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How to Use a Rug Doctor Carpet Cleaning Machine

Updated on April 29, 2013
Don't replace dingy carpet; try cleaning it with a Rug Doctor machine first!
Don't replace dingy carpet; try cleaning it with a Rug Doctor machine first! | Source

Maybe your carpets are just dingy with normal ware and tare, or perhaps a party or an accident may have made your carpets less than perfect. Regardless of the reason or need for carpet cleaning, you shouldn’t feel like you need to hire a professional to do the job. You can clean the carpet yourself by renting a carpet-cleaning machine, such as the Rug Doctor, from a grocery store or home and garden center.

Filling out the rental paperwork is simple; you’ll just need your driver’s license and an alternate form of identification — such as a credit card or a bill with your name on it. Machine rentals are about $24.99 for a 24 hour time period, with about $3 for a hose attachment for stairs or upholstery.

Although the carpet cleaning machine may look intimidating— what with all the wires, hoses, and moving parts— using the Rug Doctor is a relatively simple process.

Step 1: Move furniture out of the room, if possible, or to the outside edges of the room to make carpet cleaner easier

Step 2: Consider using a pretreater on problem areas.

Step 3: Combine the appropriate Rug Doctor cleaner with hot tap water. Consult product packaging for the amount of cleaners for the size of your carpet cleaner. Standard sized Rug Doctor machines are just over 2 gallons; wide-track machines are just over 3 ½ gallons.

Step 4: Remove the white tank from the top of the machine. (This is where the dirty water will eventually end up.)

Step 5: Pour the water and chemicals into the lower tank, making sure to pour the water through the filter screen. Replace the upper tank and ensure the seal is complete.

Step 6: Ensure that both hose connections at the back of the machine are secure.

Step 7: Plug the machine into the wall and turn the machine to the ON position.

Step 8: Engage the machine and pull the machine slowly backward across the rug in a straight line. Dirty water should make its way into the upper white tank.


  • If the upper tank doesn’t fill with dirty water, check the hose connections.
  • Empty the upper tank when it becomes full with dirty water, replace the water and cleaner as needed.
  • Allow ample time for the carpets to dry off. If possible open windows, run fans and choose a warm non-humid day to use the carpet cleaner. A room with good airflow will dry out quicker.

For more information on using the Rug Doctor, check out the official website or


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