Thread Number: 39239  /  Tag: Recent Vacuum Cleaners from past 20 years
How does a Kirby not draw in moisture when in shampoo mode?
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Post# 416315   11/21/2019 at 18:24 (313 days old) by SUPEROCD (PNW US)        

I've always wondered how moisture (rather, suds) isn't drawn into the fan chamber when in shampoo mode. Although the shampoo head and tray doesn't seal to the carpet, there is a direct shot into the opening of the fan chamber through the shampoo head for the belt/pulley. Does any moisture get drawn in and "flung out" by the centrifugal force of the fan, or is it something that just doesn't happen?

Post# 416323 , Reply# 1   11/21/2019 at 21:22 (313 days old) by Lesinutah (Utah)        

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The belt lifter on the rug rennovator is direct port. There is a squeegee behind the tray that catches the shampoo.
It uses exhaust to push suds out from emtor area. With squeegee shampoo tray, belt lifter covering fan so no air is drawn into fan chamber and emtor exhaust pushing out foam.
Belt lifter and upper rennovator is a chamber it seals up tight seal around the housing.

Post# 416359 , Reply# 2   11/22/2019 at 18:11 (313 days old) by Rowdy141 (Biryani)        


I have always considered Kirby's Shampooer to be a flawed design.

I've considered this thoroughly and dismissed the whole concept. So too their Head Massager, Handi-Butler, Sander, Jig-Saw, Drill... These attachments helped to sell the vacuums. Clinching the deal. Persuading unconvinced customers. Kirby wanted to offer more than competitors.

When all Filters, 'O'-Ring seals, and Strips are new and perfect, you still have moist sudsy foam around the Brushroll, Brushroll bearings, Belt, Driveshaft, Lifter, Housing, Fan, Emptor, (and to a lesser-degree) past your Motor.

The Brushroll works the wet foam into the carpet. It's not 100% efficient. Suds have to be flying off the rear of the roller and into your machine.

When you vacuum up the dried soap (with encapsulated dirt) some of that is going to be moist. So you have wet, sticky, clinging, clumpy debris inside your Vacuuming head (or Nozzle & Hose), Fan, Housing, Emptor, and Bag. Some of that air passes by your electronics and Motor. It's asking for trouble. At the very least, you'll have some corrosion, every time you use it.

Shake 'n' Vac was considered by some engineers to be the culprit for many rotting hoses and corroded/clogged vacuums. And that's a lot drier than Kirby's watery foam.

So why don't we hear of these machines blowing-up and failing when the Shampooer is used? They tend to be used only a few times, when the machines are new. They underperform at carpet washing. Thirty years after they were bought, they'll usually still have half-a-bottle of original shampoo. Many are never used at all. And corrosion is evident in almost all Kirbys.

I would never allow the Kirby Shampoo System anywhere near my machines. They're for dry dust and dirt only. It's risky enough picking up paperclips and Lego bricks. I throw away all the Shampoo Systems and Handi-Butler attachments when I get a machine.

Kirby is for vacuuming.
VAX is for carpet washing.
The wife does the massaging.
Black & Decker does everything else.

Post# 416367 , Reply# 3   11/22/2019 at 21:33 (312 days old) by Lesinutah (Utah)        

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Kirby is a dry foam process. Rainbow and any other vacuum doing a shampoo job is doing exactly what Kirby does. If you need carpet stains or deep clean use a carpet extractor. I've had success with Bissell.
If you have surface of carpet cleaned Kirby is just fine.
If you look into marketing it's not a replacement. It's like taking a car digging and getting mad when you are stuck.
It's also good not to assume.

Post# 416370 , Reply# 4   11/22/2019 at 22:38 (312 days old) by Rowdy141 (Biryani)        

Dry Foam? The foamy suds made with liquid detergent & water? That foam? Of course it goes into, around, and through your machine.

As I said; It's wet. Then damp. Like aerosol snow.
Same with Zorb, Vanish, and other spongy damp granules.

