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Ever since having a cat in the house, I have found the need for a carpet cleaner to have increased exponentially from a task I virtually never carried out, to one which is required at frequent intervals due to hair, sick and general stuffage walked in from outside. As a result I have taken ownership of my parents old carpet cleaner, that being the VAX 6131.
Now I know that this particular model is now quite old but just because something is old, doesn't make it rubbish, and in testament to this, it is still available online on websites such as Amazon, costing around £80 new. Vax themselves have a good reputation in the carpet cleaning and vacuuming industry, and that was the main reason my parents decided to buy this many years ago, and why I chose to half-inch it rather than buy a more modern one.
So the Vax 6131 is a multipurpose device, being a 3 in 1 machine, which can act as a standard vacuum cleaner, a carpet cleaner, or a machine to suck up spills and floods. It is advertised as being incredibly easy to operate and very efficient. Now I will say here that I can't really evaluate its sucking abilities, as I'm lucky I've never had a flood or spill worthy of whipping this out to clean. Most spills are simply spilt milk etc, for which the humble paper towel is more than suitable for sorting!
The machine itself comes in a big cardboard box jammed full of various appendages and bits. It also has an instruction booklet and still to this day comes with a free bottle of Vax carpet shampoo. The design is cylindrical in nature and is very hard wearing being made of a rigid plastic. It is quite a large lump too, so may not be overly suitable for smaller flats. It should also be noted that the rigid plastic could cause damage to any delicate furniture etc when moving around, so some care is required when using it. There are then two choices to fit as your inner section within the machine, these being the filter and dust bag for use as a simple vacuum cleaner, and the clean water bowl, which is used for carpet cleaning.
Fitting the dust bag and filter is very easy, it simply slots onto the base unit and then you attach the separate flexible hose in the same way as most vacuum cleaners. It has to be said that with its 1300W motor, the amount of suction is rather impressive and the bag capacity is also quite large, with the bag being very durable, being made of a thick cardboard like material. The hose is also very manoeuvrable, with the wheels making it very easy to do the vacuuming. There is also the usual vacuum array of tools to replace the standard end for more intricate vacuuming, which again all work really well. It's not all positives for the Vax 6131 though. It definitely needs to be noted that being a big solid lump, it is still quite difficult to move it around. If you are within the reach of the hose everything is fine but moving the whole unit, especially if it starts to get full becomes a backbreaking task despite the castors on it. Forget doing things like stairs with this vacuum unless you've taken a fair few trips to the gym lately too. I have to say I can't recommend the Vax 6131 for use as a vacuum cleaner due to its bulkiness and limited manoeuvrability, and have only used it myself when my main hoover vacuum cleaner decided it had vacuumed its last and went to the big electronics store in the sky!
However washing carpets is the main reason I have this machine and is probably the main reason that anyone would have for considering purchasing. Setting up the machine for carpet cleaning looks pretty tricky first time and there may well be some random holding of parts and head scratching the first couple of times you use it, but you soon get the gist of which piece goes where. It must be said the instruction booklet with its little diagrams is somewhat akin to a chocolate fireguard, but you will be able to figure it out with a little patience. The empty water bowl fits into the motor section, where the filter went in vacuum mode, and the only difference then is the water pipe, which attaches with a little clip to the main hose. It plugs into the sucky bit of the vacuum (don't know the official term for it!) at one end and into a little slot on the main body at the other end. The end also has a little slider which set one way allows the water/shampoo onto the carpet and the other way it stops the flow of water and allows the dirty water to be sucked back up. I have to say that the design of this water tube isn't the greatest and it can become a little annoying as it can start flapping about in use if you don't have the clips securing it at the correct intervals. Again, one that you get better with the more you use the machine. The water bowl is where you put your shampoo and clean water, with the bottom part being where the dirty water collects. There is an ingenious little ping-pong ball system that prevents the two waters from meeting and will shut the suction off if the unit is getting too full. It just looks a bit weird having a little chamber with a ping-pong ball in it, but to be fair it does seem to work.
