The 8 Best Carpet Cleaners for Tackling Pet Messes in 2022

We tried a lot of carpet cleaners for pets, and our pick for best overall, Bissell JetScrub Pet Upright Carpet Cleaner, took top honors.

We independently research, test, review, and recommend the best products—learn more about our process. If you buy something through our links, we may earn a commission.

A carpet cleaner featured in a home setting

BHG / Henry Wortock

Whether you’re a big family or a smaller household, staying on top of cleaning the floors can be a major challenge. Add a dog, cat, or multiple pets into the mix and you’ve got a recipe for messy carpets. No matter how well-trained your animals are—and how many pet hair cleaning tools you have—accidents are going to happen and being ready for messes means they’ll be gone quickly. 

“Try to treat stains or messes immediately to avoid long-term staining and damage,” says Kathy Cohoon from Two Maids and a Mop.

Enter, a carpet and upholstery cleaner, which is your best line of defense against stained carpet, upholstery, rugs, and the seats in your vehicle. There are lots of fantastic carpet cleaners for pets on the market, and our testing team tried 20 models to find the best ones for treating stubborn stains from our beloved four-legged friends. 

We chose the Bissell JetScrub Pet Upright Carpet Cleaner as the best overall because it’s a good value for the price, relatively compact, easy to use, and, most importantly, tough on stains.

These are our top picks for the best carpet cleaners for pets.

Best Overall: Bissell Jetscrub 25299 Upright Pet Carpet Cleaner

4.6
Bissell Jetscrub 25299 Upright Pet Carpet Cleaner

Courtesy of Walmart

Why You Should Get It: The JetScrub cleans thoroughly and quickly. 
Keep in Mind: The decibel level might be scary for your pets.

What stood out about our pick for the best overall carpet cleaner for pets, was how easy the Bissell JetScrub was to use. With just three buttons, you can press and go. 

Our testers used the deep clean option when tackling various stains—chocolate, wine, dirt and coffee—and noted it only took three wet and dry passes to get each stain off of the carpet. The JetScrub has a “clean shot” pretreater that, according to the manufacturer, starts lifting the stain, and then the carpet cleaner’s power brush removes the rest of the stain. 

What really stood out with this carpet cleaner are the size and features. A retractable handle and slim profile make this machine easy to store. Our tester thought the JetScrub was a great value for its effectiveness at stain removal, compact size, and moderate price. 

The total time to put this cleaner together out of the box was less than six minutes, and while the directions were a little unclear, our testers noted that it was simple to put together and “the parts snap together well.” 

The decibel level is somewhat high, although our testers noted it was about what you’d expect from a vacuum.

Price at time of publish: $250

Product Details:

  • Weight: 12.34 pounds
  • Surface Types: Carpet, upholstery
  • Cord Length: Not listed
  • Capacity: 60 ounces
  • Decibel Level: 92.1 decibels
Bissell Jetscrub 25299 Upright Pet Carpet Cleaner

BHG / Henry Wortock

Best Budget: Bissell Pet Stain Eraser Plus

4.7
BISSELL Pet Stain Eraser Plus

Courtesy of Target

Why You Should Get It: You can take this cordless spot cleaner anywhere.

Keep in Mind: The tool doesn’t have as much power as corded models.

Our editors raved about this handy, inexpensive carpet cleaner from Bissell, which is specifically designed for pet messes. 

This lightweight cleaner easily removed the coffee and wine stains from carpet in about 10 passes. The dirt did leave a faint stain, and about 70% of the chocolate stain was removed. 

The Bissell Pet Stain Eraser required no assembly and took less than two minutes to get up and running. Don’t worry about rushing to the sink to fill up the tank after a pet mess—just add cleaning solution and this cordless cleaner is ready to get to work.

At one of our lowest tested decibel levels, our testers loved how quiet this affordable stain remover was, and if you have pets or children who are startled by loud noises, having a quiet machine is a huge plus.

Our testers’ favorite thing about this pet mess carpet cleaner is that it’s cordless and, therefore, easy to take to places that don’t have an accessible outlet.

Price at time of publish: $134

Product Details:

  • Weight: 3.3 pounds
  • Surface Types: Upholstery, carpet
  • Cord Length: Cordless
  • Capacity: 8 ounces
  • Decibel Level: 70 decibels
Bissell Pet Stain Eraser

BHG/Henry Wortock

Best Splurge: Bissell Big PET PRO Carpet Cleaner

5
Bissell Big Pet Pro Carpet Cleaner

Courtesy of Amazon

Why You Should Get It: This one is worth the price if you occasionally rent a carpet cleaner and have multiple pets.

