The Hoover SteamVac Carpet Washer with Clean Surge is a good alternative to regularly paying for professional carpet cleaners or renting shampooers. Keep in mind this upright vacuum doesn't use steam, despite the name. You add hot water and it mixes a detergent to scrub away carpet stains.

Be aware that this machine doesn't have a water heater, so it relies on detergent to clean. You'll need to buy Hoover's deep cleansing carpet and upholstery detergent to refill it. Hoover also offers specialized pet odor, professional strength and anti-allergen detergents. You can push a button on the handle to direct extra soap on tough stains.

This Hoover has excellent brush control with three speeds: high for normal cleaning, low for gentle tasks and off for spill pick-up. You can also stop the scrubbing brushes to protect your hardwood floors. It comes with an 8-foot stretch hose for the powered hand tool, so you can scrub stairs or use the upholstery attachment on furniture.

With such a large amount of water going into your carpet, it's important to note that this steam vac comes with heated drying. The Hoover SteamVac has a 12-amp motor, which is ample cleaning power considering most upright vacuums are 7 to 12 amps. Plus, since it doesn't have a water heater, that won't reduce motor power.

Since you're washing your carpet, it will take more time than just steaming. You'll need to move the SteamVac across each area a few times to both inject the detergent and suck it up. However, the vacuum mouth is almost a foot wide, so it won't take as long as some of the more narrow carpet washers. Also, the cord is 20 feet long, which means you won't end up walking over damp floors to keep unplugging.

The suction channel is clear, so you can watch the steam vacuum cleaner sucking up dirt and grime. You can see how much water is left in your carpet, and you'll know if you need to take more passes.

Dual tanks keep the cleaning solution and dirty water separate. The clean water tank has a flat bottom to sit in your sink as you fill it and a handle so you can heft the gallon of water it holds. Although the dirty water tank is large, it fills up quickly. The tanks also make the vacuum heavy. At 20 pounds, it can be difficult to maneuver, especially compared to lightweight steam vacuums.

Hoover offers a limited one-year warranty on parts and labor. The website has a FAQs page, as well as a phone number and email address for customer support. You'll also find cleaning tips and maintenance manuals.

The Hoover SteamVac Carpet Washer can gently clean hardwood floors and tile, but it shines when it's deep cleaning carpets. This durable steam vac is a long-term alternative to renting a commercial shampooer or using a professional carpet cleaning service. You can customize your cleaning of high-traffic areas with the variety of detergents, brush speeds and dedicated attachments, and you'll end up with a comprehensive carpet wash.

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