Best Carpet Cleaners for Stairs in 2022: Buying Guide

Your home’s carpeting is probably the most dirt-ridden piece of furnishing in your home. This really shouldn’t come as a surprise seeing as how in some cultures walking indoors with your shoes on is seen as commonplace. You know, the same shoes you wear after taking your dog to the local dog park, stepping in only God knows what and bringing that filth back home. Sure, we leave our shoes at the front porch when they’re good and muddied up, but the stuff that we can’t see gets embedded in our carpets.

So short of changing an entire cultural habit, what can we do about it? The simplest, most effective way to deep-clean your carpets and restore them to their natural color.

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Carpet Cleaner | Recommended

Our Pick No. 1
BISSELL Little Green Multi-Purpose Portable Carpet...
BISSELL Little Green Multi-Purpose Portable Carpet...
Strong Spray & Suction. Remove tough pet stains with strong spray and suction.; Large Tank Capacity. 48 oz. tank means you can clean more between refills.

Our Recommended Carpet Cleaners for Stairs in 2022

8) Hoover PowerDash Go Portable Spot Cleaner, FH13010PC

Hoover PowerDash GO Pet+ Portable Spot Cleaner,...
  • POWERFUL STAIN REMOVER: Tackle any accident, spill or tough set-in stain
  • LIGHTWEIGHT SPOT CLEANING: Makes it easy to clean stairs, upholstery or an auto interior
  • PORTABLE AND COMPACT: Simply go from one cleaning job to the next with easy and convenient storage

7) Hoover Spotless Portable Carpet Spot Cleaner, FH11300PC

No products found.

6) Rug Doctor Pet Portable Spot Cleaner

Rug Doctor Pet Portable Spot Cleaner, 2X Suction...
  • 2X SUCTION POWER* (compared to leading comparable portable spot cleaners). The Rug Doctor Pet Portable Spot...
  • HANDHELD DUAL ACTION PET TOOL with rubberized bristles removes pet hair, tough stains and odors. Easily...
  • PORTABLE, LIGHTWEIGHT, COMPACT design features carpet-friendly wheels and a retractable handle. Perfect for...

5) SpotBot Pet Spot and Stain Cleaner 33N8A

SpotBot Pet handsfree Spot and Stain Cleaner with...
  • Every BISSELL purchase helps save pets. BISSELL proudly supports BISSELL Pet Foundation and its mission to...
  • Get rid of messes without getting your hands dirty. This hands free portable carpet cleaner does all the...
  • Preset cleaning cycles that automatically spray, brush, and suction to permanently remove both surface and...

4) Bissell Multi-Purpose Carpet Cleaner, 1400B

BISSELL Little Green Multi-Purpose Portable Carpet...
  • Every Purchase Saves Pets. BISSELL proudly supports BISSELL Pet Foundation and its mission to help save...
  • Removes Spots & Stains. Lift away messes from carpets, upholstery, car interiors and more. Power Rating: 3...
  • Strong Spray & Suction. Remove tough pet stains with strong spray and suction.

3) BISSELL 2694 SpotClean Spot Carpet Cleaner

Bissell SpotClean ProHeat Portable Spot and Stain...
  • Every Purchase Saves Pets. BISSELL proudly supports BISSELL Pet Foundation and its mission to help save...
  • Permanent Stain Removal with the Power of OXY. Take on your toughest spots and stains with the power of...
  • Heatwave Technology. Helps maintain water temperature throughout the cleaning process as you loosen and remove...

2) Bissell SpotBot Spot Deep Cleaner, 2117A

Bissell SpotBot Pet handsfree Spot and Stain...
  • Every BISSELL purchase helps save pets. BISSELL proudly supports BISSELL Pet Foundation and its mission to...
  • PERMANENTLY REMOVE TOUGH STAINS with the power of oxy, including pet stains, kitchen grease, wine, motor oil,...
  • HANDS FREE CLEANING. Automatic cleaning with the push of a button - Sends water and OXY formula deep into...

1) Bissell 3624 Spot Clean Carpet Cleaner

Bissell 3624 Spot Clean Professional Portable...
  • Every Bissell purchase helps save pets. Bissell proudly supports Bissell pet foundation and its mission to...
  • Our most powerful portable spot and stain cleaner for carpets, stairs, upholstery, auto interiors, and more.
  • Combines superior suction, scrubbing action and professional cleaning solution to remove stubborn pet stains,...

What is a Carpet Cleaner?

A carpet cleaner is exactly what the name suggests. It’s a cleaning tool used specifically for carpets. If you have colored carpets at home, then this is the most effective tool to keep them as clean as possible without spending a fortune on hiring professionals.

