Can You Use A Carpet Cleaner As A Vacuum?

Use A Carpet Cleaner As A Vacuum

Both a carpet cleaner and a vacuum cleaner are efficient in cleaning carpet flooring. But they are two different cleaning machines. However, as they look very similar to each other, people often think that they do the same job. But is it so?  Can you use a carpet cleaner as a vacuum cleaner? NO!

Ideally, you should not use a carpet cleaner as a vacuum. Vacuum cleaning does a completely different job to that of a carpet cleaner. Also, vacuum cleaners can be used on almost any flooring or surface while carpet cleaners are definitely for carpets only. But there lie other disparities too. 

To understand why it is not so wise to mix up between a carpet cleaner and a vacuum cleaner, you need to know the differences. As you get the functions they play in cleaning, you will definitely not use one as the other’s alternative. So let’s dive deeper into the matter.

Carpet Cleaner Vs Vacuum Cleaner: Know The Differences

Before I explain why you can’t use a carpet cleaner as a vacuum cleaner, knowing the differences is very important. Not only are their functions different but there are also some other disparities. 

I will first provide a comparison chart to note down the basic differences and then discuss them in detail. So here is the comparison chart: 

Factors Carpet CleanerVacuum Cleaner
Using frequencyOccasionally when the carpet is really dirtyUsually used everyday 
FunctionDeep cleaning carpet and removing stainsRemoving dry debris or dirt
MechanismReleasing liquid, scrubbing with a brush, and sucking up the liquidSucking up the dry debris, dirt, etc. that are on the surface only
Ease of useTime-consuming and a bit tricky to manage the machineVery simple and easy to operate
Ease of setupSetting up is a bit complicated and lengthy procedureNo special setup is necessary
Site of usingUsed on carpets that are dirty, stained, and need a deep cleaningUsed on any surface like flooring, sofa, carpet, etc. to remove loose dirt

Now, let me tell you more about a carpet cleaner and a vacuum cleaner: 

Carpet Cleaner: 

A carpet cleaner is only for cleaning a carpet. You can’t use it on any other surface. Basically, when a vacuum cleaner is not enough to clean the carpet, you need a carpet cleaner to do the job.

A carpet cleaner has a water tank in which you mix water and a carpet cleaner. As the machine is turned on and you use it on the carpet flooring, it releases the liquid to the carpet. The brush attached to the carpet cleaner scrubs the carpet thoroughly and removes dirt, stains, spills, and residues from the carpet fibers. I mean, it deeply cleanses the carpet. Next, it soaks up the liquid from the carpet and leaves it dry. 

A carpet cleaner is also known as a carpet shampooer or a carpet steamer. While the old carpet cleaners were not able to remove the water or liquid from the carpet, the modern carpet steamers soak up the liquid and dry the carpet well after cleaning it. 

Dog litter, liquid food spills, chemical stains, or residues stuck in the carpet fibers can be cleaned out by a carpet cleaner and this can’t be done by the vacuum cleaner. The device is also not as handy as a vacuum cleaner and you need to set it up before using it. Also, cleaning the water tank is important after every clean. 

Note that you can also rent a carpet cleaner as you only use it occasionally. 

Vacuum Cleaner: 

A vacuum cleaner is a very handy and easily portable cleaning device that you will need every day. The best part is you can use it on any surface. While a carpet cleaner is limited to the carpet only, a vacuum cleaner can be used on any type of flooring starting from hardwood flooring to carpet flooring.

 A vacuum cleaner is not for deeply cleaning a surface. Unlike a carpet cleaner, it doesn’t remove stains or stubborn spills from any surface. It can only clean out the dry debris like leaves, hair, loose dirt, dust, biscuits, etc. These are basically dry dirt that the surfaces come in contact with regularly. So a vacuum cleaner is used regularly while a carpet cleaner is used occasionally. 

Note that before you clean the carpet with a carpet steamer, you will need to vacuum it to remove dry dirt. Also, for regular cleaning, a vacuum cleaner should be used on the carpet or any other surface. But when it comes to freshening up the carpet and clearing out stains or stubborn residues, you need a vacuum cleaner. 

A vacuum cleaner sucks up dirt from surfaces. It has a suction to do so. After vacuuming, you need to empty the dirt box in the machine. No extra setup is required for using a vacuum cleaner. 

Can You Use Bissell Carpet Cleaner as a Vacuum?

No, a Bissell carpet cleaner should not be used as a vacuum. While both devices are designed for cleaning carpets, they serve different purposes. A Bissell carpet cleaner is specifically designed for deep cleaning carpets by spraying water and cleaning solution onto the carpet and then scrubbing and extracting dirt and stains.

It’s not intended for daily dirt and debris removal like a vacuum cleaner, which uses suction to pick up loose particles from the carpet’s surface. Using a Bissell carpet cleaner as a vacuum could potentially damage the machine and is not an efficient way to keep your carpets clean from everyday dust and dirt. 

