carpet cleaning machine are in for a rude awakening. Carpet cleaning machines for consumer use usually weigh anywhere from 35 to 43 pounds. Add another 16 to 30 pounds of water, and you are looking at lifting, pushing, and pulling up to 73 pounds… possibly all day or longer. Carpet cleaning machines are heavy, bulky, and awkward to handle. Depending on the size of the home and health and fitness level of the user, this could be a real problem.

2. How long does it take to clean your own carpets?

Companies who rent carpet cleaning machines claim that you can clean an average size room in about 20 minutes. Most people will be using the machine to clean 3 to 5 rooms. Easy-peasy, right? Wrong! These other time-sucking tasks ought to be factored into the total time:

  • Traveling to and from the store to pick up and drop off the machine
  • Checking out and in at the store, including filling out a rental agreement and possibly waiting around, depending on how busy the store is
  • Doing research about your carpet to determine whether the type of detergent you plan to use is appropriate
  • Reading the manufacturer’s instructions for the machine and the detergent
  • Moving furniture and masking and protecting surrounding areas, as needed
  • Measuring and refilling water and detergents (maybe more than once per room)
  • Pretreating spots and stains
  • Vacuuming
  • Cleaning the machine after use

3. Are rented carpet cleaning machines difficult to use?

Proper use of a rented carpet cleaning machine is not likely to cause damage. The operative word is proper. Trained, skilled professional carpet cleaning technicians can clean carpets in their sleep. However, you are probably not a properly trained carpet cleaning technician. If any mistakes are made, the results can be problematic. Potential problems include:

  • Excessively wet carpets, which can create an offensive odor and invite mold and mildew that can make your family and guests sick
  • Damage to carpet or carpet glue that secures carpet fibers caused by using detergents unsafe for certain types of carpet or using too much detergent
  • Sticky residue, which acts as a magnet for dust and dirt particles
  • Partially cleaned carpets, which result in premature wear over time because abrasive contaminants slice into carpet fibers every time someone takes a step
  • Spots setting and becoming permanent stains

Before you rent a carpet cleaning machine, consider that getting more “bang for your buck” may not be worth it in the long run.

Tru-Clean Surface Care is a Certified Partner with the international Carpet & Rug Institute (CRI) and we clean thousands of homes annually.  Of the homes we clean, several dozen of the homeowners have tried going the “grocery store rental route” and ended up browning-out their carpeting or applying too much “cleaner” that resulted in stickiness and overwet carpeting.  In addition to these errors, additional time and money were spent in manpower, traveling to and from the grocery store to lug the equipment back and forth, and the actual cleaning of the machine prior to returning to the store.

Rental units have less than one fifth the power of a professional truck mounted carpet cleaning machine, have nowhere near the heat needed to effectively clean the carpeting, and over the counter “cleaning agents” has nowhere near the cleaning and suspension properties of professional-grade cleaning agents.  Basically, if you’re looking for a professional quality carpet cleaning from a $19.95 rental unit, as my grandmother used to say, “it ain’t gonna happen!”

Quality carpet cleaning begins with experienced technicians, quality cleaning solutions, certification, and industry-leading equipment and technologies.  Just like store purchased carpet cleaning equipment is ineffective in delivering a professional carpet cleaning, there are also carpet cleaning companies out there who can’t deliver a quality cleaning either.  Many carpet cleaning companies are no industry certified, do not invest in training, maintain insurance to protect their clients in the event of an accident on their property, and simply are “bait and switch” experts.

Tru-Clean Surface Care is a seven-year-in-a-row-winner of the coveted Angie’s List Super Service Award and is A+ Rated by the Better Business Bureau.  We take customer service seriously and you can always count on our family showing yours our very best.

If we can ever be of service, please do not hesitate to visit us online at or “call us on the carpet” anytime at 239-541-4888 – Cape Coral and Lee County, 239-206-1935, or Punta Gorda and Port Charlotte at 941-621-2198.