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Start with the hose OFF the tank (make sure small filter is in place).Fill the tank with water and KIRBY DRY SHAMPOO (other shampoo's wont foam) then turn the vacuum on. At this time the shampoo will come out as a stream of foam. If the shampoo come's out as liquid then you will need to check the tank. If shampoo was left in the tank ,then the pick-up hose inside the tank my be colgged. These are hard to un-clogg so replacement of the tank may be needed.
There is a switch that prevents the motor from running unless the shampoo tank, (or bag assembly) is fully installed. Be sure the tank is tight against the side of the machine, and not blocked by the cord, The shampoo head must also be fully attached.
You are probably missing the foam screen on the tank outlet. There should be a plastic disk with a fine screen in it on the tank outlet. If the screen is missing, foam will not be produced; and just soap water will be sprayed out. Sometimes the screen assembly can be found in the end of the shampooer hose.
First a short explanation of how the Kirby shampoo system works: Kirby uses a “Dry Foam” type of shampoo. Basically, it spreads a shampoo foam solution on the surface of your carpet. This foam needs to stay on the surface of the carpet until it is completely dry (usually 1 to 2 hours depending on temperature and humidity) As the foam dries, it soaks up grease and dirt. You then vacuum the carpet and up comes the shampoo residue along with the absorbed dirt and grease. It does a very good job on the surface but will not extract stains from the bottom of the carpet or carpet pad. Several other brands such as Electrolux, Hoover and Koblenz make Carpet Cleaning machines that use the same system. So, you’ve read your manual, you’ve removed the carpet cleaning nozzle and the bag assembly from your Kirby, you’ve installed your shampoo tank and carpet shampooing nozzle tray and you start to shampoo but all you get on your carpet is a puddle of soapy water and no foam. Here’s a few things to look for:
Make sure you are using a Dry Foam Shampoo(preferably Kirby) and NOT an extraction shampoo, the Rug Doctor shampoo you had left over from your last rental will not work.
Make sure you have the correct mixture. If you are using Kirby Dry foam shampoo you simply fill the tank with water and put a tank cap full of shampoo in with the water. You can use other brands of “Dry Foam” shampoo, but the mixture ratio may be different, so read the label first.
Don’t reuse last year’s leftover mixture, it’s probably no good.
Make sure a family member didn’t pour any leftover mixture back into the empty shampoo bottle - further diluting a mixture will not produce any foam.
Don’t use shampoo that’s seen extreme temperatures.
Check the tank and make sure that the sponge filter is in place and if it is in place that it is not deteriorated. The sponge filter is located under the tank at the point where you attach the tank to the hole that you removed the bag assembly from.
Check the hose that runs from the tank to the nozzle. It should have a screen in the end that attaches to the tank (older models had a cloth screen with a metal retainer, models after 1989 have a 1 piece metal and plastic screen.
Few things: Make sure the sponge and the valve under the sponge (water tank) is clean. Make sure you follow the instructions (f you do not have the manual you can find one HERE) See if the straw inside the water tank is not clogged (happens when you use toilet tissue or some other paper to dry inside of the tank after you shampoo)
Noise - if it is noisy al the time - it may need new shampooer brush roll. Also check the tray - bar brush roll bearings overheat and melt the tray... Never submerse brush roll in water when cleaning it. Clean it simply by lifting the shampooer nozzle and letting it spin for 10-20 seconds. If you have tu put it under running water - put it back in the shampooer nozzle (with tray and shield) put on Kirby and turn it on for 20 seconds or so. If it stays soaken wet - moisture damages barings.
There is a portable shampooer/sprayer that attaches to the hose ( the long one that makes the kirby a canister vacuum). It should have come with your attachments. Looks a bit like a gun without the tank attached to the bottom...the tank screws on.
To use it you would put the fingerguard attachment on the front of the kirby where the powerhead would normally go and the hose with the portable shampooer where the bag would go.
The tank on the portable sprayer/shampooer has lines to indicate how much water and shampoo are needed.
Be sure to put the mesh nozzle (sort of a triangular shaped thing with a piece of mesh along the front that attaches to the front of the portable sprayer) on the front of the portable sprayer if you want to shampoo..otherwise it will just spray a mist. The triangular piece with the mesh screen is what produces suds.
Vacuum the furniture/stairs thoroughly before shampooing. Cover the stairs/furniture with a thick coat of suds. Once covered with suds, pop the suds into the fabric/carpet using your hands...working the bubbles into any heavily soiled areas with a soft brush. No need to vacuum after shampooing. There is only about 10 percent water to 90 percent air in the suds.
Then let it dry. 15 minutes to and hour depending on the amount of solution used.
Ok, I will try to explain this as well as I can. Please bear with me.
Remove the dust bag, cover and all, from the machine. Attatch the shampoo tank to the part where the dust bag attatched on the machine (not on the handle).
Remove all attatchments from the front of the machine, and attatch the shampoo foam "collector", ensuring that the belt is over the drive.
Connect the small hose between the tank and the foam collector.
Mix the water and shampoo as directed on the bottle, in the tank.
Turn the knob on the top of the tank to on, then start the machine.
I run the foam over about three sections, and then turn the knob back to off, lower the collector, and run back over it to pick up all the foam and dirt.
I hope some of that makes sense.