Of all the columns I’ve written, the one on how to have perpetually clean carpet in my home has generated by far the most interest. Here it is again, updated. Enjoy!

I bought my Hoover SteamVac on Dec. 7, 2008, and I only know that because there it is in my Amazon order history — $147 with free shipping. All these years later, while still enjoying my spotlessly clean carpet, my Hoover is still performing flawlessly. The current version is the Hoover Power Scrub Deluxe Carpet Cleaner Machine.

Maintaining clean carpeting in a home can be downright troublesome. I don’t even trust commercial cleaning companies. They leave soap and residue in the carpet. Even the ones that use a “dry cleaner” leave stuff behind. I’ve tried ‘em all and have been disappointed within weeks of spending a small fortune.

My Hoover, cheaper than a single visit from a professional carpet cleaning company, is truly an amazing machine, but only because I have made a few adjustments to the way I use it. Let’s just say I have slightly rewritten the owners manual. Yes, I am a brave woman.


I do not use any soap or cleaning solution in the machine at all. None. Nada. I’m no fool. I know that I will never be able to get that soap out no matter how hard I rinse. Instead, I use a good carpet spot remover called Spot Shot, available in supermarkets, home improvement centers and online. I’m sure there are others, but I love this one. I take care of spots as quickly as I can when they happen. That is so important. And I vacuum often. Then, every few weeks or months, I pull out my buddy Hoover.


First, I treat any spots or dirty areas with Spot Shot. Then I fill Hoover’s water reservoir to the maximum fill line. My instructions say to fill the top canister with hot water. I go one step further. I boil the water and pour it in carefully —boiling hot.

Most home cleaners do not use the power of boiling water, but I do. I have done this for nearly 11 years now without any problem. Just be aware that should you follow my lead, you may be voiding your warranty.

With NO SOAP at all, only the power of the spot remover, I go to work. I pull that trigger liberally, too, to release a lot of hot water. And I follow the instructions to release the trigger to suck up all the water on each return path.


Now, here’s the bonus: Because the water is so hot and it gets sucked back up so quickly, the carpet dries in no time. I know; you are suspicious about this. But it is true. Hoover has such a powerful extractor that I think I get up almost all of the water I put down. What remains dries quickly.

And the best part? THERE’S NO STICKY RESIDUE! And it’s cheap! I never buy soap or cleaning solution for Hoover. Ever. Poor guy. Starves on water only.


The result of what some may think is a radical way to clean carpet is the feel, look and smell of beautifully clean carpet! There is no fragrance, just the smell of clean.

Yes, my Hoover carpet machine is the best thing I ever bought.


I do not suggest trying this on any other type or brand of carpet machines. I have only done this with my Hoover SteamVac, which has two sturdy tanks — one for clean water and one for the dirty water —- instead of bladders. I have only used this method on 100% nylon and 100% wool carpets. My results are not predictive of your results. I do not suggest you try this on antique, Persian, Oriental or any other type of rug or carpet, because I have not tested that. If you try this, please make sure that you first test in an inconspicuous place so you know what your outcome will be.

Mary invites questions, comments and tips at EverydayCheapskate.com, “Ask Mary a Question.” This column will answer questions of general interest, but letters cannot be answered individually. Mary Hunt is the founder of Debt-Proof Living, a personal finance member website and the author of the book Debt-Proof Living, Revell 2014. To find out more about Mary visit the Creators Syndicate webpage at www.creators.com.


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