Keep in Mind: There’s not great storage for attachments.

At more than $400, this is one of the pricier cleaners we tested, but the Bissell Big Pet Pro is worth every penny. According to our testers, this hard-working machine will pay for itself over time—you’ll no longer need to rent a carpet cleaner since it reliably gives good results.

This machine comes with an attached hand-vac, which is perfect for picking up dirt and hair before attacking stains. Our testers passed over each stain three times in wet and then dry mode. The coffee stain was completely removed, while the dirt, chocolate, and wine were extremely faded. After a few more passes the wine stain disappeared, and the attached wet/dry scrub brush took care of the remaining chocolate and dirt stains. 

The machine comes with two attachments, a stain trapper tool and a stair tool, and an extra 9-foot-long hose that’s perfect for cleaning carpeted stairs or upholstered furniture. It also comes with a full size bottle of Pet Pro Oxy Urine Eliminator cleaning solution. 

While the decibel level is higher than some of the other machines we tested, our team didn’t find it crazy loud.

Price at time of publish: $443

Product Details:

  • Weight: 41 pounds empty
  • Surface Types: Carpet, upholstery
  • Cord Length: 25 feet
  • Capacity: 48 ounces
  • Decibel Level: 91 decibels
Bissell Big Pet Pro Carpet Cleaner

BHG / Henry Wortock

Best Portable: BISSELL Little Green Pet Deluxe Portable Carpet Cleaner 3353

4.7
BISSELL Little Green Pet Deluxe Portable Carpet Cleaner 3353

Courtesy of Amazon

Why You Should Get It: This lightweight, quiet cleaner is small but mighty.

Keep in Mind: The directions are a bit hard to follow, and the machine leaks occasionally.

When looking for the best carpet cleaner for pets, one of the key factors to consider is portability so that you can easily clean spaces only pets seem to find. Our testers loved Bissell Little Green’s compact size and quiet noise level. 

The machine does a great job spot cleaning despite its size. It works by circulating a mix of water and cleaning solution on the affected spot and lifting away dirt from surfaces like rugs, car interiors, and upholstered furniture. During testing, Little Green completely removed the coffee stain with about 10 passes of the stain trapper attachment. The wine and dirt stains only faintly remained after cleaning. The chocolate stain was toughest to tackle, with the Bissell removing about 50% of the stain. 

The 15-foot cord gave our tester plenty of length for most tasks, as did the hose. A stain trapper and tough stain tool attach to the hose for extra deep cleaning, and a handy hydro-rinse self-cleaning tool makes it easy to get built-up gunk out of the hose and tank. This appliance was easily the most portable that we tested, and easy to carry with one hand

Setup was a little cumbersome, taking about 10 minutes to get the machine out of the box and assembled. Our testers noted they needed a screwdriver to put the machine together, and the directions were a bit “tricky” to follow. 

One of our testers’ favorite things about this portable carpet cleaner for pets was how quiet it was, noting that it had a muffled sound—nothing obnoxious. 

Price at time of publish: $120

Product Details:

  • Weight: 9.65 pounds
  • Surface Types: Upholstery, carpet
  • Cord Length: 15 feet
  • Capacity: 48 ounces
  • Decibel Level: 70 decibels
Bissell Little Green Pet Deluxe Portable Carpet Cleaner

BHG / Henry Wortock

Best for Spot Cleaning: Rug Doctor Pet Portable Spot Cleaner

4.6
Rug Doctor Pet Portable Spot Cleaner

Courtesy of Amazon

Why You Should Get It: Stain pretreatment will work to clean up tough pet messes.

Keep in Mind: It was slightly tricky to fill the tank with water in a sink.

If you have pets, especially older ones, you know that spot cleaning is essential to keeping your carpet and upholstery looking its best. Rug Doctors Pet Portable is our pick for the best cleaner for spot cleaning, thanks to excellent cleaning features and portability.

This machine effectively treated all of the stains in our testing session, completely removing the coffee stain after the first pass and making chocolate, wine, and dirt stains disappear from the carpet after three passes. Our testers noted, however, that pretreating is essential to successful stain removal with this machine.

The Pet Portable cleaner’s compact size makes it ideal for spot cleaning. A retractable handle lets you release and roll the machine like a suitcase, so you can easily wheel it around the house or to the car for convenient stain treatment. Our testers noted that the hose isn’t as long as some of the other models they tested, but they didn’t think the shorter hose length was a dealbreaker, necessarily. 

Setting up the spot cleaner takes less than three minutes out of the box, and there’s no assembly required, so you can get to the task at hand right away. With this machine, you’ll need to use a pre-treatment solution and wait five minutes, but after that, it’s smooth sailing. 

