Bissell Multi-Purpose Portable Carpet and Upholstery Cleaner Review

There are many reasons why carpet flooring is so popular. For one thing, it’s inexpensive, especially compared to hardwood. Not only that, but it’s softer, quieter, and more versatile. Given that, it’s not surprising to know that many people still use it in their homes.

The only thing is that it requires regular maintenance. After all, it attracts dirt and debris. Ideally, you’d want to vacuum the carpet at least once a week. Obviously, the more often the better—this is particularly true if you have pets as they tend to leave a lot of hair behind.

In addition to that, it’s a good idea to invest in a carpet cleaning machine. That way, you’ll have something to get rid of stains because let’s face it—carpets can easily get dirty. For example, it’s not uncommon to have to deal with wet messes if you have a dog or cat. There’s no need to get something commercial-grade, though…just a small cleaner will do. Remember, they’re just for spot cleaning.

In this post, we’ll be talking about the Bissell Multipurpose Portable Carpet and Upholstery Cleaner. Does it come with a sprayer? How powerful is the suction? Find out by reading the rest of this post!

The Bissell Multi-Purpose Portable Carpet and Upholstery Cleaner

Bissell is a privately owned company that sells various home care products such as sweepers, carpet cleaners, vacuum cleaners, and steam cleaners. Based in Michigan, they’ve been a leader in the floorcare industry for several years. Their products can be found across the U.S. at various retailers including Best Buy, Walmart, and Amazon. It’s worth mentioning that their products are available in many other countries as well.

Product Description: The Bissell Portable Carpet and Upholstery Cleaner is designed to remove stains quickly and effectively; it does this by combining warm water with a targeted cleaning formula. Coupled with powerful suction, you’ll be able to get deep down to the exact spot that needs cleaning. Not only is it great for carpets and rugs, but you can also use it for upholstery, stairs, even car interiors. After all, it’s small and portable. It even comes with a handle so you can easily take it with you on the go.

What’s Included?

Here’s what you’ll get with the Bissell Multi-Purpose Portable Carpet and Upholstery Cleaner:

  • 1 Carpet Cleaner Unit
  • 1 Vacuum Flex Hose
  • 1 Tough Stain Brush
  • 1 Full-Size Bottle of Cleaning Formula

Assembly: Assembling the machine is not that difficult at all. Start by taking the flex hose clip and sliding the backplate into the opening at the front—you’ll hear a “click” once it’s locked in place. From there, take the flex hose bracket and slide it into the opening at the back of the machine; you want to make sure that the screw holes line up. Next, insert the screws and tighten them with a screwdriver. Last but not least, wrap the hose around the machine and place the hose grip into the bracket.

In terms of the actual unit, it comes with two tanks—one on each side. More specifically, the left tank is for solution while the right tank is for dirty water. Before using the machine, remove the clean tank by lifting it straight up. Unscrew the cap and remove the bottle insert. Pour in the cleaning solution to the formula fill line. Next, add in hot water to the water fill line (don’t use boiling water). Replace the insert and cap. Return the tank back to the left side of the machine.

Then there’s a vacuum flex hose. While we listed it as a separate item above, you can’t actually remove it from the machine—it’s stuck on to the body of the unit. How it works is that the tough stain brush that comes with it attaches to the end.  Keep in mind, however, that the brush doesn’t spin; you’ll have to manually scrub with it.

And for those who are wondering, the kit does come with a bottle of cleaning formula (8 oz) to get you started. What’s more, is that it’s not sample-sized but full-sized so that should be enough for a few cleaning sessions.

Build Quality of the Bissell Multi-Purpose Portable Carpet and Upholstery Cleaner

As you can see in the photos, the unit is almost entirely plastic. While it’s not super flimsy by any means, don’t expect it to survive falls, etc. If anything, many people have had different parts of the machine crack on them and it’s not really something that you want to deal with. Having said that, it should be durable enough to last you a few years as long as you’re using it properly.

