The Best Portable Carpet and Upholstery Cleaner

Staff author Sabine Heinlein has been a journalist for greater than 20 years. She obsesses over easy methods to take away cat drool from her velvet sofa and hairballs from her heirloom rugs.

For this information, we’ve completed the next:

  • Since 2016, we’ve examined 29 transportable carpet cleaners—together with six new fashions in 2023.
  • We spent greater than 40 hours researching transportable carpet cleaners, scouring the web sites of producers and The Carpet and Rug Institute for steering and recommendation.
  • We spoke with knowledgeable rug cleaner, the supervisor of a carpet retailer, and an engineer who designs carpet cleaners, in addition to with representatives from a number of carpet cleaner firms.

If you’re confronted with quite a lot of powerful meals stains or disagreeable moist messes (cough-cough, fishy hairballs) in your rugs, couches, or automobile seats, a transportable carpet and fabric cleaner could also be a useful gizmo.

Also generally known as spot cleaners, most transportable carpet and fabric cleaners have a sprig set off on the deal with that, when pressed, releases a dose of cleansing answer. The brush device agitates the stain and works within the answer, suction extracts dust and water, and airflow funnels the mess into the dirty-water tank.

You might already personal some or all the instruments that may mimic the motion of those machines. A bit dish cleaning soap and scorching water on a rag (for easy stains, like from meals) or a heavy-duty cleansing answer and a scrub brush (for harder stains) often work in addition to a spot cleaner. For stains with troublesome dyes or tannins, together with Fanta soda or purple wine, the built-in suction mechanism of a transportable spot cleaner can hold the stain from bleeding into surrounding fibers. But it doesn’t essentially clear any higher.

Stevie the rabbit scrutinizes our cleansing outcomes. Photo: Sabine Heinlein

A conveyable spot cleaner isn’t a simple miracle device—it requires some prep work and elbow grease. First, examine the tags of the merchandise you’re cleansing to see if it’s secure to make use of one in every of these machines on it. Ask knowledgeable when you’re unsure. Then, it is advisable to haul your spot cleaner out of storage, fill it with water and method, and plug it in. Weighing between 10 and 14 kilos, these machines aren’t precisely light-weight. And it is advisable to put almost as a lot bodily effort into scrubbing away stains as you’ll utilizing a rag or brush. When you’re completed, it’s important to drain each water tanks, rinse the dirty-water tank and hose, wrap the wire, and put all of it away.

Drawbacks apart, the nastier the mess—suppose bodily fluids and semi-solids—the extra grateful chances are you’ll be for a machine that may spray the filth with detergent, scrub it out, and suck it away whereas maintaining your palms considerably faraway from something gross. (Note, although, that flushing out the hose and dirty-water tank after cleansing will seemingly expose you to the crud you’re attempting to keep away from.)

Portable spot cleaners are designed for particular person stains and messes. If you need to brighten up or de-grime a complete carpet, think about an upright carpet cleaner. Or, for higher outcomes, rent knowledgeable cleansing service.

Photo: Sabine Heinlein

In our most up-to-date spherical of testing, we tried six carpet cleaners. Here’s how we evaluated them:

Cleaning efficiency: We reduce a chunk of white polyester carpet into six squares, one for every carpet cleaner. We then dirty every sq. with a carpet’s worst enemies: oils (Nutella and peanut butter), dyes (Gatorade, Coke, and Fanta), tannins (purple wine and occasional), and yard dust. (We skipped urine: In our current upright carpet cleaner checks, it was the best substance to take away.) Using a knife, we labored yard dust, Nutella, and peanut butter deep into the fibers.

After letting the muck dry in a single day, we assigned every carpet sq. to a cleaner. We blended every model’s cleansing method with 110 °F water, sprayed the stains with the cleansing answer, and let that sit for a couple of minutes. We extracted as a lot of the answer (and stain) as potential, after which we scrubbed the carpet vigorously, alternating between spraying and extracting, till we noticed no additional enchancment; this took about 10 minutes.

