Upholstery cleaning stock
Carpet washers can come in portable and upright form factor, both removing pet messes and food spills from mattresses, couches and rugs. Image Credit: Shutterstock

Spills are inevitable in every household, no matter how much care goes into gingerly balancing a glass of juice over the new rug or sofa. Sometimes, it's only when stains accumulate over the years that we consider furniture shopping. But, with a wet vacuum cleaner in the closet, you'll have the luxury to quickly zap accidents as they happen. What better investment for the home than an upholstery cleaning machine?

Do I need a special carpet and upholstery cleaning device?

One compelling, and, perhaps, the most important, reason to invest in a wet vacuum cleaner is indoor allergens. Aju Issac Varghese, the owner of Dubai-based upholstery cleaning services Hygecare Plus Services, is a staunch advocator of deep cleaning our mattresses and sofas.

"Our clients don't believe the amount of dust we extract from their mattresses and sofas. People don't know the cause of their dust mite allergy till they see the doctor, who, then, tells them to clean their mattresses," said Varghese.

Upholstery cleaning machines not only remove the usual coffee and tea stains, but deeply embedded dust as well. Much like industrial strength devices, the machines pump a water solution and extract the dirty 'coffee' water from the surface, soon after. This step of extraction, says Varghese, is critical in lifting blemishes.

"Usually, when there's spillage, people will take care of it by dabbing cleaning chemicals on the spot. But you're adding more chemicals to the stain, which will leave a mark or cause colour damage. You have to extract the solution back out, and these machines do that for you," he added.

What should I look for in a carpet and upholstery cleaning device?

carpet cleaning stock
Look for a wider nozzle, accompanying attachments and suction power. Image Credit: Shutterstock

Before purchasing, most of us will consider the type of carpets, sofas and mattresses we own. Can every fabric material handle wet vacuuming? According to Varghese, carry out a patch test with expensive handwoven rugs, as the chemical solution can bleed the colours. In case the colours do run, stick with steam cleaning, he adds.

As for sofas, he rules out leather couches or any other similar material, which can sustain permanent damage. The same applies to delicate mattresses that might not be able to handle the push and pull of a powerful extraction.

Speaking of power, always go for a wet vacuum under two bars of pressure, to protect the fabric quality, says Varghese. A machine's nozzle should be wide enough to perform well, too. However, steer clear of hot water initially. He said: "Proteins in the stains, like in the case of blood and coffee, get cooked with hot water and become harder to remove." Always proceed with cold water or soak the stain, and, after wet vacuuming, allow the furniture air dry.

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With our expert's recommendations and user reviews, we've compiled a list of carpet and upholstery cleaning vacuums below, on Amazon. Some of these are available at a discount! Shop with Prime for free, fast delivery.

1. Best Overall: Kärcher SE 4002


  • Suitable for carpets, car seats, mattresses and sofas
  • Four-litre removable tank
  • Comes with a narrower upholstery nozzle for car detailing
  • One-bar spray pressure
  • Includes the full set of accessories


  • Bulky equipment

Karcher's spray extraction cleaner is Varghese's number-one pick, especially given how well the brand services its customers in the UAE. Maintenance checks are also easier with them around. The SE 4002 machine deep-cleans carpets, mattresses, car seats and other textile surfaces, using a two-in-one spray vacuum hose. It sprays water and the solution deep into the fabric with one-bar pressure and extracts the dirty water, promising quick-dry results. Refills are a nonissue with the four-litre removable fresh water tank, so you can carry it to the tap without the body. Karcher recommends the device for allergy sufferers and homes with pets. Your order comes with all the necessary equipment, from the detergent to the upholstery nozzle. Reviewers leave five stars on the performance, listing their dining room chairs, carpets, rugs and more, as good as new. It does operate like an industrial unit, which is why users recommend an open space to carry out the cleaning.

Bonus: Buy with 0% instalments and pay Dh100.83 for 12 months with select banks. 

Warranty: The manufacturer offers a one-year warranty. Amazon offers a one-year extended warranty for Dh74 and two years for Dh105.

