How to Use a Rug Doctor

Renting a Rug Doctor can be a great way to clean up an old or dirty carpet every once in a while, or if you are planning on moving out of the house or apartment that you are renting.

Using these machines however, can be a little bit challenging. This is mostly because people don't realize that the Rug Doctor isn't a vacuum cleaner.

Clear out the room that you are going to clean. This means that you have to get all of the furniture that is on the floor or near the floor, out of the room. The more open space you have, the better. Also with the cleaning power of the Rug Doctor you will be able to notice a different if you decide to clean around furniture once you move that furniture later.

Vacuum the entire room with your standard vacuum cleaner. This will help get the larger pieces of dirt out of the way.

Mix either ¼ or ½ cup of Rug Doctor cleaning solution per gallon of hot water in a bucket. The water should not be scalding hot.

Pour this mixture into the lower tank on the Rug Doctor, through the white screen. This screen will filter out any piece of dirt in the water.

Check the connections on the back of the Rug Doctor. Make sure that both of the hoses are attached firmly to the machine.

Plug the Rug Doctor into the wall. Turn the Rug Doctor on with the switch located on the top of the machine. You may also need to turn the suction on as well using another switch, but this will depend on the particular machine that you have.

Press the red button on the handle down with your thumb and begin to slowly pull the machine back. Make sure that the base of the machine stays flat on the carpet and you should only be moving the machine about one foot every two seconds. You should start to see dirty water filling up the other canister during the process.

Release the red button when you are about 6 to 12 inches from the edge of the carpet. Tilt the machine back and turn it around. Follow the same procedure of pressing down the red button and pulling back slowly. Make sure that you overlap your previous pass by at least 2 inches to ensure the best cleaning.

Empty the top canister when it becomes about half full or when you run out of clean water in the lower canister. The machine will make a different sound when it is out of water. Repeat these steps until you have cleaned the entire carpet. If you are unsatisfied, redo the carpet one more time.

Things You Will Need

  • Vacuum
  • Hot water
  • Rug Doctor carpet cleaning solution
  • Rug Doctor
  • Bucket
  • Sink or other location to dump dirty water


  • Use plastic squares under the feet of the furniture to avoid creating large dimples in the clean carpet. Don't rush through this process. You will need to work slowly or the Rug Doctor will not be able to adequately clean your carpet.


  • Never push the Rug Doctor forwards. It won't work this way and will actually leave the carpet very wet. It only works if you are pulling the machine backwards.

About the Author

Viktoria Carella has been a full-time freelance writer for seven years and writes mainly on health topics along with other topics such as home improvement, SEO and more. Carella has been writing for Demand Studios for several months and has been published in her neighborhood newspaper on several occasions.