You’re all ready to give your carpets a new lease of life, but what do you do if the upright carpet cleaner you’ve got for the job is leaving streaks? Don’t panic, call the Vax Expert…
Vax Expert says:
Oh dear! You’ve been looking forward to having clean and refreshed-looking carpets, but instead you end up with a mess that looks almost as bad as before you started. All is lost, right? Not at all! Thankfully, there are just a small number of straight-forward reasons for an upright carpet cleaner leaving blotching or streaking on carpets. These are easily remedied, so you’ll be back on track with fresh, clean carpets in no time.
As with so many of life’s mini-crises, some initial concern is natural, but do not be alarmed! Your carpet cleaner has not caused any lasting damage, and the marks you are seeing are in fact a good sign that your hard work has not been in vain.
The streaks or lines you see are made up of dirt that has been lifted to the surface of your carpet by the suction of the machine. Up until now, you probably never realised just how much dirt there was lurking under the surface!
To obtain the cleaning effect desired, the machine needs to be lifting this dirt out from the carpet, and this is the first of a number of checks to carry out in this situation.
Your carpet cleaner may have left streaks on the carpet if it’s not correctly collecting the dirty water back into its dirty water tank.
If this is the case, you may notice that the areas of carpet left streaky also feel damp or soggy. This is a reliable indicator that your machine is not collecting dirty water as it should do, as an upright carpet cleaner should pick up at least 80% of the moisture it lays down (and many models will pick up much more than this).
In such a situation, check the following steps:
- Ensure the dirty water tank is fitted correctly. This should not wobble when in place, and should be completely flush to your carpet at its front edge. Follow the instructions in your user guide to line up any locking tabs, if applicable.
- Ensure the filter inside or in the vicinity of the dirty water tank appears clean, is in good overall condition (this should not be torn or have any holes), and is completely dry. A quick rinse and a little time on a window ledge will be sufficient to ready this for use.
- If your dirty water tank has one, ensure the float device hasn’t risen. Your user guide will indicate what this should look like. If this has risen, push it back down into the tank, and be careful not to disturb this by using the machine too vigorously. This is especially important if a carpet is uneven or fitted to an undulating floor.Top tip: use a stroke speed which is about half the speed of using an upright vacuum cleaner. It’s easier on you, makes things easier for the machine and will give better results!
- If your machine has one or more rotary brushbars, or a set of individual spinning brushes at the base, ensure these are rotating at high-speed when you recline the handle of the machine. If this isn’t the case, consult your user guide for advice or contact the manufacturer.
It is also important to remember that, as with most household appliances, it is crucial to have the correct machine to meet your needs. Upright carpet washers range from units with basic cleaning power and static brushes for cleaning, to all-purpose units with multi-directional rotary brushes, heated cleaning and suction power comparable to that of an industrial cleaning machine.
Naturally, a machine that agitates a carpet will produce enhanced cleaning results, as rotating brushes move the carpet cleaning solution throughout the carpet pile, and help free the dirt that sticks and dries to create stains. This is particularly important for mid-to-deep pile and lighter-coloured carpets. Machines that deliver carpet cleaning solution throughout the width of the machine, rather than through individual jets, also tend to give the best coverage.
Carpet cleaners without these features will still clean excellently in many situations, but may require multiple applications to match the performance of a premium machine.
Other added features may be of greater benefit to your needs, such a ‘pre-treatment’ kit, which you can use to really blast those most stubborn stains, helping the machine to remove these first time, every time.
Some manufacturers have a guide to help you choose the machine best for your needs, so it’s worth checking their website.