Happy Birthday to My Workhorse, Hoover

I call him Hoover and he’s worked hard for me since the day I hauled his long, lanky self into the house back in 2008.

Agriculture et métier : paysan et cheval de trait au labours

My dear Hoover (not really a horse, but isn’t that a beautiful specimen) still holds the record for the best thing I ever bought. Not only did my Hoover SteamVac rescue me from the endless loop of worthless commercial carpet cleaning companies, he’s saved me thousands of dollars over these eight years. I paid $147 for Hoover, which is still cheaper than one visit from a carpet cleaning company.


While I enjoy hard surface floors in some areas of my home, I am not ready to give up on carpet. I love how it looks, how it feels under my feet and how it warms up a room. But I hate dirty carpet. Cannot abide a spot. The thought of what lurks between the fibers of poorly maintained carpet still gives me the heeby-geebies.

And so today, I want to give you an update on how my dear old Hoover is doing. But first a quick review on how Hoover and I partner up to keep my home and office carpet clean and pristine.

I DO NOT USE ANY SOAP OR CLEANING LIQUID in the machine at all. None. Nada. I’m no fool. I know that I will never be able to get that soap out no matter how hard I rinse. Instead, I use a good liquid spot remover called Spot Shot Professional. I’m sure there are others, but I love this one. It is more powerful than any I have ever tired.

I try to always take care of spots as quickly as I can, when they happen. That is so important. And I vacuum often with the best inexpensive vacuum on God’s green earth—Shark Navigator Lift-Away Pro. Also important. Then every few weeks or months I pull out my buddy, Hoover.

First, I treat any spots, marks, paths and other dirty areas with Spot Shot Professional. Then I fill up Hoover. The instructions say to fill the top canister with hot water. I go one step further. I heat it in my electric tea kettle and carefully pour it in boiling hot. Do not worry. This is okay! Most home cleaners do not use the power of boiling water, but I do. I wouldn’t recommend this with any home carpet machine, but Hoover is mighty and can take the heat.

With no soap or shampoo at all, only the power of the spot remover and very hot water, I go to work. I pull that trigger liberally too, to release a lot of hot water. And I follow the instructions to release the trigger on each return path so Hoover can suck up all the water. It is truly amazing how that hot water pulls out normal everyday dirt and dust. I go over an area many times (it’s kinda fun, actually) until no more water is coming up (you can see this in the clear canister that holds the dirty water).

Now here’s the bonus: Because the water is so hot and it gets sucked back up so quickly, the carpet dries in no time. I know, you are suspicious about this. But it is so true. Hoover has such a powerful extractor, I think I get up almost all of the water I lay down. And the best part? No sticky residue!

I never clean all the carpet at one time. I do a bit now and then, until I have made my way through all the rooms and halls. Then I start over. It’s just maintenance. Easy, enjoyable, and very rewarding. And cheap! I never buy soap or cleaning solution for Hoover. Ever. Poor guy. Starves on water only. My big pay off—the feel, look and smell of beautifully clean carpet!

As I write, my exact model has been discontinued, replaced with this Hoover Power Scrub Deluxe Carpet Cleaner Machine.

Hoover Power Scrub Deluxe Carpet Cleaner Machine

As old as he is, I won’t be replacing my dear, venerable Hoover anytime soon. While he is showing his age, he works as well as the day he arrived.

I have never had to take him in for repairs and he’s got a lot of miles on him. He’s been hauled back and forth from home to office; he made the big move to Colorado. He’s never made as much as a murmur in all these years. What a champ! Here’s the most important thing to know about Hoover: Untold gallons of boiling water have not damaged his inner workings in the least. Only last weekend he cleaned all of the carpet at DPL Central and it looks awesome.

Happy Birthday, Hoover!

And now for a short photo tour. Please keep in mind that my beloved Hoover is a workhorse, not a show horse!

In this first shot, I need to mention that I am not very good at photography. Hoover is tilted back in this shot, not completely on his back but not standing either. I wanted to show you his best angle. That gap between the clean water tank at the top and the one for the dirty water at the back closes when in use.

Yep, he’s a true workhorse!



This shows Hoover in release mode. You’re looking at the dirty water tank with the lid in place. Not so bad, right?


Next, this is that clear plastic (well mostly clear) place where I can watch the water being sucked back into the machine. I don’t know how to clean in there, so you can see that I haven’t! But that’s what I keep my eye on. And with the Spot Shot doing its job on the carpet, I do see residues of soap and bubbles going up—a sign that I need to keep working on the area until what gets sucked up is mostly clear-looking water.


Now you are looking at the inside of Hoover with the clean water tank removed. I want all of you naysayers who insist I’m going to ruin my Hoover with boiling water to see that after 8 years and untold miles/hours of carpet cleaning, those hoses look pristine to me! I have never cleaned Hoover and look how nice and clean this is.