Kirby crystallized granules contain moisture. They stick. They attract and retain moisture from the air. And they go into your machine too. After the foam.

If these were any good, people would use them.
Vax, Bissell, Rug Doctor, at al, would have no market. Everyone's got a vacuum.

Would you seriously use liquids on a new $2,000 Avalir II?
Or on your fifty-year-old vintage Omega?

I think I need a haircut. I can't see your logic Les.
Anyone seen my Kirby Hair Trimmer?

Post# 416374 , Reply# 5   11/22/2019 at 23:23 (312 days old) by Lesinutah (Utah)        

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I don't think you followed my logic at all.

Kirby has no wet chemicals enter the system. The shampoo is dispensed through the exhaust it is agitated and brought up through and anything that the machine picks up is left in the waste drain the front. There is no wet chemical going into the Kirby. You spray on the phone suds. You agitate the carpet you let it sit 10 minutes and then you shim and you use the vacuum to go over it. 24 hours after this you're supposed to vacuum up Once it is dry the leftover foam. Imagine you use gel that's wet you put it in your hair 24 hours it's dry That's the same concept.

Kirby's do not get water in the vacuum chamber. Vax is a wet dry vac Bissell is a carpet extractor that means they suck up dirty water extract clean water they're different machines one is a vacuum and you basically throw a topical agent on it it gets scrubbed into it and is taking off it is not a freaking carpet extractor. So make your references all you want get a haircut I don't know you're failing to grasp the concept I'm putting out there. You're coming on the chemicals is kind of ridiculous It's dry foam foam comes a lump of freaking flakes carpet shampoo You sit it there it's going to be carpet shampoo tomorrow. Think about that one stays how it is the other one dries up think about that just a little bit. If you're basing it on logic then if there's a vacuum motor on your Bissell carpet extractor why don't you just hook your kirby tools up to it because anything was suction can run the kirby tool so hook your shaver up to your carpet extractor?????
It doesn't make sense because it's not made to do that.

This post was last edited 11/22/2019 at 23:40
Post# 416380 , Reply# 6   11/23/2019 at 05:52 (312 days old) by Rowdy141 (Biryani)        

Thanks for your explanation Les, but you omitted the most-relevant aspects of the whole process:

Kirby Carpet Shampoo Foam is wet. So Brushroll gets wet.
Brushroll Bearings (Rod) gets wet. Brushroll flicks wet foam 360° - including into Housing/Fan.

Belt drives Brushroll. Belt gets wet. Belt flicks foam 360° - including into Housing/Fan.

The drivebelt aperture of the tray isn't airtight. The Fan sucks airborne foam spun by the roller & drivebelt (plus any excess foam you create) and sucks it into the Motor Housing. Yes, its destined for the tank, but SOME exhausts past the Motor.

That was @Superocd's question.

Post# 416406 , Reply# 7   11/23/2019 at 19:16 (311 days old) by matt8808 (Teesside - North East - UK)        

I've used Kirbys to shampoo loads over the years. My last was a Sentria II, my current is an Avalir.

Firstly they never get water / foam into the fan chamber or any internal part of the machine. There is so little air movement through the fan chamber due to the shampoo tank blocking the exhaust when in shampoo mode so there is no powerful suction to draw the foam up and in. Also never had an issue with the brush roll flicking foam up there - there's a guard around the brush to prevent this with only a small section cut out to allow the belt to pass through.

Never had an issue with the shampoo brush roll bearings or anything either.

Kirby shampoo system is great for light cleans and freshen ups as it is very quick and easy to use and the carpet dries much faster.

To clarify -

When in shampoo mode there is very little airflow through the fan chamber so no moisture or foam is drawn in.

Never had an issue with water or foam getting in to ANYWHERE on the machine.

Never had an issue with the bearings on the brush roll.

