Let’s face it – as cute as animals can be, they certainly are capable of making huge messes in very little time. So next time your pet makes a huge mess on your carpet, you want to be prepared and have a good carpet shampooer on hand to tackle pet messes.
There are many types of carpet shampooers so if you’d like some more information on which carpet shampooer is the best for pets, then you’ve come to the right place. We’ll answer questions like which shampooers remove stains, which shampooers remove odors, and give you a list of our 10 favorite cleaners.
Best Carpet Shampooer for Pets: Top picks for 2019
1. Bissell Pet Stain Eraser Portable Carpet Cleaner
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The Bissell Pet Stain Eraser is our number one pick because it pretty much fits the bill for all pet owners. It’s small, easy to move around, and easy to store. Did your pet make a mess? No problem, just pull out the machine, clean up, and put it away again.
The Pet Stain Eraser is compatible with Bissell’s special pet stain cleaning formula which can be stored in the machine itself, so you don’t need to worry about filling the tank – just pick it up and go.
However, the one downside is that you can only use the Pet Stain Eraser for spot cleaning. You’ll have a tough time trying to clean up your whole carpet with this!
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2. Hoover Power Scrub Elite Carpet Cleaner for pets
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The Power Scrub Elite is one of Hoover’s best and biggest capacity offerings for cleaning and shampooing pet stains from your carpet. It has special brushes which help disinfect the area as well as clean it, and you can either use it for deep cleaning or quick cleaning. Selecting either mode will vary the intensity of the machine.
You’ll also be able to buy a special pet solution for this cleaner which is designed for pet stains specifically. Incidentally, while the Bissell above was one of the smallest machines, this is one of the biggest!
It’s shaped like a regular vacuum cleaner so it’s quite easy to operate.
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3. Hoover Spotless Portable Spot Cleaner for Upholstery and Carpets
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The Hoover Spotless cleaner is – as the name suggests – a spot cleaner. It’s super lightweight and efficient and very good at getting pet urine out of your carpet and upholstery.
There are two separate tanks for clean and dirty water, and the cleaning hose is actually extendable. It can become up to 5 feet long and you can get to spots that would have been hard to reach with a bigger machine(think corners).
In fact, even if you don’t have pets, this is still a great buy for the occasional deep clean!
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4. Rug Doctor Pro Deep Carpet Cleaner
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After a few Bissells and Hoovers, I figured we should talk about the third biggest carpet shampooer and cleaner company: Rug Doctor.
The Rug Doctor is a professional grade carpet cleaner for removing dog urine and literally any other pet stain. When you think of this machine, you think of renting, but you can quite easily purchase it too. If you have the storage space, this is definitely a machine worth considering.
The Rug Doctor is an intense machine: heavy duty brushes, and a powerful motor generating incredible suction will pull out even the toughest, deep set stains.
Even though this is a professional grade machine, if you’re looking for a heavy duty solution for overall carpet cleaning, this is the one.
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5. Bissell TurboClean PowerBrush Pet Carpet Cleaner
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The TurboClean is an upright (regular vacuum-style) carpet cleaner and shampooer. It’s a robust machine with 4 rows of brushes that really pushes the cleaning solution into the grime and dirt, making sure most if not all of it dissolves into the solution, ready to be sucked out.
Even though it’s quite powerful, the TurboClean is a comparatively light machine weighing in at just 12 pounds. You’ll also have the option to buy Bissell’s special pet formula to use with the machine.
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6. Bissell ProHeat 2X Revolution Full Size Carpet Cleaner
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The ProHeat 2X Revolution Pet Pro is another dedicated carpet cleaner designed around tackling pet stains, odors, and messes. The awesome thing about the ProHeat is that it is a rolling vacuum style cleaner, and it also has a little upholstery tool that you can use to spot clean and reach tight spots.
Depending on the deal you find, you may also be able to get the Bissell Pet Urine Eliminator bundled along with the cleaner.
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7. Bissell PowerLifter/PowerBrush Upright Carpet Shampooer
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This is the third consecutive Bissell on this list! Woot!
