10 Best Portable Spot Carpet Cleaners
Best Spot Carpet Cleaners
When you have to deal with a stain on your carpet quickly, you want to have a portable spot cleaner on hand. A few models offer some great options to keep your place clean and fresh.
A handheld floor cleaning tool may help you get messes out of the carpet before they set in leaving unsightly stains. These cleaners offer a variety of options like a dual tank system that allows you to keep the clean water separate from the dirty water. Deep scrubbers help power out tough stains.
With several power options on our list, selecting one that will work for your needs might be easy. The three-amp tools are excellent for surface stains, picking up immediate spills, and general traffic cleaning. However, if you need a deep stain removing tool, then you might want to select options with the higher amp motors.
The more powerful tools work well for times when you need help to get out deep messes. Powering out grease or mud out is not an easy task, but the more powerful floor cleaners may make the job uncomplicated. The options with the longest cords or a cordless cleaner might make accessing the stairs a little more comfortable when you have big rooms.
When you have pets, then cleaning up accidents is a common thing. You may find the options with a variety of on-board tools helpful. Using a dual tank system will ensure that your pet mess never mixes in your clean floor water.
1. Bissell 3624 SpotClean Professional Portable Carpet Cleaner, Corded — Best Multi-Surface
The single tank holds up to ¾ gallon. Because there is only one tank to hold both clean and dirty water, you should take care that dirty water does not get back into your carpet as you work.
- Multiple tools
- Powerful suction
- Long reach
- Hose prone to cracking
- Sprayer may clog
Check Full Review: Bissell 3624 SpotClean Pro
2. SpotBot Pet Handsfree Spot and Stain Cleaner with Deep Reach Technology 33N8 — Best Hands-Free
The power cord is a little short at 15′, but the 5′ hose lets you reach far. With 3 amps of power, you get enough suction to get out stains. A little heavy at 14 pounds, you can still easily carry this spot cleaner around your home. It has two tanks to keep clean and dirty water separate.
- Hands-free operation
- Long hose
- Two tanks
- Hands-free cycle may not remove all water from carpet
- May leak around rubber seal
- Hose tool may clog
3. Bissell 1400B Multi-Purpose Portable Carpet and Upholstery Cleaner — Best Value
The standard Little Green Machine weighs less than 10 pounds, allowing you to transport from place to place with ease. There is one tank for your solution mixture. A second tank holds the dirty water. Although the hose and power cord are both shorter than on some of the other models, it still provides a lot of reach.
- Very lightweight
- Dual tanks
- Dirty water tank may leak
- Tanks hard to clean
4. Hoover Spotless FH11300PC Portable Carpet & Upholstery Spot Cleaner — Best Self-Cleaning
The FH11300PC is very lightweight at under 10 pounds. The self-cleaning port flushes dirt and germs out of the hose for you.
- Very lightweight
- Powerful suction
- Hand tool degenerates easily
- Sprayer may clog
- May leak
5. BISSELL SpotClean Pet Pro Portable 2458 Carpet Cleaner — Best Single-Tank
The 22′ power cord and 5′ hose provide maximum reach. 5.7 amps of power gets more of the dirty water out for quicker dry times. At just over 13 pounds, this cleaner can be carried from room to room as needed.
- Stain trapper tool
- Easy to clean
- Single tank
- Weak suction
6. Rug Doctor Deep Cleaning Portable Tool for Carpets – Best Upright Shampooer
This machine is our best upright model because of the Gold rating it gets from the Carpet and Rug Institute.
With a seven-foot plus hose, reaching every corner of the room may be more manageable with this model. With nearly double the suction rated by ASTM International, this powerful tool leaves carpets less wet allowing them to dry in as little as four hours. The dual-action brush might cut down your cleaning time making the chore easier and faster.
- 12-inch suction tool
- Super boost setting for extensive cleanups
- Easy roll wheels
- Simple lift tanks
- On-board tool storage that is removable for spot cleaning
- Folding handle for easier stowing
- No constant heating system
- No height settings for various carpet fibers
Shampooer owners may like this Rug Doctor model because there is no assembly. You can use the product as soon as you open it. When you need a tool for multiple items like boats, cabins, sheds, vehicles, and homes, then you might find this machine works great for your needs.
7. Rug Doctor Spot Clean – Best Portable Carpet Cleaner
With two different tanks for clean and dirty water, you may like that your cleaning solution is always separate.