So how easy is it to actually clean the carpet? Well I have to say that once you have mastered setting up the machine it is very easy to actually clean. The water is dispensed in an even manner, meaning the whole carpet gets the same dose of water/shampoo. Flicking the switch over allows you to suck up the excess water, which is also a good feature and takes hours off the drying time of the carpet. There are a few issues to be aware of however; firstly as I said with the vacuuming section, the machine is rather heavy and bulky and so when full of water becomes even more so. Doing upstairs can be a chore lugging up the full machine up the stairs and even downstairs can be rather backbreaking. This can be alleviated slightly by only putting small amounts of water in it, but this obviously causes more refills to be required. I've already mentioned the flapping water tube that can get in the way. Also it is imperative that you follow the instructions regarding shampoo. If you add too much you are in a world of pain as it will all froth up and stop the machine from working. Either the water tube will get foamed up and it will stop dispensing the water or the bottom unit will froth up when sucking up the excess, which will lose the suction. Either way, you will need to empty it all out, rinse it through and start again, which will lose you plenty of time and patience. (Trust me I've done this a few times!!!) You do also need to ensure you have vacuumed before you use this, as any larger particles of dirt or hair will risk clogging up the pipes again resulting in you needing to stop everything and clean them out. One thing that did surprise me the first few times that I used this machine is the amount of dirt that comes off the carpets. I like to think that I have quite a clean house, but the water coming off even the cleanest looking carpets is rather disgusting and so cleaning the machine after use is an essential!
So would I recommend the Vax 6131 to people? Well the answer to this is yes, but as a carpet cleaner only. It's really not worth it as a vacuum cleaner. It's far to bulky and unwieldy to use on a regular basis for this reason and should be considered an alternative or emergency cleaner at best. However the results from our carpet shampooing have always been very impressive. Despite its difficulties in weight and manoeuvrability, its cleaning ability has shone through for me. It has shifted some pretty tough stains from my living room carpet, and revitalised some older ones in my house. It's also pretty easy to clean, simply flush through with some clean water and leave the pipes and tubing to dry off. As I said the cleaning ability is really good and as my parents firstly and then me in the last few years have owned this machine for a good 10 years or so now, shows that the Vax 6131 is both hard wearing and reliable as I've never had an issue with it, and for a combination of these reasons would happily recommend it for anyone wanting a good, durable carpet cleaner who isn't afraid to spend a few minutes setting it up initially.
This review also appears on Ciao under my same username.
I remember my mum having one of these in the 80's and i was a little dissapointed when mum bought me one a few months ago. I had been using a dyson and it had given up the ghost. As a busy mum with 3 children my carpets do get mucky. My mum thought this would be perfect as it's a 3 in one.
This huge monstrosity(well it was in my mind) has actually turned out to be the best vacumn cleaner i have EVER owned!! It is a a bagged vacumn but the bags are huge! They take at least 4 weeks before needing changing and the suck-age from the 1300 watt motor is consistent, powerful and very impressive. Meanwhile it is actually very quiet and with its extra long flexi hose and steel pipe it takes a lot of battering.
The changing of it into a washer is surprisingly easy, just take out the inner filter and dust bag and replace it with the washing filter. All you do then is add the- feeding tube on which takes about 2 mins. I have used all sorts of shampoo and non shampoo and my carpet comes up really really clean. Don't get me wrong cleaning your carpet is hard work but the results are definitely worth it. The water holds about 4 litres so you need about 3 tanks for a living room but refilling the water is easy. To say that it is quite a substantial vac , it is reasonably light and stores in my airing cupboard with ease. Please note though that when filled with clean and dirty water it isn't going to be light. For the price i think it is the most reliable, sound hoover i have ever owned and it's performance is second to none. It comes with a host of attachments which just make it easier than i thought possible to clean just about anything. These don't attatch onto the hoover in any way which is a little annoying to be honest but i just keep them in my son's old P.E bag with the hoover. The Power cable is extremely long and it goes all the way up my stairs with ease. This hoover is a classic that has stood the test of time and in my opinion that states more than i could ever say.
