How to Clean a Mildewy Steam Cleaner Tank


Jennifer asked: My Bissell Pet Bot has a mildew odor. How do I remove the odor? My daughter used the Bissell Pet Bot cleaner a few weeks ago to clean up dirty spots on the carpet. She forgot to empty the tank and now it has a strong, mildew odor. I cleaned the tank and soaked it in bleach. The odor is still there..

When dirty water gets stored inside of the plastic tanks, it provides the perfect breeding ground for mold and mildew. Removing this smell can take some time and effort, but it will be well worth it. Here is the cleaning method recommended by customer service at Bissell.

You Will Need:

  • Warm water
  • Dish soap
  • Sponges or soft cloths

Steps to Remove the Odor:

  1. Remove the water tanks from the main component of the cleaner.
  2. Dispose of any liquids that have been sitting in the tanks.
  3. Rinse the tanks out as much as possible to remove any dirt that may have built up and be stuck inside.
  4. Fill a tub or large sink with warm water.
  5. Add dish soap to the water and mix it well.
  6. Soak the tanks in the water for several hours.
  7. Use a soft cloth or sponge to remove as much of the grime as possible. Wipe down any rubber gaskets or seals around the edges.
  8. Rinse with clean water.
  9. Repeat. It will likely take several cleanings to completely remove the odors.

Additional Tips and Advice

  • Do NOT immerse any of the electrical components in water. This will cause irreversible damage and is extremely dangerous. If needed, a slightly damp cloth can be used to wipe down the UNPLUGGED machine. Allow it to dry completely before using.
  • Allow the tanks to dry completely between cleanings and use. The presence of moisture allows for more bacteria growth which leads to odors.
  • If possible, use a long scrubber, such as a bottle scrubber, to clean the inside of the tanks. If there is dirt and grime left in the tanks, there will likely be a lingering odor with it.
  • It is not recommended that you soak the tanks in bleach. This can cause damage to some of the components and should not be used.
  • These cleaning methods can be used for most steam cleaning water tanks that can be removed from the machine.

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