Carpet cleaners clean carpets by using a combination of stiff-bristle brushes, powerful suction, and a carpet cleaning agent. After injecting the cleaning agent and water into your carpet, the brushes get right to work by scrubbing and agitating the fibers, dislodging any pieces of embedded dirt and crumbs from the roots. The suction then pulls sucks up the water, detergent, and dirt.

Why not hire a professional?

Why not, indeed? You can always hire a professional cleaner to bring back the natural color of your carpets. But why go through the trouble of finding a trusted cleaner who will end up charging you a pretty penny to keep your carpets pretty? Also, the carpeting in your home might be fixed to your floors, so you can’t just lift it, roll it up, and take it to the nearest cleaner, can you?

Think of a carpet cleaner as an investment. Like a pressure washer, you won’t need to rely on professional help to get the job done. You can choose when to clean your carpets instead of waiting around all week for the cleaner to get to your home possibly if he feels like it.

Plus, there’s nothing more satisfying than cleaning your carpets on your own. Watching the tool pull up layers and layers of forgotten dirt from your carpets has to be one of the best ways to spend an entire afternoon.

Why you need a Carpet Cleaner

Assuming you have carpeting in your home, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t own your very own carpet cleaner. The following are just a few ways your home could benefit from you owning and using one of these super-handy tools.

Good for all kinds of stains

Anybody who’s ever owned a carpet knows just how prone it is to staining. It’s like there’s some magnet built inside of carpets that attract every piece of dirt and mud. Oh, and don’t forget about coffee stains, wine stains, ink stains, and pet… stains.

Increases longevity of your carpets

One thing we may forget about our carpets is that they’re not invincible. The longer you leave dirt, grime, mud, and food particles on your carpet, the greater the chance it has at destroying the fibers over time. So carpet cleaning is not just about maintaining the freshness of a carpet that ties your room together, but it also helps in ensuring that it’ll continue tying your room together for a very, very long time.

Gets rid of traffic effects

Traffic effects on a carpet are dark spots found on parts of a carpet that have the most traffic. These spots are not a result of dried layers of mud, but rather it’s a common effect of wear over several years. Commonly affected areas include hallways, living rooms, and stairs. You may have tried to get rid of traffic effects by using a sponge, soap, and elbow grease, but for some reason, this is impossible to do. Unless, of course, you have a carpet cleaner.

Best Carpet Cleaner for Stairs Buying Guide

By now, you should know the benefits of owning a carpet cleaner. In a nutshell, using one of these tools will keep your carpets clean and extend its lifetime significantly compared to leaving years and years of dirt embedded in your carpet’s fibers.

The great thing about carpet cleaners is that they’re not just used for large, flat surfaces. There are certain models out there that work beautifully on carpeted stairs – one of the hardest, most annoying places to clean, thanks to all of the corners. In this section, we’re going to focus more heavily on what makes for a good carpet cleaner for stairs.

Upright vs. Portable Carpet Cleaner

The first thing you need to consider is whether to get an upright carpet cleaner or a portable one. Both have their advantages which we’ll briefly go over.

An upright carpet cleaner looks somewhat like an upright vacuum cleaner, albeit slightly bulkier and considerably heavier. However, don’t let the weight of the tool get you down; a lot of the added weight has to do with a beefy motor which is what makes it the go-to tool for many at-home carpet cleaning services. The suction head is a lot larger than that of a portable unit, thus allowing it to clean larger areas much quicker.

The problem with a larger head is that it can be difficult vacuuming stair steps. It’s not uncommon for these tools to topple over if you don’t have proper upper body strength. If it comes with a stretchable hose, then you don’t need to worry about the unit falling and crushing you; instead, leave it at the foot of your stairs and let the hose do the suction work.

A portable carpet cleaner looks more like a canister vacuum in the sense that it’s a compact unit that uses a hose and different cleaning attachments. Portable carpet cleaners are way easier to transport and carry up and down stairs. The hose offers maximum maneuverability which you’ll need for cleaning stair corners. Although portable carpet cleaners are great for stairs and tight corners, you’ll have to spend a ton of time cleaning large carpets.


The weight of a carpet cleaner can be anywhere from 5 to over 40 pounds. Generally speaking, portable carpet cleaners weigh in at between 5 and 15 pounds, whereas upright models typically weigh more than 20.

For obvious reasons, cleaning the carpets on your stairs would be much easier to do with a lightweight, portable unit, but there are plenty of 20- to 25-pound upright models that can get the job done just as easily, especially if you rely on a stretchable hose and cleaning attachments. Let’s talk about cleaning attachments for a bit.

Cleaning Attachments

Carpet cleaners can come with an assortment of cleaning attachments designed for specific jobs. There are crevice tools and upholstery brushes for getting every bit of dirt and grime out of couches. But for cleaning stairs, the most reliable attachments are a narrow suction attachment, a rotating brush, and a triangular stair cleaning attachment. With these three tools, you can up your stair-cleaning game much more than if you relied entirely on the standard suction head.

