Anyone use a Steam Carpet Cleaner?...Recommendations? (Bissell or Hoover)?

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Gordon Moore, Sep 9, 2002.

  1. Gordon Moore

    Gordon Moore Second Unit

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    We have young kids...pretty much 'nuff said.

    So there's Bissell and Hoover...similar models...similar price.

    Does one have a better build quality than the other?
    Anyone use one for say 2+ years running. I figure that with a 1 yr warranty standard and water runs through these things and the super duper ones have a built-in heater, I would like it to last for a while since I'm looking to invest about 400 beans (CDN mind you) into this machine.

    Any comments? Horror stories? Recommendations?

    Vacuums are a slightly different animal, so I'm not looking for the old:

    "Well, I don't have a steam cleaner but my product Y vacuum from the same manufacturer works great"

    Any guidence in this area would be fantastic!

    Thanks,

    Gordo
     
  2. Walt N

    Walt N Second Unit

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    I'd recommend the Hoover. The vertical bristle scrub design works better than the horizontal "beater bar" type brush on the Bissel. This both in theory, and as observed by Consumer Reports testing.
    I bought one of the early Hoover Steam Vacs, and in the 6 or 7 years that I've owned it I've pulled up about 40 buckets of mud* and 5 buckets of puke from my two dogs, and one full cup of coffee spilled by my Dad onto white carpeting during a visit. All done flawlessly and much to my amazement.
    *In my old house my backyard didn't drain well, and my dogs were I'll trained. During "El Nino" my yard flooded constantly and my dogs came bursting in through the dog door on a regular basis cover head to toe in mud. I thought I was going to have to recarpet the house before I moved but instead I spent a good solid day with the Hoover Steam Vac and successfully removed literally 40 buckets of mud from the carpet. Quite honestly the carpet looked brand new. I rave about few products but I feel I owe Hoover this one. [​IMG]
     
  3. Gordon Moore

    Gordon Moore Second Unit

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    Thanks Walt,

    The reviews from Amazon and my own general impression of Hoover has me leaning to their products. Bissell's track record seems spotty (pardon the pun).

    If any long term user can convince me otherwise, please do. 'Cuz, 'up front' they both appear to be solid competent machines.
     
  4. Mark Frank

    Mark Frank Stunt Coordinator

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    I second the vote for the Hoover. When my wife bought one a year or so ago, I was thinking "You bought WHAT?!" but I have come full circle since then. There hasn't been a carpet stain that it hasn't cleaned for us yet and that's with two small kids and a dog. It pays for itself after cleaning a houseful of carpets just one time, and it sure is nice to be able to spot clean a stain here and there before company comes over.
     
  5. Alf S

    Alf S Banned
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    We bought the Bissell model (2 years ago)that has heated solution and we really like it.
    It does a nice job of cleaning and is very easy to use.
    I think you'll be happy with either model.
    Bissel reviews
     
  6. Bill Harada

    Bill Harada Stunt Coordinator

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    I can't recommend Bissel. We bought one and after a year the hose for the hand-held accessory started cracking. The hose was made out of plastic and the crack just spiraled up, following the ribs.
     
  7. Walt N

    Walt N Second Unit

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    Hey Buzz, beware of foam in the catch tank! When I first got my Hoover I didn't worry about the foam but it gets sucked right through the motor and will ruin it. The cost of this lesson to me was $65 for a new motor, but fortunately the installation was very quick, simple and easy requiring only a Phillips screwdriver if I remember correctly.

    Since then I've used a capful of defoaming liquid in the catch tank everytime and the unit has worked great for the last 5 or 6 years. BTW, I suspect hair conditioner or even vegetable oil would work every bit as well as the commercial defoaming agents.
     
  8. Scott Merryfield

    Scott Merryfield Executive Producer

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    Another Hoover Steam-Vac fan here. We've owned one for several years, and it does a great job cleaning carpets. I'm amazed at how much dirt this device pulls out of our carpeting, and it's not much more difficult or time consuming than vacuuming.
     
  9. Gordon Moore

    Gordon Moore Second Unit

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    Thanks Guys....this has been awesome...exactly what I was looking for in opinions. My wife and I had a chance to view the machines side by side and though the bissell is sexier, the hoover is built like a tank and has a far better design in terms of the spinning brushes and its 2 tank system!

    Hoover's getting the nod.

    Thanks again,

    Gord
     
  10. Jon_Are

    Jon_Are Cinematographer

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    One more vote for the Hoover. We've had ours 2+ years - 2 kids, one dog - and use it frequently. Even when the carpeting doesn't look terribly dirty, the Hoover will turn that clear soapy water into liquid mud.

    Very convenient to use as well.

    Now, if I can get all the relatives to get their own...

    Jon
     
  11. Michael Silla

    Michael Silla Second Unit

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    How does the Hoover products work on Berber (or similarly styled thick) carpet?. I have been using the Rug doctor to get out most of my dogs little peeing accidents but both in my regular carpet and the Berber I still get the annoying aftersmell which just drives me crazy!.

    Any suggestions?.

    Michael.
     