The water tank is a little tricky to fill in a sink, so you may want a buddy to help you. Since the tank is rounded and can’t stand on its own, one of our testers held the tank steady while another added water and soap. Our testers also noted that this machine is on the loud side and difficult to talk over, so you may want to put your pet in another room while using it.

Price at time of publish: $157

Product Details:

  • Weight: 18.34 pounds
  • Surface Types: Carpet, upholstery
  • Cord Length: 28 feet
  • Capacity: 1 gallon
  • Decibel Level: 90 decibels
Rug Doctor Pet Portable Spot Cleaner

BHG/Henry Wortock

Best for Upholstery: Hoover CleanSlate Pet Carpet & Upholstery Spot Cleaner FH14000

4.2
Hoover CleanSlate Pet Carpet & Upholstery Spot Cleaner FH14000

Courtesy of Hoover

Why You Should Get It: This cleaner comes with extra tools that make cleaning upholstery easier.
Keep in Mind: The tank is tricky to remove and put back.

If your pets are allowed on the furniture in your home, it’s hard to think of a more practical use for a pet cleaning appliance than cleaning upholstery. The Hoover CleanSlate impressed our team with its portability, how little water and solution was needed to fight stains, and included cleaning tool attachments. 

Testers used the Tight Spot Tool on chocolate and wine stains, and it helped lift out these tough stains. Very little water and cleaning solution was needed for any of the stains, which saw the chocolate and coffee completely removed. The dirt and coffee stains, however, remained faintly visible on the testing area. 

The ergonomic handle allows for comfortable one-handed carrying and multitasking, freeing up the other hand to use the cleaning hose. The Hoover CleanSlate’s small, lightweight design makes it a great choice for anyone looking for an effective spot cleaner that is easy to store and can tackle hard-to-reach stains.

No assembly is needed, and our tester took no more than five minutes setting up the machine and unboxing it. However, filling the water tank was awkward as the tank couldn’t sit upright on its own. 

Our testers found the noise level “tolerable” at 92 decibels, although it may be too loud for an animal, so put your pets in a different room or expect them to hide while cleaning the couch.

Price at time of publish: $130

Product Details:

  • Weight: 9.4 pounds
  • Surface Types: Carpet, upholstery
  • Cord Length: 15 feet
  • Capacity: 40 ounces
  • Decibel Level: 92 decibels
Hoover CleanSlate Pet Carpet & Upholstery Spot Cleaner FH14000

BHG / Henry Wortock

Best Small: Bissell SpotClean Pet Pro

4.2
Bissell SpotClean Pet Pro

Courtesy of Amazon

Why You Should Get It: This compact spot cleaner is easy to carry.

Keep in Mind: This cleaner runs louder and could scare your pets.

The Bissell Spot Clean Pet Pro is our pick for the best carpet cleaner for pets if you need a small machine because it’s easy to use and ideal for spot cleaning around the house or in the car. This portable carpet cleaner is a quick, no-fuss solution for addressing pet messes.

The attached tough stain and stain trapper tools work wet and dry but can take a few passes to remove stains. According to our testing team, the coffee stain was removed completely, and the wine stain faded by 80%. Unfortunately, this machine struggled with the dirt and chocolate stains, leaving both messes still visible on the carpet. Testers noted that suction power wasn't as strong as expected, which could be why the spot cleaner performed inconsistently when treating various stains. Another thing to consider before purchasing is the noise level on this model; our testers described the sound as medium to high.

You’ll need to use Bissell’s Pet Pro Oxy Urine Eliminator solution, and the Spot Clean Pet Pro, both of which are included with the machine as 8 ounce samples. According to the manufacturer, the solution targets and removes lingering smells. Mix with hot tap water (no need to heat beyond that) and start cleaning.

The best feature of the Bissell Spot Clean Pet Pro (and the reason it made our list) is its compact, lightweight design. We love that it’s easily picked up with one hand so you can take it up and down the stairs—or stop on the stairs to clean up a mess. 

Price at the time of publish: $176

Product Details:

  • Weight: 13 pounds
  • Surface Types: Carpet, upholstery
  • Cord Length: 20 feet
  • Capacity: 96 ounces
  • Decibel Level: 88 decibels
Bissell Spot Clean Pet Pro

BHG / Henry Wortock

Best Upright: Hoover PowerDash Pet Advanced FH55000

4.2
Hoover PowerDash Pet Advanced FH55000

Courtesy of Hoover

Why You Should Get It: An upright model can be easier on your back and knees.

Keep in Mind: It’s well-priced but may be too small for large cleaning jobs.

