Thread Number: 3122
Kirby Shampooer Review
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Post# 34638   3/13/2008 at 15:58 (3,751 days old) by mattshaver ()        

I wanted to post my thoughts regarding the Kirby shampooer unit. First, let me tell you that in the past I've used both commercial cleaners who show up at the door and do the usual cleaning. Then I've also used the Hoover Steam-Vac when they first came out in the mid-90s and it finally died a terrible death a few years.

Enter the Kirby Carpet Shampooer:

For those who want to save closet space, the Kirby shampooer might be the ticket.

Setup: The setup of the shampoo unit is pretty straight-forward. Take off the nozzle and attach the unit, fill the container with warm water, add the Kirby branded soap and you're set to go. The overall setup was really no different than the Hoover steam-vac.

Usage: When using the Kirby shampooer, the video suggests starting out with the shampooer sudsing turned on and it immediately pushes out foam. This is my largest challenge. If it's all the way on, there is to much foam so I have had to back it to about the 1/2 to 3/4 position to get the right amount of foam dispersed. I worked the foam into the carpet once it is applied to the entire area.

When completed, I put a fan on the carpet and in about 30 minutes it's dry ready to be vacuumed.

My ending thoughts: I am very impressed with the overall cleaning ability of the Kirby shampooer. Not only has it reset the nap on my carpet, but it has cleaned even the most heavily trafficked areas back to new.

I just wanted to share my thoughts on the Kirby shampooer.
Matt :-)

Post# 34639 , Reply# 1   3/13/2008 at 16:17 (3,751 days old) by kloveland (Tulsa, OK)        

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Yes I think that the Kirby shampooer does a wonderful job. I have only used the shampooer on a Classic III I have not used it with the generation series. Like Matt I have noticed that the suds come out to fast and there is no way to shut the suds off on the pre generation models. I have to wait for the tank to empty then go back over the area with the Kirby to work the suds in. It takes a while for the carpet to dry and the way Kirby works it does not extract any water from the carpet. To over come this problem I could possible use the Kirby and then follow behind it with a shop vac or another steam cleaner.

I have used the system at grandmothers where she and her husband have a two year old dog which has never been properly house trained. She has white berber carpet and the Kirby shampoo system really brightened up the carpet.

I just wish the Kirby unit would extract the water from the carpet to prevent it from getting into the carpet padding. This is my own concern with the shampoo system. But overall it works great!

Post# 34648 , Reply# 2   3/13/2008 at 17:40 (3,751 days old) by kirbymodel2c (Nottingham, England)        

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The kirby shampooer works very well. Even better when you use there other products like the spot remover and heavy traffic area shampoo.

On the pre G series like the Heritage II onwards you can switch the suds off buy putting the capped end on the out let pipe next to the end of the hose.

When it comes to shampooing once you have applied the suds with the machine after its been left 10 to 15 mins go back over it again with the suds switched off. Or If the suds can't be switched off or capped and the tank is still full of cleaning solution take it off and put the bag back on. Then go over it again:-))

Overwetting can be a problem if you keep going over the same patch again and again in the same shampooing section.
Your only really suppose to go over it once or twice in 1 shampooing section.

Mind you Iv'e been guilty of this in the past normally if I have left over cleaning solution in the tank. That's my confestion;-))


Post# 34651 , Reply# 3   3/13/2008 at 18:02 (3,751 days old) by clarkecombi ()        
Yes the Kirby Shampooer works wonders!

I use my G3 to shampoo my carpet every 2 months(im a cleanfreak!:-)). It really takes out all of the ground in grime. Say mattshaver what horrible death did ur hoover steamvac die?? i had one that quit working in a very LOUD way! How did yours kick the armature?LOL!

Post# 34681 , Reply# 4   3/13/2008 at 21:59 (3,751 days old) by mattshaver ()        
Poor Hoover Steam-Vac...

Didn't even have a name. We bought it back in 1996 and it lasted until about 2004. It went through three dogs, hair and potty accidents along the way. It was good, the only issue was that is soaked the carpet down pretty bad. I found the only way to shampoo the carpets with the Hoover was to do it on a sunny, dry day with either fans on the carpet all day or the AC on. If you tried on a rainy day, you may as well forget it.

On the Kirby, however, it only took 15 -30 minutes to get it dry before I went over it again in regular vacuum mode. The control valve was very helpful in calibrating the necessary flow of foam to the surface.

Also, I thought Kirby shampoo was a little pricey until I tried it (there was a small demo bottle in the shampooer), but the results are worth the price. In my humble, everything related to Kirby has blown away my expectations. Now only if Kirby made a car. LOLOL.

Matt :-)

P.S. I'll try and get a video posted to YouTube soon.