We repeated the checks on white, organic-linen upholstery cloth full of wool batting to see how the machines would possibly deal with couches and cushions. (We found that many cushion circumstances and fabric materials at the moment are stain-resistant, which is why we selected the untreated linen.)

After 24 hours, we in contrast the outcomes, being attentive to the severity of leftover stains. We rated every small stained sq. on a scale of 1 (hardly any distinction) to 5 (fully cleaned). Then we added up every spot cleaner’s scores and in contrast them.

Drying time and carpet look: carpet cleaner shouldn’t go away the carpet or cushion saturated with water and cleaning soap. Depending on an merchandise’s thickness and materials and the room temperature, the floor ought to totally dry inside two to 24 hours.

We let the take a look at squares dry in a single day after which felt how damp they remained. We additionally inspected their look, on the lookout for fibers that have been refreshed and even, relatively than chewed up.

Design and operation: No spot cleaner is basically comfy to make use of, notably if a stain requires you to crouch on the ground and scrub for a number of minutes.

We took word if a machine’s fundamental cleansing device was comfy to carry for a complete cleansing session, and we assessed the sensitivity of the spray set off. We seemed out for machines that felt heavy or awkward to make use of and famous if that they had carrying handles, which is a plus. We additionally thought of how handy it was to fill and clear the water tanks; probably the most user-friendly ones are designed with flat bottoms so you’ll be able to set them down.

We examined whether or not or not the hose was lengthy and versatile sufficient to supply a good cleansing radius, and we famous if it saved simply. We additionally assessed a mannequin’s cleansing attachments and the way simply and securely they snapped on and off.

As for noise, all the transportable carpet cleaners we examined have been uncomfortably loud.

Reliability, customer support, and guarantee: Portable carpet cleaners aren’t particularly sturdy. Amazon opinions complain about damaged spray triggers, leaks, and cracked hoses. We targeted on the fashions which have the very best (or least-worst) reliability, in addition to good customer support. Most spot cleaners include a one- or two-year guarantee.

Photo: Marki Williams

Our choose

Bissell Little Green Portable Carpet Cleaner 1400B

A dependable cleaner, with caveats

This extraction cleaner will get stains out about in addition to any mannequin we examined, and it prices lower than most. But it comes with just one cleansing attachment, and its tank is awkwardly designed.

Buying Options

Though no transportable carpet cleaner can magically erase each kind of stain, the Bissell Little Green Portable Carpet Cleaner 1400B did a decent job, and it’s among the many most dependable and reasonably priced spot cleaners obtainable. If you’re often confronted with meals stains or gross messes, this machine will assist you clear up.

It has good cleansing energy. Though it’s removed from good, this mannequin acquired the very best total scores over two rounds of testing. It eliminated Nutella, peanut butter, caramel syrup, yard dust, purple Gatorade, and Fanta soda higher than its rivals. But, like all the machines we examined, it struggled with blue Gatorade, purple wine, and occasional. (It nonetheless considerably lightened these stains, nonetheless.) If you will have darker-colored or patterned carpet or upholstery, you is perhaps happy with the outcomes.

The Bissell Little Green Portable Carpet Cleaner 1400B comes with just one brush attachment, which does its job simply superb. Photo: Marki Williams

It’s simple to scrub. Bissell recommends cleansing the hose and the machine after every use to maintain grime from build up and inflicting odors. This mannequin comes with Bissell’s HydroRinse Self Cleaning Tool, which makes cleanup much less of a trouble: Attach the HydroRinse device to the hose, fill the clean-water tank, activate the machine, and press the set off to flush it.

Bissell’s HydroRinse Self Cleaning Tool attaches to the Little Green 1400B’s hose, so you’ll be able to simply flush the machine after a cleansing session. Photo: Sabine Heinlein

It’s comparably gentle. At 9.65 kilos, the Little Green 1400B was the second-lightest spot cleaner in our newest spherical of testing. So it must be a bit simpler to schlep this mannequin out of storage once you want it.

It’s extra dependable than most. The Little Green 1400B appears to be probably the most dependable (or the least-faulty) mannequin within the class. Several Wirecutter staffers have owned it for years and adore it. (They notably laud its skill to scrub up cat puke.) On Amazon, the spot cleaner has an total score of 4.5 stars out of 5 throughout greater than 75,000 opinions.

