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A good-quality carpet cleaner can give your carpets a new lease of life and keep them looking spic and span.
But as well as making sure you get one that does the job right, it's also worth thinking about whether it's the right fit for your home. Some are large and bulky, and will be a struggle to carry upstairs or store, others have features that aim to make regular cleaning easier, or tackle tough everyday spills.
They can cost hundreds of pounds, so use our guide to get the lowdown on what to think about and the useful features to look out for.
Watch our quick carpet cleaner buying guide:
These spray water and detergent on your carpets, scrub them and then suck dirty water back up into the machine. Some also have attachments for cleaning hard floors. They aren't designed to pick up debris and loose dirt, so you'll need to vacuum carpets first before cleaning for the best results.
These usually have a dry vacuuming function as well as a washing mode, so you don't need to get out two gadgets when it's time to do the cleaning. You'll save on storage space too.
However, they don't tend to vacuum as effectively as a standalone vacuum cleaner. Some just spray water onto carpets and don't do any scrubbing either, which means they can be less good at washing carpets too.
Most carpet cleaners we've tested that cost less than £100 have failed to make an impact in our lab tests.
Spending more doesn't guarantee pristine carpets though. We've tested pricey carpet cleaners costing hundreds of pounds that do an awful job of lifting grime and leave carpets grubby.
The main things to consider when buying a carpet cleaner are:
Other handy features to consider are:
If you'd prefer not to shell out on a carpet cleaner to keep, or simply want to try before you buy, you can hire one instead.
The price includes a litre of carpet detergent, which Rug Doctor says is enough to clean up to two rooms and protect them against future spills. The Rug Doctor is available to hire from stores across the UK including Asda, Homebase, B&Q, Morrisons, Johnsons Cleaners, Tesco, the Co-operative and the Range.
Some carpet cleaners can be used on hard floors, but make sure you check the specification before you buy if you want one that can be used on multiple surfaces.
It's important not to use carpet washers or multi-function machines on unsealed laminate or wooden floors though, as these surfaces can be damaged by the water.