It’s best to use a proper vacuum for regular cleaning and reserve the Bissell carpet cleaner for deeper cleaning tasks.

How to Clean Your Carpet Without a Vacuum Cleaner?

Cleaning your carpet without a vacuum cleaner is possible with a few simple steps. First, remove loose debris by hand or use a stiff brush to loosen dirt from the carpet fibers.

Sprinkle baking soda over the carpet and let it sit for at least 15 minutes to absorb odors and help lift dirt. Then, sweep or beat the carpet outside to remove the loosened dirt. For stains, create a solution with warm water and a little dish soap. 

Gently scrub the stained area using a cloth or a soft-bristle brush. Blot the area dry with a clean, dry cloth. Finally, allow the carpet to air dry thoroughly by opening windows or using fans.

How to Use The Carpet Cleaner On a Kirby Vacuum?

Using a carpet cleaner on a Kirby vacuum involves a straightforward process. First, assemble the Kirby vacuum as per the manual. Attach the carpet cleaner system by placing it on the front of the vacuum. 

Fill the shampoo tank with the recommended cleaning solution and water as instructed. Adjust the height setting to match your carpet’s pile. Start by pressing the trigger to release the cleaning solution onto the carpet.

Move the cleaner forward and back slowly to agitate and extract dirt. Allow the carpet to dry thoroughly before walking on it. Clean the machine and accessories properly after use, following the manufacturer’s guidelines

How to Use a Rainbow Vacuum Carpet Cleaner?

To use a Rainbow vacuum cleaner carpet, start by assembling the vacuum according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Adjust the height setting for your carpet’s pile. Attach the appropriate attachment for carpet cleaning, typically the power nozzle. 

Plug in the machine and switch it on. Push the power nozzle forward, allowing it to gently glide over the carpet to suction up dirt and debris. Pull it back slowly for thorough cleaning. 

Repeat the process until the entire carpet is clean.Empty the dustbin as needed, and follow any additional maintenance instructions provided by the manufacturer for optimal performance.

How to Clean the Carpet of a House Without a Vacuum Cleaner?

To clean a carpet without a wet vacuum cleaner for carpet, start by removing larger debris and dirt by hand. Use a stiff brush to loosen and lift dirt from the carpet fibers. Next, sprinkle baking soda liberally over the carpet to absorb odors and loosen embedded dirt. 

Allow it to sit for at least 15 minutes before thoroughly sweeping or beating the carpet outdoors. To remove stains, create a homemade solution using dish soap, white vinegar, and warm water. 

Gently scrub the affected area with this solution and a clean cloth. Finally, open windows for ventilation and allow the carpet to air-dry completely before using it again.

Related Questions:

Do You Need A Vacuum If You Have A Carpet Cleaner?

You use a carpet cleaner only when the carpet gets really dirty. Otherwise, a vacuum cleaner will do the job. In fact vacuuming before using the carpet cleaner gives the best result. Also, you can’t use a carpet cleaner every day. So you will need a vacuum cleaner for regular cleaning. Therefore yes, you need a vacuum cleaner even if you have a carpet cleaner. 

Is A Carpet Cleaner The Same As A Vacuum?

No, a carpet cleaner is not the same as a vacuum. A vacuum cleaner is used on any surface having dry dust and debris. But a carpet cleaner deeply cleanses the carpet and uses liquid for cleaning. So as you see, not only do they have different working mechanisms but also have distinct functions. Thus a carpet cleaner is not the same as a vacuum cleaner. 

Can You Use A Carpet Shampooer On A Rug?

You should not use a carpet shampooer on a rug. The fibers in an area rug are different from the fibers in a carpet. And as a carpet shampooer is designed for carpet fibers only, using it on a rug can damage it. So you should not use a carpet cleaner or shampooer on a rug. 

Do You Vacuum Before Steam Cleaning? 

Vacuuming the carpet to remove clay, dirt, hair, or any dry debris is always necessary before steam cleaning the carpet. If you remove the dry debris first, steam cleaning becomes faster and more effective. Also, you should vacuum the carpet regularly to avoid stubborn buildups. So vacuuming is necessary before steam cleaning. 

Can You Use Your Hoover Carpet Cleaner As A Vacuum?

A Hoover carpet cleaner is solely designed for cleaning carpets. It can’t vacuum the carpet as the working mechanism is completely different. You will mess it up if you try using a Hoover carpet cleaner as a vacuum cleaner. So don’t use a Hoover carpet cleaner as a vacuum as it is not recommended at all. 

Should you Vacuum Before Carpet Cleaning?

Yes, vacuuming before carpet cleaning is highly recommended. Vacuuming helps remove loose dirt, dust, and debris from the surface and within the carpet fibers. By doing so, it allows the carpet cleaning solution to penetrate more deeply, targeting stubborn stains and embedded dirt more effectively. 