Post# 34683 , Reply# 5   3/13/2008 at 22:32 (3,751 days old) by normvac (COLUMBUS, OHIO)        
Thanks Guys!

For the commentary on the Kirby carpet shampooing. I have had a Hoover steamer for years and someone in the family always has it or wants it when I need it. Had one with my
classic kirby in the 70's and it did a good job. Now I have a heritage II and a bid on the shampooing unit for it. So hoping to win that bid.

Post# 34696 , Reply# 6   3/14/2008 at 07:00 (3,750 days old) by williamr1248 (USA)        
Kirby Shampoo

I have a Kirby Legend and used the shampoo unit for over 16 years at my old house. I was always very pleased. Later I got Hoover Steam vac. The Hoover could pick up spills but I thought it used too much water and I didn't think it cleaned the carpet as well as the Kirby shampooer. I was also surprised that the Hoover steam vac did not remove more left over shampoo from the Kirby. Each unit had their strong points but if I had to choose one it would have to be the Kirby

Post# 34802 , Reply# 7   3/15/2008 at 12:33 (3,749 days old) by normvac (COLUMBUS, OHIO)        

Just for the record, I won the ebay bid for the Kirby, Heritage shmpoo unit, plus for and additional $15.00
the seller threw in the tubo kit and extra tools.

Post# 39247 , Reply# 8   4/30/2008 at 18:10 (3,703 days old) by camelotshadow (Valley Village)        
might take the kirby plunge

I've done the carpets well tested w the rainbow w simple green
it really clenaed well & extracts

I fugure I;ll do the kirby first
& then a few weekslater do the rainbow will will extract any residue

I just hope the kirby solution scent is not bad for my bird
they are so sensitive
& things like furniturer polish & some cleaners can kill them

so I hsistate

haven't opened the gallon lavender yet
I'm thinking maybe I could resell it if it turns out I can't use it

Post# 39258 , Reply# 9   4/30/2008 at 19:14 (3,703 days old) by whirlpolf (Germany)        
some Kirby Shampooer tricks

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So glad to see this thread here: Yes I agree, the shampooer is worth every cent. We shampooed a yellow wall-to-wall carpet in a student's appartment in Kaiserslautern. My friend liked it a lot, but would not tell anybody. First comment of a frequent friend/visitor: "hey, since when can you afford a new carpet?"

Ok, here are some tricks that I found useful when using the Kirby (tried them all from Tradition to G6):

Too much foam on the first go? (like Matt found out and like suggested in the manual video tape):
Instead, take the brush one notch up on the height control. Lock machine handle, so it will not go deeper down than 45. Turn shampoo valve open to full. Start applying a "layer" of foam to the rug by pulling the Kirby backwards, stroke by stroke, lane by lane. Turn off and wait 5 min. (This can be seen as some "soaking cycle"). Once the foam has settled (you can hear it sizzling, the white foam sinks in down), click the height control all the way down and start shampooing as suggested in the manual but with less shampoo on the valve (like 75% or so) (mind you: the carpet has already some shampoo in it.) You see a stubborn spot? Turn open to full, scrub in, turn shampoo off and brush it all out in several directions, so the brush will sweep all the dirt up in the tray.) Repeat if desired: full foam down in, then turn foam off, then brush up and out into tray, all pile directions, north, south, west, east.

Reducing drying time:
The regular setup (see manual) to groom up the carpet pile is the shampooer brush without the tray but with this small splash guard thingy. I use it a different way: Keep the tray, but undo the soap tank and the soap connector hose. Instead attach the Kirby hose to the blower port (where the bag goes normally) and stuff the other end into the opening of the tray. Start brushing the carpet: The air will immediately enter the fibres being opened up. It is not really a real drying technique, but it helps to reduce drying time tremendously. If you mind the fluffy old fibers flying around and being blown towards the baseboards, then you might want to choose the regular filter bag (less air to the carpet, but reasonnably better pickup of old carpet fibres, they were loose anyhow).

Afraid of too much soap build-up in the carpet? Try this: Make up only as much of the shampoo solution as you will need to cover the square meters/square feet to be cleaned. Give your rugs a good shampooing. Make up a second tank full with way less shampoo (but not water only, it will not work, I tried it), then use the scrub-in, scrub-out action as described above. Works pretty well getting the dirty stuff into the tray.

The carpet was (wrongly) treated with dishwashing detergent or similar? (and now really attracts dirt and feels sticky?) --> put a tablespoon of "Lickity Spits" (or whatever this Kirby stain remover fluid is called) in the shampooer tank. Shampoo as usual. The dish soap will be gone. If no Lickity stuff is available, you can substitute it with a solution of 10 parts water, 1 part lemon acid (shake well to dilute the crystals). Again: use just one tablespoon of this for a regular tank full of shampoo solution (the acidity will reduce a lot on the foaming capability). But it works.