  12. Walt N

    Walt N Second Unit

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    Michael, I've got Berber carpet now and the Hoover works great on it. For some reason my Lab has recently had some "accidents" (after at least 5 years with none) during thunderstorms, and when she does it must be an entire pint of pee at a time. The problem with urine stains is that no carpet cleaning machine can get down all the way through the padding and onto the sub-floor to get at the odor emitting organic substances. Below is the method I learned from a professional apartment cleaning company and this has been working perfectly for me since before my dogs were housebroken up until now.
    1. Use several paper towels stacked together, put them on the stain, and press down hard with your foot to get up all you can. If there will be any time at all between step 1 and step 2, mark the center of the stain with a coin or something so you don't forget exactly where it was.
    2. Use an "enzyme digesting" (this is crucial) pet stain remover like Nature's Miracle (Petsmart etc., very expensive) or the professional stuff, Nilodor which I've been purchasing by the quart from my local janitorial supply house. This liquid is a concentrate which you mix 3 to 1 with water so it's much much cheaper to use than Nature's Miracle. The most important step here is to use the proper quantity, which is LOTS! (and the reason you want to save money on this if you can.) You need to pour enough (don't use it in the machine) on the carpet so that it completely saturates the carpet, the padding underneath, and the underlying floor. For a large pee spot I'll use at least a half gallon of this. If upstairs, do it very slowly so it completely absorbs into the pad rather than leaking through the floor joints which could possibly stain the ceiling below.
    3. Give it an entire 2 or 3 weeks to dry, then hit the whole thing with the steam vac using any shampoo you like to remove the lingering surface odor and visible staining.
    This works great, there will be no lingering odor or stain left whatsoever, and even the dog won't know what happened there which is half the battle. It's really a lot of hassle and quite a lengthy process, but it's really the only 100% solution short of replacing the carpet and the pad. I have an very strong sense of smell and virtually nothing else has ever worked 100% for me. Using this method I can stick my nose right on a former pee spot and not smell urine.
    Good luck.
     
  13. Michael Silla

    Michael Silla Second Unit

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    Thanks Walt!

    Michael.
     
  14. Max Leung

    Max Leung Producer

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    Oh my god Walt, I was gonna ask how the Hoover works on berber. I was worried that berber would be immune to steam vacuuming. [​IMG]
    What model is the Hoover?
     
  15. Walt N

    Walt N Second Unit

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    Max, I don't know off-hand which model Hoover I have. As far as I know it was the first model steam vac they made. It really does a great job on berber, the brushes scrub the heck out of it and the thing sucks more water/solution back out that I would have expected. No matter how much solution you spray onto the carpet, it will suck it so dry that you can walk on it wearing socks within a few hours.
     
  16. Max Leung

    Max Leung Producer

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    Ok. Hmm, I hope there is no issues with the scrubber wearing down the berber. That was a possibility the carpet installers mentioned, suggesting it is safest if I don't use the beater on my vacuum. No way in heck am I gonna give up the beater! [​IMG]
     
  17. Walt N

    Walt N Second Unit

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    Max, the scrubbers have 3 or 4 speeds you can select including "off". I always use them at full speed and I haven't noticed any fuzzies appearing on the berber. I'm sure a lot of that will depend on the specific berber so it might be a good idea to try it first in an inconspicuous area like a closet.
     
  18. Gordon Moore

    Gordon Moore Second Unit

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    So we got the steam vac deluxe (model:5888-950).
    Did I say "built like a tank"? More like a sherman tank. This thing is awesome! [​IMG]
    I know hoover recommends using only their shampoos in the machine, but is that the best or can I find something as effective but less expensive? Are pre-cleaners recommended?
    Oh and the powered handtool for stairs...fantastic. This thing will pay for itself, very quickly. 'Course now I'm getting all these phone calls from everyone and their dog asking to borrow it [​IMG]
     
  19. Walt N

    Walt N Second Unit

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    Gordon, glad it's working out. I've used all kinds of shampoo made for extraction machines in my Hoover with good results. Right now I'm using Multiclean Extracshield from my local janitorial supply house which puts stain protection back on the carpet. Seems to work as advertised but it does foam a bit, so I use their defoamer in the catch tank. I think the foaming is Hoover's concern, their stuff doesn't foam much at all but I think better (and cheaper) results are obtained with the pro stuff + defoamer. I've heard that powdered shampoos and boosters should be avoided though, as they might clog the machine's sprayer lines.
    I've found that pre-cleaners really help alot for stains and high traffic areas. I use a bug sprayer to apply the pre-treatment mixture, let it sit for 15 minutes, then I go over it with a large carport broom which I bought specifically for this purpose. For deep pile carpet a rake also works well.
    Here's another tip you might want to try. In the catch tank there's a floating check ball type device which cuts off the suction when the tank fills to a certain level. Mine seemed to always cut me off too early so I used a big rubber band to hold the check ball in downward position disabling it. I can empty the catch tank much less often this way, but of course you have to watch carefully so as not to continue when the tank is overly full. If water or too much foam gets sucked through the fan/motor assembly it's bad news, so take this tip at your own risk.
    P.S. Be careful about lending out your machine. They're too easy to destroy if the foam level isn't watched or they run the front end's plastic suction area into a wall!
     

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