Bissell has glorious customer support. Should you encounter an issue, Bissell presents the choice to textual content, e-mail, or chat. We contacted its customer support by way of chat once we couldn’t discover the self-cleaning hose device that was supposed to come back with the mannequin. A consultant responded inside a minute, providing to ship us the device freed from cost.

Flaws however not dealbreakers

The Bissell Little Green Portable Carpet Cleaner 1400B’s tanks have rounded bottoms, so it’s not possible to set them down whilst you’re filling them up. Photo: Marki Williams

Its tanks have an ungainly design. The tanks lack carrying handles, they usually have rounded bottoms, so it’s not possible to set them down within the sink. The line for measuring method is on the backside of the clean-water tank, so it’s important to add the method first and the water second, which we discovered counterintuitive. The tank lacks measuring strains for the doses of cleansing answer wanted for smaller cleanups.

It’s a bit clunky, and its hose is inflexible. Despite being comparatively light-weight, the Little Green 1400B is notably bigger and clunkier than different fashions we examined, and its hose is much less versatile, so it’s trickier to maneuver.

It comes with one no-frills brush device. The Little Green 1400B comes with one 3-inch cleansing brush. It is enough for many conditions, however it requires extra guide scrubbing motion than the bigger brush on our also-great choose, the Bissell Little Green Pet Pro Portable Carpet Cleaner 2891.

Photo: Marki Williams

Also nice

Bissell Little Green Pet Pro Portable Carpet Cleaner 2891

Decent cleaner, extra comfy to make use of

This mannequin didn’t clear fairly in addition to our prime choose, however it has a extra user-friendly tank design and comes with extra attachments.

Buying Options

In our checks, the Bissell Little Green Pet Pro Portable Carpet Cleaner 2891 didn’t clear fairly in addition to our prime choose, and it prices a bit extra. But it’s significantly extra versatile and cozy to make use of. If you often face easier-to-clean recent messes from pets or youngsters, this mannequin is probably the most handy alternative.

It cleans virtually in addition to our prime choose, and it’s extra comfy to make use of. In our upholstery take a look at, this mannequin carried out in addition to our prime choose. But it lagged behind barely when tackling Fanta, purple wine, and peanut butter on carpeting. However, with its bigger scrubbing device, versatile hose, and well-designed tanks, the Little Green Pet Pro 2891 was extra comfy to deal with than any of the fashions we examined.

It comes with three environment friendly instruments. In addition to its 3-inch stain brush, the Little Green Pet Pro 2891 has a pet device, which is barely bigger and has laborious rubber knobs along with bristles. With the pet device, it took us about half the effort and time to scrub up an equal quantity of stains because it did with our prime choose’s single brush device.

This mannequin additionally features a crevice spray device, which is useful when tackling stains in tight corners or between automobile seats. If you’re in want of further cleansing muscle, chances are you’ll need to think about Bissell’s Little Green Pet Pro Exclusive Bundle, which features a turbo brush. (We haven’t examined this device, however we think about it has the potential to take some pressure off your hand and wrist.)

But it lacks a hose-cleaning device. Though hose-cleaning instruments are handy for cleansing the machine after use, you should utilize a number of simple methods to flush the hose with out one. You may additionally individually purchase Bissell’s HydroRinse Self-Cleaning Tool, which comes with our prime choose.

We appreciated that the Bissell Little Green Pet Pro Portable Carpet Cleaner 2891 had tanks with flat bottoms and handles. Photo: Marki Williams

It has a nifty tank design. The water tanks on this mannequin are twice the scale of our choose’s tanks. And they’ve helpful handles and flat bottoms, so you’ll be able to set them down once you’re filling them. We like that the tank specifies the quantity of cleansing method in ounces, along with having a fill line for it. This makes it simpler to calculate how a lot method so as to add to the water for giant jobs (a full tank takes 2 ounces) and smaller cleanups, stopping waste.

