How to Use a Carpet Extractor

No matter how many times you vacuum a dingy carpet, you will never be able to get it sparkling clean. After a while, the dinginess can affect how clean your house looks over all. When this happens, it may be time to clean the carpets with something a bit stronger. Professional carpet cleaners use high-powered carpet extractors to get the stains out. If you want to get your carpets clean but not pay the high price for a professional, consider getting your own extractor and cleaning your carpets yourself.

Clean your carpet with a carpet extractor.

Inspect the machine before use. Make sure that all of the couplings and fittings connect properly. Look at all hoses to ensure there are no cracks. Look at the power cords for any fraying or splitting.

Plug the power cord into a grounded outlet. Make sure the cord has a good fit and stays in the plug. Keep the cord out of the way of traffic areas. Turn on the vacuum machine to ensure there is power. Turn off the vacuum.

Connect the vacuum hose to the vacuum input on the machine. The hose will lock into place with a swivel cuff at the vacuum tank.

Connect the other end of the hose to the vacuum wand. Pull back the coupling on the wand and push it onto the connection on the hose. Double-check that all connections are solid to avoid leaks.

Fill the solution tank of the extractor with warm water. Add the nonfoaming carpet extractor solution to the warm water, according to the directions on the cleaner packet. All cleaners will be slightly different, so make sure that your solution is mixed properly.

Press the pump and vacuum switch to the "on" position. The machine will start up. Starting in the farthest corner of the room from the door, press the vacuum wand to the floor, press the valve lever on the wand, and slowly drag it across the surface in straight lines. Make sure the wand is flat on the ground at all times. The cleaning happens as you pull the wand toward you so use that motion to clean.

Continue moving in straight lines, cleaning the floor in rows until the entire carpet has been cleaned. Allow the carpet to dry overnight.

Turn the machine off once the carpet has been finished. Remove the extractor tank from the machine and dispose of the water.

Things You Will Need

  • Carpet extractor
  • Warm water
  • Nonfoaming cleaner designed for carpet extractors


  • The wand is not designed to clean when it is being "pushed," however, you can use a scrubbing motion if there is a difficult spot to get out. The scrubbing motion will help loosen any dirt in the carpet.


  • Keep the wand on the floor when you have the valve open. Otherwise, the cleaning mixture will spray all over the room.

About the Author

R.L. Cultrona is a San Diego native and a graduate of San Diego State University. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in theater, television and film with a minor in communications and political science. She began writing online instructional articles in June 2009.

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