Stretchable Hose

Now, the only way for the aforementioned attachments to work is if they’re connected to a suction hose. The best hose is a long one – 8 feet or more – that bends and stretches. Thankfully, most modern carpet cleaners include a near-perfect suction hose, so this is not going to be your main worry, but it’s still a good idea to make sure that you’re not getting a cheap piece of garbage that will snap within the first month of usage.

Heating Tank

The only way a carpet cleaner can effective deep-clean shaggy carpets and rugs is if it comes with an onboard water heater. In general, carpet detergents require between 100°F and 150°F to reach maximum sudsiness, but certain soaps may work better at a lower temperature. If you’re loyal to a certain brand of detergent, make sure that your carpet cleaner will work for your detergent best.

BUT! One thing that every pet owner should know is that pet stains can be removed with warm or hot water, but the odors they give off will become increasingly more potent. For this reason, if you have dogs or cats that haven’t been housebroken yet, you may want to find a carpet cleaner that uses cold water or relies on an external source to heat water.

Dual Fluid Tanks

Many modern carpet cleaners feature two fluid tanks – one for holding clean water (heating optional) and another for storing dirtied water suctioned up from your carpets. There are, however, models that come with a single tank which can hold either clean or dirty water, depending on what part of the cleaning cycle you’re currently doing.

We’d recommend finding a multi-tank model since it’s a lot easier to control. The only problem is that these tanks are usually limited in capacity – around 0.5 gallons per tank – whereas a single-tank model can hold up to 1.5 gallons or more. However, we’ve found that a small tank isn’t that big of a deal, especially since they’re easy to remove and carry.

Cleaning Modes

It’s a good idea to look for a carpet cleaner that comes with multiple cleaning modes. The most common modes are deep cleaning and express cleaning.

Deep cleaning is designed to dislodge and remove the toughest stains from the roots of your carpet’s fibers. This cleaning mode requires the use of more water and thus will take longer for the carpet to dry thoroughly. Express cleaning is used on newly made or light stains which are easily removed. Less water is used, so drying times normally take between 5 and 10 minutes.

Forced Heat Drying

To significantly reduce drying times, carpet cleaners can come with a forced heat drying feature which introduces blasts of hot air on the surface of newly cleaned carpets. This is especially handy for carpets after a deep-clean cycle and carpeted stairs (slippery stair steps equal slipping hazard).

Rinse Feature

This may sound like a no-brainer, but even modern carpet cleaners don’t come with a rinse feature. This is done to reduce the amount of time needed to dry carpets, but, without rinsing your carpets, you’re allowing more dirt to settle deep in your carpet’s fibers. Note that rinsing requires more water, requiring you to take multiple trips to your kitchen or bathroom sink to fill the clean-water tank back up.


Finally, the noise rating of a carpet cleaner is of great importance if you live with toddlers and pets. Thankfully, many of the newer carpet cleaners only generate a 60-decibel humming noise when in use. This is about the same noise levels as normal conversation tones, so sleeping babies and pets shouldn’t be bothered too much. Portable carpet cleaners are a lot quieter than their upright counterparts, so this is something to consider if loud noises bother you.

Final Remarks

The struggle of cleaning carpets by hand is enough to drive anybody insane. And it’s like every time you’ve finished cleaning your carpets, another stain will suddenly appear out of nowhere, so it’s back to square one with you. With a carpet cleaner, you can significantly reduce the amount of time spent on cleaning stubborn stains without the headache.

In this guide, we’ve provided you with the most fundamental knowledge of how to find the right carpet cleaner for stairs. The first thing to consider is whether you should get an upright carpet cleaner or a portable unit. Choosing between one or the other is a matter of personal preference, though we feel inclined to let you know that an upright carpet cleaner is much more versatile and makes cleaning large carpets go by in a flash. Also, if you get an upright model, make sure that it comes with a long stretchable hose and different attachments for cleaning stair corners.

But perhaps the most crucial thing to simplify the task of cleaning carpeted stair steps is getting a triangular stair cleaning attachment. This tool can fit into tight corners between steps and clean the edges of steps in a single sweep. Without this tool, you’ll have to maneuver the standard suction attachment at an odd angle which is a lot more uncomfortable than it sounds.

Other features like a heating tank, multiple fluid tanks, rinsing ability, and forced heat drying are all good and well to have. These additional features are mainly used for general carpet cleaning but can also be of tremendous help with dealing with carpeted staircases.

Carpet Cleaner | Recommended

Our Pick No. 1
Bissell TurboClean PowerBrush Pet Carpet Cleaner,...
Bissell TurboClean PowerBrush Pet Carpet Cleaner,...
Lightweight & Powerful. Compact design makes cleaning carpets easy and convenient.; Removable Nozzle. Easily maintain and clean your machine.

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Last update on 2023-06-03 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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