At a little over 16 pounds, this cleaner is comfortable and convenient to tote between rooms or to travel with for messes in other locations like the family boat.
The power scrubber tool digs into the carpet fibers to get under the mess and lift it out of your rugs. With nearly double the suction power as most portable cleaners on the market, this tool is useful for traveling between locations or your vehicle and home. The flexible hose lets you reach tight areas like under RV seats and tables.
- Sleek style and shape for convenient storing options
- Easy travel handle lets you tote the cleaner from one location to another
- Fits on one stair tread or in the trunk of a car making this a versatile tool
- Excellent for powering out deep pet stains and ground-in dirt
- May need to rinse the carpet after cleaning to get rid of soapy residue that attracts dirt
- Overfilling can lead to contamination in the cleaning solution or emitting a wet spray from the exhaust area
When you need a cleaning tool that will handle pet messes, car mats, RV rugs, and pet beds, then this tool may be the most convenient. The small size and collapsing handle make storing this model a snap. The brush rotates at 1,200 times each minute giving you the scrubbing power you need without the elbow grease.
8. Bissell 2003T – Best Cordless Tool for Cleaning Carpets
This option is helpful for people who need a portable model that works on stairs, the top of cabin bunks, and car interiors.
This cleaner uses a high suction rate to suck up tough stains from wine to mud. The professional cleaning solution uses an Oxi cleaner to power out tough dirt, juice, and tomato sauces. This tool is not a whole carpet cleaner.
- No tanks to fill – the machine only uses a cleaning solution
- A removable suction tool provides easier access to reach stains in difficult areas
- Gets rid of stains permanently – includes pet accidents
- The cleaning wand is only three-inches wide
- A full battery only gives you 15 minutes of cleaning time
- The battery takes four hours for a complete charge
We recommend using this tool for small messes that need deep suction. The small size means storing this machine is possible in tiny apartments, RV’s, boats, vehicle trunks, and little closets. Since there are no water tanks to fill, this machine lets you get to stains quick.
9. Bissell SpotBot – Best Pet Cleaner with Removable Tool
The main mode is for new stains or accidents while the other works for messes that you may not see right away and need extra power to remove.
No hands operation means you can set this tool to work and do something else while it scrubs away your stains. A removable wand lets you reach furniture or clean curtains and other fabrics. The 15-foot cord is long enough to help you reach under heavy items or take it outside to clean your truck or van seats.
- The 30-ounce dual tanks provide extra cleaning capacity per fill-up
- The compact design fits in tight areas
- The hose wraps around the machine to prevent damage
- Preset cycles operate the machine from cleaning spray to scrubbing and suctioning up the mess
- No heater for the clean water tank
- The hose may get sticky – you can use a mild bleach solution to get rid of the gooey stuff between uses
10. Bissell SpotClean – Best Multi-tool Carpet Mess Cleaner
With a heater to keep the cleaning solution warm, this model stays ready for you to use whenever accidents occur. The variety of tools let you get deep under the stain to remove all the debris. The self-cleaning operation on this version lets you keep the sticky messes out of the hose.
- Excellent for various surfaces
- Appropriate for indoor and outdoor applications
- Tanks remove for filling and emptying
- Low power at 2.3 amps
- Hose is short at about two feet
Spot carpet cleaners are designed to be portable so that you can easily bring them out when needed. Powerful suction lets you clean up stains from accidents or pets. There are no wheels as with a full-sized carpet shampooer, but these models are created to be lighter and smaller for ease of use. Some models have two tanks to keep dirty water locked away, so this is a major factor to consider based on the type of stains you need to tackle. The lighter weight makes it easy to carry, even up stairs. The smaller size allows you to store it in the closet or on a shelf when not in use.
Video Tutorial: How to Use Spot Carpet Cleaner
How These Models Work
First you will mix the special cleaning solution with hot water right in the tank, then you can simply spray the solution on the stain. The handle tool works to rub the cleaner into the stain while removing the dirt with the water. When you are done, just take the tank out to get rid of the dirty water.
Special Features and Functions
The small size makes these spot cleaners easy to use and store. Long power cords and hoses make it easy for you to reach multiple stains in one go. Hand tools give you the control you need to clean up stains precisely.
What to look for in a portable carpet cleaner?
