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Carpet Cleaning

DIY Rental Machines from the Store
— vs —
Hiring an Expert Carpet Cleaner

According to the carpet manufacturers, residential carpets are supposed to be deep cleaned every 6-18 months, depending on the circumstances in your home, to keep them looking great — but more importantly, to remove the accumulated deep-down dirt, allergens, bacteria, and even dust mites. A professional hot water “steam” cleaning will extend the life of your carpet and will keep your home healthy and free from allergens, microscopic pests, odors, and stains.

Sometimes people may consider tackling the job themselves with a grocery store rental machine, rather than hiring a professional carpet cleaner.

I'm fairly certain that my professional opinion won’t surprise you.

At Flawless, we don’t have a very high opinion of the results that you can achieve with a rental machine. In fact, we’ve been called to fix problems that were caused by rental machines.

rental carpet cleaning machine

The only advantage of renting a machine is that it’s a little cheaper in the moment. But if you consider the longevity of your carpets, the cleaning results you can achieve, and the residue you leave behind — you truly get way you pay for.

Thank you for taking the time to explore all of the factors that effective carpet cleaning entails. In this article, I’ll give you real-life considerations when making this choice between renting a machine and hiring a pro.

The first thing to consider is the actual equipment.

Vacuum Strength.

No matter how you look at it, a professional uses powerful, professional-grade truck-mounted equipment to get your carpets as deeply cleaned as possible. Rental machines just don't have the vacuum extraction power to recover the dirty water and cleaning solutions.

Machine rentals often lead to over-wetting, incomplete soil removal, shampoo residues, longer drying times (often a whole day or two), and possibly mold or mildew growth.

Dampness and residues lead to fast "re-soiling", mold and mildew problems, wicking*, and a yellowish discoloration caused by solution residues left behind in the carpet.

I can usually tell when a homeowner used a rental machine in the past, because my system will become clogged and overloaded with foam from the residues left behind by rental machines.

Wicking is when soil and water deep within the carpet that has not been extracted due to weak suction power wicks back to the surface during the drying time. Rental machines don’t deep clean. They can only clean the surface, so carpets look clean immediately after cleaning, but deeply embedded soils will wick back to the surface and cause rapid re-soiling. Thoroughly extracting water and dirt requires much more suction power than rental machines can achieve.

raymond and carpet cleaning van

My truck-mounted cleaning unit has far superior vacuum strength — powered by a truck-mounted engine.

Hot Water.

Professional Hot Water Extraction equipment produces its own heat, which has a deep cleaning effect that is optimum for the results you want. Carpet is manufactured to be thoroughly cleaned using very hot water — with temperatures even above the natural boiling point.

My unit uses pressure to achieve a consistently high temperature over every inch of your carpeting. This not only deep cleans, but it sanitizes the carpet and kills dust mites. Hot water also removes sticky oily dirt and debris much more thoroughly than a rental machine.

And super hot water also evaporates faster, which leads to shorter drying times.

Rental machines don’t produce their own heat. You have to add hot tap water to a big plastic tank, and then that water immediately begins to cool. Since hot tap water is typically about 120 degrees to begin with, by the time you’re done with a single pass, the temperature has dropped below 100. As the water continues to cool in the tank, you’re going to get inconsistent cleaning power as you work your way across the your carpet.

Other factors.

Those big bulky rental machines have a hard time cleaning all the way to the edges of the room, and they can’t get the areas close to large pieces of furniture.

The Hot Water Extraction wands that professionals use can clean all the way to the edges of your baseboards, your furniture, and in tight spaces.

Professional equipment can effectively restore the matted down traffic lanes in your carpet. Matted traffic lanes often remain after cleaning with a rental.

Professional equipment has the power to lift out tiny bits of sharp matter that accumulate in your carpet which can cause irreversible damage to the carpet fibers over time. Therefore, extracting these particles will extend the useful and beautiful life of your carpet.

If you or a family member are sensitive to allergens in the home, or if anyone in your family has any respiratory issues, I highly recommend that you choose not to use rental machines. My techniques and equipment will not only effectively remove allergens from your carpet, it will leave your indoor air clean too. The vacuum blower in rental machines can disperse allergens into the air. My unit blows all exhaust back outside through the hoses.

Rental machines don’t come with a highly-trained and experienced expert cleaner.

When you hire a highly trained and experienced expert to clean your carpets, they know how to achieve the results you are looking for — soft, plush, healthy, and thoroughly cleaned carpets.

A good and honest professional knows exactly what they’re doing to remove spots and stains, to restore the fluffiness, to remove allergens and deep-down dirt, and to clean thoroughly without leaving soil-attracting residues — thus leaving your carpet in top condition.

When you DIY with a rental machine, it’s important that you choose the proper solutions from a dozen bottles on offer — shampoo, anti-foam, deodorizer, "deep pet cleaner", and more — then you must study the written directions in a complicated manual.

If you don’t thoroughly understand the important cleaning techniques for your particular style of carpet, you also risk damaging your carpets by over-wetting them, leaving behind soapy residues, or not properly drying them.

The Absolute Convenience Factor

A true professional shows up on time, thoroughly cleans your carpets in the shortest amount of time possible, and leaves you with completely clean carpet that dries fast.

Do-it-yourself carpet cleaning is full of time-consuming tasks. You drive to the store, pick out the proper bottles of cleaning solutions, wait in line, fill out the forms, pay a deposit, load it in your car, transport it to your house in your car, unload it, study the instructions, fill the machine with tap water without making a mess, clean the carpet, empty the dirty water tank 5 or 6 times per room — then you have to clean the machine before you return it, load it in your car, drive it back to the store, and wait in line to return it, have it inspected for cleanliness, and get your deposit back.

Is it really worth the work and inconvenience to save a few dollars?

And then, because of the weak suction power of the machine and the relatively cool water, your carpets will be wet and wicking dirt-magnets for the rest of the day — or two.


As a professional, I’m committed to the craft and the science of achieving results, and to great customer service. My service includes pre-inspecting for problem spots, pre-treating stains, and using techniques that restore the matted down fibers in high-traffic lanes, and much more.

If you have any questions about this article, or anything related to cleaning carpet, upholstery, tile and grout, and maintaining a healthy home, please feel free to give me a call, and I'll be happy to help.

To your clean and healthy home!

~ Raymond Romero, owner
Flawless Cleaning Systems
Salinas, Monterey, Carmel, CA

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