After reading positive reviews on Consumer Reports and other sites, I bought this item with foreknowledge of possible drawbacks but in expectation of good results. After a number of uses, here are my first findings: Function -- works well as a carpet cleaner, less so for stairs, using hand tool (no rinse, little water pickup); durability -- suspect, at this time, as many working parts are made of plastic and make me nervous in their particular applications; use and storage -- leaks a bit in most situations, usually place it on a spare towel when not actually using the shampooer, as there are MANY gasketed seals which drip; haven't used it for hard surfaces or upholstery yet, so can't speak to those uses. I've 'discovered' that if you just move the unit back and forth over an area you've cleaned without depressing the trigger, you can remove more water than the instruction manual indicates; also, when cleaning carpet, pushing the machine forward without depressing the trigger, then depressing it on the backstroke, allows you to rinse an area more completely. Doing these two things together (extra rinse + extra vacuum water removal) seems to produce better results than the recommended method. I can generally walk on the carpet without getting wet socks in a couple of hours. Altogether, I'm pretty well pleased with the unit as it produces results comparable to the last professional cleaning service we used, at much lower cost per use and with the additional benefits that accrue from owning your own tools. I just hope it holds up, as many user reviews mention breakage and difficulty of obtaining either service or parts from Hoover.
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