Before purchasing a small upholstery cleaning system, several factors may be important to consider. One crucial point many people think about is the length of the cord. Knowing there is enough reach to get to every corner in the biggest room of the house lets consumers know cleaning any room is possible using the same carpet cleaning machine.
Suction is a critical issue. If the machine does not pick up enough water, then it can make it hard to get the carpet to dry. The longer the flooring stays wet, the more chance mold can grow or dirt and dust can collect on the wet surface causing it to stick to the fibers of the carpet.
The number of tanks makes a difference because larger jobs can soil the water quickly requiring many water changes. Separate tanks prevent this issue, but it means there are more frequent refills because it cuts tank amounts in half. Cleaning up pet messes can dirty the clean water when there is only one tank making it important to sanitize the cleaner every use. Consumers must weight these options and consider how much weight the machine weights with the number of tanks to determine which product best suits his or her needs.
How many amps the cleaner pulls is another point to consider. The more powerful the cleaner, the more electric it uses, but it also offers more cleaning strength. Getting the most water back up out of the fibers is beneficial for many reasons. The material drys faster preventing dirt from collecting. Dirt and debris are less likely to stain fresh carpets if the material dries quickly. Plus, mold growth and mildew is less likely the more water a person can pull back up out of the carpet when cleaning it with a machine. This statement is true for whole carpet and spot cleaning.
Accessory tools like brushes, wands, and scrubbers make a difference to many people. For light soil areas, a simple solution application and suction job work well, but for greasy or deep stains, an agitating brush or rollers can get down into the fibers to power out the dirt. Weight is a big deal for some people. The heavier the unit, the harder it is to move it around to clean up multiple locations. People with lifting restrictions may need to go for the lighter choices. The size is another consideration because some units are wider or taller than others requiring a bigger space for storage.
How do you spot clean carpet by hand?
One of the first things to do when you see a stain on the carpet is to blot up as much of the liquid as possible. Carpet cleaning specialists suggest people never scrub the area even if it is in a circular motion. The movement of fabric across the carpet can wear down the fibers and make the area look worn, or later cause raveling. Furthermore, rubbing the dirt, grease, sauce, mud, wine, or juice can make the stain spread getting bigger, and possibly affecting the padding. These stains will continue to reappear after cleaning and may never come completely out of the carpet.
After blotting the area, the next step is to use a solution like a dish soap and alcohol, vinegar and water, or baking soda and peroxide. Putting the items in a spray bottle is an excellent way to distribute the cleaning solution. If you have a portable wet and dry vacuum, this tool will help remove the cleaner after you apply it.
One cleaning solution that will work for multiple stains consists of a cup of warm water, a half a teaspoon of some type of dish cleaning liquid, and two tablespoons of 91 percent alcohol. It is extremely important to only use a small amount of dish liquid because taking the suds out of the carpet will be a never-ending task otherwise. The leftover suds will attract dust and dirt making the spot look worse as time passes. Another concern is to always make sure you have a wet and dry vacuum when you use rubbing alcohol. Otherwise, your carpet backing will break down.
To clean the spot, you should first spray the area with the cleaning solution. You can use the back of an old spoon to spread the mixture gently into the stain if necessary. Then, let the solution sit for just a minute or two and use the wet vacuum to pull up the moisture. It may take several applications to get out the stain, and you can also use straight alcohol, but do not add any more soap. Always remove the liquid with the vacuum because damp drying it will not remove enough moisture to prevent the liquid from reaching the padding.
For people without a wet vacuum, it is best to use the baking soda and vinegar or peroxide mixture. You can also use a carpet shampoo or dish liquid solution as long as you only put down a small amount. Any standing liquid will soak into the carpet backing and the padding making it impossible to sop up with a dry towel. If you only have rags and cleaning supplies, then it might be best to put as little liquid on the flooring as you can while cleaning to prevent saturating the carpet. Spot removers are excellent for this application.
Why does my carpet look worse after cleaning?
There are three primary reasons why a carpet may look dirtier after attempting to clean up a spill. One reason could be from rubbing the stain with a paper or cloth towel. Another reason is because of using too much water or cleaner. Excess liquid will draw dirt and dust to the area over time making a stain appear worse. If the floor is still wet, then the stain will look darker at first. A final reason carpet can look bad after cleaning is from using too many suds. This problem occurs with dish liquid and carpet cleaners.
Does cleaning carpets make dirtier?
