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The Clean Machine, LLC was formed in the spring of 2008 by Russ and Mel Terhaar. Russ's carpet cleaning experience began in 1999 in Charlotte, NC and continued over the years in New York, Colorado, and Montana. Tens of thousands of residential and commercial customers have been served over the years. In 2008, the adventure of carpet cleaning in Iowa would begin. Russ and Mel both have a real passion for customer service and care for their customers. They also love the idea of maintaining control of a small service intensive business.


At the close of 2019, the Terhaar family moved to Main Street in Slater. The commercial space they found is incredibly unique and has everything they were dreaming of in order to take the service experience to the next level. Russ and Mel are embracing this new space as an opportunity to better deliver "Carpet Cleaning and Beyond” to the Ballard community and to the larger communities of Ames and Ankeny. Over the years The Clean Machine has earned the trust of clients as "far out" from Slater as Clive and Waukee. Of all the places Russ has had the opportunity to clean, he would say that central Iowa is his favorite and he and Mel couldn't be more excited about this new chapter for their family and business!

About us


Mel Terhaar

Mel will likely be the first person you communicate with when you reach out to The Clean Machine. She is passionate about providing an upbeat customer service experience whether over the phone, via email, or social media. Occasionally you can spot Mel out with Russ on a job site. Turns out she's pretty savvy with a vacuum and a CRB machine.


Russ Terhaar

Russ is the owner of The Clean Machine and he's also our resident floor and fabric care specialist. Pretty far out to know that the boss-man is also the trusty technician at your service, huh?! He's also really, REALLY into his carpet cleaning van.



Summer is the mascot of our business and chief exe-CUTE-ive shop dog. We love her more than carpet cleaning and that's A LOT.

Meet The Team

Our Process

  • Inspection: We will walk through the areas with you to address any concerns you may have. We will identify any problems that we see, and educate you on how we can help. At this time we will also measure the carpet that we are cleaning and provide you with an estimate before we begin so there are no surprises.

  • Pretreat: We use water based cleaning detergents that are safe for your family and pets. The solution is applied at 200° and begins loosening the soil right away. For heavily travelled areas, The Clean Machine uses a CRB (Counter Rotating Brush) machine to scrub the cleaning solution to the base of the carpet fiber before rinsing and extracting.

  • Rinsing & Extracting: We use a van powered Butler System to create copious amounts of hot water and suction. This is used to retrieve the soil that the pretreatment and mechanical scrubbing loosened up. We run a special product through our hot water line that is specifically designed to rinse the first detergent out of the carpet or fabric so you are left with a finished product that is soft and free of soapy residue.

  • Post Spotting: Our pre-spray cleaning detergent is great at getting out the majority of spots and spills; however there are times we need to do a little post spotting. We specialize in stain removal from coffee spills to koolaid dribbles. We will ask about these types of spots during the inspection walk through.

  • Speed Drying: We incorporate speed drying into our carpet cleaning process. After we finish cleaning an area or room we will place carpet drying fans in that area to speed up the drying process. We want you to be able to get back to normal life as quickly as possible.

  • Grooming & Protector (optional): If you are a homeowner with children or pets and your carpet receives a lot of traffic – we recommend you have us apply a carpet protector to help prolong the life of your carpet. It will help make your vacuuming more efficient and help to clean up spots or spills. We can apply it to all areas that we are cleaning, or just the high traffic areas.

Russ using carpet cleaner graphic
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