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Carpet Cleaner Not Working

Carpet cleaners aren’t used very regularly but they do a really good job of keeping your home clean, and smelling fresh. From time to time a carpet cleaner can not work due to a minor issue that is very easy to fix or one of the components can have malfunctioned. In this article I will explain how to fix a carpet cleaner that isn’t working.

As a general rule, the thermal fuse has been triggered and you need to leave it for 24 hours to cool off. The thermal fuse is triggered when the engine gets too hot. This generally occurs if there’s a blockage which strains the motor. After 24 hours try to start it again.

Woman cleaning the carpet

If you’ve waited 24 hour but your carpet cleaner still won’t start there are a bunch of other simple troubleshooting steps you should do to get it working again. I will explain what these are below as well as more specific issues such as when it won’t dispense soap, the cleaning brushes at the base of the carpet cleaner won’t spin, and it’s not sucking up the water.

Carpet Cleaner Not Working

A carpet cleaner can just not turn on at all, or one or a few of its functions aren’t working. Here’s what to do if one of its functions such as sucking up water isn’t working or if it’s failing to turn on.

Try a different wall outlet. Then ensure that the dirty water tank isn’t full and the clean water tank isn’t empty. If it’s still not starting and you’ve given it 24 hours to cool off contact the manufacturer to repair it. They can advise you if the repair is covered under warranty.

There are few common and not so common reasons why a carpet cleaner doesn’t work. I will provide a list of steps to take to fix it. I’ll start with the most common causes and the fixes for them.

1. Thermal fuse has been triggered – wait 24 hours

This issue is easy to identify and is when the carpet cleaner won’t turn on at all. The best thing to do when your carpet cleaner won’t turn on at all is to give it 24 hours and then try turning it on again. When the carpet cleaner engine gets too hot it triggers the thermal fuse. The thermal fuse is a safety feature which stops excessive heat from damaging the carpet cleaner.

During normal operation the thermal fuse will never get triggered. But, if your carpet cleaner is straining it makes the engine work harder than normal and it will overheat. This can be due to a range of issues such as a blockage in the pipes, or one of the components isn’t working as it should.

If you attempt to power it on after 24 hours and it still won’t start it indicates there’s another issue with your carpet cleaner. In this case you’re best to contact the carpet cleaner manufacturer to inquire about whether the repair is covered under warranty. But, before doing that skip to step 2 on this list about ‘the wall outlet fuse’.

2. The wall outlet fuse has been tripped at the fuse box

This one might make you facepalm. As you may know, all of the wall outlets are controlled by a central fuse box. Each of the different areas of a building/house have an individual fuse. If the fuse has been overloaded or a power surge has occurred the fuse can be tripped and the whole wall outlet isn’t working. Rather than your carpet cleaner.

The easiest way to test this is to plug in another appliance into the wall outlet your carpet cleaner was/is plugged into. Usually a smaller something is easiest. Like a lamp or a phone charger. If the wall outlet is working fine then it’s very likely the thermal fuse was triggered and you should leave it for 24 hours to cool off.

If the wall outlet isn’t working go to the fuse box and find the fuse that has been tripped. If you’re unfamiliar with using a fuse box refer to this article.

As well as, the process for getting it repaired. Most carpet cleaner manufacturers have service technicians who are specially trained in working with your brand of carpet cleaner. Give your carpet cleaner manufacturer a call, send them an email, or talk to their live chat support. All of the contact information will be available on their official website. For example if it’s a Hoover carpet cleaner search on Google for ‘Hoover carpet cleaner support.’

3. One of the tanks is full or empty or isn’t clicked into place

There is a clean water tank and a dirty water tank. If the clean water tank is empty then a carpet cleaner won’t spray clean water. It also may shut down the carpet cleaner. Also, the dirty water tank can be too full. This can trigger a sensor that won’t allow a carpet cleaner to start.

