Cleaning your carpets is something that has to be done on a semi-regular basis. Semi-regular for most of us means once a year. You have a couple of options when it comes to carpet cleaning. The best way is definitely to hire professionals to come do it for you. They have the best machines and the latest and greatest carpet cleaning solutions. This service, unfortunately, is usually pretty expensive. For this reason, most home owners choose to rent a carpet cleaner and do it themselves instead. One of the most common places to rent a carpet steamer is at your local Safeway. They carry the Rug Doctor brand and generally rent their units for about $50 a day. In this article, we'll discuss how to use this machine.

First step: You have to do, before you even touch the machine, is mix the solution. Use hot water and be sure to read the label on the cleaning solution carefully. You want to be sure that the water to solution ratio is correct. If it's not, you could potentially damage your carpet.

Second step: Take the white bucket off of the machine - It should detach quite easily. DON'T FILL THIS WITH WATER. This part of the carpet cleaner is known as the recovery bucket. It's going to hold the dirty water that comes up after shampooing your carpet.

Third step: Locate the red compartment on the machine. You'll see it as soon as you complete step two. Fill this container to the halfway point with the solution that you mixed in step one. Once this is completed, reattach the white bucket.

Fourth step: Plug the machine in... That was easy!

Fifth step: Raise the handle up off of the machine and prepare yourself for cleaning. Turn the machine on by flicking the switch on the side. Depending on what model you have, this switch could be located in a number of different positions. Refer to the instruction manual for more information. You'll know the machine is on when it sounds like a lawnmower has somehow entered your home.

Sixth step: Push the machine into a corner of the room. Push the red button on the handle to begin the vibration/soaping process. Pull the machine backwards at a rate about a foot a second. Note: It's better to go too fast than too slow in this instance. Going too slow can cause water damage to your carpet. If you go too quickly, you can always do a second lap afterwards.

Seventh step: Continue backing up until you hit a wall. At this point, simply tilt the machine up and move back to where you started. Shift over one vacuum width and repeat the process. When the white recovery bucket is full, empty it and add more solution.

Eighth step: Repeat the steps above until your home is spotless!