Rub a Dub Dog: Bissell BarkBath Dual Use Review

Gadgets Products Reviews
My pup Tor and the BarkBath. Image by Paul Benson.

I’ve been happily using Bissell products to clean up after my pet for years, including the Pet Hair Eraser and the SpotBot Pet. So when I had the opportunity to test the new BarkBath Dual Use Portable Dog Bath & Deep Cleaning System, which promises both water-saving pet bathing and spot carpet cleaning, I leaped at the chance. Let’s take a look at my time with the BarkBath, and you can decide if this is the product for you.

What’s in the Box?

Opening up the sizable box that the Bissell BarkBath ships in, I was initially greeted with a printed cardboard insert, which identifies all of the tools to be found underneath in an egg carton tray.

Tool tray reference guide. Image by Paul Benson.
BarkBath tools. Image by Paul Benson.

Flip over the guide to the tools, and you’ll find a handy Quickstart guide (the contents of which are also found in the included instruction manual).

Quickstart guide. Image by Paul Benson.

And finally, underneath the tool tray was the BarkBath unit itself, along with a bottle of dog shampoo, a bottle of carpet cleaner, a sound-dampening microfiber rug, and a washcloth.

Barkbath unit and other box contents. Image by Paul Benson.
Shampoo, carpet cleaner, and washcloth. Image by Paul Benson.

Setting Up the BarkBath for Pet Washing

Getting ready to use the unit is pretty simple. First, place the BarkBath on the supplied noise-reducing microfiber carpet. Lay out a towel for your dog to be bathed on. Then, choose the attachments based upon the length and quality of the dog’s hair, and place them on the end of the pet cleaning tool.

Tool tray with attachments. Image by Paul Benson.

Fill the water tank with clean water.

Clean water tank. Image by Paul Benson.

And the shampoo tank with the no-rinse shampoo.

Shampoo tank. Image by Paul Benson.

Plug it in, turn it on, and you’re ready to go!

Using the BarkBath to Wash Your Dog

As the BarkBath sprays water and has a vacuum built in to suck up the water, your dog might initially find it a little frightening. Bissell includes a series of tips on how to acclimate your dog to the BarkBath if they are nervous or anxious. My 9-month-old pup was definitely unsure of the device, so I followed those steps.

Getting Tor used to the BarkBath. Image by Paul Benson.

Unfortunately, it was taking quite a long time and he still didn’t want to get anywhere near the machine when it was turned on. So for the sake of actually being able to review the BarkBath within a decent span of time, I brought it over to my sister’s house, where she had two dogs that were much more relaxed about noise and being bathed.

Sophie being bathed. Image by Paul Benson.

We started with her long-haired Chiweenie Sophie. Putting on the attachments for long and thick hair, I briefed my sister on how to wash her with the BarkBath: Place the nozzle flush against the fur, and pull the trigger as you groom in a downward motion.

More washing of Sophie. Image by Paul Benson.

While Sophie was tolerant of the BarkBath, my sister could tell she wasn’t really loving it, so we decided to switch to her Rottweiler Moko, who had recently had some surgery. Changing the attachments to match Moko’s fur, we prepared to bathe her.

Moko and the BarkBath. Image by Paul Benson.

Moko loved the BarkBath!  As my sister put it, for Moko it was “like having a spa day.” She eagerly flopped down to have her chest washed, at which point I discovered an aspect of the BarkBath which doesn’t appear in the instructions.

Moko gets washed. Image by Paul Benson.

Because you are able to target specific areas on a dog with the BarkBath, it’s ideal for grooming your dog if they have had a recent surgery. You can easily avoid the parts of the dog that shouldn’t be bathed, and because the BarkBath removes the water as you use it, you don’t have to concern yourself with toweling them off and possibly irritating or tearing stitches.

Using the BarkBath to Spot Clean Carpets

Because this is a dual-use machine, by changing to the carpet cleaning attachment and adding the cleaning solution tank, you can spot clean carpets and upholstery. This works very similarly to washing your dog.

While it worked well on light stains, the BarkBath dual use lacks the mechanical scrubber in a dedicated cleaner like the SpotBot to deal with ground-in dirt.

Final Thoughts

Overall, I was impressed with the BarkBath. Sure, my dog didn’t want anything to do with it, but I’m confident with some more time and patience he would get used to it. The no-rinse shampoo has a nice smell to it, and at the end of bathing, dogs are drier than using a towel after a traditional bath.  However, as you are dealing with water, no matter how careful you are there will be some water spilled—hence the towel you’ll want to place on the floor under your dog.

Tor cautiously investigates the BarkBath. Image by Paul Benson.

While it can’t handle the deep stain cleaning of the Bissell SpotBot, you can still handle spot and carpet cleaning well with the BarkBath Dual Use. It is larger than a SpotBot cleaner, but the size isn’t overwhelming, and has roughly the same footprint as that other device.

A minor gripe I have is that I would have liked to have seen fill lines on the tanks, especially the ones for the shampoo and carpet cleaning solution. But because of how the machine works, you basically can just fill the tanks up to full, and then pour any unused cleaner back into its bottle after you’re finished.

If you’re looking for an all-in-one solution to cleaning and cleaning up after your dog, I’d suggest taking a look at the BarkBath Dual Use Portable Dog Bath & Deep Cleaning System. It retails for $199.99, and is available directly from Bissell or from Amazon.

Things I Liked

  • Easy to use.
  • Can be used in any room of the house.
  • Pleasant smelling shampoo and carpet cleaner.
  • Good for special needs dogs.

Things I Didn’t Like

  • No fill lines on tanks.
  • Some dogs won’t take to the BarkBath easily.
  • Won’t do as good of a job cleaning stains as a dedicated carpet cleaner.

Note: Bissell provided a BarkBath Dual Use for evaluation, but had no input into this review.

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