Robot Mop Icon Check out these 2020 reviews on the best upholstery cleaners currently on the market.

updated: October 13, 2020

There’s one thing dog owners, parents, and clumsy people agree on: accidents can ruin furniture. Searching for the best upholstery cleaners should be your priority when faced with persistent food spills or oily stains on your fabric surfaces that vacuuming and other techniques simply can’t remove.

A woman cleans the carpet using an upholstery cleaner.
An upholstery cleaner is an essential tool for pet owners.

Of course, regular vacuuming is an important aspect of removing dust and dirt, but sometimes you just need something more powerful. Given that some pieces of furniture are especially vulnerable to staining, an upholstery cleaner quickly becomes an essential tool.

It’s not just about having a pretty and clean couch. Woven fabrics can also harbor bacteria, and now more than ever you need to keep your family safe by regularly cleaning certain items. There is a direct health benefit to choosing the right upholstery cleaners, especially if anyone in your family has a medical condition such as asthma. The Center for Disease Control’s article on common asthma triggers list many factors you can influence to improve their health, all by simply cleaning your carpets and upholstery routinely.

Bacteria in a fabric

Of course, each situation is unique. Depending on the fabric and construction of the furniture item, different cleaners may need to be used. Some cleaning solutions can stain or even deteriorate certain fabrics, so be sure to take care when selecting the best cleaner for your home. Always exercise caution when trying out new cleaners. Before the first use, spot test the upholstery solution by just adding a small quantity to a hidden area and see if it works. Going all-out with a new cleaning solution can be a gamble you don’t want to make.

It is possible to take apart certain furniture pieces before using the upholstery cleaner to help make cleaning more effective and easier.

To figure out the best option for your own home, we’ve compiled this concise-yet-comprehensive guide loaded with reviews and ratings to help you decide.

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The Best Upholstery Cleaners Of 2020 (Reviews and Ratings)


1A pet owner’s best friend
The Bissell SpotBot 33N8 is lightweight, sturdy, effective, and maneuverable.

Using only hot tap water and a small amount of cleaning solution, the Bissell SpotBot 33N8 is one of the best carpet and upholstery cleaners on the market today. It can easily deep clean your furniture upholstery, removing even the most persistent stains.

This cleaner is lightweight and not cumbersome. It has a 22-inch power cord for your convenience and is very easy to carry and use. If you have pets, children, or simply have a high-traffic living area, the Bissell SpotBot 33N8 is one of the best choices for your home.

ProsThe Good

The Bissell SpotBot 33N8 is effective and easy to use. Remarkably efficient, it does not require you to drench your carpets and upholstery in a cleaning solution. Simple warm tap water and a bit of cleaning solution are all you need to clean the various surfaces in your home. The suction and airflow provided are excellent as well.

Given its lightweight and portable nature, it makes it easier to clean hard to reach areas. The SpotBot 33N8 includes standard carpet and upholstery cleaning solution, although Bissel also offers concentrated professional solutions or pet stain removers if needed.

ConsThe Not-So-Good

The Bissell SpotBot 33N8 does not have an integrated water heater, so you must add hot water yourself. This is a minor inconvenience, but it is still worth mentioning. It also does not feature any wheels, meaning you have to carry it instead of simply dragging it around.

The device’s cord, while long, is not retractable, meaning you will need to wind it up to store it after each use. Storage can become tricky and bothersome, as the power-cord can easily snag or loop around other items.

Customer OpinionWhat Customers Say

Customers love the Bissell SpotBot 33N8’s effectiveness at cleaning even the most persistent stains. While it is common to hear complaints about the noise it can make, most see it as a minor drawback. Pet owners, in particular, gravitate toward this model, although they are quick to specify that it does not remove hairs and other large debris. It is important to remember this is a fabric cleaner, not a vacuum cleaner, and large debris must be removed manually before use.

There are some users who have had issues with the hose breaking, but that and other problems are readily covered under the included 2-year warranty.

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2Cream of the carpet cleaning crop
A powerful and lightweight solution for any stain or mess.

The Bissell SpotClean 3624 is an excellent carpet and upholstery cleaner and is one of the finest models available in the industry. It seamlessly blends power, portability, and sleek design, all in a compact and lightweight form.

This powerful machine scrubs out almost any stain and without the need for a massive amount of irritating cleaning chemicals. Bissell has included an effective cleaning solution with the unit, but much isn’t needed to get effective results. Just add a little cleaner to your water tank, and you’re good to go.

ProsThe Good

It weighs a little over 13 pounds, making it easier to handle and maneuver around the house. The cleaning results of using this model are immediately obvious, as even the deepest stains can be removed. Powerful suction and scrubbing action tackle the toughest tasks with ease.

You are spared the trouble of constantly having to change filters. Water will capture any dirt or dust and not allow it to escape back in the air.

