Can You Use Bleach Or Other Cleaners In A Bissell Crosswave?

If you have a Bissell Crosswave, you probably already know about their special brand of cleaning formulas. While they’re designed for the Crosswave, they might be more expensive than your old floor cleaners. Or maybe you just have an ingredient you prefer, like vinegar or bleach. If so, you’re probably wondering – can you use bleach or other cleaners in a Bissell Crosswave? We’ve consulted the company, and other cleaning experts, for the official answer.
If your Bissell Crosswave is still under warranty, you will void the warranty if you use anything besides their recommended Bissell cleaners. For this reason, you probably shouldn’t. But if you aren’t worried about the warranty, then technically, you can mix bleach water, vinegar, or just about any other cleaner. Ensure the cleaner is safe for the surface you’re cleaning. Never mix chemicals; stick to one type of cleaner per use and clean the Bissell thoroughly afterward to avoid potential residue build-up or chemical reactions.

Keep reading for more tips on great homemade floor cleaners and what surfaces you can use them on. We’ll also explain just how the Crosswave works and how to keep it clean and functional. 

A man uses a vacuum cleaner to clean the apartment. Concept of caring for the interior of the apartment, cleaning. Help husbands in housekeeping, Can You Use Bleach Or Other Cleaners In A Bissell Crosswave?

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How To Use A Bissell Crosswave

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The Crosswave is a multi-surface wet dry cleaner that you can use just about anywhere. It’s light, at only a little over 11 pounds. It works very similarly to a vacuum, with a rolling brush that lifts dirt and suction to remove it from the floor.

On the handle are two buttons for a hard floor or carpet setting. There is one tank for cleaning solution and one tank that holds the dirt sucked up by the vacuum. This means you don’t have to worry about pushing the same dirty water around on the floor, like a mop. There is also a trigger button for spraying the cleaning solution, letting you wet the surface as much or as little as you need. This is perfect for floors that can be damaged by excessive water, like wood.

The Crosswave can be used as a regular dry vacuum – just don’t push the trigger that squirts the wet solution. To use it as a mop, just spray the cleaner and let the vacuum suction the water/dirt. It works on most surfaces, including tile, linoleum, vinyl, area rugs, rubber floor mats, laminate, and sealed wood floors.

Floor cleaning with mob and cleanser foam

Alternative Cleaning Formulas

Once again, the company does not recommend using anything other than their official Bissell cleaners. While you’ll void the warranty if you use anything else in your Crosswave, many people do prefer their homemade cleaners. Just be careful that what you use is safe for the surface – Bissell formulas are safe for multiple surfaces, including linoleum, vinyl, tile, sealed hardwood, and more. But your homemade cleaner might not be. For example, bleach should never be used on hardwood floors.

Always dilute the cleaner properly, and don’t mix chemicals. For example, bleach should be diluted with water and nothing else. Many other household ingredients will react negatively with bleach and can be dangerous when mixed. And clean Bissell equipment when you’re done, just in case your cleaner has a tendency to gum up the Crosswave’s spray nozzle.


Some people like diluted bleach, but it isn’t safe on porous floors like wood. The pores in the wood absorb bleach, which can discolor the wood or finish. Worse, it can damage the wood itself. Save the bleach for materials like sheet vinyl, or skip it altogether. While bleach does work as a disinfectant, it’s not a very good cleaner

Learn more about cleaning with “7 Steps To Clean A Bathroom Floor With Bleach.

If you’re still set on bleach, the ratio is 1/2-cup to a gallon of water. This translates to about five teaspoons, in the 28- ounce Crosswave tank.


Vinegar, like bleach, has disinfectant properties. It’s not quite as effective, killing 90% of germs compared to the 99% that bleach can boast. It’s safe for most surfaces, even carpeting! Avoid using it on unsealed floors, grout, marble, granite, or natural carpet fibers like silk or wool. It’s also not a great choice for waxed floors. Finally, if you’re using it on hardwood, use a very dilute amount – the acid in vinegar can ruin the finish if you mix too strong. Stick to the same ratio as bleach, about five teaspoons for the Crosswave tank.

pH Neutral Floor Cleaners

Some floors require pH-neutral cleaners, like highly absorbant natural stone tiles. Since stone is porous, it will absorb whatever cleaner you use. Read more about that here. If it’s acidic, like vinegar, it can discolor the stone. A pH-neutral option like Zep will keep your floor safe.

