Sometimes in my efforts to be frugal, I settle for products that don’t do exactly what I want them to do. They are missing some of the features I wish they had. They are generic or knock-offs. They are last year’s model. And I’ve saved money, or have I?
When we lived in Illinois, we had a carpet cleaner. Two boys, two dogs, three stories and we needed one. I don’t remember what kind we had or how much it cost. Most likely it wasn’t an expensive model, but it wouldn’t have been the cheapest either. It did a pretty good job. It was a pain to clean out, but it got up most of the gunk I wanted it to get up.
The carpet cleaner came with us when we moved to Colorado. Alex was older at that point and had accidents, a lot. Before Alex left us, she was vomiting and having accidents. Granted, we live in an apartment, but it was icky. I lent the carpet cleaner to one of my “former” friends (I talked about her in Being Dumped) and as usually happens, it didn’t get returned in the same shape as when it left our place. So, I bought a new carpet cleaner. It wasn’t the best one (those cost upwards of $400) but it was ok. Then we got Sugar. Sugar has a number of “accidents.” I don’ t know if David doesn’t keep her out long enough, or she is like a toddler who forgets that she has to go when she is playing and then all of a sudden it happens. I just don’t know. But the carpet had regular spots on it.
Chris had me get a small spot cleaner. And I bought a Bissell Little Green Machine. And it works fairly well, except that it retains the ammonia smell. So, I don’t like to use it. I’ve bought a number of different carpet cleaning detergents, and they just haven’t made a difference.
Today I was cleaning the carpet. It is a weekly chore at our place. The carpet cleaner bit the dust. The motor hadn’t sounded right for a long time, but today it sounded awful and it smelt like it was burning. So much for the carpet cleaner.
I did a bit of research and read some very good reviews about the full sized Bissel Proheat Pet carpet cleaner. Everyone who wrote reviews had great things to say about it. The only “downside” was that it left clumps of wet hair and dust that needed to be picked up by hand. But, the reviewers felt it did a great job on the carpet. It was a bit more expensive, about $170, than I wanted to spend.
I also looked up some of the detergents used for cleaning carpets. I found that Nature’s Miracle was rated very highly and it was said to get the smell and stains out of the carpet. It was expensive, but every reviewer said that it was worth it. They also made one that worked in a carpet cleaner.
So, out I went. First to the pet store to get the Nature’s Miracle. It was about $22 for a gallon. I cringed when I paid for it. Then I went to Wal-mart to get the carpet cleaning machine. It was not on sale. There was another model that was also a Proheat, but it wasn’t for pets. It was less expensive. I almost got that one. But, I decided that the $10 difference wouldn’t be worth it, if the non-pet model didn’t do the job. So, I put the pet model in the shopping cart and bought it.
I’m not sure if it was the machine or the detergent, but the carpet is much cleaner. I’ll know in the morning if it got the stains out (too hard to tell now). The new machine was quieter than the old one and while it is much heavier, it maneuvers better. The clumps of hair and dust that are “spit” out on the carpet that was a “downside” for one reviewer, actually are a positive in my book because the hair doesn’t go up in the machine and clog it. The water tank is clean (my old machine had a water tank that was impossible to get the dirt and hair and gunk out of the corners). The brush cover was full of hair and dust, but it easily wiped clean.
It is amazing how I feel about cleaning the carpet now: it isn’t such a major undertaking. Having the right tools makes a difference. I guess it makes a lot of sense. In the long run, I guess that having the right tools makes the job easier and takes less time, and therefore (light bulb moment here!), saves you money. Lesson learned.