So even though this is not a dedicated pet mess cleaner, it’s a great overall cleaner and shampooer that will definitely tackle tough pet stains with its four rows of dual rotating brushes.
This model has a removable nozzle, a built in measuring cup for measuring out the cleaning solution, and a lint screen for the fibers caught up in the suction mechanism. You’ll also get a one year warranty and a small bottle of Bissell’s carpet shampoo.
Of course, you can use Bissell’s Pet formula too.
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8. Hoover PowerDash Pet Carpet Shampooer
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The PowerDash by Hoover is a dedicated pet mess cleaner and shampooer. This is a really nice, small, and lightweight carpet cleaner that you can use in any space and can easily be stowed away in a small closet.
The model number for the Hoover PowerDash is FH50700.
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9. Bissell Big Green Machine Professional Carpet Cleaner
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The Big Green Machine! Yeahhhhhh! This is a heavy duty carpet cleaner great for large homes. With a powerful brush and incredible suction power, no mess seems to be safe from the Big Green Machine.
It also comes with a five year warranty – a marked difference from most of the other models, which only have one or two year warranties.
Note: This machine may seem like overkill, and in most situations, it is. But if your household has small children AND pets, it may be worthwhile!
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10. Rug Doctor Portable Spot Cleaner Machine
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The other Rug Doctor machine we listed in this post was quite a large, heavy duty machine, so it was probably not suitable for everyone. But if you’re still into the Rug Doctor brand and want something smaller and easier to use, the portable spot cleaner machine is a great choice.
Even though it’s pretty small, it’s still very powerful and the built in 5 foot hose lets you tackle small and hard to reach spots.
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Carpet shampooers: what are they?
Carpet shampooers are essentially carpet cleaners. They’re machines that use a combination of cleaning solution, water, and in some models, heat to clean your carpet from the very roots of its fibers. Since we’re deep cleaning fibers(hairs, so to speak), these machines are called shampooers.
Carpet shampooers are different from vacuums as vacuums only suck up dirt and particles, whereas these machines clean very thoroughly, first by applying the solution and water, then as the solution and water dissolves all of the stains and odors, it’s sucked up by the machine.
If you’ve already got a carpet cleaner and are looking for a specific solution for pets, then you’re in luck. There are a wide variety of carpet shampoo solutions available that are especially formulated for pets. You simply toss these into your existing carpet cleaner and you’re good to go.
If you don’t have a dedicated machine and are looking for one specifically for your pets, then the models that we’ll list below are ideal since they were built with pet messes in mind.
Should I leave carpet cleaning to the pros or do it at home?
This post focuses on home DIY solutions, but if you’re pressed for time or are not willing to invest in a machine you may not use that regularly, you can certainly call a professional to come and do it for you.
However, regularly calling over a professional can make the costs add up and at some point you may wish you had just gone ahead and bought yourself a carpet shampooer!
Additionally, professionals will do your entire room/house and not necessarily target a single spot, as the case will be most of the time with pets.
Check out this striking video of a before and after of carpet cleaning:
Types of carpet cleaning methods
If you call over a professional, they’ll use one of three methods:
Wet cleaning is very common and very effective. It’s also the same method used by home carpet cleaners: the one described above. It uses hot water, cleaning solution, and finally suction to deep clean carpet stains.
Dry cleaning is called dry because there is no water involved. Instead, other solvents or foams are used. Like water, the solvents and foams bind to the stain causing particles and then they’re all sucked into the machine, pulling clean from the carpet.
In bonnet cleaning, a solution is used to bind to the particles. A rotary floor machine, used only in this method, will then suck up the solution.
As you can see, the principle is essentially the same. Essentially, you need a binding agent that will pull the stains and odours out of your carpet into the solution itself. This is the same way soap works. Soap binds to the dirt and oils on your skin and washes away with water.
If you’d like to opt for the home cleaning route, there are two main kinds of carpet shampooers.
Carpet steamers are full-scale machines meant to clean large messes like dog accidents. A combination of cleaning solution and hot water are used to clean. You can simply place the cleaner on a single spot and run it to work one area, or you can move it around and use it to clean an entire room’s carpet in a reasonable amount of time.
