Reviewed by Kelvin Tebbs
If you’re anything like me, I try my best to keep our house in some kind of order, and this involves a weekly cleaning routine/schedule which includes a general hoovering session. A couple of times each year, we dust off the ‘heavy duty’ cleaning gloves and carry out a ‘deep clean,’ but in all honesty, no matter how hard I try, I still question how clean some areas are. Moving all the furniture and getting into all the tiny nooks and crannies with the vacuum, might be time consuming as well as back breaking, but my every intention is to get the house spotless and as free from the dirt and grim build up which happens over the course of time.
Having both pets and children, it’s amazing how quickly (and dirty!) floors can get. If it isn’t muddy footprints, then it’s just as likely to be a spoonful (or more) of dinner which gets thrown (by our toddler) on a regular basis at mealtimes and unfortunately, both vomit and fur balls are a common occurrence in our household too! We are keen to try and keep our carpets in optimal condition, but all of the above can make this quite the challenge.
We have certainly become accustomed to using ‘old wife tale’ recipes for stain removal, as well as trying multiple brands of various carpet cleaning and stain removal products. All of these have had various success rates, but the truth of the matter is, the cleaning is targeted to only that specific area and the rest of the carpet is neglected in these instances. I also sometimes wonder, if all we do is grind and rub the dirt further into the carpet pile when using these products.
Due to the fact that we are hoping to move house in the near future, we have discussed whether we should employ the services of a carpet cleaning company to clean the carpets in the new house or, invest in a proper carpet cleaning machine which will be ours to keep and use multiple times over. This means we could also clean the carpets in our current house too and this would further save money rather than having to get these cleaned by professionals, especially when considering we have mainly cream carpets which were all the fashion at the time of purchase.
I always feel that carpets can hold and contain very undesirable bacteria, bugs (like carpet moths) and dirt. Without knowing the previous house owners, how old the carpets are, or their cleaning habits etc, I would rather ensure that the carpets are clean before we move into our new home rather than letting my toddler crawl and run around, picking up everything and sticking it in her mouth, and potentially falling ill.
Although it is certainly quicker, less hassle and also less time consuming for me to employ a professional to carry out these works, but on investigation, the carpet cleaning service isn’t cheap and would cost much more than buying a carpet cleaner itself. We would rather spend money on a machine which we can use on various occasions and at our own leisure to clean the carpets. Also, would the professional get them cleaner than we could, especially if we were to use a cleaning machine on the areas? The machine would be an investment for the future and not a ‘one time’ wonder.
When I was offered the opportunity to review the VAX Platinum SmartWash Carpet Washer, I was over the moon! This is exactly the type of product we were looking to get so that we could clean all the carpets ourselves. Having heard good things and seen others using these machine before but never actually cleaning a carpet with one myself, I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect or what we were letting ourselves in for, but we were soon going to find out!
There are multiple brands selling their own, various versions of carpet cleaners, but VAX is certainly a well-established ‘household’ name and one that we hold in high esteem. We have previously owned VAX products, so even before using this carpet cleaner, we already had a certain level of confidence in the product and the brand.
The VAX Platinum SmartWash Carpet Washer was dispatched and arrived very quickly by courier. The rather large box containing the carpet cleaner and accessories (62cm (height) x 50cm (width) x 37cm (depth)) was clearly brandishing the VAX name as well as the website details; www.vax.co.uk. The packaging also displayed the recycling logo, so they company has chosen to be eco-friendly with the choice of packing being used. VAX had even had the foresight to strategically place handles cut out within the cardboard packaging, to assist with carrying the cumbersome product. However, the location of these cut out handles meant that you could touch the main carpet washing unit inside the packaging. As a result, there is the potential here for damaging the plastic of the main machine body itself, so I would advise inspecting upon receipt.
On opening the carpet cleaner packaging, all the parts and accessories (including an instruction manual) had been neatly and securely contained within polystyrene. We may decide to store the VAX Platinum SmartWash Carpet Washer in this packaging, once dry in order to prevent any damage to the machine and to keep all the elements in one place, so they don’t get lost.
