Cleaning up after pets is always a chore, but it’s hardest when you have carpeted flooring to maintain!
Pet messes are relatively easy to deal with on hardwoods or tile, but animals can muck up carpets like nothing else.
The best carpet cleaners for pets can penetrate deeply to extract ground-in dirt, as well as removing tenacious odors and stains. However, there are a lot of machines on the market today that simply aren’t up to the task of cleaning up after animals.
In this guide, we’ll introduce you to our favorite carpet cleaners for homes with pets.
These machines are reliable enough to use frequently, with effective brush heads that won’t get bogged down by the occasional stray hair.
Read on to see which models we currently recommend, and to learn which is the best to buy for your home!
Bissell ProHeat 2X Revolution Pet Pro Full-Size Carpet Cleaner
Bissell’s ProHeat 2X Revolution is currently our favorite consumer-grade machine on the market. It’s capable, reliable, and very well thought-out.
What sets this apart from the competition? Its deep-clean mode goes much deeper than others, which is very important in homes with pets. This thing cleans as well as most of the massive, commercial-size machines (except for the Big Green below).
- Every Purchase Saves Pets. BISSELL proudly supports BISSELL Pet Foundation and its mission to help save homeless pets.
- Engineered to be our best and most powerful carpet cleaning system for the toughest pet stains and odors even removes skunk odor
- MAX Clean Mode. Packing in 12 rows of rotating Dual DirtLifter PowerBrushes, it delivers professional grade cleaning to remove deep down embedded stains, dirt and odors.
- Express Clean Mode. Delivers dry carpets in about 30 minutes.
- Attack the Toughest Stains. Activate the CleanShot pretreater to deliver a concentrated stream of cleaning solution right where you need it.
You can also do quick maintenance cleans with the express mode, which is a nice feature that this one shares with the Hoover below.
The Bissell gets the edge for us, though, since we’ve found it does a slightly better job, even on this quick mode. We like to clean monthly if pets are in the home, but it’s good to do a biweekly fast clean with this mode, just to maintain things.
You don’t have to spend too long cleaning if you just do a single pass, and the floors dry quickly since much less water is used.
We like it because it definitely earns its “pet” branding, as opposed to the majority of machines that are marketed as such.
It has a feature to cover practically every technique we suggest for cleaning up after pet, from pre-treating to vacuuming up hairs in a dry mode.
It comes with a great two-in-one upholstery tool that can vacuum as well as shampoo, so it’s not the end of the world if you missed something with the vacuum before you got out the carpet cleaner.
There’s even a built-in pretreater for mess spots. We also absolutely love the removable cover over the brush head, too. It makes removing hairs extremely easy.
Hoover Power Scrub Elite Pet Carpet Cleaner
Hoover’s Power Scrub Elite is a very popular alternative to the Bissell that we think is worth checking out as well.
We like the Bissell better, but you may find that the Hoover’s set of features is more up your alley. This one has a quick cleaning mode just like the Bissell, and it dries floors quickly.
The extension tool is versatile like the Bissell as well. There’s an antimicrobial tool as well as the brush attachment which is a good choice for pet messes that you haven’t been able to completely pre-treat beforehand.
Its rubber nubs are very easy to sanitize.
- SPIN SCRUB SYSTEM: Powerfully removes deep-embedded dirt and stains with 360 degree brushes and strong suction while being gentle on your carpet.
- FAST DRY TIME: Tackle surface stains as they happen with Quick Clean Mode and enjoy dry carpets in 45 minutes.
- LARGE CAPACITY TANKS: 2 tank system with a 25% larger tank keeps dirty water separate from the clean water so you can clean more and refill less often
- AUTOMATIC DETERGENT MIXING: Take the guesswork out of mixing solution, Power Scrub Elite mixes the correct combination for you.
- WHATS INCLUDED: 8ft hose to deep clean hard-to-reach areas, 2-in-1 pet tool attachment to remove pet hair, stains, and odors, and sample bottle of carpet cleaning pet solution
The best feature is the fact that it has both wash and rinse modes.
We always recommend doing a rinse after your detergent pass, since any soap left in the fibers will become a magnet for dirt and stains, as well as a breeding ground for bacteria. With this one, you don’t even have to change the tank!
We don’t think it’s better than the Bissell, but a comparable alternative.
Features on one or the other may appeal more to you, so choose whatever you think you’ll get the most use out of.
There are some things we decidedly don’t love about the Hoover, too. The brush heads are harder to untangle, and the vertical design is more finicky than a horizontal brush roll like the Bissell and most other machines have.
Hoover machines aren’t as reliable, either.
If you’re looking for great value for money, top effectiveness and quality construction, we would recommend the Bissell ProHeat as the best carpet cleaner for pets.
Bissell Big Green Professional Carpet Cleaner Machine
Bissell’s Big Green is the best consumer-grade carpet cleaner you can buy.
We actually think it’s fair to call this a commercial-grade machine, since there’s no practical difference between the Big Green you can buy for your home and the one that’s sold to commercial users.
- Every Purchase Saves Pets. BISSELL proudly supports BISSELL Pet Foundation and its mission to help save homeless pets
- Outcleans the Leading Rental. Get professional grade cleaning results, Power Rating:12 amps
- XL DirtLifter PowerBrush. Eight rows of bristles penetrate carpet fibers to loosen and lift embedded dirt
- 9' Long Reach Hose & 6 inches Tough Stain Tool. Easily clean stairs, upholstery and hard-to-reach areas
- Use with BISSELL PRO MAX Clean with Protect Formula. Remove tough, ground-in dirt and stains
While we know that a lot of people simply won’t want or need this much carpet cleaner in their lives, it’s an absolute lifesaver for homes with pets that are entirely carpeted.
The sheer width of the cleaning path and the strength of the motors mean you can get your cleaning done in no time.
What impresses us most is the Big Green’s ability to penetrate down to the bottom of your carpet fibers to extract all the ground in dirt and debris your pets leave behind.
It’s also rugged and reliable enough to be used every month without breaking down. It does a great job on edges, extracts water very effectively, and is surprisingly economic for something so massive.
There are some perfectly valid reasons why you might not want to go for the Big Green, though.
For one thing, it’s very expensive. Don’t get this to clean just a room or two of carpeting. For another, it’s, well, big! You’ll need a decent amount of strength to carry it up and down stairs, and space to store it when it’s not in use.
Know when to use your machine, and when not to.
Don’t go straight in with a carpet cleaner after pets have accidents.
If there’s any poo to deal with, do your best to get it off the floor and into the trash without smearing it.
Then, pretreat the area with either an enzyme cleaner or a baking soda/vinegar combination (you can find tutorials for this on YouTube). These techniques are a much better way to go, since the heat of your carpet cleaner can set odors that you could otherwise remove.
Likewise, if you try and use a machine when there’s still poo on the floor, the brushes will smear it around and make a much bigger mess than you had in the first place.
Always Vacuum First
A lot of people seem to have the impression that a carpet cleaner with “pet” branding will clean up fur.
You can deal with a few residual hairs here and there, but no carpet cleaner is actually designed to deal with fur. You should always do a thorough vacuuming before you get out your carpet cleaner.
Otherwise, you’ll end up with clogged brushes, jams, and wet clumps of hair all around your carpeted floors. The more you can get out of the way with a good vacuum, the better a job your carpet cleaner will be able to do when you follow up.
We hope you’ve enjoyed our look at the best carpet cleaners for pets. You can learn more about any of the machines we’ve recommended here by clicking on the links in our reviews. You’ll also want to take a look at our guide to the best carpet cleaning solutions here!
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