Spot cleaners are smaller machines and that means you can transport them and store them with a lot more ease than a full sized steamer. Spot cleaners are ideal in that sense for apartments and smaller houses, as well as for attending just a spot or two here or there on a carpet or upholstery.
Do you need a carpet cleaner?
As someone with a constantly messy carpet, I can emphatically say YES! A carpet cleaner is a really amazing machine to have on hand if you can get one.
Vacuums are good, but some things are just not cleaned up by vacuums and for that you’ll need a carpet cleaner/shampooer. There’s just no way around it.
Pet-friendly homes constantly encounter messes and a carpet shampooer for pets is a must for keeping a clean carpet. As of late, they’ve become far more budget friendly than before.
Carpet shampooers for different kinds of pets
Do you need a separate kind of cleaner for different pets? If you own a rabbit, a cat, and a dog, do you need three cleaners? Fortunately, the answer is no. There are specific types of cleaning solutions that tackle urine, others that are meant for feces, and more for yet other stains, but you can simply fill the tank with the desired solution.
A urine cleaning solution, for example, will be able to clean cat, dog, and any other kind of urine as well.
Vacuum or carpet cleaner?
So we’ve already talked in much depth about vacuums for pets. So can you get away with just a vacuum, or just a carpet cleaner, or is it best to have both?
Vacuums suck up dry dirt, dust, and particles from your floors/carpets. Carpet shampooers will clean much deeper than vacuums, especially since they use water and cleaning solution.
You’d also vacuum much more often than you’d shampoo. Some folks like to vacuum daily, or at least a few times a week. You probably won’t need to shampoo every single day.
Personally, I feel that if you have pets, small children, or both, invest in both a carpet cleaner and a good vacuum. You’ll thank yourself later for these investments.
Note: When my son started walking and eating with his hands, I invested in a roomba-style vacuum that made life a LOT easier to pick up after the crumbs he dropped everywhere!
Best carpet shampooer brands
There are a few dominating brands in the carpet and vacuum cleaner space. One of those brands is Hoover. Hoover is actually so synonymous with vacuuming that some British people tend to use “hoover” as a verb!
“Did you hoover the living room?”
The carpet cleaners and shampooer market is cornered by three major brands: Rug Doctor, Bissell, and Hoover.
You’ve already seen our recommended products from these brands, but we figured we’d put a little brand history lesson here too in case you were interested.
Bissell is in fact the oldest cleaner company that made our list today. It’s been in business since 1876, before vacuum cleaners were invented! The Bissell couple initially marketed a carpet sweeper, which was like a manual vacuum.
Essentially, it was a rotating brush that spun as you pushed it across the floor and it grabbed dirt and dust. Eventually this design gave way to vacuums and carpet cleaners.
Normally, companies that trailblaze in one area often fall prey to developments and technological changes – Kodak film is a great example of this – but Bissell has been smart and they’ve managed to stay on top of the market.
Interestingly, Bissell was the first company to make a carpet cleaner machine!
There’s just a lot of goodwill and reputation in Bissell so you know you’re getting a good quality product if you choose them.
Hoover is also a really old company, founded in 1907. Hoover was one of the first companies to introduce suction into the sweeping mechanism.
As the vacuum (suction sweeper) gained traction, the older manual design went out of fashion and the word Hoover became synonymous with the word vacuum.
Hoover is still at the top of the market today and they make a lot of different floor cleaning products.
Rug Doctor is not quite as old as the other two companies but it’s certainly reputable. You may have seen Rug Doctor machines outside of Home Depot or your local hardware store. These guys don’t make vacuums – they just make carpet cleaners.
Carpet shampooer for pets: buying guide
What factors do you need to consider when getting a carpet shampooer for your pet messes? Here are some things to bear in mind:
Some brands have their own special solutions designed for cleaning pet stains. The first thing you want to know before buying a machine is if your machine can work with a cleaner formula specifically designed for pet stains and odors.