If one or both of the tanks aren’t clicked into place completely it can stop a carpet cleaner from turning on. A carpet cleaner can not register that the tank is there if it’s not seated properly. Make sure the clean water tank isn’t completely empty, and the dirty water tank isn’t full. And when you put them back again make sure they’re not slightly out of place.

4. The hoses are clogged and need to be cleared

If the hose that sprays water on the carpet is clogged the water won’t spray. Also the hose that goes from the base of the carpet cleaner to the dirty water tank will cause a carpet cleaner not to dry the carpet. In both cases the hose can be cleared. But, it does require a bit of tinkering experience.

Refer to your owners manual to see the configuration of the hose that’s causing the issue. You can replace the hose completely if you find it’s clogged. Or clear it gently using a coat hanger – provided the hole in the hose is wide enough. Be careful not to damage the hose as you’re doing it.

Carpet Cleaner Not Cleaning

A carpet cleaner works by scrubbing the carpet gently with rotating brushes at the base of the carpet cleaner. After the dirt has been loosened the dirty water is sucked up into the dirty water tank to remove it. If it’s not cleaning the carpet, here’s what causes it and how to fix it:

As a general rule, the brushes are obstructed and need to be cleared or the brush component has failed and needs to be replaced. With the carpet cleaner off, inspect the brushes at the base of the carpet cleaner to see if they’re obstructed and can’t spin.

Some hair or other debris can have accumulated in between the individual brushes or be wrapped around the base of the brushes stopping them from turning. The brush mechanism can also be slightly rusted making the brushes stiff. It’s relatively easy to fix.

Carpet Cleaner Not Dispensing Soap

Woman cleaning the carpet

Clean water with detergent is first sprayed on to the carpet and then the scrubbers gently clean the carpet. For the scrubbers to work clean water with detergent must first be applied to the carpet. The carpet cleaner can not dispense clean water and soap, here’s how to get it working again.

Overall, the clean water tank can be empty or there is a blockage in the hose that connects the clean water tank to the nozzle that sprays the water. Ensure the clean water is full enough, and if you’re capable inspect the hose that runs from the clean water tank to the sprayer.

Most carpet cleaner hoses are black so you can’t see if there’s a blockage on the inside. If you can easily see how to remove it you can pour some water into it and see if it flows out freely. Otherwise, use your owners manual to see how to remove it.

It’s common that there will be blockages on the ends of the hose where small amounts of impurities in the water can build up slowly over time. These can be cleared by gently using a bent paper clip or coat hanger.

Be careful not to poke the edges of the hose as it can weaken it or poke a hole in it. Sometimes, you may decide it’s best to get a whole new hose as they’re relatively cheap. Typically carpet cleaner brands will sell replacement hoses on their website.

If the clean water tank is full AND the hose is clear then it’s very likely the pump that sprays the water has failed. In this case you should contact the manufacturer to see where to have it repaired and if it’s covered under warranty.

Carpet Cleaner Not Spraying Water

Woman cleaning the carpet

Clean soapy water is drawn from the clean water tank through a hose and out through the spray nozzles at the base of the carpet cleaner. If it’s not spraying water you can apply water with detergent to the carpet yourself using a bucket in the meantime. But, here are the reasons it’s not spraying water and the troubleshooting steps to do when this happens.

Generally, the clean water tank can be empty or the spray nozzle or hose has accumulated debris and is clogged. Check the clean water tank has enough water and detergent. If you have some handyman skill the hose and sprayer can be removed, inspected and cleaned.

The owner’s manual can be very helpful as it will typically show how the hose is attached. You can generally find the owners manual online if you search Google for your specific make and model.

The model number will usually be embossed on the bottom of the carpet cleaner. If it’s not you can search Google for the brand of your carpet cleaner and look under the ‘Images’ tab. Looking through the images you can find the model that looks identical to yours and then search for the specific manual for your carpet cleaner.