ConsThe Not-So-Good

The Bissell SpotClean 3624 is readily recommended for cleaning carpets, upholstery, and other fabric surfaces. Trying to clean hardwood floors or leather seats may damage those surfaces and is not recommended by the manufacturer. The sprayer has a large dispersion area, making accidental sprays much more likely. The devices use three distinct types of cleaning solutions, two of which are not included with the initial purchase. As is the case with many vacuum and carpet cleaners, the hose can easily break or deteriorate with use over time.

Customer OpinionWhat Customers Say

Most customers are impressed with the Bissell SpotClean 3624’s performance and cleaning capability. The brushes, lengthy power cord, and flexible hose provide a great combination for reaching those more inaccessible places.

Some users wish the hose was made of a more durable material, as it tends to crack easily. Other users have recommended not storing it in the included holder after use, as it may kink the hose and cause additional stress over time.

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3Little green cleaning machine
Bissell Multi-Purpose 1400B hasn’t met a stain that it can’t remove.

Compact and easy to use, the Bissell Multi-Purpose 1400B will quickly become a powerful tool in your cleaning arsenal. It’s convenience and user-friendly nature makes it an excellent choice for a wide variety of people. It includes dual onboard water tanks for extended cleaning jobs, featuring an impressive 48-ounce capacity.

The Bissell Multi-Purpose LittleGreen 1400B can even tackle older and deeper stains that are notoriously difficult to remove. It features a classic and timeless design, and the casing is even produced from 50% recycled plastics.

ProsThe Good

The Bissell Multi-Purpose 1400B is very easy to assemble and use, making it convenient for a variety of users. An included water heater is available, but you don’t have to wait for the water to heat up if you don’t want to. Simply add hot tap water to the container, and you’re good to go. Bissell Multi-Purpose 1400B can clean both superficial and deep stains and doesn’t spread or blot while using.

ConsThe Not-So-Good

There may be quality control issues with the water trigger on some units, as it has been known to deteriorate and leak. The hose also seems to break more often than other parts, but that is, unfortunately, a fairly common problem among even leading upholstery cleaners.

There is a lack of specialized brushes, making it difficult to clean challenging areas like couch-folds. Regular, routine cleanings are required, as the nozzle and hose can quickly get clogged.

Customer OpinionWhat Customers Say

Most reviews are positive, with only minor complaints or issues raised. While some are bothered by the seemingly low-grade plastics used, it remains one of the oldest and beloved models available on the market today. Pet owners report years of quality stain removal, although they do mention needing to sweep or vacuum the area first. The Bissell Multi-Purpose 1400B, like other upholstery cleaners, isn’t particularly good at removing hairs or larger debris.

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4Dirt-cheap dirt-removal
Top-level performance at a budget-level price.

As consumers, we all want the absolute best quality at the most affordable price. The Hoover Spotless FH11300PC provides the best budget to performance ratio of any upholstery and carpet cleaning appliance on the market today. It is very affordable, yet its quality remains seemingly uncompromised.

It has a powerful motor, includes a very helpful manual, and can tackle even the most persistent stains. If you plan on bringing a pet into your home, buy the Hoover Spotless FH11300PC first. It’s also great to have handy in case of tough accidents as well.

ProsThe Good

The Hoover Spotless FH11300PC features a simple design and requires no complicated assembly. You just add water and a bit of cleaning solution, then attach the cleaning tool, and you’re ready to tackle the toughest tasks. The model is versatile, being readily able to clean just about any fabric surface you throw at it. It is even possible to use it on a mattress, as long as the stain did not leak too deep. Thanks to its use of antimicrobial plastic, you don’t need to worry about odor over time.

ConsThe Not-So-Good

The Hoover Spotless FH11300PC cannot be used to clean hardwood floors or leather surfaces, but that is a common limitation among upholstery cleaners. The power cord can be a bit short, so you can’t plug it into one place and clean a large room in one go. For the ugliest, deepest, and most persistent stains, multiple passes may be required until the stain completely vanishes. The hose is also prone to breaking, although this is a problem common among carpet cleaners.

Customer OpinionWhat Customers Say

People love the power and performance at the price-point offered. Users also enjoy the self-cleaning, antimicrobial hose, requiring less maintenance than competing cleaners. Minor complaints are present, such as water leakage or people being unhappy with the shorter power cord. Users have also reported problems with the hose potentially kinking and even breaking over time. Despite any issues, this carpet and upholstery cleaner remains very well received.

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To the average person, there are two types of fabrics: those that go in the washing machines and those that don’t. As much as we would like them to be, carpets and upholstery are not as easily and readily cleaned as a t-shirt. We often grow attached to our furniture and hate to see them deteriorated, stained, or even damaged.

A woman manually cleans the carpet.

Of course, we can rent expensive specialized cleaners or hire pricey professionals to resolve our issues, but that is simply not affordable or feasible for most people. For minor incidents and stains, you can always manually scrub the stain using specialized upholstery and carpet cleaning solutions.

While that works well for minor, fresh spills, it may not remove older and more persistent stains. For these challenging tasks, manual cleaning simply isn’t enough. Not only that, but getting on your hands and knees and brushing every inch of your carpet quickly becomes back-breaking work.

