Rug Doctor Saves the Day (and a mini giveaway)

Welcome back! Hope everyone here in the States had a lovely Thanksgiving. And in celebration of that and all the work it took the rest of the weekend to put the place back together, a post about cleaning products, something with which all pet owners are all too familiar.

I bought my car six years ago. Six years ago, I was obsessed with the idea of a black car with a beige interior. Sleek. Contemporary. Gorgeous. Six years ago, I was also very naive, with a nine month old who had yet to start throwing stuff on the floor and leaving red crayons on the seat.

So now, two kids and two dogs later, my beautiful beige car interior can best be described as “house of horrors”, a visual timeline of every insult that has been heaped upon it in the last half decade. No matter how much we try to stay on top of it, it’s a lost cause. It’s quite sad. I’ll come back to this in a minute.

A couple of weeks ago, Rug Doctor invited me to St. Louis to tour the factory and learn some more about their products. I figured hey, why not? I have an incontinent dog and two little kids and a spraying cat, so we definitely are familiar with carpet cleaning.

OK, so I’ll never be one of those Price is Right spokesmodels. But you’ve seen these displays in your grocery store, right? They’re everywhere.

I’ve rented the machines before, though not as often as the every 3-6 months (gulp) it’s recommended that you clean the carpets. I suppose I haven’t put much thought into the mechanics of getting a carpet clean, but Rug Doctor has.

Each Rug Doctor machine has three components: the spray hose, which shoots the cleaning product into your rug; the vibrating brush, which vibrates at 1700 vibrations a minute, and the vacuum hose, which pulls everything back out. Compared to what I usually do when there’s a spot on the rug, this is the mega-nuclear cleaning approach. Seek and destroy.

There are two main keys to getting the rug clean: The machine and the cleaning product you use in it. Here’s a nice tan rug, right? Remember this.

We got a demonstration from engineer Jason Hill, who told us about lift- the industry standard for suction. It’s near impossible to describe suction in a positive way that does not have some sort of inappropriate connotations, so let’s just leave it at “they demonstrated convincingly the superiority of this product’s ability to lift all sorts of garbage from your carpeting.” They run those motors to failure in the lab, just so they know before sending them out to stores how many hours of use they can expect (it’s about 1400, if you’re wondering.)

Then we met with chemist Susan Natoli, who described the research that goes into the various cleaning products, of which there are many. Each product is designed for a specific need, be it removing urine crystals, dealing with ground in dirt, or encapsulating allergens. They actually took pictures of carpet fibers before and after cleaning with an electron microscope to show how much microscopic matter was removed, which of course fascinated my little nerdy brain.

They tricked us with the tan rug. It was actually a beige rug that had been marinating in coffee and dirt for a couple of weeks. Oh, the humanity.

OK, so back to my own situation. After the tour, Rug Doctor was kind enough to give each attendee their very own Rug Doctor machine to have and to hold from this day forward (my relatives are already making reservations). They sell them now, in addition to renting them- same machine, different color. And of all the carpet I have, the worst of the worst, unsurprisingly, are the carpet mats in the back seat of the car.

The Rug Doctor has an upholstery attachment, which is fantastic because you really can’t lift the machine onto your couch or stick it in your backseat, so with this you can get at the little grody areas. I decided to demo the machine on my car mats, which despite all appearances are less than six months old. I do not know how two small primates can track that much debris into one automobile.

I probably should have pre-treated the carpets as obviously they have some significant combination of juice or mud or pretzel crumbs going on there, but I didn’t. This is straight up stick on the cleaning hose and see what happens.

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To sum up:


And After, with Koa helpfully demonstrating how much she would like to sit on it and get it all dirty again as soon as possible.

I have a second post I’m working on about the new Rug Doctor allergen product and current thinking on people and pet allergies, which is right up my alley. But for today, in honor of all the cranberry sauce I’m trying to get off the chairs, we’re focusing on the cosmetic aspect of dirt. By the way, all the red stains this weekend came from the adults and not the kids OR dogs, but that was my fault for serving mulled wine at 10 am followed by cranberry sauce. That’s OK, it was worth it.