I purchased the vax 6131 when my old vacuum finally gave up the ghost. I was drawn to it because it had the cleaning capabilities and vacuum at a very reasonable price. I was dubious of the fact it was a bagged vacuum. However this is not an issue at all...it retains its 1300 watt powerful suction constantly, which did surprise me. I was very impressed with the tubes that are metal as apposed to the normal plastic which makes it a lot more durable. Spare and additional parts are readily available also very reasonably priced, you can even get a reusable bag for about eight pounds, if you prefer that to continually buying the paper ones. However these are quite large 10 ltrs of dust and very cheap about three pound for five..
Swapping from vacuum to wet is very straight forward, you simply change the filter to the water tank and attaching the pipe and swapping the head there are two buttons on the top one red one green, the red is for vaccuming only then when you clean you press the red button then the green to activate the water pump, and the instructions are extremely clear. It has casters on the base so is easy to manoeuvre which is handy because it is quite heavy.
There are three four main parts excluding the pipes and tubes, the base which holds the dirty water when wet cleaning and the bag (which clips in) when dry cleaning, then you either place the filter or the clean water tank and then the motor clip on top of these with two plastic clips. Very sturdy and robust!!
You can buy the vax cleaning solution with this but i tend to use my trusted white vinegar and essential oils with water to clean the carpets.
The only problem is i find it quite large for doing the stairs however the tubes are sufficient to reach,cleaning after use and emptying the water is simple, just unclip and tip out and i use a cloth to wipe around... it does need to be filled with fresh water frequently as it only has a four litre capacity which does get used surprisingly fast, the other issue is room to store it...but really they are not huge issues and the vacuum is great in every other way and excellent value for money, and you receive a 1 year warrenty. I would highly recommend!
VAX MULTIFUNCTIONAL VACUUM CLEANER
I recieved this product as a christmas present off my parents and I was very happy.
After I ripped the wrapping paper off I opened the box with eager to see what was inside and inside I got...
VAX MOTOR UNIT (1300w),
DIRTY WATER BUCKET (8LTR),
CLEAN WATER BUCKET (4LTR),
CARPET SHAMPOO HEAD,
HOSE AND HAND GRIP,
DRY CONE FILTER,
VAX AAA SOLUTION,
WATER DELIVERY TUBE,
2 STAINLESS STEEL EXTENSION WANDS,
WARRANTY SLIP (1 YEAR GUARANTEE)
Setting up the VAX for dry vacuuming is easy, all you need to do is place the dust bag in the dirty water bucket, (these slide on and stay on) and the bags hold 10 litres of dust, dirt and debris and they are cheap too, about £2.99 for 5 from Wilkinsons. You can also buy a cloth bag too, have a look on Amazon or eBay. Place the cone filter on top and then the motor, clipping that into place using the two clips provided, attach the tools on if you need them, (these clip on around the base of the machine) attach the hose and extension tubes then the floor tool to the bottom, plug in and switch on the red button, off you go!
The VAX is extremely powerful when only vacuuming and glides easily on any surface with no trouble. The VAX may be a bit noisy but that is why it is so powerful. The floor head goes easily across any surface and it has edge cleaning too!
The on-board tools are great, especially if you want to vacuum the car! As they are on-board, you dont lose them. On one occasion I could be seen with my VAX with the crevice tool de-cobwebbing the ceiling corners and by where the curtains hang, I even actually sucked up a cheap christmas decoration and it did'nt harm the VAX at all! Now thats what I call powerfull!
The day after boxing day I leaned our hallway carpet, using the VAX, it was easy. Simply open up the machine by taking off the motor unit and removing the hose and removing the filter and dust bag, then fill up the clean water bucket with cleaning shampoo ( I used 1001) and water and place this where the dry filter usually goes and place the motor back on top (but make sure the solution tube is placed in the water), attach the hose then the extension tubes and the carpet wash head. Now, attach the spiral hose to the motor unit then around the hose using the clips provided and to the extension tube, place the end to the carpet wash head, plug in to the mains and go!
