Home Hacks

The Viral Upholstery Cleaner With Over a Thousand 5-Star Reviews

Naturally, we tried it.

May 13, 2022
Photo by Rocky Luten

I recently purchased a white couch. I also recently purchased… a puppy. If you, like me, are thinking “OMGWHATHAVEYOUDONE,” there's some solace! And that comes in the form of the Bissell Little Green Portable Spot and Stain Cleaner. A big name for such a little steam cleaner, yes, but to paraphrase a popular poster saying: even though she’s little, she’s still fierce.

I discovered this magical wonder of a machine on TikTok, because where else? I’m sure you remember that earlier on during the pandemic, all sorts of products were going viral and selling out. Tie-dyed white sweatpants? Nowhere to be found for months. CeraVe moisturizing cream? Can’t have it. The same went for the Little Green.

But I was hooked. I found myself devouring video after video of people suctioning dirt and stains out of their couches and carpets, feeling an indescribable sense of satisfaction as I watched them pour the brown, sludgy water out of the reservoir and down the drain.

Naturally, I did some digging. I looked up the reviews on the product page, and found them to be, in a word: effusive. “If they had 10 stars I would give them all...this was the best purchase of the year for me. It turned my couch from disgusting to almost new,” said one. “This machine got all the dirt out, and to think I just found out about it on TikTok!!! #bestquarantinepurchase” gushed another.

Eventually, I got my hands on the machine, and it’s just as amazing in real life as it is on the internet.

Photo by Amazon

So, does the Bissell Little Green work?

It did, and pretty darn well.

I decided to test it on three different surfaces in my apartment: two different sets of couch cushions, and a patch of carpet near the entryway (since it gets the most traffic). None of these were visibly dirty, so any evidence of efficacy was based solely on the results of the dirty water tank.

The machine itself is very simple to set up, and I could have easily figured out how to use it without the instructions packet (but I read them anyway): You just add hot water and the included cleaning solution to the clean tank, turn it on, and get going.

I found that the most efficient method is to first thoroughly wet the entire surface with the spray function, then go back in and suction all the dirt and water up. The instructions also recommend pre-treating heavily soiled surfaces by letting the solution sit for 10 minutes or so before removing.

At the end of my crusade against cushion and carpet grime, I watched with horrified glee as murky, clumpy water poured out from the tank and into the sink. While I didn’t see a visible difference on the surfaces themselves, the spent water told a different story.

There are a few things to watch out for: dirty water can drip out from the tank when you remove it, so be sure to place the entire machine over the sink. The cleaning solution reservoir is also quite small, so it'll require re-filling during a particularly big job, like a large sectional. I also wouldn’t recommend cleaning a large area unless you have the patience for multiple trips to the sink—you’re better off renting equipment that'll handle larger surfaces.

That said, it's lightweight, small enough to stash in an already full closet, and generally very effective. I absolutely cannot wait to use it on more surfaces, and I'm certain our puppy will stain every possible rug and cushion, so we'll have lots more testing to do.

This post was updated in May 2022 with more personal experience using this magical product.

When was the last time you cleaned your upholstery? Tell us in the comments.

This post contains products independently chosen (and loved) by our editors and writers. Food52 may earn an affiliate commission on qualifying purchases of the products we link to.
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See what other Food52 readers are saying.

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Caroline Mullen

Written by: Caroline Mullen


KC December 26, 2021
Little Green & such can succeed with pet problem IF they are caught quickly. Arriving home hours after a pet has vomited profusely on a linen couch? Not a successful clean-up, especially since one's focus is on the poor pet.
John December 26, 2021
There are toxic chemicals in most cleaning products. Then you breathe them, your kids sit on them and your pets are exposed to them. I ordered one of the carpet cleaners from Bessel. The cleaning solution broke open in the box. The smell was all over our home and I had nervous system effects from breathing it. I do not trust any conventional cleaning products. Same with scented laundry products, they are toxic.
TXExpatInBKK December 26, 2021
I've found the Little Green works well even with just water if you don't want to use and cleaning products. :-)
rox L. May 20, 2022
You can get great results without using the chemical cleaner. I've simply treated the stain with hydrogen peroxide; allow to rest then use warm water to extract dirt with the green machine!
Liz S. December 17, 2021
It is a little "apples and oranges" as I have wood floors with "indoor/outdoor" throw rungs (dog and cat live with me in rural woodsy NW Montana) ... and leather furniture plus some ancient wing back chairs that I cover with quilts ... so "furniture" is all washable. BUT, I have fabric roman shades. Several years ago, I saw a comment on a cleaning article about steam cleaners. I bought an inexpensive one. WOW! Steam loosens all kind of dirt from fabric, floor, bath and kitchen fixtures ... and removes various stuff from the throw rugs. I upgraded to a larger model https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00G00BTEA/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_search_asin_title?ie=UTF8&psc=1 about 1.5 years ago. It is easy to move through the house. I prefer to NOT use a detergent or soap. The steam removes "grease" from everything, including the roman shades ... very noticeable in the kitchen. I do also clean a small upholstered chair/ottoman with it and it brightens up (gray). For me, the steamer is a great tool for deep cleaning nearly everything in my house.
TXExpatInBKK December 16, 2021
I love my Little Green! I've had it a couple of years and, because I have two little boys, my rugs and the carpet on my stairs take a beating. But all I have to do when things start to look grey or grimy is pull out my Bissell. The amount of brown that comes out of my rugs and carpet... wow. It really works.
thomas August 13, 2021
The flexi tube in the brush head does crack after a couple of years but easy to buy this part on amazon and cheap.also review on https://vacuumcleanerblog.com

eusebioeffertz January 5, 2021
Compactness is always convenient for users. But capacity is a weakness. I feel surprised when the Bissell model does so many things
I am the one who likes to do housework every week. I always spend a lot of time to add knowledge for smart home cleaning. An address for cleaning tips.
Let's join hands to make your house more beautiful
Cookie August 9, 2020
I had one that lasted about 8 years; good product. Looks like the newer version is more compact. I found it works best with Oxi-Clean dissolved in really hot water; or, Simple Green. But be careful about pouring the tank water containing carpet fibers into your sink! Could cause a garbage disposal problem.
Cherie August 9, 2020
I’ve had this little gem for a couple of years and love it for upholstery in my summer rentals. It’s the bomb for car upholstery too.
Dogolaca July 31, 2020
Your link to Walmart shows a different product than the one in your photo.
Arati M. July 31, 2020
Thank you so much for pointing this out! This is now fixed.