Vax Spot Wash Spot Cleaner review: An excellent compact stain remover

Can a spot cleaner dethrone the dominant hand-held vacuum cleaner?

Vax Spot Wash Spot Cleaner

by Ryan Gilmore |

As good as a modern vacuum cleaner is, most are next to useless at removing stains from upholstery. And the worst part is, stains are almost inevitable in a car, there's sure to be one day that the shopping leaks or the dog makes a mess in the back.

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And sure you can use a stain remover and upholstery cleaner, but these are time-consuming and tiring to use. If only there was some electronic device that could act as a vacuum but also work as a stain remover while also being portable enough to easily use in the confines of a car's interior.

Vax may be better known for making a selection of good vacuum cleaners and carpet cleaners, but now it offers a smaller spot cleaner that is designed to be perfect on small stains.

Primarily designed for cleaning up stains around the home (on the stairs and sofas for example), the small size and portable nature might make it a decent choice for cleaning out a grubby car interior too. To find out we're putting one to the test on a car and around the home too.

What do you get with it?

Aside from the actual spot washer, you get a 250ml bottle of cleaning solution and two head attachments; one for hard surfaces, the other for soft ones. We tried both head attachments and were suitably impressed with their cleaning abilities.

The hard floor attachment was great for cleaning up spillages in the home but would be useless for most applications in a car.

On the other hand, the soft bristles in the soft brush attachment were perfect for pretty much any place within a car that needed a clean.

What’s good about it?

The Vax SpotWash in action on a chair
©Photo: Parkers

This small spot cleaner proved to be indispensable from the off, the small 24 x 36 x 38 cm dimensions are thoroughly impressive for such a powerful machine. This becomes even more impressive when you consider that this cleaner comes with two water reservoirs (one that can hold one litre, the other 1.6 litres). It only weighs 5.5kg fully loaded with water, making it decently portable.

For a start, it’s amazing at removing stains. I tried this product on several stains on a variety of surfaces (carpet, velvet and even canvas) and each time it thoroughly cleaned the surface of any spillage with ease.

The soft head attachment was good at agitating surfaces and the suction was powerful enough for any task I could throw at it. Not only could it lift stains and bits of dirt, but it was also excellent at removing smaller, embedded bits of dirt that a regular vacuum can often miss.

The self-cleaning function is also excellent. The nozzle can be inserted into the main body of the machine which allows the device to flush itself out, ensuring that it's fully clean for the next time you use it.

This also means that you don't have to worry about picking out pieces of sodden fluff or the machine becoming blocked. It also prevents the smell of stagnant water from emanating from the machine which is an obvious bonus.

Is it better than a vacuum cleaner?

The Spot Wash in action on a carpet
©Photo: Parkers

Obviously, this spot cleaner is neither as compact nor portable as some vacuum cleaners you can get. The Proscenic S1 cordless vacuum we tested recently is far smaller than the Vax, even including its docking station.

The spot cleaner is more powerful and has that added benefit of shampooing fabrics to remove stains but if you own a smaller car (think city car), then you may struggle to navigate it with this product.

On the plus side, thanks to the hand-operated trigger for the shampoo, it can be used as a regular vacuum cleaner when required, an excellent feature if you're choosing between a spot cleaner or handheld vacuum cleaner.

The reliance on a three-point plug is a little annoying if you are wanting to clean your car. Even with a generous 4.5-metre power cord, it can make cleaning difficult if you street park your car or live in an apartment.

Vax does sell a cordless model called the SpotlessGo, but this only has a 15 minute run time and no self-cleaning function.

Another slightly less than ideal fact is that you need the solution to remove stains. If your car or home is particularly mucky, you’ll quickly use up the complimentary 250ml solution bottle and need to purchase a new bottle fairly regularly.


While it remains a bit more cumbersome to use than a smaller vacuum cleaner, it is incredibly impressive how Vax has been able to so efficiently package this device to make it genuinely potable.

It's also very powerful, cleaning surfaces far better than a comparably priced vacuum cleaner and offering proper stain removal. And while the need for a plug is irritating, it's not a massive issue if you own a garage or driveway, a simple extension cable will solve this.

Add in the clever self-cleaning feature and how useful this will be around the home and it becomes something we recommend as a fantastic alternative to a regular vacuum cleaner.

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