When my husband and I adopted three children under the age of 4, my sister recommended I purchase a Bissell Little Green Machine, which I did in all haste. With two big dogs and three tykes, it proved to be a life saver, so much so that I drove the poor thing into the ground. When it came time to replace it, the Bissell Spot Bot walk-away cleaner caught my eye. What busy full-time mom/entrepreneur/homeschooler wouldn’t want a cleaner-upper that will do the job for her while she does three other things?
I got one for around $130 (you can find them for $120 to $150 from Wal-Mart, Target, Sears, and a dizzying array of online sources). Between spills and an incontinent dog, it has gotten quite a workout, and I have to say, it works as advertised.
There is a hose attachment, and a setting for working manually with the hose, which is nice. But if you want to let the machine clean up the spot, you can set it to automatic and it just does its thing in about 3 minutes for surface stains and about 5 minutes for set-in stains. When it’s done, a tone sounds. And keeps sounding every 5 seconds until you turn it off.
I’m happy with the way it works on urine stains. I still prefer to take a big towel and stand on the stain before treating it with the Spot Bot because the urine spreads out on the carpet padding so much before I can get to it. But then I fill the tank with a pet stain cleaner and warm water, and let it do its thing. For manual applications (for example, if there are lots of spots), I like the manual brush/suction arm. It has a trigger spray so I can get as much or as little spray on the spot as I want. The suction is very powerful for such a small motor, and I have seen no diminishment in the suction since I bought it about nine months ago.
I used a low-sudsing pet stain cleaner, AKC Gold Stain & Odor Remover, which worked well in the machine. The tank has water and detergent levels marked on it, and the Spot Bot even comes with a few samples of Bissell’s cleaning products to use in the machine. These worked very well for me. They also recommend putting the water in first, then the detergent, which cuts down on the sudsing as the water goes in. I find that hot water – if it doesn’t shrink your carpet – dries faster, reducing the chance of mildew. Also, if you have ceiling fans, putting them on high to dry the spot also helps.
The manufacturer has put a Microban coating onto the insides of the machine to inhibit bacterial growth due to prolonged wetness. Still, I like to rinse it out when I’m finished. I empty the dirty intake tank, then put it back. I run clear water in the sink, then suck it up with the hand-held brush. The clear water gets sucked up, rinsing the tube and the intake tank. I just do that whenever I’m done because I can’t stand smells that I can’t get rid of.
The only (minor) problem with the walk-away feature is that you have to have a stain that fits completely under the scrub/suction station for that feature to work. Most dog pee stans will fit just fine, even if it’s a big dog. But male dogs who mark against a wall or furniture will require the manual brush. So will some vomit stains if they’re irregular and spread out. In this case, I just moved the Spot Bot around until it was all picked up. And you do have to still pick up the solids from the stain first before cleaning. But that’s entirely reasonable and to be expected. The automatic cycle really does a great job, and cleans better than I can do with the manual scrub brush/wand.
The cord is long enough that I can reach any stain from a nearby outlet. It uses any cleaning solution (although a diluted solution is best to avoid creating lots of suds). The cleaning solution tank and dirty water tank are easy to empty, clean and install into the machine (nothing’s worse than wrestling with levers and tanks when you’re hollering for the kids to stay out of the mess until you can clean it up).
I love the new Bissell Spot Bot Pet Deep Cleaner. I stow it under the guest bathroom sink where it is convenient to pull out and use quickly. It does what it says it will do and it has held up well under regular use. I would recommend this for any household that has pets. I wouldn’t be without it.