Place the VAX head at your starting point, switch on and the pump on too, make sure the rocker switch is back and push forward, slowly. This releases the cleaning solution, now, pull back and place the switch forward, now going over the same area again, vacuum up any liquid left over. When no more liquid is being picked up, you know the VAX has picked up as much as the VAX could. Continue this until you've finished, refilling as necessary and making sure you dont go over the same area 4 times as this will soak the carpet, work your way to the exit and then your done! Easy Peasy!
Now here's the fun bit, cleaning up afterwards!
First you unclip the 2 hoses then remove the motor unit and empty the two tanks, rinse both out thoroughly. Now, fill the clean water tank with clean water then place back on top of the recovery tank. Now, put the motor unit back on top with the solution tube in the bucket and attach the two hoses once more and the extension tubes. Get a clean bucket and fill it halfway with water, once you have done this, plug in the VAX and switch just the vacuum on and suck up the water, leaving the suction on, press the pump when you have sucked up the water from the bucket. This cleans the pump meaning your VAX pump will last you years! Whilst doing this, you are also sucking excess water from the tubes and hose.
Empty the two tanks and dry out the machine, your VAX will then be ready for use whenever!
SUCKING UP SPILLS
I have not tried it for sucking up spills as of yet but only to clean the machine itself!
For the carpet washing the results were incredible! The tank was not orange anymore, but a dark black! Full of sand, grit, dirt and grease, I nearly clogged up the sink when I emptied the bucket!
For £39.99 it was most definately worth the money. Now I know my carpets are clean I can sleep easy!
Buy one if you are looking for a new vacuum and carpet washer!
Thank you for reading my review!
We bought this after our Dyson finally got laid to rest. I have always been a Dyson girl through and through, we have cats and needed the Hypa pets bits.
Since the purchase of our last Dyson we have moved house and couldn't bring myself to pay Dyson prices when half the house has floorboards so opted the Vax.
I always thought they looked old fashioned as this little orange alien running around the house has never changed, but having owned one now for around three months I can see why - IT IS NOT BROKEN DONT FIX IT!
Have used the carpet washer which was a lot easier that I thought it would be, although it did seem to use the tank of water quicker than I thought it would, I would like the carpet washer attachment to have some little brush bits on to work into the stains but that is possible just my preferance or my dirty carpets. I really like the simple switch on the carpet washer attachment which swaps the machine over to sucking up the water for drier carpets, the carpets were dry within a couple of hours and that was mid winter with no extra heating on.
The top motor has unclipped when carrying the machine whilst vaccing so was a bit nervous carrying it upstairs when full of water but we all made it - although the machine isn't light it wasn't as heavy as I though it would be when full of water.
On the rim around the bottom of the machine is some half circles for carrying the vax attachments, have only used it once as they kept falling off, but I didn't push them in too far as I didn't want to break anything.
The machine is big and cumbersome and a little heavy but so are most vacs that do the job properly
It seems this vacuum cleaner has been around for decades! - I remember having this when I was 5 or 6 years old and my mom and dad still sware by it now!
This product goes to show that quality lasts, the shear fact that have still kept the same specifications and feel to the product is testament to a brilliant around the house vacuum cleaner, never again will you be red faced as you have to return your 6 month old £60 Argos special complete with all the findings from your household stuck inside the tubing!
In the box
Vax 6131 vacuum cleaner
Bottle Carpet Cleaning Solution
2pc Stainless steel extension tubes
The first thing that strikes you about this is BIG! - It is a large unit in a bold colour (unfortunatly orange is the only colour variation). Once out of the box, assemble as instructed in the included manual and turn it on, another word hits you - LOUD!; these things will clean over just about any carpet surface but your ears will hate you!
All the included tools come in very handy, the only down point I find is lack of storage, it would be nice if I could carry them all around with me as I go...
Now not only is this a vacuum cleaner, it is also washes carpets with the aid of the supplied solution (more is available from most high street vacuum cleaner stockists and even some Tesco stores) and will suck up spills such as spilt drinks on lamiate flooring, overflowing water from sinks and even flooded washing machines! (believe me, all this has happened!)
