Your No-Sweat Guide to Spring Cleaning

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

Naturally, we tried it.

July 31, 2020
Photo by Mark Weinberg

Welcome to Your No-Sweat Guide to Spring Cleaning a month-long series that puts the fun (yep, for real!) back into cleaning. We’re talking spruce-ups that take less than five minutes, why-didn’t-I-think-of-that hacks, and hands-off cleaning tasks that basically…do themselves—plus our trustiest tools and helpers. The goal: clean less, go outside more.

Somehow, from a child who never saw her bedroom floor, I grew into an adult who lists cleaning as one of her hobbies. Cleaning. As a hobby. I know.

Now, some chores I prefer—removing wall scuffs and wiping down glass surfaces—and some I still loathe (I’m looking at you, dishes). But on the whole, I can admit that scouring something until it sparkles is a favorite pastime of mine.

As a result of my interests, my algorithmic home page on TikTok is largely populated by home decor, furniture refinishing, and cleaning clips. Over the hundreds of hours I've spent on these, I've seen countless home products go viral, one of which is the Bissell Little Green Portable Spot and Stain Cleaner.

Photo by Walmart

Once it started popping up on my feed, I found myself devouring video after video of people suctioning dirt and stains out of their couches and carpets, feeling an indescribable satisfaction as I watched them pour the brown, sludgy water out of the reservoir and down the drain.

Naturally, I had to do some digging. I looked up the reviews on the product page, and found them to be, in one 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.

I had to have it.

So, did it 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 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 to avoid re-soiling your clean carpet. The cleaning solution reservoir is also quite small, so it does require re-filling during a particularly big job, like a sectional. I also wouldn’t recommend cleaning, say, a large area rug with this little guy—you’re much better off renting equipment designed for larger surfaces.

That said, it is lightweight, small enough to stash in a stuffed closet, and generally very effective. I absolutely cannot wait to test it on more surfaces. No fabric will be spared.

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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Caroline Mullen

Written by: Caroline Mullen


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.