So what’s the worst mess you’ve had to clean up? I’ll send the comment with the most likes by the end of the week a pack of Urine Eliminator Wipes. I’ll start: I had just adopted Emmett. The first time I left him home alone, he had a major bout of nervous colitis that shellaced my entire guest bedroom with the beige carpet. He had the diarrhea, then he panicked and rolled around in it and ran around the house. I spent a good two hours going at it Cinderella style with a scrub brush, a bottle of cleaner, and a lot of cursing.

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  • Lisa W

    OMG, poor Emmett! I have a few spots in the office where the girls decided to christen the new house (almost three years ago), but thankfully I haven’t experienced anything like that!

  • Heather

    there was the time that the two kittens I was bottle raising were snuggling with me and they both pooed sloppy, stinky just-starting-solids poo all over my shirt and computer chair. it was going everywhere. it was running down my shirt and dripping on to the chair and the carpet.

    and then there were the three foster kittens who pooed and weed all over my couch in the second my back was turned. those same three foster kittens then walked through the puddles of diaorrhea and then proceeded to “fingerpaint” the walls and the doors and walk it in tiny, pooey little paw prints all over. I was finding poo-prints for weeks afterwards. every time I’d think I was done cleaning I’d find another one hidden somewhere.

    I have spent way too much of my life cleaning up poo. I have many, many more stories involving me, cleaning products and poo.

  • Vonny

    Aw,Doctor V, I think you look fine as a Price is Right model!

    I’m not in the running for the wipes, but my worst mess is when my doggy decided she really liked to drag her butt across my brand new wool carpeting, leaving a slight streak of ..ahem.. what she had done outside not long before. After several almost tearful episodes of cleaning this up, I learned to leave it for a while and then vacuum before worrying about washing it. It’s easier to get up dry than fresh, as long as it’s not ground in. Too much info, I hope no one is eating.

    Incidentally, I rang the store that sold me the carpet, after the first butt drag, and was told to put off shampooing your new carpet for as long as possible, especially wool, as its natural properties act like a stain repellent; for future reference and with respect to Rug Doctor.

    Doggy has since remembered that she does that particular trick OUTSIDE! NOW! Guess the new carpet felt nice. Eewww.

  • Tamara

    Because I have long-haired kitties, I’m all too familiar with carpet cleaning ๐Ÿ˜‰ Hairballs anyone?

  • Lbsterner

    The very worst thing I ever had to clean up happened when Dewey, my whip-smart and very curious Chinese Crested, decided that he’d had enough of watching my other Chinese Crested eat poop in the yard. Curious as ever, he wanted in on some of that action.

    So, he went outside one day and got a belly full of poop before I had a chance to see what he was doing.

    It did not take long before he discovered how own down side of poop-eating, and proceeded to puke all that halfway-digested poop all over my living room, and I mean all over. It was everywhere. There is no way for me to describe the repulsive horror of how this smelled as I cleaned it up. Hands down, my worst cleanup ever!

    The upside to this story is that Dewey, being the smart little creature that he was, never ate poop again.

  • LB

    I have too many stories to share, I pet sat, worked for a vet, had foster animals in my home, etc.

    I think when I worked for the Vet that was the worst. Because there were the regular doggie daycare group and the I am sick and in the hospital with the most nastiest stuff ever group. There were dogs with green diarrhea and worms, dogs with nasty puke and diarrhea, and my favorite the dogs who would do everything in the entry way on the rug or the hallway on the way to the kennel area, or in the kennel area and nothing outside.

    Dr. V. I am sure you have seen more than what I had to see!

