- Low cost
- Basic, easy operation
- OK surface cleaning
- Relatively light
- Good sized tanks
- Good length cable
- Can’t deep clean
- Overly soft brush bristles
- Failed wine stain test
- Filter blocks regularly
- Contradictory instructions
- Review Price: £89.99
- Five row static brush
- 600Watt motor
- 24cm wide cleaning path
- 1.8l capacity clean tank
- 8.5m power cable
What is the Russell Hobbs Refresh & Clean RHCC5001 carpet cleaner?
The Russell Hobbs Refresh & Clean RHCC5001 is one of the most affordable full-size upright carpet shampooers available. Coming to the Trusted Reviews test bench at under £90, it promises to spruce up your Axminster and refresh your rugs at a bargain price.
You get what you pay for, though. If you want a budget, surface-only clean for your carpets then look no further. If you want a deeper clean, or any ability to remove stains or clean up spills, the RCH50001 just can’t cope. It’s noisy and the filter is easily blocked, but it’s hard to argue with its basic functionality at the price.
Related: Best carpet cleaners
Russell Hobbs Refresh & Clean RHCC5001 – Design and features
Putting the Refresh & Clean together requires no more than attaching the handle to the main body. But that does require a firm push and a small cross-head screwdriver. The unit needs to be stored fully assembled, upright, unless you want to keep removing and replacing the two screws.
The upper clean-water tank is a healthy 1.8 litres in capacity. It unclips from the body for easy filling through a reasonable-sized screw-cap filler. The dirty water tank is about the same size, although the actual capacity isn’t specified. Given the moisture remaining in the carpet after shampooing, you won’t get all your cleaning water back up anyway.
A rear foot switch tilts the body of the machine, leaving the floorhead in touch with the ground. A switch on the side fires up the 600W motor, and a squeeze of the trigger injects cleaning solution into the carpet via a near-full-width row of jet nozzles.
The business end of the floorhead uses a fair-sized 24cm spray bar and a similarly sized static bristle brush. Compared to models with rotating and agitating brush heads, a little more elbow grease is going to be required.
The waste tank pulls off easily and affords access to a small filter. This requires cleaning by removing and running under warm water. We had to do that often – at least every clean tank full.
Overall build quality is plasticky, as you’d expect at the price. Yet all the main parts and clips are chunky plastic and we didn’t identify any obvious weak points. This shampooer should stand up to fairly regular use.
Russell Hobbs Refresh & Clean RHCC5001 – Accessories
Given the affordable asking price, it’s no surprise that accessories are conspicuous by their absence. One 500ml bottle of Russell Hobbs-branded carpet-cleaning solution – and that’s it. Our bottle promised to waft the scent of an Alpine Breeze.
While we might have expected the scented equivalent of Julie Andrews spinning through the house singing “The Hills are alive…”, the reality was rather more industrial. More Dettol than dancing in dandelions, to be honest.
Suggested dilution rate is a variable feast, depending on which instructions you look at. The manual says categorically to use only one capful per tank of warm water. The bottle is equally certain you need four capfuls per tank. Go figure.
A capful is around 10ml. That gives you a staggering 50 tanks per bottle at weakest dilution, 12-or-so at the strongest. Either way, that’s impressively frugal use of cleaning solution with commensurately low consumable running costs. We split the difference and opted for two capfuls per tank in our test.
Weighing in at 5.8kg dry with the cable wound up on the body, the Russell Hobbs is super-light for a full-size shampooer. The chunky carry handle is well placed and this machine should present few problems being carted around the home.
In use, with a full clean tank and the cable trailing, it weighed in at 7.1kg and wheeled around easily. The cable itself is a very useful 8.5 metres long, providing plenty of cleaning reach.
Russell Hobbs Refresh & Clean RHCC5001 – How does it clean?
Powered into life, you certainly won’t be stealth cleaning with the RHCC5001. It’s seriously noisy. At 85dB, it’s well above the sound of most modern vacuum cleaners, and started off by emitting a high-pitched whine as well. Thankfully, that disappeared after a little use.
The tilting head is fairly easy to manoeuvre over carpets, and there’s very little stick-down from the suction. You can feel the bristles brushing the carpet as you move back and forth without any undue resistance. In fact, they feel a little too soft to be doing much proper scrubbing.
Moving over a hallway carpet, the Russell Hobbs did an okay job of lifting daily surface grime that vacuum cleaning alone leaves behind. It buffed the surface reasonably well and left the carpet moist, but not too wet. The waste water showed plenty of murkiness, which is a good sign. A couple of older, deeper stains and some mud deep in the pile remained untouched, though.
We noticed the suction reducing markedly after a short while. The small foam filter was clogged up with dirt and lint from the carpet. That happened a few times during testing, so regular maintenance will be required. That adds a bit of unnecessary faff to cleaning proceedings, and pre-vacuuming your carpets before shampooing is essential.
We threw down our red wine test and gave it five minutes to soak in – about the time it would take to get the cleaner out and set it up in a spillage emergency. Squeezing the trigger, there’s a significant flow rate of solution, so it’s best to keep an eye on the moisture as you get familiar with the Refresh & Clean. The manual suggests a steady pull-back when spraying solution and a slow move forward when scrubbing and vacuuming up the liquid.
After three passes (three back spraying, three forward cleaning) the moisture from the red wine had been vacuumed up but the Russell Hobbs had done very little for the stain itself. The dark ruby colour had been lightened, but not much else. We went over the stain for a minute with repeated wetting and vacuuming, and the mark began to fade. After a minute’s worth of scrubbing, we’d have hoped for better.
Continuing on for a few minutes, going over the area, we got to about as clean as this shampooer was going to get with deep liquid spills… and it wasn’t great. There was still quite an obvious dark stain on the carpet in the same shape as the original spill.
Why buy the Russell Hobbs Refresh & Clean RHCC5001?
For a light sprucing up of carpets and rugs, the Russell Hobbs Refresh & Clean does a passable job at removing surface dirt and not leaving the carpet too wet. It’s rather noisy; frustratingly, the filter needs regular maintenance; and the static cleaning brush is a bit too soft to properly agitate into the carpet pile. No surprise then that the RHCC5001 is fairly useless for removing deep stains such as our challenging red wine spill.
Factor in the budget price and it’s a good gadget for light refresh of carpets, but don’t expect anything like the cleaning power of better specified models.
A cheap-as-chips shampooer that’s okay for freshening up the surface of not-too-dirty carpets.
Score in detail
Cleaning performance 6