Rug Doctor Portable Spot Cleaner Review: For Cleaning Tight Spots

Rug Doctor is synonymous to full sized carpet cleaners but did you know that they also manufacturer portable cleaners?

The Rug Doctor Portable Spot Cleaner is a great option for cleaning areas that a large cleaner can’t reach.

This will complement a full size carpet cleaner thanks to its compact size, hose and nozzle.

One thing I like about this product is the vibrating brush that it has on the nozzle. If you look under the nozzle there are three rows of stiff bristles and a size brushes.

The vibrating brush will provide additional agitation and should do well deep cleaning carpet stairs or fabric upholstery.

Unlike other portable carpet cleaners, this is massive having one of the larger water tanks, longer hose and larger nozzle. The obvious downside to this would be the size and heft. This machine will be heavier and may fit on stairs which makes it a bit tricky to use cleaning tall flights of stairs.

Is this Rug Doctor worth the $120++ price tag? Let’s find out in this review.

To help guide you in this review, I’ve prepared a table of contents section…

First let’s look at the features of the Rug Doctor portable spot cleaner…

  • Capable of removing stains thanks to the powerful hand held oscillating motorized brush that’s usable on stairs, carpet, area rugs, upholstery and car interior
  • Uses pure agitation and suction to remove stains so it will not damage fabric upholstery
  • Retractable handle and carpet-friendly wheels help moving this around easy
  • Separate dirt and clean water tanks ensures that there is no cross-contamination
  • Optional Rug Doctor carpet cleaning solutions are available

Pros

  • Great agitation will work well on most fabric upholstery and carpet stairs
  • Large water tank means you’ll be able to cover a lot more real estate
  • Large nozzle has a wider cleaning path than the average portable cleaner
  • Above average suction will pick up spills

Cons

  • Not as compact as other carpet cleaners so there will be a little difficultly cleaning stairs
  • Short hose will not cover a full flight of stairs
  • Bulky cleaning head may not work very well inside a vehicle

What to expect from the Rug Doctor Portable Spot Cleaner?

Before I continue in this review, let’s watch this video to see what you’ll get inside the box and how it performs.

To see the cleaning test, you can jump to the 14:36 mark to see how it does on a coffee stain…

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OV695y3DQYw

In terms of features, this machine comes with typical carpet cleaning features.

Dual tank system

It comes with a dual tank system that separates clean water and dirty water. Loading the water on the clean tank is simple. Just remove the tank from the body by pulling it up then open a locking cap underneath to remove the hose and seal.

But here’s the tricky part. Since the top of the water tank has a concave shape, you will have to hold it or the water will spill.

There’s no guess work since you’ll just be filling up water until the first fill line and cleaning solution until the second fill line.

The dirt water tank is easy to empty and clean since the filter and cover is removable.

This is an important feature because it allows you to clean the tank and prevent it from getting smelly.

Oscillating brush

One unique feature found in this portable cleaner is the oscillating brush that improves agitation. I don’t think other brands have this feature which makes the Rug Doctor unique.

Look underneath the cleaning nozzle and you’ll see three rows of stiff brushes plus two edge brushes. This gives this machine excellent agitation and cleaning power to clean even the toughest stains.

2X suction

Another feature that makes this an effective cleaner is suction. Rug Doctor says this variant has twice more suction than the leading brand. When they say leading brand I’m guessing they’re talking about the Bissell portable carpet cleaner.

As you’ve seen in the video above, suction is good enough to remove most of the coffee spills on carpet.

There’s no need to use paper towels to blot out excess liquid. Just use the machine itself to be more efficient.

Retractable handle

Moving this carpet cleaner is easier thanks to the retractable handle and wheel. It also has a carrying handle that allows you to carry this up and down multi-level homes.

The retractable handle though is a bit wobbly so you’ll have to be careful when using it with the tanks full.

Warranty

Rug Doctor backs this up with a 2 year warranty. If you think that’s tool short then you can purchase the extended warranty in Amazon.

Cleaning performance

One of strong point of the Rug Doctor hands down is the cleaning performance.

Just look at this before and after screenshot of the coffee stain you saw in the video above.

The screenshot by the way is courtesy of ibaisaic, please subscribe to him if you have not as he gives awesome vacuum reviews.

Take note that the cleaning wasn’t used in any of the three photos above. It was just the initial process of removing the coffee spill with just the suction. You can still see the outline of the spill but the results are pretty good as is.

Next step would be applying cleaning solution and removing the rest of the coffee stain.

And here is the result after several passes.

Pretty good isn’t it. You can barely see the coffee stain in the photo. This is the value of a spot carpet cleaner during these instances. It is a handy tool to have especially if you have children.

Don’t waste paper towels anymore

You don’t need towels to remove spills on carpet.

With this tool, you can use it to remove liquid on carpet easy. Remember that this is just the first step and you’ll need to apply cleaning solution. But this proves that how the good the agitation is from the three rows of bristles.

Rug Doctor says that this will work best on fabric upholstery and carpet. Make sure to use the Rug Doctor cleaning solution to get the best results and not to void the warranty.

What consumers say?

This carpet cleaner is one of the more popular options in Amazon with over 1,000 reviews. Not as popular as the Bissell but consumers who use this is happy with the performance.

Thanks to the oscillating brushes agitation is a strong point of this machine. Some say that it’s better than a competing Bissell portable cleaner that’s cheaper.

Consumers say that they have used this to clean different sorts of stains from coffee to pet stains and it had very good performance.

If there is a potential issue with this machine, that would be the fit and finish particularly the water tanks.

There were several complaints of the clean water tank dripping and leaving a small puddle of water. Not really a big deal if you put a towel underneath but it is a concern if you’re a neat freak.

Another issue would be the plastic cover of the dirty water tank that seems to pop off easily.

If you’re using this inside your vehicle, the nozzle size will somewhat be an issue because it will not fit in tight places.

Other plus points of the Rug Doctor are the larger than usual water tanks, retractable handle and wheels that make it easy to move around.

Where can I buy this?

You can buy the Rug Doctor portable spot cleaner in Amazon for less than $140 and it’ll come with 2-day free shipping if you join Prime.

Amazon also sells extended warranties of up to 3-years of you want that extra peace of mind that something might break.

To wrap up

The Rug Doctor portable spot cleaner is a great option for folks looking for a good quality spot cleaner for carpet and upholstery. Of all the portable cleaners, this perhaps has the best agitation because of the oscillating brushes and good suction.

It’s not the cheapest option but it will clean stains bottom line. However there are some issues that you need to be aware off like the leaking issue and large nozzle that may not fit in the tightest spots.

Garrick Dee
 

Garrick is the founder of the Cordless Vacuum Guide that originally focused on cordless vacuums but he has now expanded to reviewing corded vacuums and carpet cleaners to be able to provide a more complete guide in terms of choosing the right cleaner.

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