What Should I Know Before Renting a Carpet Cleaner?

Becca Stokes
Written by Becca Stokes
Reviewed by Asya Biddle
Updated September 17, 2021
Steam vapor cleaner removing dirt from cream colored carpet
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You have questions about renting a carpet cleaner for the first time, and we have all the answers

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Your carpet has probably seen its fair share of muddy cleats, dusty tennis shoes, and indents from high heels. Regularly cleaning your carpet is an easy way to keep it looking good as new.  

Sure, you can shell out for a professional carpet cleaning service, but there’s also another option: renting a carpet cleaner. It can seem intimidating at first, but renting one of these machines is easy. Here’s exactly what you need to know before you make that first deposit.

1. Know Just How Long You’ll Need the Machine

You’ll rent most carpet cleaning machines by the day, so to spare your budget, make sure you know just how long you’ll need it. A day is plenty of time for most homeowners to get the stains out of every rug in their residence. 

But if you’re tackling a much larger project and know you’ll need more time (or you just want to take the pressure off), speak to your rental company about what financial incentives they offer for long-term rentals.

2. Expect to Spend Around $100

Many folks consider calling in a professional initially but then decide to rent a carpet cleaning machine, as it’s typically more affordable. Professional carpet cleaning services cost between $300 and $600 on average. If you decide to rent a carpet cleaning machine, you can expect a daily average rate of about $100.

3. Find Out Which Detergent Your Machine Uses

When you pay to rent your carpet cleaner, your money goes towards the rental of the machine and the machine alone. You will have to cover the cost of detergent in most cases. 

Make sure you’re using the right kind of detergent in the carpet cleaning machine. Using the wrong one can lead to machine damage and the rental company could hold you responsible. If you aren’t sure which cleaner to use, ask at the rental desk.

a steam cleaner cleaning a gray and white carpet with steam in the air
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4. Use a Machine That Meets Your Needs

This might sound like a no-brainer, but it’s very important: Make sure you know what you’re looking to accomplish with your carpet cleaner before you rent. Different machines offer different results. Higher-end carpet cleaning machines don’t just clean; they can disinfect and make a real difference in a home where allergens are a serious concern.

"When renting a carpet cleaning machine, be sure to ask the rental specialist every question needed to perform the job for your specific type of carpet,” said Asya Biddle, Angi Expert Review Board member and manager of The Dustbusters, a family-owned and operated janitorial company in Williamsport, PA.

Questions you should ask the specialist can include: How do I run the machine? What detergent should I use and how much? How much solution should I expel for my specific type of carpet?  How many times should I go over the area?

5. Consider Portability

While renting a carpet cleaning machine is a lot different from buying a car, these tasks share one common piece of advice: try them out. 

Sure, the ancient carpet in your parents’ water-damaged basement is a serious cleaning job, but what good will the company’s most heavy-duty machine be if you can’t carry it up and down the stairs to actually use it? When renting a carpet cleaner, don’t be afraid to ask to handle the merchandise before you make a decision.

6. Prepare to Wait After Cleaning

Just finished cleaning the carpets in your living areas? That’s great—but don’t go putting everything back on the carpet just yet. It takes time for carpets to dry after cleaning them. 

The time it takes for the carpet to dry depends on the size of the carpet and how dirty it is. In short, the more water and soap you use, the longer you’ll wait. Expect a wait of between five to 24 hours for most homes.

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