The way it’s designed, it’s also impossible to take the machine apart. In other words, you won’t be able to clean it thoroughly. The good news is that you can get replacement parts for when things get too grungy but that’ll cost you extra money.

Potential Drawbacks

Here are a few potential cons that the portable carpet cleaner has that you should know about:

Weak Suction

The suction is not as strong as you may think; it does get rid of some water but not all of it. It’s particularly weak if you use it on dense carpet. You can do a few passes and that might be a bit better but chances are, the surface will be left quite wet afterward—it can take up to a few hours for it to dry completely.

Cleaning Head Is Small

As expected from a small, portable machine, the cleaning head is also small. That is, you only get a few inches per stroke so it can take a while to clean larger messes. If anything, it’s a tradeoff for being portable.

Hose Isn’t Very Long

The vacuum flex hose is not very long. Unless you’re cleaning a tiny area, you will have to slide the machine as you go—this makes the machine that much more clumsy to work with. This is especially noticeable if you’re using the cleaner inside your vehicle.

It’s Almost Impossible to Clean the Tank

The way the machine is put together, you can’t really clean the dirty tank. You can remove it from the unit, but that’s about it; the only way to access the inside is through the tiny hole. You can slosh things around inside but it’ll be impossible to get it 100% clean. At some point, you’ll probably have to get a replacement tank altogether.

Nozzle Can Get Clogged Easily

Many people have reported issues with the nozzle clogging (from hair, carpet fibers, dirt, etc). Unfortunately, there’s no way to disassemble the actual nozzle so it’s pretty much impossible to extract the clog.

Leaking Problems

Leaks seem to be fairly common with this particular machine. Given the number of people that have reported the same problem, we suspect that there is a design flaw. More specifically, the seal at the bottom doesn’t seem to hold the water in.

Debris Can Get Stuck in the Brush Bristles

It’s not uncommon for carpet fibers and other debris to get trapped between the brush bristles. Unfortunately, it doesn’t come with any kind of remover tool so you’ll have to manually get them out, which can be time-consuming. It’s worth mentioning that gunk can also get stuck under the clear plastic cap on top of the brush.

Does It Clean Well?

The machine works but is average at best. For one thing, the cleaner head/brush is small. In addition to that, the suction is rather weak—too weak to effectively get rid of the water that it spits out. As a result, it’s likely that you’ll end up with a big wet mess in the end. The nozzle can also get clogged over time, which can impact its performance.

If it weren’t for these flaws, the carpet cleaner would be more effective. As it stands right now, it’s not that much better than scrubbing stains out with a brush on your hands and knees. Remember, the brush that goes on the hose doesn’t spin either so it’s up to you to do all the scrubbing.

Who Would I Recommend This Carpet/Upholstery Cleaner To?

  • People looking for a small, portable machine that they can use to clean carpet or upholstery
  • People who don’t mind manually scrubbing with the brush
  • People who only plan on using it for small messes

Cost and Pricing Information

The Bissell Multi-Purpose Portable Carpet and Upholstery Cleaner is not that particularly expensive. Currently, it sells for $109.99 on Amazon, which is a competitive price when it comes to these types of machines. If you purchase it through the site, it also comes with free shipping so all you have to pay extra is the tax.

As with all of Bissell’s machines, you do have to constantly buy cleaner. They start you off with one bottle but that won’t last you forever. For any extras, you’re looking at around $15 to $20 per bottle. The good news, though, is that it is possible to use it with other cleaning solutions so you can easily get one that’s more affordable. If you want, you can even add white vinegar to the solution tank. According to people who’ve tried it, it works just as great as any regular cleaner.

The Bissell Multi-Purpose Portable Carpet and Upholstery Cleaner is practical but it isn’t necessarily the most effective. For one thing, the suction is rather weak—you won’t be able to even half of the water that comes out of the head. Not only that, but the nozzle is prone to clogs and once that happens, it’s almost impossible to fix. There are also issues with the tanks leaking, which seems to be due to a design flaw. All in all, it’s probably not the most efficient carpet cleaner to get.

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