2. Best Portable Cleaner: Bissell Little Green Multi-Purpose Portable Carpet and Upholstery Cleaner


  • Small, powerful cleaner for spot treatment
  • Lightweight at 4.3kgs
  • Easy to carry around
  • Comes with accessories and cleaning solution


  • Short hose, say reviews

The internet's favourite, Bissell Little Green is what most would find suitable for home use. This compact portable upholstery and carpet cleaner only weighs 4.3kgs and features an easy carrying handle on the top. There are two clear tanks fixed to either side of the unit, both measuring 1.4 litres, where one holds clean water and the other, extracted dirt. The three-inch tough stain nozzle scrubs and suctions away messes from carpets, upholstery, car interiors and more. Pet owners rave about this vacuum, having cleaned up dog vomit and outdoor paw stains, while others try it out with years-old couches and mattresses. 

Bonus: Buy with 0% instalments and pay Dh94.42 for 12 months with select banks.

Warranty: The manufacturer offers a one-year warranty.

3. Best Upright Cleaner: Hoover Automatic Smart Wash Carpet Washer


  • Washes and dries automatically with motion sense technology
  • Large clean water capacity at 3.5 litres
  • Mixes solution on its own
  • Dry Only mode speeds up drying process


  • Only cleans carpets

Hoover's popular carpet washer has a comfortable upright form factor, perfect for those who are used to the push and pull of a traditional vacuum cleaner. When the unit rolls forward, it washes the textile surface with FlexForce PowerBrushes, and as it rolls back, the cleaner automatically dries the carpet. You don't have to worry about the ratio of the cleaning solution to the water, since the Auto Mix technology does it for you. According to reviews, this Hoover vacuum is your best bet for squeaky clean carpets. Despite the Dry Only mode, they find that the cleaned surface still needs time to air-dry completely. For an even lighter upright washer, check out Hoover's compact carpet cleaner.

Bonus: Buy with 0% instalments and pay Dh124.92 for 12 months with select banks.

Warranty: The manufacturer offers a one-year warranty. Amazon offers a one-year extended warranty for Dh86 and two years for Dh121.

4. Best Value for Portable Cleaner: Rug Doctor 93306 Portable Spot Cleaner, 1.9 Litres


  • Portable on wheels
  • Retractable trolley handle for taking it anywhere, without lifting
  • Wide cleaning head
  • Has a motorised brush in the nozzle


  • Water tank is cumbersome to fill

Another portable device is the Rug Doctor spot cleaner for lifting stains as accidents happen. The unit's lightweight body rolls on carpet-friendly wheels and has a motorised brush for effortless cleaning. The nozzle head covers more surface area, creating a cleaning path of about 11.5cm, than that of similar portable cleaners, and features a dual-tank system, too. If you live in a multi-storey home, you'll have a much easier time carrying it up the stairs, with the retractable handle and lift handle. Reviewers have targeted their white sofas with this machine, leaving them impressed. They suggest cleaning once with solution water and again with plain water to avoid any soap stains.

Bonus: Buy with 0% instalments and pay Dh90.79 for 12 months with select banks.

Warranty: Amazon offers a one-year extended warranty for Dh63 and two years for Dh89.

5. Best Budget: Hoover CleanSlate Plus Carpet and Upholstery Spot Cleaner


  • Great with pet messes
  • Wide cleaning nozzle for larger areas
  • An array of attachments to tackle different surfaces
  • Has a dedicated rinse tool for the machine


  • Small tanks

For a wider range of accessories, opt for the Hoover CleanSlate Plus. There's a tool attachment for every mess, from the seven-inch WidePath tool to clean carpet stains, to TightSpot tool for crevices. Once done, the hose rinse tool flushes the machine with water, so that you can start with a fresh tank every time. The tank capacity is lower than most, at 1.18 litres, because of which, reviewers have found themselves refilling more often. Others mention washing their couch, mattress and their carpeted stairs, while plenty of pet parents attest to cleaning up cat and dog messes. Any beginner will also find the included clear instructions a breeze to understand, they add.

Bonus: Buy with 0% instalments and pay Dh66.58 for 12 months with select banks.

Our recommendations are independently chosen by Gulf News editors. If you decide to shop through links on our website, we may earn an affiliate commission, as we are part of Amazon Services LLC Associates Program.