A selection of hot water extractors are being marketed

that range from the large or small canister types

with hose and nozzle to those that look more like an

upright vacuum cleaner. The basic operation of the

steam cleaner vacuum involves spraying a mixture

of warm water and detergent into the carpet, washing

the fibers and then extracting the solution mixture

back out. There are some models that include

rotating or revolving brushes that will agitate the

carpet for better cleaning.

The earlier styles that were sold consisted of a

special wand and nozzle that was used to on wet/dry

utility type of vacuum cleaner. The long hose was

connected to a nearby hot water source. The detergent

came in a small bottle on the wand and was mixed with

hot water before being sprayed on the carpet. By

using a finger controlled valve, you should control

how much water was sprayed in the carpet. Even today,

this type of vacuum is still being used.

The more modern designs are more self contained in

the sense that water and detergent mixtures are

placed into a tank on the machine. This will free

you from the long water supply hose.

The main part of an extractor will consist of a

cleaning solution tank, recovery tank, suction motor,

cleaning nozzle, and some sort of solution spraying

system. If there is a hose that is used, there

will also be a motor or turbine driven pump that

will force the solution on to the end of the hose.

Upright steam cleaners

These types of vacuums look like uprights also

have the tanks, suction motor, main nozzle, and

other features built into one. The entire vacuum

unit is pushed around much like using an upright

vacuum cleaner. Normally, the solution is gravity

fed to the spray nozzle which is directly behind

the suction nozzle.

Most types have brushes mounted in the same area

to agitate the carpet for overall better cleaning.

For cleaning upholstered furniture and carpeted

stairs, most types will have a special hose and

smaller nozzle that will come with stationary

brushes that can easily detach.

Canister steam cleaners

This type of steam cleaner will come with a separate

hose and nozzle and has the tanks and suction motor

built directly into a case that is pulled along

with you. The nozzle at the end of the hose and

the wands are moved back and forth across the carpet

to clean it.

There are some deluxe models that have a drive motor

style revolving brush in the nozzle that will help

you with the process of cleaning. These types of

nozzles are much lighter to move acros the carpet

than the upright types of steam cleaners.

The only disadvantage is that they aren’t as

convenient to set up and store as the self contained

upright type. Therefore, having to pull them

around with you can be a pain in the neck. The

smaller portable extractor is a variation of the

canister type in a small package. Even though this

may sound great to have for stairs and furniture,

the effectiveness they offer is actually quite


Steam cleaners work the best when they used on a

periodic basis to clean carpets that are very

lightly soiled. If you use them on carpet that is

very heavily soiled or stained, it can be very

disappointing to say the least.

If you have the need for heavy duty cleaning, you

should look into the professional cleaning

services that are offered in your area. They have

heavy duty commercial equipment that is far more

powerful and able to produce much better results.


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