Reviving our carpets with a Rug Doctor

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Going back several years, Mrs Adams and I made a big mistake when we failed to put a mat underneath our dining room table. After a few months of young children eating at the table and dropping food on the floor, it looked horrendous. We vowed to get a new carpet and to place some form of mat underneath the table once it had been replaced. A cleaner we know agreed we should use a mat in future, but said we should clean the carpet with a Rug Doctor instead of replacing it.

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I call this picture “One Man and His Rug Doctor”

I’d never used a Rug Doctor before. Having had a bad experience with a different make of carpet cleaner, I was totally unconvinced by her suggestion.

I hired one anyway and tried it out. I’m pleased to say our cleaner friend was proven correct. After being cleaned, the carpet was several shades lighter and almost all the stains came out.

New Rug Doctor delivery service

It had been a long time since I’d used a Rug Doctor. Out of the blue I was asked to review one for the blog. This time, however, Rug Doctor had something new for me to try out.

The company has a long-established service that enables you to go to a collection facility and pick-up your machine. These collection points are often in supermarkets or hardware stores.

This time, however, I was going to give its home delivery service a whirl. Added to that, I was going to be sent an upholstery cleaner to see how I got along with it.

See the video

I’ve made a video of the whole experience. I’ve embedded the video below. Simply hit play if you’d like to see how we got along.

Delivery service

The delivery service was exceptionally easy to use. The machine was delivered by FedEx. It was packaged well and was easy to unbox.

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The Rug Doctor, carpet cleaning solution and upholstery hose all arrived well-packaged.

The only comment I’d make is that the delivery slot was 8.30am to 6.30pm. This was a little tricky because I had to do the school runs but it happened to arrive immediately after I’d dropped the kids off at school one morning.

I had to box the machine up before it was collected. Collection, however was very simple. The courier simply picked it up, gave me a receipt and off he went. No signatures or any other formalities were required.

Using the machine

Using a Rug Doctor is very simple. You need carpet detergent. When ordering your Rug Doctor, you select the product you need as there are several differ varieties depending on what you are cleaning.

The detergents will arrive with your machine. You place a mix of water and detergent in a red-coloured reservoir in the bottom half of the machine.

Using buttons on the Rug Doctor’s handle, you control a flow of the cleaning mixture as it is sprayed into the carpet. Working in a similar way to a vacuum cleaner, the Rug Doctor sucks up the dirty water and collects it in a removable, white reservoir on the top of the machine.

If you are of a weak disposition, I suggest you don’t look in the white reservoir.  The colour of the liquid once it’s been retrieved from the carpet is grey at best, dark, dark, dark black at worst. You will never look at your carpets the same way again.

Our living room is about four meters by five metres and I completed the clean in about 20 minutes. The results, I have to say, were brilliant.

The upholstery attachment

The upholstery attachment is a small, handheld device that fixes to the back of the machine. Using two hoses, it diverts the flow of the cleaning liquid to the attachment and sucks it up afterwards.

A word of advice. While it is easy to fix the upholstery attachment to the Rug Doctor, double check you have done it properly.

There was one occasion when I was trying to clean a particularly stubborn stain and I couldn’t figure out why the attachment wasn’t working. I then noticed the hose wasn’t fitted properly and a large puddle of water at the foot of the Rug Doctor!

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The upholstery attachment gets to work on a particularly stubborn stain. See below for the result.

It was easy to rectify. I should have paid more attention when connecting the hoses.

I had no particularly ornate, upholstered items that needed to be cleaned. I did, however, have a huge number of small stains all over our carpets and so I used the upholstery attachment to tackle them.

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Ta da! After a minute or so of cleaning, the spot pictured above had vanished.

It made easy work of drink and felt-tip marks. There were two spots where, to my delight, I found the kids’ play putty had been worked in to the carpet.

The upholstery attachment had an impact on these spots, but couldn’t clear them away entirely.  In fairness, I wasn’t sure the Rug Doctor would be able to clear something adhesive like that out of the carpets. I was simply delighted to see it cleared some of it away (and Helen and Izzy received a lecture about being more careful with their putty)


Rental costs vary. They start at £22.99 for a 24 hour period. On top of this you will need to pay for cleaning solution. This stats at £9.99 a litre but for an entire house I’d suggest you get four litres for £19.99.

If you choose to go down the delivery route, it costs £15 for the standard service or £25 for next day delivery (excludes Northern Ireland). Alternatively, you can use the store finder service on the Rug Doctor website and collect a machine.

To hire a machine or for further information about Rug Doctor and its various services, visit the company’s website.

Final thoughts

The collection and delivery service certainly reduced the hassle. Just remember you will need to be in for delivery and to hand the machine back to the courier afterwards.

I really don’t want to tell you what the waste water looked like. Suffice it to say it was grim, proving the Rug Doctor had cleared a hug amount of muck from the fibres.

The Rug Doctor removed a huge amount of dirt from the carpets and they look much better. The upholstery attachment also performed very well.

I think it’s definitely worth using a Rug Doctor every six months or so. Alternatively if you’ve moved into a new house or you’re thinking of replacing your carpet, I would give it ago. It’s worked well for us twice now and we would certainly hire one again in future.


Disclosure: This commissioned article was produced in association with Rug Doctor. Thoughts and opinions entirely my own.  

9 thoughts on “Reviving our carpets with a Rug Doctor”

  1. Brilliant, helpful post (and video), John. The box it came in looked like it was a tardis, I wondered what was going to come out next! As I said on Insta I’m thinking of hiring one of these but I was going to wait until summer because I was told it makes the carpet really wet. Can you comment?

    1. Good question! The way the Rug Doctor works is to force the carpet cleaning solution into the fibres and then suck them out again. Inevitably, it doesn’t quite remove every drop of water.

      What you want to do is thoroughly clean the carpet, get it as wet as you have to and then simply use the Rug Doctor’s vacuum function to remove as much of that water as you can. I went round the entire house in the late afternoon, just after the school run. We went to bed with slightly damp carpets that evening and woke up the next morning with them completely dry.

      If you think you can live with that, you could press ahead now. The one comment I will make is that I have used a rival product to the Rug Doctor. I used to own a rental property so bought a carpet cleaner for that property. The Rug Doctor, in my opinion, is superior to the cleaner I used to own. My old one left puddles of water everywhere!

      1. Perfect, thank you very much for taking the time to answer in such detail. Much appreciated. I’m definitely going to rent one. Can’t wait to have clean carpets again.

  2. We were in two minds about using one of these carpet cleaning machines. After reading your post, John I think we will do so. My wife thinks the carpet needs replacing and I think it just needs a clean. So we will try that first. That said no guarantee that she still won’t want to change the carpet.

    1. Well Patrick, we use our Rug Doctor whenever there is a spill or splash on the carpets and it’s always done a fantastic job. I would try the Rug Doctor before replacing the carpets. We were in a similar situation once and the Rug Doctor bought those carpets back to life.

  3. Damn informative!! This is a great article, and something I think needs to be communicated more often. No doubt, carpets remain under your feet but are close to your heart and keeping our carpets clean must be one our priority list (as they also affect our health). Looking for others to share their opinion. Thanks!!

  4. Great blog John, thank you. I am a firm believer in using a Rug Doctor as I’ve seen how effective it is with deeper cleaning. My colleague is however a firm believer of Bissell, and I can tell you he never shuts up about it!

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