The Hoover PowerDash is a self-contained pet carpet cleaner that’s lightweight and easy to use. This upright-style machine works much like a vacuum, gliding across carpet—no crouching or bending over required. It’s ideal for large carpeted rooms but not well-suited for detailed cleaning jobs.

Our testers found this upright cleaner easy to assemble, without too many parts that need to be put together. The cleaner uses a Power Spin brush to lift stains and dirt and heatforce technology to dry carpets quickly after cleaning.

During testing, the coffee was easily removed with three wet and dry passes. Our testers had to treat the wine, chocolate, and dirt stains with additional passes of the brush tool after initial cleaning didn’t fully remove the spots. The one thing the testers mentioned they didn’t like was unclear instructions for attaching the hose.

What stood out for us about this carpet cleaner is how lightweight it felt, and the list price, which was under $150. This feels relatively inexpensive for a wet and dry carpet cleaner.

Price at time of publish: $108

Product Details:

  • Weight: 13 pounds
  • Surface Types: Carpet, upholstery
  • Cord Length: 20 feet
  • Capacity: 76 ounces
  • Decibel Level: 94 decibels
Hoover PowerDash Pet Advanced

BHG / Henry Wortock

The Bottom Line

Our team tested a multitude of carpet cleaners for pets, and our pick for best overall, Bissell JetScrub Pet Upright Carpet Cleaner, took top honors because it was user-friendly, compact, and moderately priced. We also loved the lightweight Bissell Little Green Pet Deluxe Portable Carpet Cleaner3 for its portability.

Our Testing Process

We put all the machines we tested through their paces with multiple tests to address how well they’d tackle hard-to-clean pet stains. For every test, we used the manufacturer's recommended detergent as directed.

The testing team started off by timing how long it took to get each machine out of the box and assembled, noting the assembly process, and documenting how many steps it took to actually be ready to clean. We read the instructions to make sure they were helpful, and noted the difficulty of positioning the tank inside the machine. 

We filled the tank of each cleaner in a sink (as one would at home), to make sure they fit comfortably beneath the faucet, noting if any contortions were required. After filling the tanks, our testing team weighed all of the cleaners, carried the cleaners at least 10 feet and back and noted if it was cumbersome, tested if the cleaner could be carried one handed, noted whether or not the carpet cleaner had wheels and tested if the tank leaked while it was being carried.

Our testing team also looked at the most important function—does the carpet cleaner really get the messiest messes clean? The team was unfortunately not able to bring their pets to the testing site, so instead they stained carpet with potting soil, chocolate, red wine, and coffee, and then cleaned the spills, noting how many passes it took to get the carpet clean and if the cleaner was easy to handle. 

After cleaning the stains, the testers emptied the dirty water and cleaned the tanks, following the manufacturer’s instructions. They noted if there were tools provided to help with cleaning and if the roll brush was easy to clean.

Finally, knowing noise can be an issue, especially for our furry friends, the team used a decibel meter to measure how loud the carpet cleaners were when in use. Average decibel levels for carpet cleaning machines is 80 dB, which is the number the testers used as their benchmark.

What to Know About Carpet Cleaners for Pets Before Shopping

Weight

Weight—meaning how heavy a cleaner is—is a major consideration when shopping for a cleaning appliance, especially if you’re trying to clean up a mess under furniture, on stairs or in the car.

Our testers noted weights and how heavy the carpet cleaners actually felt to help you make an informed decision.

Surface Types

All of our top picks for best portable carpet cleaners can tackle carpet and upholstery, which are the primary surfaces most people would use them on. When looking for a new cleaner, make sure to note what type of surfaces your pet is usually on and if the product you’re planning to purchase can tackle them.

Cord Length

When shopping for a carpet cleaner for pets, a key factor is how long the power cord is, as you are likely going to be dragging it around your home. As you’re shopping, consider if you’re going to use the machine in the car or in spaces that don’t have an outlet close. We’ve noted cord length, when available, for all of our picks.

Capacity

As you take your cleaner all over your house, you won’t want to keep coming back to a drain to dump out the dirty water. We note the capacity of all the cleaners we tested, and it’s important to remember if you’re going to use the cleaner for quick spot cleanups, you may not need that much capacity. However, if you’re dealing with ongoing large messes, you might need a larger tank. 

Decibel Level

If you’ve ever had a loud vacuum or any kind of appliance, you know the struggle with finding the right machine that cleans well but doesn’t terrify your animal companions. For our testing, we looked for machines that were below 80 decibels, as this is the average noise level for carpet cleaning machines.