You vacuum the dry shampoo out of the carpet once the carpet is fully dry so no issues with parts gunking up etc

For me I love the Kirby shampoo system to maintain my carpets. I only have to use my Bissell extractor machine if there has been a spill such as orange juice where water flushing and extraction is needed. Anything else the Kirby is faster, easier and dries quicker.

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Post# 416500 , Reply# 8   11/25/2019 at 21:34 (309 days old) by Paul (USA)        

The Dry Foam Shampoo method is not designed for deep cleaning—as acknowledged in some of Electrolux Corporation user manuals. However, it is advantageous in removing surface contaminants while brightening and freshening the carpet fibers. In addition, it's gentler on carpeting and more environmentally-friendly than the extraction method; so it helps to extend the life of carpets and rugs and safer for humans and animals. Furthermore, dry foam dries more quickly, because it works with less water.

Using both methods in one's carpet cleaning cycle provides the best performance and maintenance.

I've used both the Kirby Shampoo System and the Lux by Aerus/Electrolux dry foam systems with success; and have never had moisture or residue issues on vacuum cleaners, because I follow the manufacturers' directions.

I do wish that both companies would improve the shampoo formulas periodically along with providing more brush options for carpet nap and stains like Electrolux Canada did before it merged with Electrolux USA.

Post# 416556 , Reply# 9   11/26/2019 at 13:01 (309 days old) by sptyks (Skowhegan, Maine)        

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The Kirby shampoo brushroll is made of Hard Rubber and has sealed bearings so it is not affected by getting wet.


The fan chamber is completely sealed from the motor, so it is impossible for any liquid to get into the motor. If you search the archives on here, there is a story where someone used their G series Kirby to pump out a 3/4 full bathtub that had a clogged drain. Two hoses were used to do this. One hose was connected to the front (intake) of the Kirby and a second hose was connected to the exhaust with the other end into the toilet. The entire bathtub was sucked empty with the Kirby acting as a centrifugal pump. The motor chamber remained completely dry after the pumping was finished. That Kirby went on to continue vacuuming the owner's carpets.


I've been using my Kirby Sentria to shampoo my carpets for 7 years now and have had no problems with my machine so far.

Post# 416583 , Reply# 10   11/26/2019 at 18:16 (308 days old) by Lesinutah (Utah)        

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I took have a sentria and it's been 3 years. I have the avalir multi surface cleaner and shampooer. I've only shampooed but the tank on the front for waste water makes it very user friendly.
I shampooed a dozen times but small areas a small room.

Post# 416622 , Reply# 11   11/27/2019 at 14:31 (308 days old) by crazykirbydude (Lexington, KY)        

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I don't believe anyone has mentioned the ports cut into the back of the shampoo nozzle either.

Post# 416634 , Reply# 12   11/27/2019 at 18:47 (307 days old) by Lesinutah (Utah)        

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This is a classic g series shampooer.
The nozzle and brush roll aren't getting any water in them. The belt may get wet and it's on fan spindle. There's no other parts of the vacuum with access to the fan chamber. If you get a wet belt the belt would flip off and in this case nothing on shampoo nozzle is touching the fan housing. Small small amounts may get on the belt but anything more than a few drops would flip the belt and exhaust pushing foam but there is nothing coming in unless it's going to use straight suction and it has artificial intelligence to change it's suction path. It's going to eat a shampoo brush roll and belt before you get water in the vacuum chamber.
If you read all this thank you. Long day .
Happy early Thanksgiving.

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Post# 416637 , Reply# 13   11/27/2019 at 18:57 (307 days old) by broomvac (N/A)        

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I believe that the Kirby survived that one trial, but I wouldn’t recommend doing that on the reg. Neither the seal at the fan spacer nor the seal at the front bearing is perfectly watertight. They are both moving interfaces, after all. 🙂

Post# 416904 , Reply# 14   12/4/2019 at 12:43 (301 days old) by sptyks (Skowhegan, Maine)        

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As far as I know, this was a one time deal where the user was in a bind and needed his bathtub pumped out.


I also would not recommend anyone try this with their Kirby.




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