Animal Lovers Biggest Helper

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4 May 2006

Animal Lovers Biggest Helper

Review of: Bissell 1200B SpotBot Hands-Free Compact Deep Cleaner Carpet Cleaner
By: Danielle Bourgeois
Rating: 5
Read review on Judy’s Book.

As the foster mother of four puppies, and the adoptive mother of two so-so potty-trained adult dogs, I’ve found the SpotBot® to be a real time-saver. (Not to mention saving my back, my knees, my carpet, and my security deposit.)

The SpotBot® is a compact deep-cleaner (not a steam cleaner) and runs on AC power. There is a plastic tank on each side of the cleaner; one for the water/formula solution, and the other for the collection of the dirty water. There is a control panel on the top of the unit, directly under the handle, that sports sleek silver buttons for the set-in stain and fresh stain settings. There are also buttons for stop and pause/resume. An approximately 6-foot accordion hose wraps around the base of the cleaner and snaps into place; the head for the hose snaps onto a separate docking area. The bottom of the unit houses a large round brush/beater bar combination that is approximately 8.5 inches in diameter; it rotates in a clockwise motion above the dirty carpet area. Sixteen ounce bottles of Little Green™ formula and OxyGen™ formula are included. (I primarily use Bissell’s Pet Odor and Stain Removal™ formula, which does a fantastic job of removing the odor and stains that accompany pet accidents. I used the Little Green™ formula and was impressed with it as well. I haven’t yet had to use the OxyGen™ formula, an oxygen-boosting stain removal accelerator and pre-treatment, although I have to believe it works just as fantastically as their other products.)

The clean and dirty tanks snap in and out with ease. The clean tank is clearly marked with fill lines for formula and water on one side and OxyGen™, formula, and water on the other. I have a minor quibble with the design of the wedge-shaped clean tank. It can’t be placed flat for easy filling as the fill opening is in the base of the tank, and the plastic cap protrudes about an inch-and-a-half, making the base uneven. The clean tank must be held upright in one hand while the formula and water are poured. The dirty tank is also wedge-shaped and marked with full-line and I recommend that you empty it before you reach the line. Lately I’m having issues with my dirty tank leaking a bit so I’m trying to empty each time I use it. (Note: I’ve researched this issue on Bissell’s site, and it may be due to user error. I have removed some dog hair that might have been preventing a good seal from being made and I’ll monitor the situation and post as necessary.) Emptying the tank is easy, as is rinsing residue from the tank.

Although two of the puppies have since been adopted since I bought the SpotBot® from Target two months ago, we still have two puppies, plus the two adult dogs, and the SpotBot® gets a pretty steady workout. It has performed consistently – and amazingly – well, removing set-in stains, as well as fresh ones, with ease.

I primarily use the SpotBot® for cleaning up puppy piddles, so the majority of my use is for fresh stains. However, I do agree with the poster who finds that the set-in stain setting does a better job overall, and this is the setting that I usually use.

Since my puppies don’t usually have accidents that are more than nine inches in diameter, it is easy to place the SpotBot® on top of the accident, hit the set-in stain button, and walk away. (Don’t walk too far, though, because the cycle-complete beeping can only be silenced by physically pressing the stop button on the unit.) Upon completion, my personal preference is to move the SpotBot® off of the cleaned area to allow the slightly damp carpet to dry completely. (I finger-rake the area after drying to avoid a living room full of “crop circles”.)

The brush accessory does a fine job on stains larger than nine inches in diameter (think adult dog.) As mentioned previously, the brush head and hose each dock securely onto a plastic protrusion. The button to uncouple the docking is slightly depressed and very small, making it a bit difficult to uncouple, even for me who has moderately long fingernails. (If you don’t have fingernails, good luck.) The head itself has a row of brushes for scrubbing, and a trigger for spraying solution. The suction is excellent and I rarely have to make more than one or two passes to remove all liquid from the carpet.
(Do be sure to put the hose back after use because hands-free doesn’t work while the hose is unwound.)

For set-in stains, the SpotBot® is just as amazing. I used the hands-free, set-in stain setting on a black stain I couldn’t get out of my beige carpet, and six minutes later it was gone – like it had never even existed!

In closing, I agree with the Amazon reviewer that said the SpotBot® is worth at least three times the going rate. (I paid $79 at Target.) It performs magnificently and is so simple to use that no one in my family has any excuse for not getting a stain cleaned up immediately. The one problem I’ve had with it (the dirty tank leaking) was easy to identify and remedy (I hope) using Bissell’s excellent online support documentation. (I haven’t had to use their toll-free customer support line, but they get high marks on the Amazon.com reviews.) If you’re considering buying this, you can’t go wrong. Get going and get off your knees!

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