Rug Doctor portable review

by DannyUK

“Doctor, Doctor,” sang the Thompson Twins sometime in the mid-80s, “can’t you see its burning, burning.” Quite why they felt the need to repeat words so often is anyone’s guess.  Perhaps they recorded it in a very echoey room.

The only doctor that I want to comment on at the moment is the new Rug Doctor.  (It’s sweet transitions like that which make this blog a must-read, I’m sure.)


First of all, I should reveal that I’ve had this machine for six months now.  Time flies!  It took me ages to write the review, partly because the machine is extremely popular with friends and it is hard to review something when it is being used at someone elses house.

Also, I had the entire blog post written up and ready to go, only for a cock-up to occur and for the whole thing to be deleted.  I guess that the “pressed the wrong button and didn’t have autosave on” is this century’s equivalent to “the dog ate my homework.”

Luckily, if the dog had eaten your homework, and decided to work out your Pythagoros Theory homework onto your living room carpet, you’d be thanking your lucky stars for the Rug Doctor Portable Spot Cleaner.  (I know, I know. Smooth introduction again, right?)

I was lucky enough last year to trial the Rug Doctor.  It was a superb machine, and it left my carpets cleaner than they had been in years.  You can read that review here.

My only gripe at the time was the weight of the machine.  Heavy enough on its own, by the time you had the various add-ons in the box, it was heavy enough to be a problem.

Fortunately, the wonderful people at Rug Doctor noted this, and have released the Rug Doctor Portable spot cleaner as the answer.

Rug Doctor Portable Spot Cleaner

The machine is tiny compared to the model I used last year, and much easier to manouevre around. It’s still heavier than you initially think it would be, but it’s better than it’s big brother.

Aside form the obvious advantage of being lighter, the Rug Doctor Portable Spot Cleaner is made to ensure easier cleaning of the likes of pet stains and everyday spills as well as car upholstery and carpeting thanks to a new hand-held brush, which is motorised to make cleaning easier (though it really just feels like an odd vibration when you use it.)

The extendable handle - akin to the ones you’d find on small suitcases and travel bags - help to wheel the machine around. It also has a decent-sized cable, ensuring that you don’t have to keep unplugging and replugging the machine in. In my two-bedroom flat, I could reach every room without having to move the plug.

It’s simple to use - a fact borne out by sheer virtue of me not having to ask one of the kids how to operate it, which is the normal course of events for anything electrical these days.

portable rug doctor - before and after

One of the sofa cushions had suffered a spill some time ago. Not the best pictures, but you can see before (left) and after (right). The whole cushion took 3 minutes to do,

My only issue is that because it’s designed to be portable, it takes longer to clean a carpet. There’s a very good reason for this - It is designed to spot clean, rather than do large areas.  Not that it stopped me from giving a couple of carpets a damned good clean.

It’s ideal for the smaller bits and pieces as it’s designed to be, and in all honesty, when using it on the car or to tackle particular areas of the carpet, it’s superb. When it comes to doing an entire carpet, though, you’d be better off with the normal machine, as my aching muscles will attest.

That said, if I had to choose between the two, I’d pick this machine simply because it is more versatile. I don’t have the biggest rooms in the world, so my carpet area is average, at best. Sheer stubborness means I can clean an entire carpet with the 4.5″ head, though it takes longer, as you’d expect, than the normal machine.

The only tip I would give you is to make sure you are using as much water as you can.  There is a trigger which squirts the soapy water onto the area you are cleaning (though oddly it does it at a slight angle).  Keep your finger on the trigger as you are using the machine, otherwise you’re not allowing the soap to get where it needs to go.

Also, as you vacuum up the water, I found it most effective to do one “strip” of fabric, move the portable head across about half of the width of the head and do the next section.  This seemed to get best results.

If you have kids, pets or just a messy nature, the portable Rug Doctor is a good investment.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’ve just spilt something on the carpet.  Somebody call a Doctor!

The Rug Doctor Portable is available from major retailers.  You can buy it at Amazon here (affiliate link)

Disclaimer: I was given a Rug Doctor portable for the purposes of providing an honest review.


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