Hoover’s rotating brushes get a good workout, trust me, and still, they’re in great shape.


Now you are looking at Hoover with the clean water canister removed. This is the rubber gasket/connector where the boiling hot water  goes into the machine and onto the carpet. Not melted, is it! And I can see no damage at all. Everything remains tightly sealed so water doesn’t leak out, which is quite amazing to me.


Another shot, different angle.


Underside of the water canister, which has been removed and is laying on its backside.



Clean water canister in place on Hoover, but up close.

Hoover is so simple to use because there are no complicated parts, steps or maintenance required. I fill the clean water canister and clean until the dirty water tank reaches the maximum. Then I empty it, replace it and keep going.

NOTE: I do not suggest trying this boiling water thing on all steam cleaners. I have only used boiling water in my Hoover SteamVac, which has two tanks, not bladders. If your steam cleaner does not have a very sturdy tank it’s not wise to pour boiling water into it, is it?

I am so appreciative of all of my readers who show common sense every day while on their journey to save time and money on everything. You are an inspiration to me!

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11 replies
  1. Connie Rodes says:

    The newer Hoover SteamVac’s must not be made from the same sturdy material as the older ones. I had one for about 10 years and used boiling water in it all the time and never had a problem. Sadly something broke on it and I needed to replace it. Of course, I purchased a new Hoover SteamVac and put boiling water in and it damaged/distorted some of the parts. Fortunately I was able to get it repaired, but no more boiling water. I just use the hottest water from the faucet.

  2. kat89 says:

    I’ve got the exact same one and I’ve also had it for at least 8 years. It cleans like a charm, but has leaked since the day we got it. It was one of my husband’s late night TV purchases, so I didn’t even know where to return it, but, as I said, it cleans really well, as long as we go over the spots where it’s leaked several times. I’m sure it’s just a seal that needs to be replaced or something but I usually forget about it until I need to use it again. Since we only have carpets in a couple of bedrooms, it hasn’t been seeing much use other than a couple of times a year.

  3. Janine Auten Fisher says:

    My 3 yr old Bissel cleaner died recently. We are getting our house ready to put up for sale and I needed to get the carpets cleaned. I found my Hoover at Walmart – it is amazing!!!! No more strange bladder thing to fill and clean – absolutely hated that about my Bissel! The Hoover is so easy to use and I love the separate tanks. My model also has a hot air dryer to aid in drying speed of the carpet. My 10 year old carpets look almost brand new!

  4. Bookworm says:

    Just placed my order for one! I was wondering: Has anyone tried adding any essential oils to the water? There are several that would make the room smell good, and even some that would serve as an antibacterial/antifungal agent.

  5. Greta Johnson says:

    Yes, I have followed your advice at home (and when cleaning rental apartments) about using HOT water and the Hoover SteamVac (or is that DreamVac?). ;0 It works beautifully! Thank YOU for the original advice about the hot water!! Just another FYI, I DO enjoy the photographs in your posts. I know that is more work for you, but the pictures are always worth 1000 words! Happy Hoovering!

  6. David C says:

    Love my Hoover Steamvac as well….and found a source online to replace my worn out brushes, fits perfectly and it cleans like new. Mine must be 20 years old….love your writings Mary.

  7. Me says:

    I would definitely buy one of these if I had somewhere to store it! My old house is severely lacking in closets. But I, like Mary, love carpet, as I have fibromyalgia and my feet cannot take hard surfaces. Maybe my “retirement” home will have storage for one……

  8. Linda says:

    Mary, I have used a plastic coated flexible wire to dislodge that gunk that builds up in the front of the machine. It needs to be done right after a cleaning session so it is soft. Then just do a bit more cleaning so it all winds up in the dirty water tank. Mine stays looking like new by doing this.

  9. Bronson Beisel says:

    Hi Mary – I have a Hoover SteamVac as well, but it wasn’t until I started reading your column that I learned to use only heated water in it and no detergent. Ours is about 20 years old and still going strong.

    I wanted to share that I figured out how to clean under that clear plastic panel on the front face where you can view the water and debris being sucked up. I found a video on YouTube showing how to turn the machine over and remove a few screws to release that panel. Then I was able to clean out all of the gunk that had gathered in there over the years. Made my Hoover SteamVac look practically brand new, and it still works great.

    Our current home only has carpet in the basement, but I’ve used Hoover in our sunroom, which has a flagstone floor. I was quite surprised at the dirt it pulled up. We’ve also used it on the area rug in our family room (a lesser quality rug purchased from a home improvement store). Did a great job of cleaning it as well.

    Thanks, as always, for the tips.


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