How to Use a Bissell Proheat Carpet Cleaner

The Bissell Proheat flooring and upholstery cleaner comes in a few different models, but they all operate similarly: fill the tank with a cleaning solution and water, set your options and clean your surface of choice. One of the key benefits of this equipment is its ability to heat the contents of the tank up to 25 degrees hotter than their starting temperature and then maintain that temperature during operation. This allows for deeper, more effective cleaning. For safety purposes, always have the machine turned off and unplugged when filling the tank.

cleaning sofa
credit: Serdiukov/iStock/Getty Images
A vacuum attachment with bristles gently loosens dirt from upholstery fabric that could clog the Bissell Proheat.

Prepping the Room

Vacuum the area you're cleaning first, including hard floors, carpet and upholstery, to prevent clogging the machine. Then, pretreat any stains on carpet and upholstery. Enzyme-based cleaners are best for pet and protein-based stains, and an oxygen bleach-based product works beautifully for food spills. In a pinch, dilute a tablespoon of laundry detergent in a cup of water and sponge this directly on any marks. Avoid solvent-based spot treatments, as they can damage the plastic components of the Bissell Proheat. Let your pretreatment cleaner of choice sit for at least 20 minutes to give it time to penetrate the carpet or upholstery fibers.

Setting Up the Machine

Remove the measuring cup from the 2-in-1 water tank and fill it with a cleaner suitable for the surface you're treating. Bissell makes several cleaning solutions for various surfaces, including a special detergent for hard flooring as well as cleaners with built-in Scotchgard for carpet and upholstery. To maintain the warranty of the Bissell Proheat, you must use Bissell-made cleaners. But after the warranty period expires, don't limit yourself. Many cleaners intended for similar machines will work just fine, including your local retailer's off-brand versions of Bissell cleaners. You can also use white distilled vinegar to clean hard flooring and lightly soiled carpet.

Add your cleaner of choice to the tank's bladder and then fill the bladder the rest of the way with hot tap water. Flip the Proheat switch on and wait for 2 minutes so that the contents of the tank have ample time to heat up.

Quick tip: If you need assembly or step-by-step operation instructions, refer to the user manual.

Cleaning Floors

Set the machine to the floor-cleaning setting and position yourself at the wall farthest from the entrance to the room. If you're cleaning hard flooring, clip the hard floor tool onto the machine's main nozzle. This attachment doesn't come with all Proheat models, but you can purchase it through Bissell.

  • Engage the trigger on the handle of the machine and make one pass to dispense the cleaning solution.
  • Release the trigger and make several passes over the section to suction out the water.
  • Repeat the process, working in 3-foot sections.

The owner's manual suggests making one pass forward and one pass backward with the trigger engaged, but this is only necessary if the floor is heavily soiled; applying too much solution makes rinsing difficult. As you work, the equipment disperses the diluted cleaning agent from the tank's bladder onto the floor, and then suctions the dirty cleaning solution into the tank, where it collects in the empty space surrounding the bladder.

Use your Bissell Proheat to clean the following surfaces:

  • Standard-pile carpets
  • Linoleum
  • Tile
  • Vinyl

But avoid using it on these types of flooring:

  • Stone
  • Hardwood, including bamboo
  • Shag-style carpets
  • Oriental, antique and animal-skin rugs

Cleaning Upholstery

Make sure that water-based cleaning is safe for your upholstery; if there's a "W" or "SW/WS" on the upholstery's tag, the Bissell Proheat should work well. If the tag is stamped with an "S" or an "X," water could damage the fabric.

Cleaning Instructions

  • Switch the machine to the Ready Tools setting.
  • Disconnect the removable end of the hose from the machine.
  • Outfit the hose with your attachment of choice.
  • Hold down the trigger on the attachment to dispense the solution; release the trigger to suction up the solution.

Quick tip: Bristled attachments work well for durable upholstery that's heavily soiled, whereas flat attachments are ideal for more delicate fabrics and light soiling.

Tips and Tricks

The Bissell Proheat makes quick work of deep cleaning the surfaces in your home, but keep the following in mind to avoid frustration and maximize cleaning:

  • When the equipment stops dispensing the cleaning solution, it's time to refill the tank with cleaner and hot water. Even a small bedroom may require at least one refill during the cleaning process.
  • Rinse the lint screen, nozzle and any attachments you're using every time you refill the tank and prior to storage.
  • Opt for low-sudsing formulas for cleaning when possible. Excess suds leave behind residue that can attract dirt, forcing you to clean more often.
  • Fill the 2-in-1 tank with just water and clean carpets, upholstery and flooring for a quick pick-me-up in between cleanings and to rinse any cleaning solution residue out of soft surfaces.