When I redecorated our lounge and stairs a couple of years ago I bought new carpets. I knew I had chosen pale cream carpets but it wasn't until they were laid that I realised just how light they were. I realised that trying to keep them clean would be a nightmare and I would need all the help I could get to keep them looking good. Having done some research on the internet I decided to purchase a reconditioned Bissell carpet cleaner. The reconditioned machine was half the price of a new one and, as I was buying direct from the Bissell website, I reckoned it would be a relatively safe purchase. It came with all the usual guarantees and warranties which increased my confidence to buy one. Another plus was that it would be delivered direct to my door and I wouldn't have to struggle home with it from the shops.
I was pleasantly surprised at the speed of the delivery as it only took a few days to arrive. However, I was disappointed to discover it was not the machine I had ordered. I quickly looked this model up on the internet and discovered it was a more expensive model that the one I had ordered and had more features. I decided to phone up Bissell's helpline and explain the situation before I started using it. They were very helpful and explained that as they currently didn't have any reconditioned machines of the type that I had ordered they had sent me an upgraded machine, rather than have me wait for the one I had ordered. If I was unhappy they would happily uplift the machine and send a replacement when it became available. I decided that, as it had all the features I wanted, plus more, I would keep it. Best of all, I wasn't being charged any more money, so full marks from me for customer service.
The machine came in 3 parts - an upper handle, a lower handle and a tool caddy, which I had to assemble It was easily put together and. all that was needed was a screwdriver Depending on the model you buy you receive various accessories. On my particular model it has an upholstery tool, a touch stain tool and a turbo brush. There is no guidance in the instruction booklet of when you should these tools and, although it is easily worked out, some reference point would have been useful.
The Proheat machine automatically mixes hand-hot tap water with carpet cleaning solution and heats the two liquids as it is applied to the carpet. The combination of the heating solution, the power brush and the suction is what cleans the carpet. There is a temperature control which automatically heats the solution so you do not need to worry about that. There is a switch on the side of the machine which you set to either floor cleaning or tools/pre-treat. It should be noted that when you select the tools/pre-treat option the solution will not be heated
There is one container for the solution and one for the water. You need to fill up both before switching on the machine. Although you are advised to use Bissell carpet shampoo I find that any 3-in-1 carpet solution works just as well. They are more readily available in your local supermarket and are much cheaper.
The on/off switch is located on the back of the machine and you need to switch on the power and leave it running for 2 minutes before starting the cleaning the process. This is to allow the water to heat up To apply the cleaning solution you use the trigger switch located on the back of the handle. Depress the switch and the solution will spray onto the carpet whilst you are vacuuming. There is a flow indicator which spins when you have the trigger depressed and lets you know that the water and solution are mixing. If this stops spinning when you are using the trigger, you know that either the water or solution tank needs topping up. To soak up the solution, just release the trigger and you should see the liquid being drawn up through the transparent plastic cover at the front of the machine.
The machine certainly makes a difference to my carpets. However, I don't let them get too dirty before giving them a clean as I do not know whether this machine would cope with really dirty carpets. The tools are handy if you have a particular stain you want to clean rather than the whole carpet. The machine also helps lift the pile and makes it look like new again. Although I have said I use the cheaper alternative shampoos, I do have to say Bissell's own brand has a lovely smell and you feel you carpets not only look clean, but smell nice too. Be amazed at how dirty your carpets were when you empty the tank that collects the dirty water.
If, like me your home has stairs, the machine has a long flex hose enabling you to clean most of the way up before having to move the machine to the landing. I clean the remaining few treads from there. I usually have to ask my husband to lift the machine upstairs for me as this is the biggest draw back of this machine - it is so heavy. If I lived on my own I certainly wouldn't be able to lift it, so choose your machine carefully if you are thinking of buying one. I would suggest you choose a machine without the heating option as this is what seems to add the weight. I previously owned one without the heating option and could lift it quite easily. I also don't think there is any noticeable difference in the cleaning capabilities of the two machines, so I would advise going for a cheaper, lighter machine.
My last pieces of advice before starting to clean is to plan your exit strategy as you don't want to be walking over wet carpets to get out of a room. I know it might seem like common sense, but some people I have loaned my machine to have ended up trapped in a corner!! Also, don't put any furniture back into a room until the carpet is completely dry. Some furniture has metal studs on the feet and this can leave rust marks if the carpet is even slightly damp. Finally, empty any liquid from the machine once you are finished using it otherwise you will return to find a puddle on the floor!