But it’s a bit heavy. At 13.25 kilos, the Little Green Pet Pro 2891 was the heaviest spot cleaner we examined. This didn’t hassle us a lot because you don’t have to carry up the machine whereas cleansing. It could also be a consideration, nonetheless, when you’re hauling it out a number of instances per week.

It comes with a greater guarantee than most. The Little Green Pet Pro 2891 has a two-year guarantee.

If you need a spot cleaner from a model aside from Bissell: The Kenmore SpotLite Portable Carpet Spot & Pet Stain Cleaner Vac will do the job. It scored barely increased on our carpet-cleaning take a look at than our also-great choose, and beat it by a whisker on espresso and red-wine stains. But we discovered the SpotLite vacuum a bit clunky and its hose rigid. (Note: Kenmore’s trial-size cleansing answer comes with the machine, however it may possibly’t be bought on-line. A Kenmore spokesperson informed us that any cleansing method can be utilized with the machine.)

The Kenmore SpotLite Portable Carpet Spot & Pet Stain Cleaner Vac is an efficient cleaner, however it wasn’t as comfy to make use of as our also-great choose. Video: Lisa Fischer

The Bissell Little Green ProWarmth Portable Carpet Cleaner 2513G retains clear water heat so long as the machine is plugged in, which in principle ought to assist it clear higher. Oddly, it didn’t carry out nice in our checks.

And we finally determined towards attempting out the Bissell Pet Stain Eraser Cordless Portable Carpet Cleaner 20037 and the Bissell Pet Stain Eraser PowerBrush Plus Portable Carpet Cleaner 2837. Both fashions have extra complaints about leakage than is anticipated for this class, and their water tanks are tiny.

Although it’s gentle and straightforward to deal with, the Dirt Devil Portable Carpet & Upholstery Spot Cleaner scored the bottom in our cleansing checks, and its clean-water tank is minuscule.

Due to its skill to deal with purple wine higher than all of its rivals, the cordless Hoover Onepwr CleanSlate Cordless Spot Cleaner scored half some extent higher in our cleansing checks than our also-great choose. Its inflexible hose, nonetheless, is tough to maneuver. And although one in every of its two brush instruments is just too tiny for many stains, the opposite is just too massive for small jobs. The machine’s spray set off additionally stored coming free, inflicting main leakage.

We’ve examined steam cleaners previously, and a few of them broken the material we examined them on.

Steam cleaners have inside heating components that power scorching water via a pressurized nozzle, so it comes out as steam. Ideally, the steam helps elevate soil and stains from the material, and you’ll then wipe them away with a brush, fabric, or towel. Steam cleaners don’t use cleansing formulation, they usually don’t soak materials, however we are able to’t advocate them on this context.

The steam cleaners we examined—the Wagner 915E On-Demand Steamer, the Steamfast SF-275 Canister Steam Cleaner, and the McCulloch MC1275 Canister Steam Cleaner—all carried out abysmally: They completely broken the sofa cushions we tried to scrub, but they didn’t take away any of the stains.

Empty and rinse the hose and dirty-water tank after each use. If you allow wastewater within the dirty-water tank, gunk might construct up and begin to odor. Be certain to flush out the machine usually. Some fashions, like our prime choose, embrace a hose-cleaning device, which will be purchased individually. A device like this isn’t strictly needed, however we discovered it to be helpful.

Handle the hose gently. Although we haven’t come throughout any complaints of our picks having hoses that break simply, vacuum and spot-cleaner hoses on the whole are liable to cracks. Keep this in thoughts once you tug and pull on the hose as you clear.

Consider the cleansing method. If you don’t have any cleansing method available to make use of with our picks (that are made by Bissell), you might be able to use non-Bissell cleansing merchandise or DIY formulation. We have tried utilizing diluted laundry detergent in Bissell machines previously, and it didn’t break them. Without extra info, nonetheless, we are able to’t totally endorse the usage of non-Bissell cleansing merchandise.

Sarah Bogdan, Liam McCabe, and Tyler Wells Lynch wrote earlier variations of this information. This article was edited by Ingrid Skjong and Courtney Schley.

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