In this particular model, in addition to the main cleaner unit, the box contained the following items; 1x 2.5m Hose, a set of 3x 2-in-1 Antimicrobial Tools (covering both multi-purpose and pet attachments), 1x SpinScrub Hand Tool, 2x 250ml Platinum Antibacterial Solution, 1x 250ml Pre-Treatment Solution (including a squirting adapter) and an Accessory Bag.
Before assembling the cleaner, due to writing this review, I took the conscious decision to read the instruction manual which also contains some helpful tips and facts for using the device. I would like to point out (whilst also encouraging you to read the instructions yourself) that this current version provides you with a FREE 6 year guarantee upon registering via the VAX website. This is something that only takes a few minutes to do, so I would implore you to register it to help extend the life of the product. Another key element to note, is the fact that this manual not only includes ‘help’ for when setting up and using the machine, but it also includes a summary on how best to regularly maintain and clean the machine (ironic that the carpet cleaner requires cleaning!). In my opinion, it is not only well worth the read from a health and hygiene perspective, but I have a sneaking suspicion a poorly maintained device might not be covered under the incredibly generous 6-year guarantee.
There are a couple of warnings included within the instruction manual that are worth highlighting, such as; the requirement to test your carpets, rugs and upholstery for colourfastness and pile distortion. Some of this potential damage could be avoided by perhaps running the machine over a small hidden area, especially when tackling a new surface, so hopefully avoiding any such issues. I’m unsure as to just how feasible this always is, but with machinery of this type, you generally always expect to see some caveats included.
To assemble the machine, fortunately I didn’t need to break-out my trusty toolbox (shame really since it rarely gets much use), so this is definitely a benefit to anyone who buys the product. The handle and clean water tank both slide into place easily, with a small click to confirm correct positioning (although the tank would need to be removed again to be filled, ready for use). The solution tank (which is separately housed) was similarly easy to access, but it was already placed on the main body of the unit when it was removed from the box. To gain access and remove the solution tank, simply pull up the tank which slides away from the base of the cleaner.
To begin using the VAX Platinum SmartWash Carpet Washer, both the water tank and the solution tank will need to be filled. The water tank slides out of the unit in exactly the same way the solution tank is removed. I like that VAX use the same mechanisms to ensure ease of use of this product. To fill, VAX recommends warm water only (not boiling) which should have a maximum temperature of 40°C. Anything higher than this temperature being used and the instruction manual alludes to the fact that it might damage the machine, as well as invalidate your warranty. Thankfully, we have a thermometer which we use to test the water temperature of baths for our baby, so this came in handy, and I could ensure it was precisely below the maximum recommended temperature. To be honest, if water is deemed warm on touch but not hot, then I’m sure it would suffice without needing to test the temperature.
Once we were all set up with the water and solution already in the cleaner, it was a case of plugging in the machine and switching it on ready for use. The power cord supplied is very generous, so I had no worries about needing to find a new plug every 5 seconds whilst using it. Once we had power to the device, we could begin the motion of pushing and pulling the cleaner across our carpets. Since the cleaner is VAX’s latest and ‘best performing carpet washer ever,’ we were of course very keen to see the results, anticipating that we would be breathing ‘new life’ into our existing carpets.
When pushing the device forward, it releases a mixture of the water and solution (this is automatically calculated by the machine itself), whilst when pulling the device, it dries the carpet (albeit we had to use the ‘dry only’ setting, in order to expedite the drying process). Let’s face it, the ‘dry only’ function is a setting most people would expect to use if they are living in the areas being cleaned, and this option certainly helped our carpets dry in little under 1 hour.
After using the cleaner on only a small area, we were amazed as to just how dirty the water was when it’s collected back in. This meant that we cleaned our carpets in sections, emptying the dirty water as we went along. Needless to say, we are convinced bacteria (not to mention potentially mould and mildew) could be removed from our carpets in no-time at all, leading to a much cleaner and healthier home. After seeing all the disgusting dirt, we were sure to thoroughly wash and clean all the tanks and brushes once we had finished with it. It’s also worth allowing everything to thoroughly dry before putting them away.