Click here to see Zep Neutral pH Floor Cleaner on Amazon.

Can You Just Vacuum With The Crosswave?

The Crosswave does work as a dry vacuum for cleaning small spills. Simply avoid squeezing the spray trigger, to reduce the liquid cleaner that comes out. It actually has a surprising amount of suction, and the brush rotates at 3,000 rpm. This means it’s fairly competitive with regular, full-sized vacuums on the market. Just note that a number of reviews indicate it may have disappointing results on pet hair – the Pet Pro Crosswave might be a better fit in this case.

Why Is My Bissell Crosswave Leaving Streaks?

A man uses a vacuum cleaner to clean the apartment. Concept of caring for the interior of the apartment, cleaning. Help husbands in housekeeping, Can You Use Bleach Or Other Cleaners In A Bissell Crosswave?

If you experience streaking when using the Crosswave, there are a few simple options that tend to be the culprit. These include:

  • Not using enough cleaning solution. Hold the spray trigger to make sure you cover the floor evenly with cleaner.
  • Make sure you have enough cleaning solution in the tank – if the tank is empty, the floor can’t get any cleaner. This means you just leave streaks behind.
  • Using too much water – a saturated floor can leave streaks as it dries. Hold the spray trigger to cover the floor with cleaner, then go back without cleaner to help dry the floor. Simply release the spray button, and the vacuum function will work to absorb the water on the floor.
  • The rotating brush may be too dirty to effectively clean the floor. Take it out and clean it thoroughly.

How Do You Clean The Bissell Crosswave Brush Roll?

Every time you use the Crosswave, you should clean it thoroughly. This is even more important when using your own cleaner. You’ll want to be sure to take all of the pieces out and rinse them well, in case your cleaner tends to dry sticky or gum up the working pieces in the Crosswave.

Rinse out the tank and lid that holds the cleaning solution. Dump out the dirty water tank, then rinse that well. Clean the brush roll with the following:

  • Remove the brush roll window, over the brush roll, by pulling upward.
  • Remove the brush roll by pulling up on the tab on the side of the roll. 
  • Rinse the window and brush roll well under warm water, and set aside to dry.
  • Use a paper towel or cloth and wipe down the chamber (where the brush roll is normally housed). Wipe the spray nozzle as well, to prevent cleaning formula from sticking and clogging it.
  • Once dry, reassemble the brush roll. Insert the right side, then the left, locking it in place under the tab.
  • Put the brush roll window back in place, pushing gently till you hear it click.

You can also view a demonstration here:

In Closing

Bissell makes and recommends using their own brand of cleaners for use in the Bissell Crosswave. If your Crosswave is currently under warranty, using anything besides their recommended cleaners will void the warranty. However, it is possible to use other cleaners if you don’t have to worry about the warranty. The biggest concern is that the cleaner you use is safe for the surface you use it on.

The Crosswave and its cleaners are safe for use on multiple surfaces. However, your cleaning solution may not be. Also, be sure to rinse and clean the Crosswave pieces well after every use to prevent your cleaner from gunking or sticking to surfaces. This may make the Crosswave unusable – for example, if the spray nozzle becomes clogged by your cleaner.

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  1. This is a very unique review on the Bissell crosswave as it mentions some of the points that I found nowhere else. You added whether we can use bleach, vinegar and other home cleaning products in this machine to clean our floors or not, which is usually added to a FAQ section in a blog but I found that nowhere. Hence, I really found your blog helpful and informative as this question was in my mind for a while. You also added more questions like “can you just vacuum with the crosswave?,” which is also a FAQ so your blog focuses more on the frequently asked questions by home cleaners rather a boring, long blog talking about the pros and cons and that’s one great job you did right there! I’m very much satisfied with the time I spent reading your blog and I hope my experience with the Bissell crosswave is as good as your blog.

  2. I understand the warranty issue and thank you for the additional information. When we laid our new floor the cleaning suggestions included adding baby oil to the floor cleaner for a shine. Would that be a bad idea in the Bissell?

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