When it comes to the cleaning formula, you spray it on carpet stains and spots before steam cleaning, to help loosen the dirt before you clean the carpet. In the absence of such cleaners, you can use a spray bottle with concentrated amounts of the rug cleaner you will be using and it may have the same effect.
Compare prices of carpet spot cleaners (cleaning formula)
On the other hand, a carpet spot cleaner or portable carpet spot cleaning machine is a small electric appliance that is used to remove stains from carpeting or upholstery. Unlike a larger (upright) carpet steam cleaner, this is a handheld compact machine that saves a lot of hand scrubbing especially if it has a rotating brush, because the effort in concentrated on one area of the carpet.
There are several models of portable carpet spot cleaners on the market and while some are more effective than others, some would argue that even the smallest one can become an essential cleaning tool that is easy to store and grab. So size should be a consideration when buying a carpet spot cleaning machine.
While you could simply apply stain remover or concentrated cleaner to a spot and give it a quick hand scrubbing, this often is not effective when stains are deep within the carpet, have been there for a while and have 'set' into the fibers, or accompanying odors just make the task more difficult. A handheld spot cleaner can make cleaning much more efficient in less time. And when the carpet spot cleaning machine is the type that can be set on the stain and left to do the work unattended as with the Bissell Little Green Machine featured above, the cleaning task couldn't be any easier.
Features vary with different spot cleaners, so you need to read all the product details to make sure it suits your needs and be prepared to pay more if you want the 'hands-free' type of machine. And while some are often called spot 'steam' cleaners, very few have built-in water heaters and get the water hot enough to actually produce a steam. However, they can still be very effective cleaning tools. You most likely will also need some carpet spot or stain removing cleaner; read product information to confirm.
A portable carpet spot cleaner will probably be used mostly in the home to remove stains on wall-to-wall carpeting, area rugs and mats, but it can also be quite handy to clean spots on upholstery, as well as vehicle seats and carpeted mats. However, keep in mind that size and an electric cord can limit its use and portability when it comes to cleaning vehicles.
Bissell leads the market when it comes to effective carpet spot cleaning machines and they make models for pet-friendly homes and auto care, as well as models recommended for home use. There are other brands that consumers like too.
Best Carpet Spot Cleaners
If you have any carpeting in your home, a full-size carpet steam cleaner is a must, but also using a portable carpet spot cleaning machine can save you time and hassle to keep your carpets looking good. But keep in mind that if you fully clean a certain spot, it could make the rest of your carpet look dirty. So if the whole rug needs to be cleaned, trying to cut corners by removing a few stains may just create a larger project anyway. So go for a whole rug cleaning to save time.
Since it can be confusing when deciding on carpet cleaners, read my Carpet Cleaner 101 - Types of Cleaners, Buying Tips, Tips to understand what's available to clean your carpets.
Read More About Floor Care
Best Carpet Spot Cleaners
Upright Carpet Steam Cleaner Buying Tips
Benefits of Owning vs Renting a Carpet Steam Cleaner
How to Buy a Portable Handheld Carpet Spot Cleaner
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