Ok, I understand that I am going to come off as biased here, but I'm going to try and approach this subject as objectively as possible. For those who aren't familiar, Rug Doctors are a rental carpet cleaning machine that anyone can find at most big box stores. Now, I know what you're thinking, "You, the small business owner, are simply going to badmouth the product that allows the average person to clean their carpets like a pro for a fraction of the cost. How utterly transparent." To be honest, I have mixed feelings on the product.
First, let's just talk about stats. Rug Doctors use an electric vacuum that has a suction power of around 80cfm (Cubic Feet of air per Minute), assuming that the rental unit you are using hasn't developed any hose cracks or seal leaks. Your standard truck mount moves around 175cfm to over 350cfm. What does this mean? Imagine soaking a sponge with water. Now, try and suck the water out with a straw. Ok, now how much water do you think you would get out with a wet/dry shopvac? The shopvac has far more power and while the sponge may not be completely dry by the end of our little experiment, it will be way closer with the shopvac. This is one of the biggest issues with Rug Doctors or any other plug-in cleaner. They simply don't have the suction power to extract the water and chemicals that they put down. This is why it can take days, yes days, for a carpet to dry after using a Rug Doctor or similar machine. Oh, and all the dirt, water, and chemicals...they stay in your carpet, which is why many carpets feel "crunchy" afterward. Now, that isn't to say that there aren't plug-in cleaners that can do a great job, but they are thousands of dollars and wouldn't be relative to the size of a vacuum cleaner, think a small Zamboni.
Let's look at heat. To properly clean a carpet, or really most anything, heat is essential. Heat helps excite the molecules which loosens bonds and makes it easier to separate dirt/grease from whatever you are attempting to clean. You wouldn't wash your dishes with cold water, it simply wouldn't work as well. The water a Rug Doctor uses is generally only as hot as you can get from your tap, around 120°, not bad. The standard truck mount machine can heat water to 220° and above. Yes, above boiling! Not only does this mean that the job can get done faster, it also means that more dirt and grease can be extracted. A truck-mount also has the ability to adjust the temperature up or down, as some materials respond poorly to heat (another reason why a professional may be preferable). While we are on the subject of water, I am also going to address the pressure at which it is applied. Water pressure helps blast soils away from what it is adhered to, or "agitate". Rug Doctor can spray at 125-150 PSI. A truck mount, on the lowest setting, will use pressure at around 300psi, but is capable of 1000psi (this highest setting is really only for tile, though). So, not only is the truck mount using more water, but it is also getting more of it out.
Now you're probably asking yourself, "Why did you say you had 'mixed feelings' about Rug Doctors and other plug-ins when you so clearly believe them to be inferior?" I love the idea of a unit that someone can personally use to clean like a pro, unfortunately the technology simply isn't there yet. The reason I have mixed feelings is, 1) These units can work on glue down, pad-less carpets. Like those you may find in an office building. Truly they can. That however doesn't mean that they can take the place of a regular professional cleaning maybe once or twice a year. And 2) Well, they get me business. Sure some people will be satisfied with the result of a Rug Doctor, but there are many who aren't. I get calls from people who want me to "fix" their carpet after a failed rental attempt. Usually the carpets look darker (due to the heavy amounts of water and chemicals left in them) and can be "tiger striped". These issues are always easy to remedy...with the right tools.
For answers to any questions on this or to schedule a carpet cleaning in Reno, Sparks,Carson City, or Incline Village, give Sterling Carpet Care a call at (775) 525-4109 or visit our Contact Us page. Also, remember that we can clean upholstery, tile, and automotive...something Rug Doctors can't.