Hands-on gadget review: Bissell Pet Stain Eraser
Image credit: Bissell
The ideal solution to your best friend’s minor mishaps, as long as you can catch them quickly.
This cordless cleaner is designed for removing small stains from carpets and soft furnishing. It’s also good for car seats. It boasts two tanks: one for water and detergent, one for the dirty water it lifts. You spray the stain then a power brush lifts it and a vacuum sucks it up into the second tank.
Most rival handhelds just have a brush you scrub with, not a rotating power brush. And it’s Bissell’s first mini cleaner designed specifically for pet stains. At 2kg, it’s half the weight of Bissell’s previous cordless handhelds.
The Pet Stain Eraser arrives ready to use and was quick to unpack. I noted that it uses a 10V charger, rather than a USB cable. The capacity of 200ml and 20-minute battery life aren’t huge, and there’s a long charge time of “less than 4.5 hours”, so it’s best used for little stains when you spot them, not an every-stain-in-the-house cleaning blitz. The good news is that its cordless convenience makes this easy. It’s as easy to grab it as it would be to reach for a roll of kitchen towel.
It comes with mini (236ml) bottles of two cleaning products to try: Oxygen Boost and Pet Stain & Odour. If you love the cleaning products, note that they’re pricey. A litre of Oxygen Boost costs £14.99 at the time of writing and 1 litre of Pet Stain & Odour carpet cleaner costs £12.99. These products are the ones recommended for use but you could presumably experiment with other carpet wash liquids.
The machine’s visual instructions suggest using 15ml of Oxygen Boost, filling up to a line with tap water and then topping up with Pet Stain & Odour. The sample bottle has a small cap though, so it’s not as easy to measure out the 15ml as it would be with a large bottle. I duly filled it. The 200ml reservoir pops off and has a fill hole that’s big enough to be filled under a tap.
Ideally, vacuum the floor first to pick up loose dirt. Use the Bissell to spray the stain from slightly above, then pull the machine backwards slowly over the stain, or backwards and forwards, with the motorised brushbar on (it rotates at up to 2,000rpm). The visual instructions make it clear that it’s designed to use on horizontal surfaces or pointed uphill, never downhill or sideways.
It came as a surprise that the machine needs to be turned on and vacuuming for the spray to work at all. You can turn off the brushbar to save power. But the spray is very effective. You don’t have to mechanically pump it, you can just hold the button down and the machine sprays the stain for as long as you like.
I have a dog, two cats and a dozen rescue hens, so I was well placed to test it. Performance-wise, I found it great at picking up fresh messes but so-so at ingrained dirt. So it made quick work of spilled drinks but couldn’t make my tired doormat look like it was brand new. It could, however, lift enough pet stains and mud that it no longer looks like it needs to go in a skip…
The tank that collects dirty water pops off for easy emptying. The state of the filthy water it collects is impressive. You can see how very much dirt has been lifted. And you can see a fair amount of hair – human and pet – wrapped around the brushbar. That said, there was still hard-to-lift pet hair left on the carpet. I also liked the subtle smell of the cleaning products. The results smell nice but not overpowering.
The frustrating thing is the low capacity. You’ll go through 200ml of liquid in less time than the 20-minute battery life. I used two tanks full just to clean a rug thoroughly. I also wanted there to be a row of stiff bristles at the front of the cleaning head: it would be good to scrub away at stubborn stains if you need to. But this machine really is designed for tackling new spills rather than ingrained stains.
The results are good and pretty dry. If you take the Bissell back and forth over the wetted carpet or soft furnishing several times, vacuuming up the dirty liquid, then the area is left only slightly damp to the touch. It’s dry a couple of hours later. It’s only when completely dry that you can truly see the results. It was pleasing to see that the Oxygen Boost hadn’t bleached any colour from my fabric sofa cushions.
I concluded that it was a handy tool for spot-cleaning fresh stains on carpets and soft furnishing. But if you actually want to refresh an entire carpet then you’re better off with a mains-powered upright.
Vax ONEPWR SpotlessGo Cordless Spot Washer
This cordless carpet cleaner works like the Bissell but has a cylinder design, so it’s bulkier yet light in the hand. Again you spray with a cleaning solution, then vacuum up the dirty water. Tools for the cleaning head include a squeegee and scrubbing brushes. There’s no motorised brush.
RugDoctor Pet Portable Spot Cleaner
Like the Vax, this is a cylinder-style carpet cleaner. But this one is larger and corded (15ft). Its rubber brush head agitates stains to make it easier to vacuum them up. It’s on wheels with a retractable handle, like a wheelie suitcase. Good if you need a lot of pet clean-ups.
A cordless upright cleaner that promises to do away with your vacuum and mop. It lifts dirt, separating solid and liquid, cleans with water and then dries the floor. It’s quiet, stylish and uses minimal water. Note that unlike the others here, it’s designed for hard floors, not carpets.
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