When was in my 20’s, I remember whenever I’d buy a new used car, the first thing I’d do is wash the car and do a full interior cleaning. Part of my routine involved removing all of the seats out of the car, vacuuming the carpet, and using a carpet cleaner to completely clean the carpet and seats.
I didn’t own any particular carpet cleaner at the time, so my go-to practice was to go to my local hardware store and rent a Rug Doctor carpet cleaner. This behemoth of a machine was a pain to transport, but once I got it home and set up the upholstery attachment, it worked really well.
Every time I’d rent one of these machines, it would cost me almost $40. Although the cost wasn’t significant, the trouble of checking out the rental and checking it back in was a hassle. What I realized over time was I could spend a bit more and just buy a smaller carpet cleaner that I could keep for myself. Obviously I’d be working with a smaller and less powerful unit, but it would be much easier to maneuver and I wouldn’t have to deal with whatever dirty gunk was in the borrowed carpet cleaner left from the previous renter. I also would save a lot of time (usually I’d be stuck at the rental desk for about 30 minutes each time I went.)
After doing a bit of research, I came across a beginner-friendly carpet cleaner called the Bissell Spot Clean Pro. This unit has a small form factor, is lightweight, and includes a couple of attachments: a 3 inch tool and a 6 inch tool. This works sufficiently for the interior of a vehicle if you are doing the occasional interior carpet cleaning.
The Bissell Spot Clean Pro only weights 13 lbs and can be carried around very easily. It has a 3/4 gallon tank, which is a bit small and might need to be dumped out and refilled when used on one car. The overall size is convenient for moving it around the vehicle. The 20-foot electrical cord is plenty long, but the hose unfortunately is a bit short at 5 feet long.
When you fill up the tank, you release the handle, which then allows you to remove the fill tank. You unscrew the cap from the tank and fill it up with hot water to the fill line. Then you add two ounces of cleaning solution. Recap, replace the tank, and lock the handle into place.
After using the extractor, the dirty tank gets filled up with everything you suck out from the upholstery. To empty this out, you’ll need to unlock the dirty tank handle, pull the tank out of the carpet cleaner, remove the lid, and then empty everything out.
The 3 inch and 6 inch attachments work wonderfully on flat carpet areas. They are a cinch to use on carpeted floor mats and the flat areas of the interior upholstery. Seats are easy to do as well. The difficult areas are the areas where the 3 inch tool doesn’t fit. However, in most areas you should not have any problem cleaning with the provided attachments.
When using the cleaning tools, you’ll notice that the sprayer sprays water right below the bristles. It is designed to be used in a pulling motion. In this fashion, the carpet gets wet, brushed, and sucked through the extractor as you pull the tool across the upholstery. The downside to this is that you’ll almost always miss the first part of your pull motion (at the top of the tool.) I usually deal with this issue by lifting the extractor tool off of the rug and purposely spray it onto the surface, then go over it to brush and extract.
I do this same thing of spray, brush, and extract method in situations such as carpeted floor mats. Below, you can see how I have the attachment head completely lifted off the upholstery so that I can spray the cleaning solution directly onto the carpeting before brush and extract.
There is one weak point on the Bissell Spot Clean Pro that everyone complains about and that is the hose. The hose is not only a short 5 foot hose, but has a weak construction that eventually causes the hose to get kinked and tear. Bissell does sell a replacement hose for about $30, but it’s likely to fail again with normal use.
The best thing you can do when you first get your Bissell Spot Clean Pro is to reinforce the hose. This is as simple as wrapping the hose with tape as soon as you get it. This might make the hose a bit more stiff, but it ensures that your hose doesn’t break with normal use. I recommend using a wide and flexible tape such as a PVC tape or some other tape that has a similar flexible characteristic similar to electrical tape. This helps distributes the load to prevent tearing of the actual hose, but also have enough flexibility to move the hose around during use.
For suctioning power and how clean it gets the upholstery, I really have no complaints. The Bissell Spot Clean Pro works really well for small jobs or the occasional full interior carpet and seat cleaning. I’ve had mine for many years and I still use it for interior detailing, but it is always my go-to tool whenever I need to clean a newly purchased used vehicle. If you don’t want to spend over $500 for a heavy-duty extractor, but still want to be able to deep clean your carpet and upholstery, this is a great choice to get you started.