- Excellent cleaning that's kind to carpets
- Effective dirty water suction
- Easy to manoeuvre, fill and empty
- Great stain/upholstery tool
- Robust build quality
- Folds for storage
- Takes a little practise
- Review Price: £299.99
- Dual-action brushes
- Super Boost Spray
- High suction power
- Wide mouth tanks
- Fold-down handle
- On-board tool caddy
What is the Rug Doctor Deep Carpet Cleaner?
This big red Deep Carpet Cleaner from professional cleaning brand Rug Doctor packs commercial level cleaning capabilities into a domestic cleaner. It offers a large brush bar and oscillating brush cleaning, a Super Boost Spray for spot stains and a 1300W motor for high-power vacuuming.
Once we got the hang of it, the Deep Carpet Cleaner more than lived up to its name with outstanding cleaning performance. The one-pass system reduces your cleaning time and is much kinder to your carpets too. Complete with a well-thought-out stain/upholstery tool and excellent detergent, the Rug Doctor set the standard for domestic carpet cleaners.
Related: Best vacuum cleaners
Rug Doctor Deep Carpet Cleaner – Design and features
Rug Doctor is a specialist carpet cleaner brand, most famous for hiring out its large, professional carpet shampooers for whole house spring-cleans. Yet, the company also offers several models to buy. Promising the cleaning punch of its professional models in a more domestically friendly package, the £300 Rug Doctor Deep Carpet Cleaner sits in the middle of the brand’s range.
It’s no larger than models such as the Bissell StainPro 10, but packs in a 1300W motor and a large rotating brush-bar with cross-action brushes. It also features a separate row of brushes that oscillate back and forth.
The big brush-bar roller is on a floating chassis that automatically adjusts to the depth of your carpet pile. At 26cm wide, the roller and oscillating brush aren’t the widest available, but fixed external brushes bring the cleaning width to a healthy 31cm.
Both clean and waste water tanks are situated on top of the huge floor head. We’ve found this the ideal placement since it reduces weight in your hand and keeps the brushes and vacuum pressed to the floor.
Both tanks have flip-over handles and pull away from the cleaner easily. A third handle in the middle makes the Deep Carpet Cleaner easier to carry. That’s just as well, since fully loaded with clean water it weighs an epic 17.5kg.
The clean tank is a good size at 3.2 litres and requires premixing Rug Doctor’s Detergent cleaning solution. The massive filler cap doubles as a convenient measure for the solution. Rug Doctor recommends 60ml per tank for normal cleaning duties and 120ml per tank for heavily stained or really dirty carpets.
The waste tank at the front of the floorhead is much larger, but its full mark is only a third of its height, giving similar capacity to the clean tank. A large float switch and the hose attachment port takes up the rest of the volume. That port’s rubber flap is initially tricky to peel away and reseal afterwards, but is a lot easier when things are damp.
The Rug Doctor runs on two enormous rear wheels and has an equally chunky handle, which can be folded flat for storage or locked into a number of angled positions. The handle doesn’t float up and down freely, which we discovered is all part of its unique cleaning action.
The power switch and trigger are on two levels of a chunky round hand-grip that you could easily get both hands on for extra oomph. The power switch is a rocker with settings for carpet cleaning or lower power for when using the hose and tool. Unusually, this switch only controls the vacuum; it’s the trigger that actuates the spray and cleaning brushes simultaneously.
If you need some more cleaning solution on stubborn stains, the Deep Carpet Cleaner has its Super Spray Boost. There’s a chunky dial on the rear of the machine to engage the Super Boost, which operates simultaneously with the main wash spray.
While you might expect such a feature to simply inject more fluid from the normal jets, the Super Boost Spray is actually at the back of the machine. It fires down behind the rear wheels, so you can direct your aim better.
Clearly, the Rug Doctor operates quite differently to most of the domestic carpet shampooers we’ve tested.
Rug Doctor Deep Carpet Cleaner – Accessories
In the box, you get a somewhat bijou 266ml bottle of Rug Doctor’s own basic detergent. The recommended dosing in the manual is 60ml per tank normally, or double that for heavily soiled carpets. Instructions on the sample bottle opt for the middle-ground and suggest 90ml per tank.
We used 60ml and reckon a tank should do a small-to-medium sized room. That’s about four rooms before you need to go shopping for more solution then.
The detergent has a pleasant, slightly floral smell and adds a stain-block finish to help repel marks in the future. Rug Doctor also does an Oxy Power Fabric Cleaner specially formulated for upholstery. We achieved stellar results on our faux-leather sofa with the standard detergent.
Both the 3.2-litre clean solution tank and the larger waste tank pull off with ease. The huge screw-on caps should be easy to remove. Well, as long as you don’t use their size to jam them on too tight in the first place. Just a light pinch-up is all they require.
Filling the clean tank is easy, and the integrated measure is a neat touch. Emptying the waste tank is a little more of a faff, since it requires a few tilts to chase the dirty water out of the central aperture. Neither operation is too tricky and, unusually, neither tank dripped as they were carried to and from the machine.
The mains cable is a good 8.5m long and attaches to the top of the handle to help avoid running it over. The detail and upholstery cleaning hose is 2.5m long and fairly flexible, giving plenty of reach. The cable has its own winder lugs on the side of the handle, and you get a slide on/off tool caddy for the hose.
Winding up the hose is a bit of a game until you get familiar with how it fits snugly. The handle folds flat even with all this gubbins attached.
The hose attaches to the cleaner in two parts: the solution hose and the waste return. Both have push-in-and-turn bayonet fittings. The main waste hose fitting requires you peel back the rubber seal on the tank while the tool spray connection is open. This is fiddlier than a single connection, but everything clips firmly into place with relative ease.