I was actually amazed at how well this thing works as a carpet cleaner, it took around 15 minuts to get into all the areas of the room and to make sure I applied enough solution. Once dried it smelt and looked brand new! - No more hassle from the missus who constantly bangs on about new carpets every 2 years!
A final plus is that it works very well to clean out the car, especially with the aid of all the added tools you receive in the box.
Overall the best way to describe it is a jack of all trades, but a master of none - everything works very well but not quite as good as a stand alone vacuum/carpet washer etc... - You get what you pay for
Final score - 8/10
Other noteable options for under £100
Numatic Henry HVR200A - £89.99
Bosch BSGL4000GB - £99.99
Vax VZL-7071P - £99.99
All the above products are owned by friends or family members of mine and have received the thumbs up!
I have had this cleaner for nearly 2 years and paid £99.99.
This 3 in 1 cleaner is a versatile floor cleaner it features a vacuum cleaner, carpet washer and dryer and sucks up large spills.
When used as a vacuum cleaner this features a vacuuming head, a crevice tool, dusting brush and upholstery / stair vacuuming brush. It uses a dust bag and a cone filter.
When being used as a carpet cleaner, which is what I have used this for mostly, the cone filter is replaced with a water bucket which holds 4 litres of water, into which the carpet cleaner detergent is added, I have only used VAX AAA detergent. The cleaner has a carpet washing head and a clear tube to be plugged into the pump. The carpet is then washed, once the carpet is washed the pump is turned of and on the head a valve is shut, the cleaner is turned on the dry the carpet, I found that it was the during the drying stage that the carpet was cleaned. On tough stains I also found that scrubbing the stain with the cleaning solution first helps. The valve isn't clear if the water flow is on or off.
The cleaner clears up large spills the same as the drying process when cleaning carpets.
I have found this to be a very good reliable carpet cleaner.
I bought my Vax 6131 back in October 2007 after my old upright vacuum cleaner finally gave up the ghost. I was searching for a new replacement upright vacuum cleaner but after stumbling across the Vax 6131 on special offer I decided a wet and dry vacuum that also shampoos carpets would be really handy, especially with a dog and cat in the house!
The Vax 6131 is a cylinder or canister vacuum cleaner that as well as being used as an ordinary dry vacuum cleaner, can also suck up wet spills and shampoo your carpet.
I use my Vax 6131 mainly as an everyday, ordinary vacuum cleaner and I've found it does the job well. It comes supplied with a standard hose and vacuum head. The head has a simple switch for 'brushes down' for hard floor vacuuming and 'brushes up' for carpets.
It is powered by a 1300w motor which is ample amount for picking up loose dirt from my carpet, it does however struggle when it comes to picking up dog and cat hair. Whilst the Vax 6131 removes the majority of the hair, I find I have to go back and pick up the stubborn bits with the crevice tool. Overall the Vax 6131 performs as well as other cylinder vacuums I have used but if you have hairy pets I wouldn't recommended you rely on it as your everyday vacuum.
As well as the standard head the Vax 6131 comes with a small brush head, an upholstery tool and a crevice tool. I tend to use the crevice tool for everything I can't do with the large head! It is great for sucking around awkward furniture, along skirting boards and getting cobwebs down from the ceiling...aswell as the stubborn pet hairs of course! There is nowhere to store the tools on the vax so it can be a little inconvenient to have to search around for the tool you need when you suddenly spot a giant cobweb overhead!
The vax uses ordinary dust bags which can be purchased from most major supermarkets aswell as from hardware shops. They cost around £4 for 5 bags.
The Vax 6131 takes a little bit of setting up before it can be used as a wet vacuum or carpet shampooer. Firstly the motor has to be removed to expose the filter and dust chamber. This is very simple and does not need superhuman strength! It is just a matter of undoing two small clips. Then the dust bag and filter are removed and replaced with the clean water tank. The vacuum head also needs to be changed for the wet head. The Vax is then ready to be used for wet vacuuming.