Thankfully, upholstery and carpet cleaning machines have revolutionized the lives of homeowners and made cleaning easier and more convenient than ever. These portable cleaners tackle a wide variety of tasks, leaving you with a clean and healthy home, all with minimal time and effort.

Pet Owners Rejoice

Dirty footprints of the dog.

Pets bring plenty of joy to their families’ lives, as well as a lot of dirt, dust, and dander. While people love their pets, they can quickly mess up even the cleanest homes, and that’s before even mentioning accidents.

This is a crucial reason why you shouldn’t rely on carpet cleaning services. It can quickly become unsustainable to roll up carpets, chairs, and couch cushions and take them to the cleaners every time a mess is made. Pets are mess-making machines, and even the most well-behaved animals may have their moments.

So what’s the solution? Consider purchasing and owning your own personal upholstery and carpet cleaner. They make an excellent investment and addition to your cleaning arsenal by making the entire process of upholstery cleaning much more efficient and cost-effective.

How does an Upholstery Cleaner Work

An upholstery cleaner uses a combination of hot water and a cleaning solution to penetrate deep into stained fibers. While the detergent is breaking down the stain, a potent suction force is applied at the same time to help remove water and dirt.

An upholstery cleaner at work.
Upholstery cleaners are very efficient at their job

Most upholstery cleaners utilize warm water as it has a much easier time dissolving dirt and fat. Some models incorporate a built-in heating system that warms the water up to the required temperature, while others require the user to add standard warm tap or distilled water themselves.

Upholstery cleaners are very efficient, reducing the need to use excessive detergent and cleaning solutions. The cleaning process of these machines is both physical and chemical, and the results will immediately show.

Is this similar to steam cleaning

Steam and a carpet.

While an upholstery and carpet cleaning appliance is similar to a steam cleaner, they are not the same thing. These two have distinct uses and should not be confused or used interchangeably.

As their name suggests, upholstery cleaners are good at cleaning upholstery of any kind, as well as carpets, car interiors, and other areas. A general rule of thumb is if it’s made from a woven fabric, you can use an upholstery cleaner to remove dirt and stains from it.

Steam cleaners function on a very similar principle, but they use steam to clean and break up stains instead of detergent and warm water. Of course, the steam is much hotter and can easily damage more delicate materials, including fibers in upholstery and carpets. Steam cleaners are made for and can be used on tougher surfaces upholstery cleaners can’t, such as hardwood floors.

Can I just throw away my vacuum cleaner

A man vacuuming the carpet.

The short answer is no. Depending on the strength of their suction, vacuum cleaners can easily damage, wear out, or rip delicate upholstery and carpeting. However, they are effective at removing solid matter and debris such as small sand grains, dust, dead skin, hairs, and others.

Any pet owner can tell you that their upholstery cleaner simply isn’t the most effective at gathering and getting rid of pet hairs, while vacuums do little to stains. Most people will make the first pass with a vacuum cleaner, then use their upholstery cleaner to clean what’s left. These two tools are complementary to one another, not mutually exclusive.

How to Clean

Most upholstery cleaners have decent-sized water containers that fit inside your household sink for easy filling and dumping. All you need to do is fill it up with water, making sure to leave a bit of room for the cleaning solution.

A woman fills the tank of her upholstery cleaner.

If you are unsure about how much to use, consult the product manual for more information, as they typically offer step-by-step guidance. There are various cleaners available on the market, and we recommend shopping around until you find the one that best suits your household’s needs.

After the tank is filled with water and cleaner, all you need to do is select the appropriate attachment head and begin cleaning your carpet or upholstery surface. In essence, you use it similarly to how you use your vacuum cleaner. With most machines, you will do slow passes until the desired area is fully cleaned.

Benefits of Upholstery Cleaners:

  • User-friendly and easy to assemble;
  • Cheaper than traditional cleaning services;
  • Huge time-saver with convenient operation;
  • Can use all around the house, and even in your car;
  • Great option for pet owners.

Things To Consider

A woman cleans a carpet on stairs using an upholstery cleaner.

Upholstery and carpet cleaners are capable of producing a fair bit of noise. Most home vacuum cleaners produce around 68-73 decibels of sound, while the average upholstery cleaner let out a roaring 80 on average. In the context of the decibel scale, that represents almost double the sound intensity and potential for damage.

Patience is key when dealing with older, persistent, and stubborn stains. Your upholstery cleaner won’t get them all at once and may require multiple passes to remove any dirt or any trace of the stain completely.

Conclusion

If you care about the care and appearance of your home, carpets, and upholstery, consider investing in an upholstery cleaner today. It is not hard to use or clean and provides great convenience and value to your life and home. A high-quality upholstery cleaner is a solid purchase for most but is an essential household appliance to anyone with pets.

Author
Melba Espinal is a proud mother and self-professed “neat-freak.” She started a successful cleaning service to earn money while obtaining her degree in Environmental Engineering from the University of Washington. After growing the business from a part-time job to a full operation with a fleet of vehicles and a team of employees, she now focuses on helping homeowners with her expert tips and advice!
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