The answer to this question is yes and no. No, cleaning the carpet does not make it dirtier right now. However, once you begin cleaning the carpet, it will need regular cleaning to keep it looking fresh and dirt-free. Just like any new object, a clean carpet will begin to look dirty faster because of how bright and vibrant the shampooing process makes the material.
On a positive note, cleaning carpets often reduces allergens and maintains the material. The carpet will last longer with a good cleaning every so often. Plus, clean floors maintain the value of the home. Routine shampooing keeps the floor color more even and makes ground-in stains less apparent over time.
Can you use laundry detergent in a carpet cleaner?
Many shampooing machines work well with laundry soap. The cleaning agents are similar to fabric cleaners for carpet and gentle enough for use in a spot cleaner. The key to using the laundry detergent is to never use more than a cap per gallon of water. If your cleaning machine only has a half gallon tank, then only use a half a cap of detergent.
Can I use Dawn dish soap in my carpet cleaner?
As long as you use a small amount of dish liquid, this detergent is safe for use in a carpet machine. Just like with a spray-on carpet solution, a machine mixture should not contain a large amount of suds. To use dish liquid, begin by adding a teaspoon of detergent to see how much it suds. If the solution is not strong enough to get rid of the dirt, then you can add another teaspoon. Oxiclean is another item you can use in the machine to cut the dirt and get rid of stains without too many suds.
Can I put a little bleach in my carpet cleaner?
A cap of non-chlorine bleach will not hurt a carpet cleaner. Using this amount of bleach can sanitize your carpet machine after cleaning up oily, muddy, or pet messes. If you want to try the bleach to clean a spot on the carpet, then it is best to try using it in an inconspicuous spot before using it on the stain to make sure there are no problems with discoloration.
How do I get my carpet white again?
The first step to getting a white carpet again is to use a vacuum and get up all the debris and dust. Then, choose which carpet cleaning solution you want to use. Since chlorine bleach is harmful to carpet fibers, it is a better idea to use a non-chlorine alternative, ammonia, or alcohol mixture in the cleaning machine. Remember to use a cleaner with low suds in a small amount to reduce the amount of residue it leaves behind. After laying the cleaning solution on the carpet, let it sit for a few minutes and begin pulling the liquid back up.
To prevent dirt and dust from sticking to the fresh carpet, it may be necessary to rinse the carpet once or twice after using the cleaner. Rinsing helps in two ways. First, running straight warm water through the carpet cleaner and using it on the flooring after the initial cleaning helps remove any excess dirt the first pass misses. This action also removes any extra suds and detergent to prevent dust from sticking to it and making the floor look dingy prematurely.
The key to keeping the carpet clean and preventing any damage to the padding and backing is to use a carpet cleaner with enough power to suck up the excess water. Any water left standing can attract dirt while drying. If the water penetrates the padding, then mold and mildew can grow if there is not enough airflow to dry the material. Mold begins growing in as little as 24 hours and thrives in moist, dark environments. Therefore, any mold spores that are floating throughout a building can grow in any wet carpet that takes more than a day to dry completely.
How often should you clean your carpet?
Angie’s List tells readers to clean floors that see lots of traffic about once a year or at least every 18 months. The popular consumer site also says all carpets should get a thorough wash and rinse every two years to maintain the flooring. Households with dogs and cats will need to clean the floors more often because of accidents and constant travel on the carpet.
Families, especially those with young children, and large households will also need to clean the carpets more often than homes with less traffic. Frequent spills and movement across the material will spread the dirt and cause more staining. Cleaning carpets in these homes may require routine seasonal or biannual schedules to maintain a clean and healthy environment.
Many people with allergies will also need to clean carpets more often than most. Keeping down the pet dander, pollen, mold spores, and other allergy-triggering items requires a rigorous cleaning schedule and routine. Just like changing the furnace filter every season to reduce allergy triggers, cleaning carpets is important.
Regular floor cleaning offers many benefits beyond allergy prevention. This task can keep the home or business looking great for visitors or customers. The building value will stay high with good, clean flooring. People feel better when they live or work in a neat and tidy environment. Regular care may extend the life of the carpet as long as stain removal is prompt, and the user follows proper floor care. Most carpet manufacturers offer care guidelines that include how to spot clean, how often to wash the entire floor, and safe products to use on the material.
When choosing your favorite model, you will want to decide on the most important factors to ensure you get a machine that will be able to accommodate you.