I must admit I do not use this function very often. I find there is too much hassle involved dragging out such a big, cumbersome machine and setting it up just for the odd spill! I have used it a few times though and found it works a treat. The head provided for wet vacuuming is clear and so you can see the liquid lifting out of the carpet and shooting up the vacuum head! It left the carpet slightly damp but the majority of the liquid had gone and was waiting in the dirty water tank for me to empty.
To set the Vax up for carpet shampooing just takes a little more setting up. The clean water tank needs to be filled up with warm water and carpet shampoo (as directed on the shampoo bottle). There is a small clear plastic pipe provided with the Vax which must be plugged in at the cylinder and the other end at the vacuum head. The pipe pushes in simply and easily and there are clips to tidily attach it to the hose so it doesn't fall in your way when you are cleaning the carpet. Overall the set up is very simple and only takes around 5 minutes at the most.
Once set up the vax is very simple to use as a carpet shampooer. There are two large buttons on the top of the cylinder. One is for vacuuming and one is for dispensing water and shampoo. I find the best way to clean the carpets is to have both buttons depressed to begin with. This makes the carpet wet and removes most of the dirty water from the carpet straight away. Then I switch off the water dispensing button and just have the vax vacuuming. This takes off the rest of the water and shampoo and leaves the carpet only slightly damp. Within a few hours after cleaning them my carpets had dried out completely.
The Vax holds 4 Litres of clean water and shampoo so you can do a medium sized room without having to refill the machine.
The dirty water is sucked into a 8 litre dirty water tank which again is large enough for you to not have to empty it every ten minutes!
Emptying the dirty water tank is not an overly nice job and I was shocked at the colour of the water the first time I cleaned my carpets! One thing worth mentioning is that the dirty water tank is also where the dust bag sits during dry vacuuming so it needs to be thoroughly dried, otherwise the dust bag becomes damp and falls apart when you need it.
Overall I was very pleased with the results of the carpet cleaner. It brightened them up nicely and left them smelling clean and fresh. One of the joys of this machine is that it is so simple to use and it doesn't take ages to set up so it's as useful for small stains on carpets as it is for large area cleaning.
There are a few frustrating things I have found when using the Vax 6131. The major problem is the size and weight of the machine (especially when full of water). It is very bulky and can be hard to manoeuvre around the house. In particular I struggle with the stairs as the hose is not long enough to reach the middle stairs in my home as it does not stretch and the cylinder is far too big to sit on a step without falling. I've also found that, as the hose is connected to the cylinder quite high up, the whole vacuum topples over when I pull the hose.
The power lead is of a good length and I can do the whole house stopping only a few times to find a closer socket. I do find the lead gets in my way when I'm vacuuming as it's not retractable and so the whole length of the flex is on the floor. When it comes to packing the vax away, the leads has to wrap around and around the machine which isn't very neat and is generally just not as convenient as a retractable flex. However, these problems are not too hard to live with and you would be hard pressed to find another machine that performs so well at vacuuming and cleaning carpets for under £100.
Overall I would recommend the VAX 6131 for anybody that would like to give their carpets a little freshen up. It obviously doesn't perform as well as a heavy duty carpet cleaner like a Rugdoctor but there is a noticeable diiferece in carpets once they have been shampooed with the Vax 6131. I have not had any problems with the motor or body of the vacuum since I've had it and it feels nicely robust so with a bit of luck my vax will be keeping my carpets clean for many more years to come!
I bought the VAX 6131 for £75 from Robert Dyas. I was lucky enough to get it on special offer but the machine are available directly from VAX at
The website also sell dust bags, replacement filters and parts.
The Vax 6131 3-in-1 Multifunction canister vacuum is the ideal total home cleaning system / Your carpets may look clean on the surface but the 6131 offers different cleaning methods to make sure your carpets always look their best / A powerful easy to manoeuvre large capacity cleaner the combination floor head enables effective vacuuming on both carpets and hard floors / Its accessories offer a range of cleaning from upholstery to stairs and crevices / Short name: Vax 6131