Bissell is a well-known name when it comes to cleaning, and it makes cleaning products for just about every type of surface. The PowerClean is one of several upright carpet cleaners it produces and is an attractive option for those who’d rather have an appliance in the house ready to go at a moment’s notice than trek to a hire shop and rent one for a weekend.
If your home is predominantly carpeted, or you have rugs covering a good proportion of your hard floors, then it’s handy to have a carpet cleaner on hand in case of accidental spills, as well as routine deep cleaning.
Separate clean and dirty tanks
Single brush bar
6m power cable
The PowerClean arrives in a surprisingly small box that’s not at all the shape you’d expect. That’s because the handle is removable, so a small amount of assembly is required. The benefit, though, is that you can remove it easily to store the PowerClean when you’re not using it – either back in the box, or simply in a cupboard where it won’t take up too much space.
Both the clean and dirty water tanks are easy to insert and remove, with the clean tank clicking into place on the handle, and the larger dirty tank fixing to the base with quick-release clips.
The fact that it’s on the base makes the handle lighter, though the machine is pretty lightweight at 5.6kg (without water).
Press the power button and the motor comes on. It runs continuously whether you’re wet or dry cleaning.
To use the cleaning solution, there’s a trigger under the top of the handle. When you release it, the PowerClean is in drying mode and sucks up the dirty water into the lower tank.
That’s it: there’s no separate wand for cleaning hard-to-reach areas or upholstery, and no other attachments. At around 240mm wide, the machine is quite narrow but it’s too bulky and heavy to attempt cleaning staircase carpets.
Its narrowness means you’ll have to do more passes to clean a room than if it were wider, but it also means it will fit into tight spaces and is smaller to store.
The clean water tank is fairly small compared to some carpet cleaners. Bissell claims that the dirty tank has a smaller capacity (1.72l vs 2.36l) but is physically larger, and in my testing was able to hold the pick-up from two tanks’ worth of cleaning solution.
Usefully, the clean tank has fill lines for water and detergent, so it’s easy to get the correct mix.
How much carpet you can clean from a single tank will depend upon how much water you release, and the manual offers no guidance on this. In fact, for anyone using a carpet cleaner for the first time, the manual’s word-less graphical instructions can be a bit unhelpful as they don’t explain how to use the machine – only how to set it up and disassemble the parts for cleaning afterwards. If you’re looking for tips on how to use a carpet cleaner, you can have a look at our guide.
It’s also relatively easy to miss the fact you need to use hot tap water in the tank, not cold as the PowerClean doesn’t have a heating element.
600W motor is powerful
Carpets should be dry in 2-4 hours
Fairly noisy at 82dB
To clean a carpet – or rug – you hold down the trigger while moving slowly forward in a straight line. Then, release the trigger and pull back over the same area very slowly and watch the dirty water being sucked up through the transparent cover on the top of the base into the waste water tank.
It’s amazing how dirty the water is, even after a single pass. The stiff bristles on the brush bar also do a great job of lifting dirt from deep down in the pile that normal vacuuming can’t remove.
I used the PowerClean to clean carpets in two different rooms, both of which I’d just vacuumed with a Dyson V15 Detect that had managed to suck up a whole lot of dust and dirt that my previous vacuum had failed to remove.
Yet the PowerClean left even more hairs and dirt on the carpet’s surface which even the V15 hadn’t been able to suck up. It’s disgusting to see what comes out of your carpets – in this case it was other people’s dirt as I’d just moved into a new house. Which made it even more disgusting.
However, it is satisfying knowing that your carpets are a lot cleaner afterwards. The only disappointment was that the odour I’d hoped it would remove from one particular carpet remained.
Drying time – something else that isn’t mentioned in the manual – is around 2-4 hours, but it’ll be faster on hotter days.
It’s worth going over the entire carpet with the PowerClean in drying mode once you’ve finished cleaning just in case you missed any areas: it’s obvious when there’s still water there as you can see it being sucked through the clear cover on the front of the machine.
Whether or not your carpets will look significantly cleaner afterwards really depends upon how bad they were before cleaning, as well as their colour and pattern.
On a stripy carpet I cleaned which had a mixture of dark and light stripes, the lighter parts did look cleaner after, but dark colours don’t really show dirt anyway.
The PowerClean also comes in handy is for accidental spills. I had a chance to test this when one of my kids burst a toy full of watery slime on our landing carpet. Setting up the machine took just a few minutes and it quickly dealt with the spill, leaving it close to dry and with no evidence it had ever happened.
Older stains are unlikely to be shifted, but I didn’t have any to try the PowerClean on.
Price & availability
At £149.99, the PowerClean is a lot cheaper than some carpet cleaners. And at the time of writing, even from Bissell Direct, it was discounted to £124.99. You’ll find it at the same price from other sites, including Lakeland, Argos and Amazon.
A small bottle of detergent is included in the box, but that’s enough for 1-2 rooms only. Bissell, of course, sells its own brand shampoo which costs from £15-23 depending on the type and fragrance and comes in 1.5L bottles. You’re free to use other brands of cleaner, of course.
Unfortunately, it’s not available yet in countries besides the UK.
If you just need to clean room carpets or rugs, the PowerClean is a great choice. It’s much more affordable than some rivals, though it does lack versatility: you can’t use it to clean your stair carpet, nor your sofa, car seats or anything else.
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