Rug Doctor: Our Experience with this Carpet Cleaning System

We recently had occasion to rent the Rug Doctor electric deep steam cleaner for carpets, rugs, and upholstery. We had three carpeted rooms to clean–two bedrooms and the living room, plus some smaller rugs in the hallway. In a household with two small children it can be difficult, if not impossible, to keep the carpets looking clean and fresh, even with frequent vacuuming and spot cleaning.

Some of the stains/problem areas we had to deal with were urine, glue, play-doh, ketchup, tea and coffee, colas, shoe polish, tomato sauce, milk, and the marks that come as a matter of course to heavy traffic areas. We rented the Rug Doctor machine (they also have a larger, “Wide Track” model) and their “Upholstery Hand Tool” from our local A&P. Check the hand tool, though, to make sure that there are no breaks or splitting in the tubing (we had to tape ours a couple of times to make sure it kept up suction).

We were provided with a “How To” brochure as well as one entitled “Stain Removal Guide” which lists a multitude of stains….ink, blood, gravy, lipstick…..and others more numerous to mention here. This list is actually very useful as it notes which of the Rug Doctor products are best utilized to remove particular stains. As well as the soap specially designed for the Rug Doctor itself, there are separate preparations for “High Traffic” areas (this has a spray nozzle) as well as three removers: Odor Remover, Pet Stain Remover, and Spot Remover.

In order to rent the machine you must first present identification–either a driver’s license, passport, or military I.D.. The normal rental period is 24 hours, long enough to finish an apartment’s floor coverings and upholstery, even with several applications of the machine to the various surfaces requiring cleaning. Some spots may require such repeated applications, especially where there are stubborn stains.

A very useful point in the Rug Doctor literature is that cleaner carpets make for a cleaner home, one with fewer allergens and bacteria. They also include some very helpful basic cleaning tips, such as not to rub the carpet surface. The renter’s agreement, which is surprisingly thorough, has a sidebar which notes those fabrics and type of carpets the Rug Doctor machines are not to be used upon–which include natural fiber Oriental rugs and hand-loomed wool rugs.

We were very satisfied with how it worked on our carpets and rugs–most of which are synthetic (one or two are wool, but we did not seem to have a problem with these). The total cost for our 24 hour rental, including the cleaning products to put into the machine, was $108.54, which compares very favorably with what a local steam-cleaning company would have charged.

I would, however, try to do this cleaning on a day when you can easily leave all your windows open, because the carpets and upholstery will have some residual dampness, and, in the interests of their drying thoroughly, it would be best, I think, to encourage the circulation of as much fresh air as possible.

If you’re interested in checking out their products or to see where you can rent one of their steam cleaners, you can see their website, or call their hotline, 1-800-RUG DOCTOR.

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