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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.
*I have also posted this review on dooyoo.co.uk under the same username*