Hoover PowerDash Pet Advanced

BHG / Henry Wortock

Other Carpet Cleaners for Pets We Tested

Rug Doctor Mighty Pro X3 Commercial Carpet Cleaner

Our testers found the Rug Doctor Mighty Pro X3 Commercial Carpet Cleaner bulky and hard to use. The base was so large we couldn’t tell if we were actually going over the stains during testing. Another strike against this machine, which did clean well, was that it ran very loud.

WeClean C1 Carpet Upholstery Cleaner Machine Portable Spot Cleaner Stain Remover

Our testers liked the lightweight “no frills” WeClean C1 Carpet Upholstery Cleaner Machine Portable Spot Cleaner Stain Remover that was easy to carry up and down stairs, and they noted emptying the tank was also simple. However, for the price, the WeClean didn’t get rid of stains at an acceptable level. 

Kirby Avalir 2 

While our testers liked the idea of an “all-in-one” vacuum and carpet cleaner, getting the Kirby Avalir 2 set up to actually clean was time consuming, confusing, and ultimately messy. When filling the tank, we ended up with water everywhere. 

Your Questions, Answered

How often should you shampoo your carpets if you have pets?

Roughly every six months, say our experts, but of course, it’s situationally dependent—how much of a mess are your pets making? 

“We recommend refreshing your carpets every six months, but it’s great to add additional deep cleans if you notice your carpets accumulating dinge or taking the brunt of dirty paws and other messes pets leave behind,” Jay Kellis, Chemist, Staff Development at Bissell, told us.

Kathy Cohoon from Two Maids and a Mop notes it’s important to keep on top of spot cleaning any messes as well, saying, “While shampooing will help elongate a carpet’s looks over time and give a good deep clean, the key to keeping carpets fresh with pets around is vacuuming often and spot treating any pet-related stains.”

How do you get dog and cat urine smells out of carpet?

There are, not surprisingly, a lot of ways to treat urine smells, and it’s important to get them out quickly so your pet doesn’t continue to urinate in the same spot.

“For a stain that’s producing an odor, like pet urine, we suggest using an enzyme cleaner,” Kellis says. “The enzyme action found in these cleaners is like that of healthy probiotics found in some types of yogurt that help ‘eat' the microscopic particles that make up the stain. Once the spray is released from the bottle, the probiotics are activated and begin working. If kept moist, they’ll continue to multiply and remove the material until it’s gone. That’s why we recommend keeping a moist towel on the stain and giving it plenty of time to work to ensure that the stain is thoroughly removed.”

Cohoon’s methods are similar, but she uses a homemade mix to get the smell out. 

“Blot the spot with paper towels to absorb as much of the urine as possible,” Cohoon says. “Use equal parts white vinegar and warm water to treat the spot. Dab dry with a soft cloth, making sure to switch the cloth out often so as to not use a dirty cloth. Repeat as needed and allow to air dry. Once fully dry, sprinkle the area with baking soda and allow to sit for 10 to 15 minutes. Vacuum up baking soda and repeat if needed.”

And simply get the air moving in your home, Cohoon says. “Don’t forget to circulate the air with fans, open windows, or an air purifier to help move the smell out of your home.” 

How do you get old pet stains out of carpet?

It’s possible, with a little pre-treating, Kellis says.

“While pretreating is important for any stain, it’s especially important to do when you’re tackling older, set-in stains,” he says. “Pretreatment actually helps freshen a set-in stain, which dries out and loses moisture, becoming harder to remove. Think of pretreating your carpet like pretreating laundry stains. With older stains, just spray your pretreatment, let it sit for five minutes, and then use a moist towel on the stain. It might take a few rounds of the same step to achieve complete stain removal.”

Best Carpet Cleaners

BHG / Henry Wortock

Who We Are

Tanya Edwards is an award-winning writer and editor with bylines at Better Homes & Gardens and other publications. She’s passionate about keeping a clean house, even with a big chunky cat, and loves to learn about the best products to do so. 

For this story, Tanya worked with data from the testing team and cleaning experts Jay Kellis, Chemist, Staff Development at Bissell and Kathy Cohoon from Two Maids and a Mop.

What Is BHG Recommends?

Next to all of the products on this list, you may have noticed our BHG Recommends seal of approval. Products that earn the seal have been put through rigorous testing to make sure they're worth a spot in your home. We buy most of the products we test ourselves, but occasionally we are provided samples by companies if buying isn't an option. In these cases, we use the same testing criteria we use to test the purchased products and we let you know that we got it for free to remain as transparent as possible about our picks.

Looking for more products that have earned our BHG Recommends seal of approval? Check out our picks for everything from picnic blankets to humidifiers.

Was this page helpful?
Related Articles