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Best upholstery cleaner for your carpet

Which upholstery cleaner is best for your carpet?

Carpets can be challenging to clean due to their absorbent fibers and ability to retain dirt and grime. To keep carpets clean, you need more than a sponge and soapy water — you need an upholstery cleaner. 

The BISSELL Little Green Multipurpose Portable Carpet and Upholstery Cleaner combines the company’s reputation for power and effectiveness in a compact and easy-to-carry design. Featuring strong suction and a specially designed brush, this upholstery cleaner can make your carpets, rugs and furniture look new.


This article was reviewed and approved by Ketia Daniel, the BestReviews Cleaning Expert.


What to consider before you buy an upholstery cleaner for your carpet

Your expectations

Many of today’s upholstery cleaners feature advanced cleaning technology and use special detergents to penetrate deep into the fibers of furniture and carpets alike. However, because of the nature of carpet and its ability to retain liquids and dirt, even the best cleaners are unable to completely remove certain stains. Some messes require professional carpet cleaning, while others are simply impossible to completely remove. Before you invest in an upholstery cleaner for your carpet, be sure to manage your expectations about how clean you will be able to get your floor. This is especially important when it comes to older carpet that may not have had a proper cleaning in some time.

The area you wish to clean

Most upholstery cleaners are designed for spot cleaning or, at the very most, cleaning a piece of furniture with a handheld brush attachment. If you are hoping to clean large areas of carpet on your own, you will be better suited with a dedicated carpet cleaner.

Your carpet

Because there are so many styles of carpet, it can be a challenge to find the best upholstery cleaner for the job. Consider the thickness and depth of your carpet and seek out a cleaner that includes a brush with bristles long enough to work the detergent deep into the fibers of the material. This will prevent you from having to use another tool alongside your upholstery cleaner to ensure that your carpet is cleaned thoroughly. Generally, thicker carpet is more challenging to clean than varieties with a less dense pile, like those designed for use both indoors and outdoors.

What to look for in a quality upholstery cleaner for your carpet

Attachments and brushes

One of the most critical features to look for when considering an upholstery cleaner for your carpet is in the attachments that the unit includes. A variety of brushes, wands and scrubbers will allow you to tackle different jobs and clean different materials. The more flexible your upholstery cleaner can be, the more you will find yourself turning to it to address spills and stains of all kinds.


Unlike carpet cleaners, which are pushed along the floor like a vacuum, upholstery cleaners are designed to be moved around freely to spot clean stains and small messes. Because of this, it's important to select a model that is light and easy to lift and maneuver to the area of your carpet that you intend to clean. 


Powerful suction allows for a deeper clean as it lets your cleaner pull detergent and dirt alike from deep within your carpet or furniture. Select an upholstery cleaner with the strongest suction available, but keep in mind that a more powerful unit will likely include a heavier motor and make more noise than alternative models.

Reservoir volume

The more liquid your upholstery cleaner can hold, the longer you can clean without needing to pause for a refill. However, more liquid means more weight. Since purchasing an upholstery cleaner for the sole purpose of spot cleaning your carpet shouldn’t demand too large of a reservoir, you may wish to sacrifice liquid capacity for easier lifting. Consider your intended uses and preferences to select a cleaner with a reservoir that will allow you to work without interruption but still easily handle the machine.

Power source

While most upholstery cleaners require AC power, some models include rechargeable batteries for wireless operations. These models are ideal for cleaning carpets in rooms or areas that may not have easy access to outlets. They are also good for cleaning car interiors. However, battery-operated units are not as strong as those that draw power from an outlet. Additional concerns about drained batteries and downtime may also dissuade some buyers from making a cordless upholstery cleaner their primary stain-removing appliance.

How much you can expect to spend on an upholstery cleaner for your carpet

Buyers should expect to pay $100-$200 for a quality upholstery cleaner that can be used on their carpet, with most models costing around $150.

Upholstery cleaner for your carpet FAQ

Can I clean my entire carpet with an upholstery cleaner?

A. Theoretically, yes. However, their handheld brushes and small reservoirs do not make upholstery cleaners the ideal solution for a complete carpet cleaning. To treat your entire floor, consider a professional cleaning service or a dedicated carpet cleaner.

Are the detergents used in upholstery cleaners pet safe?

A. Generally, yes. Most household cleaners formulated for furniture and carpets are safe for humans and pets alike. However, allergic reactions may still present themselves unexpectedly, and especially strong odors may be potentially fatal for pet birds due to their sensitive respiratory systems.

Do upholstery cleaners use steam?

A. No. While some advanced models heat the water in their tanks to help treat stubborn messes, most upholstery cleaners rely on suction, detergent and scrubbing to remove messes. Upholstery cleaners do not sanitize surfaces or kill germs.

What are the best upholstery cleaners to buy for your carpet?

Top upholstery cleaner for your carpet

BISSELL Little Green Multipurpose Portable Carpet and Upholstery Cleaner

What you need to know: This cleaner from Bissell features a large tank and the company’s reputation for quality in-home cleaning appliances.

What you’ll love: This cleaner’s powerful suction allows it to clean deep into your carpets and furniture. It includes a trial sample of Bissell’s detergent and is easily emptied and cleaned.

What you should consider: Only one brush attachment is included. This machine’s shape and color may not appeal to some users.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon and Kohl's

Top upholstery cleaner for your carpet for money

Hoover CleanSlate Plus Carpet & Upholstery Spot Cleaner

What you need to know: This compact cleaner can make short work of small carpet and furniture stains thanks to its attachment accessories. 

What you’ll love: This carpet and upholstery cleaner features various brushes and bristle types to properly clean different materials. It has a self-cleaning feature and a generous water tank.

What you should consider: Some users report that this cleaner is prone to leaks.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon and Home Depot

Worth checking out

Bissell Pet Stain Eraser PowerBrush

What you need to know: Small, powerful and compact, this handheld cleaner allows you to easily reach any area.

What you’ll love: Battery power means no long cords and tripping hazards. This unit’s spinning brush is perfect for pet owners but great for anyone looking to remove stains from their carpet or furniture. 

What you should consider: Users report that this model’s suction is not as powerful as they would have hoped.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon and Kohl's


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Derek Walborn writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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