At the business end of the hose is a tough ABS plastic handle with a row of stiff bristles for agitating the carpet fibres. Using the chunky trigger, cleaning solution sprays from within a recess near the brush. The design ensures you don’t get a wet hand while cleaning – other manufacturers take note!
Build quality and fixtures and fittings across the machine are superb. Main construction is a tough ABS plastic that stands up to knocks and bashes well, and there are no delicate clips or plastic mouldings. This is clearly a machine built to commercial standards, even if the trade-off is a bit of extra bulk around the middle. (Sounds like me, actually…)
Folding the main handle covers the carry handle, so remember to wheel the machine to the cupboard first. At close to 14.5kg dry, you probably wouldn’t want to carry it too far anyway.
Rug Doctor Deep Carpet Cleaner – How does it clean?
Listen up people: read the manual before use. I know, it’s a rare thing to do, but it will save you the hilarious user-error issues we experienced at first. The Rug Doctor operates quite differently to most domestic carpet cleaners, and you do need to get the right cleaning technique.
So, this is how NOT to do it. Fully loaded with solution, we powered up the Deep Carpet Cleaner on its higher power carpet setting. With some anticipation, we squeezed the trigger to start the brushes and spray, and pushed forward. It didn’t move. We pushed a bit harder, it still didn’t move. Harder still and the rug, complete with furniture, began to shift across the room. The Rug Doctor’s huge suction power meant it was stuck to the carpet like a gang of angsty limpets.
Something wasn’t right. Time for a cuppa and a read of the black and white A5-sized manual. Oh, the shame…
It transpired that the Deep Carpet Cleaner works in one single action, moving backwards towards you. To move forward you simply push down on the handle (which explains why it fixes into place) to lift the floor head. It balances well and wheels easily to the far end of the next strip of carpet to be cleaned. You then let the nose drop to the carpet, squeeze the trigger and pull backwards to spray, scrub and vacuum in one go.
This would also explain why the Super Boost Spray outlet is at the back. Ah ha – it all suddenly made sense!
You obviously need a bit of strength to tip and wheel the machine, but it pulls backwards with ease. The variable height handle allows you to get a comfortable position, and those huge wheels run over pretty much anything: deep-pile carpet, rug edges, stray pet toys and the like.
That cleaning action is quite unlike any other carpet shampooer we’ve tested. Most require distinct and slow forward cleaning and rearward suction actions over the same area. As we got into the swing of using the Rug Doctor, the system transpired to have quite a few benefits.
It was definitely quicker than a slow-paced two-pass system. Moving forward with the Rug Doctor’s nose up was much easier than pushing against the cleaning/vacuuming action. And pulling backward made it much easier to overcome the resistance of the Rug Doctor’s prodigious suction.
Better still, cleaning results were outstanding. Rugs and carpets that had already seen half-a-dozen carpet shampooers gave up even more deep-down dirt. The waste water was properly filthy. Old stains disappeared quickly and the carpet was left with a nice groomed pattern. That’s a truly class-leading result.
Perhaps even more significantly, a single pass with the moving brush bar is much kinder to your carpets than repeated back and forth with the brush bar running. If you go over the same area with the Rug Doctor, you can do so with vacuum only.
Not that repeated vacuuming was a major requirement. It pulled up most of the moisture, leaving the carpet only damp rather than wet, in a single pass. Repeated vacuuming found only a little more liquid to extract.
From our ‘not reading the manual’ epic-fail at first, the Rug Doctor was now impressing us mightily. Yet it was the tough red wine spill test where the cleaner really showed its mettle.
In a single cleaning pass, our test stain was reduced to a shadow. In a repeat cleaning pass the stain was almost gone. On the third, the carpet was cleaner than most other shampooers managed with a minute’s worth of cleaning.
We then gave the stain a quick blast of the Super Boost Spray and on the fourth cleaning pass, the stain was gone completely. Outstanding.
That led us to wonder if the Rug Doctor could remove some wine stain remnants left behind from older carpet cleaner tests. The answer was a resounding yes, and mostly in just one pass too.
Attaching the hose and spot/upholstery tool, results were no less impressive. The dual rows of bristles are stiff enough to agitate well into carpet pile and fabrics. Suction power is admirable, even in the machine’s lower power position. We definitely approve of not getting cleaning solution all over our hands, too.
No doubt thanks in part to the excellent Rug Doctor detergent, cleaning results were again impressive. On a new wine test, after a minute or so of spraying, scrubbing and vacuuming, it was gone.
We even attacked out faux-leather sofa in the office with the tool. That revealed a near embarrassing level of ingrained dirt on the surface. Having cleaned half a cushion, Jackie then insisted I do the entire sofa though.
Over several weeks of testing, we really couldn’t find fault with the Rug Doctor. Its operation and performance was top-notch throughout.
Why buy the Rug Doctor Deep Carpet Cleaner?
The Rug Doctor offers class-leading carpet cleaning and is quicker to use than most of its competitors. Its outstanding vacuuming leaves floorings dryer, and it’s kinder to carpets than ‘always-on brush bar’ models. The well-designed stain/upholstery tool is a joy to use and the supplied Rug Doctor detergent is excellent.
The Deep Carpet Cleaner is a bit of a weighty beast, and it takes a little getting used to – but, frankly, we were blown away by its carpet cleaning performance.
Superb carpet cleaning and outstanding drying means Rug Doctor’s Deep Carpet Cleaner more than lives up to its name.
Score in detail
Cleaning performance 10