The Magic Carpet Cleaner

Our skeptical (and messy) reporter comes clean -- and so does his rug.

by Photo by: John B. Carnett

If it's on my table, it's eventually on my carpet. Enter the Spot ScrubberPhoto by: John B. Carnett

It's the circle of life, I'd always figured: You buy a carpet, you stain a carpet, you use bottle cleaners to smear a carpet, you replace a carpet. Thus, I didn't give Dirt Devil's Spot Scrubber ($50) a second look when it came out last year. But over the past few months, it's removed wine, coffee, and tomato sauce from my carpet like magic. What's the secret? I asked Dirt Devil's Rob Matousek.

Popular Science: Why does this thing work so well?

Rob Matousek: It's the combo of a good detergent, the vacuum action, and the rotating brush. The Spot Scrubber is the only handheld with a rotating brush.

PS: What's the deal with the detergent?

RM: We designed it to work with every type of stain. Food stains are mostly protein-based, dirt oil-based. Each requires different chemicals to remove.

PS: How do you remove stains if you don't have a Spot Scrubber handy?

RM: If it's a spot, I spray it with a bottle cleaner, wait a minute or so, and then rub it with a towel. If it's a spill, I soak up the moisture first.

PS: Does that work as well as the Spot Scrubber?

RM: No, of course not.