  • Cyd

    All the best stories are going to have to feature diarrhea. We were coming home from a camping trip, luckily for me in my husbands truck. The night before the two dogs had snuck out of the tent and eaten a nasty old carp by the side of the lake. About 5 miles from home Lilu let go with a horribly foul smelling movement, the expression on the face of Jax was comical because as soon as he smelled it it made him have to go too. I could tell he felt really bad about this. My daughter was in the back seat screaming about the awful smell,trying to get as far away from the dogs as possible. My husband was driving as fast as he possibly could while dry heaving, and I could do nothing but laugh helplessly. He pulled up on our front lawn and let me deal with the absolutely disgusting mess in the backseat and on the backsides of the dogs.

  • Rachel

    The worst mess..oh so many messes on my carpet with foster dogs… it is hard to pick just one. Right now I have a foster who has EPI a condition that his body can’t digress if his medication level isn’t just right he eats, and eats, and eats and then poops and poops and poops. this isn’t regular poop. Think of a soft serve ice cream machine but just brown, disguising, smelling, coming out of the bottom of this dog! I had huge piles all over my carpet in three different rooms!. Needless to say it took several hours to get all that up!

  • Lisa

    I have a dog who eats his and the other dog’s poop. I would say THE worst thing to clean up is vomited stool. YUCK!

  • Anonymous

    May I borrow your Rug Doctor, too?

    The worst thing I’ve ever had to clean happened the second or third month I had my current rescue pup, Snickerdoodle. He was a two year-old former stray, had never been house trained, and suddenly became seriously ill. The rest of the month would be spent in and out of the vet trying to find out what was wrong, him growing weaker until the right type of antibiotics finally killed off the whatever-it-was (we still don’t know). But first…

    I woke up at five am to take the dog for a walk before going to meet my professor to discuss a term paper. I discovered my dog had diarrhea in the night. I discovered my dog had diarrhea in the night over 600 SQUARE FEET OF CARPET AND LINOLEUM. I discovered my dog had diarrhea in the night over 600 square feet of carpet and linoleum and my husband cleaned up Round One while I was asleep. I discovered my dog had diarrhea in the night over 600 square feet of carpet and linoleum and my husband cleaned up Round One while I was asleep, using paper towels that soon saturated in diarrhea so he threw them in the kitchen trash can BUT DIDN’T TAKE THE TRASH OUT so the ants found the diarrhea-soaked towels in the trash and swarmed the trash can and the dog was still sick so he released more diarrhea piles in the same 600 square feet of carpet after we were both asleep so the ants smelled or sensed or found the piles however ants find things so they deployed additional troops to the other piles of doggie diarrhea until I woke, at 5 am, not to a peaceful morning, but to the entire main room of my apartment covered in a hazy stench of runny poo that slid underfoot and was infested with a militant ant army.

    I was still swearing by the time I met with my professor, but he thought the story was hilarious.

    I refuse to sit on the carpet now.

  • Cathey

    Oh my!! I think you win already, Dr. V! with all the dogs we’ve had, including a litter of 7 Golden Retriever puppies, I thought I could come up with a story to beat that, but alas, I cannot!

  • Lindsay

    After evacuating from Hurricane Katrina, 11 hours in one small car with 1 very anxious Golden Retriever we finally arrived at my Aunt’s immaculate house and passed out. Or I passed out and poor Emma had her explosive colitis in concentric, spinning rings ALL over the brand new, cream carpet. We had to stay in the basement after that.

  • Lisa W

    BTW, the worst one I ever had to clean up was Sophie’s bout with diarrhea. I gagged several times and really thought I was going to toss my cookies — I just couldn’t hold my breath long enough. She had left several thick puddles in the dining room during the night, though thankfully she woke me up before it got completely unmanageable. At least she didn’t roll in it!

    Otherwise, yeah, the only thing that still needs cleaning is my office.

  • cstironkat

    My husband left the deep fryer on the couch to cool after we fried fish in it. THe dog got into it and thew-up everywhere. Then later on it came out the other end. It was an horrendous mess not to mention the grease that they didn’t eat was all over too.

  • This rug doctor products is great and I see this is bet product for cleaning the carpets very easily and without any damage.