More pet specific features
Some models have extra features designed for cleaning pet-related messes, like a special brush or motorized extension that really scrubs to get any urine, feces, and hair out.
This is an important consideration as it will dictate how and where you can store your carpet shampooer. A large home with a garage can have a full sized carpet cleaner, but for smaller homes and apartments, you want to stick to spot cleaners as they can easily be stowed away in a cupboard.
Powerful motors that induce a lot of suction will be able to get really deeply ingrained stains out better than those cleaners that have weaker motors.
More suction also means the moisture is drawn out more efficiently, so there’s less risk of mildew from the wet carpet. Powerful motors are also helpful for cleaning deep, thick carpets.
How easy it is to clean
Finally, you’ll need to clean your carpet cleaner too! So an important factor in your decision making will be how easy it is to clean. Most newer carpet cleaner models are designed with easy cleaning in mind. Most models have two separate tanks that are easily opened independently – one for clean water and one for dirty solution.
Reasons to get a carpet shampooer for pets
- Pet odors and stains can easily be cleaned up. If a carpet shampooer can clean dog urine, it can clean anything.
- Having your own machine is super convenient and you can clean up right away before the smell can settle in
- Domestic carpet cleaners are not quite as powerful as commercial ones. The suction power may not be as much as you need, so you may find the carpet remains slightly damp. In a well ventilated area, this is not a problem as the excess moisture will dry quite easily.
- Carpet shampooers are not replacements for vacuums.
Making the most of your carpet shampooer
As with any piece of equipment, you want to maintain it as best as possible and make sure it runs optimally for as long as it can.
Here’s how you can get the best results from your machine and extend its life:
Vacuuming regularly will actually reduce the need to shampoo your carpet as most of the superficial dust and dirt will be taken care of by the vacuum.
This way, when you do use the cleaner, you can really target a spot and the brushes can get in deep and attack what the vacuum did not reach.
Another way to think of this is that the cleaning solution can only hold so much dirt and grime suspended in it – so if you are able to vacuum up some of the upper, looser particles, the deeper set particles have a better chance of dissolving in the solution.
Clean up immediately
This really goes without saying, and I’m sure you do this already, but don’t wait to clean up messes. The faster you get to the mess, the easier it will be to clean.
The reason behind this is that an, ahem, fresher mess will not have set as much into the carpet fibers as an older mess. The moment your cat or dog does its business in the wrong spot, chase the spot with the machine!
Here’s a tip: before putting your carpet cleaner on the mound of doggie doo or vomit, use a paper towel to blot it and pick up as much as possible. Then use the cleaner to tackle the rest of the mess.
Note: if the idea of blotting dog diarrhea with nothing between your hands and the feces but a paper towel, consider getting some latex gloves.
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Finally, vacuum before(only if the stain is dry) and after using the cleaner. If your vacuum can’t handle wet carpets, wait for the carpet to dry before doing so. Most good machines do such a great job of sucking up the moisture that about 30 minutes of drying in a well ventilated area does the trick.
Carpet cleaner maintenance
Cleaning and maintaining your carpet cleaner is essential to keep it running optimally.
- Deep clean the cleaner every now and then. This means the tanks, brushes, nozzle, and the exterior. It’s also useful to sterilize the tanks, brushes, and nozzle as they come in contact with contaminants.
- Since the brushes come in contact with the carpet fibers, remove lint and hair and make sure as little as possible is stuck in the machine
- Use recommended cleaners: hypothetically, you can use third party cleaners too as they’re just basic chemicals but to be on the safe side and to avoid nullifying your warranty, you want to use the products that are designed for your machine.
- Let all the parts thoroughly dry
For most people, pets are like family members, and like you have to clean up messes your family members make, you’ll have to clean up messes your pets make. Having a good carpet shampooer on hand will make cleaning up a lot easier!
Remember, the main factor for which carpet cleaner you choose is size: for a larger home, consider getting a bigger machine since it will help you clean up the whole carpet area and you probably have the space to store it.
If you’re living in a smaller place, the portable models will do a great job, too.