Carpet Cleaner Not Spinning

Woman cleaning the carpet

Underneath the base of a carpet cleaner are brushes that spin and scrub the carpet. There are multiple brushes that are part of one component. When they aren’t spinning and cleaning the carpet this is how to fix them.

The brushes are obstructed by something stuck in between them or the brushes have become slightly rusted and need to be lubricated to allow them to spin freely. Visually inspect the brushes for anything that is obstructing them. If it’s not that generally you should have it repaired.

Freeing up brushes that are a bit stuck requires some DIY experience. If you’re not good at that sort of thing then I suggest contacting the manufacturer to see where they recommend to get it repaired.

Otherwise refer to this video, which shows step by step instructions for how to loosen the brushes yourself. If that doesn’t fix it the turning mechanism for the brushes is very likely broken in which case you should contact the manufacturer to see how to get it repaired and if it’s covered by the warranty.

Carpet Cleaner Not Suctioning/Picking up Water

Woman cleaning the carpet

For a carpet cleaner to do its job it needs to draw the dirty water in the carpet up into the dirty water tank. There is a motor that generates suction that sucks up the water but there are a few other components involved. When your carpet cleaner has no suction, these are the reasons why and how to get it working again.

As a whole, the dirty water tank is full. There is a sensor which won’t allow a carpet cleaner to suck up water if the tank is full. If the tank isn’t full then the hose from the base of the carpet cleaner to the dirty water tank can be blocked and can be cleared. Or, the suction motor has failed.

It may be as easy as emptying the dirty water tank to get it to start sucking water up again. But, if it’s not, it generally requires it to be repaired unless you’re pretty good with tools and tinkering.

If you are, you can remove the hose and clear it, or replace it. If it’s the motor generally it’s best to have a repair technician do the replacement for you. These can be found by contacting the manufacturer, or on the manufacturers website.

Carpet Cleaner Not Drying

man cleaning the carpet

To dry the carpet after the carpet cleaner has scrubbed it, it sucks up the water leaving the carpet slightly damp rather than completely soaked. There are a few reasons why a carpet cleaner won’t suck up the water and dry the carpet. Here’s what they are and what to do for each of these issues.

As a general rule, the dirty water tank is full, the hose that goes from the base of the carpet cleaner to the dirty water tank is clogged, or the suction motor has failed. If it’s not because the dirty water tank is full, then typically it needs to be repaired by the manufacturer.

Empty out the dirty water tank, and make sure it’s clicked into place correctly. If it’s not seated correctly it can stop the suction function from working. If it’s not either of these then the hose is blocked and the water can’t get through, or the suction motor has failed.

Both of these cases are generally best fixed by a specialist repair technician. But, if you’re comfortable removing the hose and clearing it yourself, do that first to see if that’s what was causing the issue.

Carpet Cleaner Won’t Turn On

man cleaning the carpet

As you’re using your carpet cleaner it can switch off suddenly. Then when you go to turn it on again nothing happens. In other cases you can go to use your carpet cleaner and it will power on, here’s the most common reason why, and the additional steps to get it to turn on.

Generally, this is because the thermal fuse has been triggered. When the carpet cleaner gets too hot the thermal fuse turns the carpet cleaner off. Give it 24 hours to cool down then try to turn it on. The wall outlet may be the issue, try using it on a different wall outlet.

You can also test the wall outlets by plugging something else into them such as a phone charger connected to a phone. If a smartphone is charging on the same wall outlet that your carpet cleaner was plugged into you can be virtually guaranteed the thermal fuse has triggered.

One of the internal components can have malfunctioned which is stopping the entire carpet cleaner from turning on. If after 24 hours it still won’t turn on then go to the manufacturers website and raise a support ticket to see how they advise to have it repaired.

Overall, the most common issue is the thermal fuse has triggered because the carpet cleaner got too hot. Let it cool down for 24 hours. After that attempt to turn it on again. If it’s still not working try a different wall outlet, otherwise additional troubleshooting steps are explained below.