Viral Upholstery Cleaner – Bissell Portable Cleaner Review


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 during quarantine, all sorts of products were going viral and selling out from stores everywhere. Tie-dyed white sweatpants? Nowhere to be found for months of 2020. CeraVe moisturizing cream? Can’t have it. Same went for the Little Green.

Photo by Amazon

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 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 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.

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

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 use it on more surfaces, and I am certain our puppy will help with staining every possible rug and cushion, so we’ll have lots more to test on.

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.

This post was updated in December 2021 to rave even more about this magical product.

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