The 2.5m flex hose on the machine, allowed us to attend to our stairs effortlessly, and we teamed it with the SpinScrub hand-tool for that particular area and job.
By attaching the hose and hand tools, something that we did to use the cleaner around our front doormat (a heavy traffic area that was particularly dirty), whilst the spot cleaner was an extra faff, it did manage to lift the mud. Once complimented with the usual cleaner and then a few rubs over with the upright, a once soiled doormat looked amazing to us!
The results of the VAX Platinum SmartWash Carpet Washer were impressive!
Having seen carpet cleaners being used previously and having felt the weight of some of them in the past, I can confirm that using the VAX Platinum SmartWash Carpet Washer, was as easy to use as I could have hoped for. I found it similar in nature to a vacuum cleaner, with only marginally more work (‘push/pull’) than a standard upright (as well as the additional maintenance / cleaning after use, which I explained earlier), but it yielded greater results than vacuuming alone. We were left with ‘like-new’ carpets (except for obvious areas of heavy wear) and the following day we decided to use it in more rooms which had newer carpets, but we made sure we were more generous with the pre-treatment solution. Having cleaner carpets, it did highlight some areas of discoloration from accidents and spillages that had happened over the years.
We initially thought that we may only use the device annually (in the fear of ruining our carpets and the pile over time) but having now used it, and due to having a child and pets, in order to maintain a hygienic and clean floor throughout our home, I think we may use it as frequently as every 3-4 months to reduce the dirt build up over time. However, for more focussed areas and spots, we would thoroughly recommend a more regular routine of using this device for accidents that may occur i.e. spillages. As expected, we have already decided to order some more fluid since we know we will be using the machine more frequently. The supplied 250ml bottles were purely sample size. On investigation, I have found that I can buy both a 1.5 litre and 4 litre version of the antibacterial wash, and a 1 litre bottle of the SpotWash Solution.
My only minor disappointment with this cleaner, is that there is no-where to store the add-on tools on the main unit itself, hence why VAX have included the Accessory-bag. Whilst this may seem petty to even mention it, I do know that older versions from different brands did at least hold some of these parts on the main chassis. Whilst there is a hook so I could hang the bag on the machine, I found that this would get in the way whilst using the machine, so I kept the bag separate. For us, not being able to store the essential tools on the carpet cleaner did cause ‘unnecessary trips’ between rooms as we moved from one area to another to collect the tools required. Plus, I am inclined to believe that certain attachments may perhaps get lost or become damaged from being kept separately to the machine when being stored between uses.
In summary, this is a powerful carpet washer that I would highly recommended to anyone considering purchasing a multi-purpose carpet cleaner. I can certainly see why it is approved by Good House Keeping and has been rated ‘Gold’ by Real Homes in February 2021. I found the VAX Platinum SmartWash Carpet Washer was not only incredibly easy to set-up and use, but we were amazed and quite frankly, grateful for the results! The downside might be the price, although it is in-line with others on the market, but I honestly feel that you get what you pay for. If purchased directly from VAX, you receive a 6 year guarantee (as mentioned previously) and you also benefit from free next day delivery too. In my mind, purchasing the cleaner is a more cost-efficient way of cleaning carpets compared to using a professional cleaning service (some of our friends have paid as much as £100-£200 to clean specific carpets in their homes). If you’re anything like me, I would also prefer to do the job myself. The only other consideration to note is that the machine is somewhat heavy to carry, but I must stress that it was easy to manoeuvre when operation. This is just a minor factor and inconvenience and theoretically, you could assemble and fill up the tanks once you’ve already carried the core components up any stairs or to the room it’s due to be used in. This device has already become a ‘must have’ item in our household, especially if you are anything like us and worry about germs and bacteria. We also have a small child (so to think about the health benefits from using this machine alone is a no-brainer), and it will help us mop up any unwanted spills or marks made by her, as well as helping us when it comes to our pets and the germs that they must bring into our home.
Overall I would rate this product: 5/5.
The product can be purchased from VAX here.