Allergic to scented Kirby shampoo? I tried others as well, some do not work as good as Kirby shampoo (at least in a Kirby machine):
1. Kirby Shampoo (lavender or unscented)
2. Amway Carpet Shampoo (no scent, works quite well)
3. Bissell Green shampoo (German edition)
4. Columbus/Sorma (works reasonnably well)
5. Tuba (made by Henkel) - really bad, almost no effect.
6. Schlecker (forget it, a foaming no-use water stuff, use regular water instead :-))

Btw. Kirby sells the same shampoo with or without scent (at least here they do).

I cannot guarantee for any of these things to work for you guys, also, you have to test and try the right amounts/settings/techniques. This is just to give you an idea how I get the most out all my lovely Kirby shampoo units. If it does not work at all, it is probably the bad weather here *g*

Have fun at your foam parties!

Post# 39263 , Reply# 10   4/30/2008 at 19:42 (3,703 days old) by camelotshadow (Valley Village)        
here's my d50 all decked out ready to rock & foam...


Post# 39265 , Reply# 11   4/30/2008 at 19:47 (3,703 days old) by camelotshadow (Valley Village)        
no valve?

old unit]]

can't figure putting attachemnt hose on to blow air
as its too fat to go into tray

I use simple green on my carpets
no residue
dishsoap is a no no

Post# 39268 , Reply# 12   4/30/2008 at 20:48 (3,703 days old) by electroluxxxx (cortland, NY)        

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so you just pour simple green in the tank and it cleans the rugs???? I never thought of that. does it do a good job???

Post# 39273 , Reply# 13   4/30/2008 at 21:03 (3,703 days old) by camelotshadow (Valley Village)        
with the rainbow not kirby

Ispray simple green solution on the rugs & vacuum it up
kirby is dry foam

the simple green dilute really has helped these old carpets

I haven't experimented adding SG to the aquamate I have
but I like the aquamate
& rainboe in general as it sucks the water out of the carpet

I do it as a refreshener
feels cleaner

Post# 39276 , Reply# 14   4/30/2008 at 22:01 (3,703 days old) by camelotshadow (Valley Village)        

only real problem is kirby has a real spill neck spout so you waste alot of solution
never saw such a dribble container

other thing is I added a small cap to a tank as per old instructions not 3 as in new

other thing is it barely did part of a room w a tank fukl
so to get a room & na half had tro do 3 tanks
good thing isd when tank was emptyt I groomed & fluffed

but other than that its drying now
foamed a fair amount even as I was stingy on solution

results to follow

Post# 39293 , Reply# 15   12/31/1969 at 18:00 (17,703 days old) by xraytech ( Pittsburgh, PA)        

xraytech's profile picture
I have a G6 2000 edition and I bought a G5 shampooer from ebay. I found it to be so-so. first 6-8 times I used it in first 3 months I had it it was great and then it quit dispensing right the foam only dribbles out in center of shampooer and not thick foam across whole width of shampooer as it should. I dont know what is wrong with it. I am dissapointed because it dosent function right, any suggestions. It would do my living room which is approx 18feet x 20 feet with one quart of water and I could be done in less than 10 minutes and I loved the odor neutralizer in the shampoo. which I got for i think 20 dollars a gallon on ebay which is a little more than a gallon of Hoover Shampoo. For now I use my Steam Vac with Spin Scrub. I do wish I could figure out what problem is with my shampooer.

Post# 39294 , Reply# 16   12/31/1969 at 18:00 (17,703 days old) by camelotshadow (Valley Village)        

maybe the foam screen is clogged or sponge
or solution
if it worked great 6 or 8 times then diminished performance
something is clogged
could even be the tubing inthe tank

I made my own sponge & used a screen that was old
I also went light on the solution
d50 book says 2 oz to a qt
the new stuff wants 6
Anyway I used a scant 2
it foamed but did sort opf just come out middle
coverage was so so
had to keep going over
but I'm working w a 40 yo system
I might need a different sponge or screen
don't think its clogged as it emptied a qt in na few minutes

Have to play with it
luckily I got the gal for $15 but then there's the shipping
even flat rate brings it to $25 gal
that's alot
going to experiment with simple green


Post# 39299 , Reply# 17   5/1/2008 at 09:49 (3,702 days old) by eluxca (Tennessee)        
I don't intend to hijack the thread...

...But since shampooers are the topic, I love using my Electrolux B8 machine with Electrolux Turbo shampoo. It cleans remarkably well, dries quickly and leaves no residue. And so much quieter than a Kirby...

I have a couple Kirbys but no shampoo heads. Cheers to a Kirby machine for being able to do so many things well!


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