Moreover, vacuuming eliminates larger particles that could potentially clog or hinder the carpet cleaning equipment, ensuring a smoother and more efficient cleaning process. 

This preliminary step not only improves the overall cleanliness of the carpet but also enhances the efficacy of the professional carpet cleaning, leading to a more thorough and satisfactory result.

Do you Need to Vacuum Before Professional Carpet Cleaning?

Yes, it’s generally a good practice to vacuum before professional carpet cleaning. Vacuuming before the professionals arrive helps remove loose dirt, dust, and debris from the surface and within the carpet fibers. 

This preliminary step ensures that the carpet cleaning process can focus on deeper, embedded dirt and stains, making it more effective. It also prevents the vacuum or extractor used by professionals from getting clogged with excessive surface debris, allowing it to work more efficiently. 

Vacuuming beforehand is a simple but essential part of preparing your carpet for professional cleaning, and it can lead to a more thorough and successful cleaning outcome.

Can I Clean Carpet Without Vacuum Cleaner?

Yes, you can clean a carpet without a vacuum cleaner, although it may require a bit more effort. You can start by using a stiff-bristle broom or a carpet brush to loosen and remove surface dirt and debris. 

Afterward, you can use a dustpan and brush to collect the debris for disposal. For a deeper clean, consider renting or borrowing a carpet cleaner machine from a local store, as these machines are designed to clean carpets thoroughly. 

Alternatively, you can use carpet shampoo and a scrub brush to hand-clean small areas. While it’s possible to clean carpets without a vacuum cleaner, it may not be as efficient as using one, especially for larger or heavily soiled carpets.

What Is a Good Vacuum Cleaner for Carpet?

A highly recommended vacuum cleaner for carpets is the Dyson Ball Animal 2. Known for its exceptional suction power and specialized tangle-free turbine tool, it efficiently removes embedded dirt and pet hair from carpets. 

The self-adjusting cleaner head automatically adapts to different carpet heights, ensuring thorough cleaning. Its advanced filtration system traps allergens and expels cleaner air. 

The ball technology enables smooth maneuverability around furniture and obstacles, making it easy to navigate across various carpeted areas. The Dyson Ball Animal 2 is a reliable choice for those prioritizing deep and effective carpet cleaning performance.

What is The Best Vacuum Cleaner For Carpet and Hardwood?

The best vacuum cleaner for both carpets and hardwood floors is the Shark Navigator Lift-Away Professional NV356E. This versatile vacuum offers powerful suction for effective carpet cleaning and a brush roll shutoff feature that’s gentle on hardwood surfaces. 

Its “Lift-Away” function allows you to detach the canister for easy maneuverability in tight spaces. Additionally, it has a HEPA filter for improved air quality and comes with various attachments for tackling different surfaces and tasks. 

The Shark Navigator NV356E is a top choice for those seeking a reliable and versatile carpet cleaner and vacuum suitable for both carpeted and hardwood floors.

Which Vacuum Cleaner is Best for Carpet Cleaning?

The best vacuum cleaner for carpet cleaning depends on your specific needs and preferences, but a few key factors to consider include the type of carpet, the level of dirt and debris, and your budget. 

Generally, upright vacuum cleaners with strong suction and a motorized brush roll are effective for deep carpet cleaning. Brands like Dyson, Shark, and Miele offer models known for their carpet-cleaning capabilities. 

If you have thick or high-pile carpets, look for adjustable height settings. Additionally, consider features like HEPA filters for allergy control. Ultimately, it’s important to read reviews, compare features, and select a vacuum cleaner that aligns with your carpet type and cleaning requirements.

Do you Have to Vacuum Before Using a Carpet Cleaner?

Yes, it is advisable to vacuum before using a carpet cleaner. Vacuuming beforehand serves several important purposes. First, it removes loose dirt, dust, and debris from the surface of the carpet, preventing these particles from clogging or contaminating the carpet cleaner’s mechanisms. 

Second, vacuuming helps to agitate and loosen embedded dirt and pet hair, making it easier for the carpet cleaner vacuums to remove deep-seated grime. By vacuuming first, you can ensure that the carpet cleaner can focus on deep cleaning and not be overwhelmed with surface debris. 

This approach results in a more effective and thorough carpet cleaning process, leaving your carpets cleaner and fresher.


It is now clear that you can’t use a carpet cleaner as a vacuum cleaner. Their functions and purposes are completely different. So there is no way you can use one as the other’s alternative. 

Therefore, for effective cleaning, you should use the device that is necessary for the particular situation. 

Jahidul Alam

Hello dear! This is Jahidul Alam. I am the admin of this Tidy Floor. I have been in the floor cleaning business for the last 20 years. My business is all about ensuring affordable flooring cleaning services for Americans.

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