If you have pets or kids, you have a busy household. Chances are, you’re not a stranger to stains. Even if you live alone, there is a chance that you’ve tracked mud in or spilt something at one point or another. Stains are inconvenient and unsightly, and they can be a huge hassle to remove unless you know the best carpet stain remover.
Carpet stain removers are one item you want to have in your arsenal when you start cleaning. All you have to do is spray them on, let them sit and work their magic, and either vacuum them up or pull out your carpet cleaner and go over the spot. They’re convenient, and you can choose from so many different types. There’s multi-purpose ones and pet-specific ones available.
However, you most likely don’t have time to sit and compare dozens of products, and this is where our roundup comes in. We’re going to give you short reviews on each one, highlight the good points, discuss the not-so-good points, and give you a short buyer’s guide to cap it off.
It’s easier to spot clean your carpet when they first happen rather than waiting for them to set it. If they do, they’re going to be more difficult to remove.
- 1. Pro Oxy Power Shot – Top Pick
- 2. Professional Pet Stain and Odor Remover – Step-Up Pick
- 3. Carbona Oxy-Powered Carpet Cleaner – Mid-End Budget Pick
- 4. Woolite Advanced Stain & Odor Remover – Bargain Budget Pick
- 5. Pet Expert Carpet Moist Powder – Best for Set-In Pet Stains
- 6. Wine Away Red Wine Stain Remover – Best for Removing Red Wine Stains
- 7. Professional Strength Stain & Odor Eliminator – Best for Odor Removal
- 8. The Spruce Pet Stain & Odor Remover – Best for Hardwood Floors
- 9. Resolve High Traffic Area Carpet Foam – Best for High-Traffic Areas
- 10. Nature’s Miracle Cat Stain and Odor Remover – Best for Cat Stains
- Homemade Carpet Stain Remover
- 1. Vinegar and Borax
- 2. Shaving Cream
- 3. Ammonia and Warm Water
- 4. Baby Powder and Milk
- The Best Carpet Stain Remover Buyer’s Guide
1. Pro Oxy Power Shot – Top Pick
This is a new and improved version of the previous formula, and Bissel’s Pro Oy Power Shot trigger allows you to target the formula so it sinks deep into the carpet to work to remove everything from the surface stain to what has sunk down into the carpet’s backing. In turn you get a much more thorough clean. When you don’t take steps to remove the stain residue, it can slowly come back up to the surface.
Bissell cleaners go through a host of stain removal tests, and it can strip away grape juice, red wine, and coffee. The formula is also EPA Safer Choice certified to allow you to use it throughout your home without a problem. It’ll keep cleaning after you start blotting it up to remove any leftover residue. It offers StainLift technology to sink down into the carpet and help lift and remove stains in just five minutes.
You’ll get eco-friendly packaging with this product, and the formula offers biodegradable detergent, a non-VOC formula that has no hazardous propellants or solvent content, and the packaging will break down by itself to keep it out of the environment.
- Non-VOC formula
- Sinks into the carpet’s backing
- Cleans in as little as five minutes
- May have to treat several times before you see results
- Get a small amount per can
2. Professional Pet Stain and Odor Remover – Step-Up Pick
This is a GH Seal star product that has a formula that contains enzymes that will tackle both lingering odors and stains from pet messes to prevent them from coming back to the same spot. It also works well on drink and food stains, like tomato sauce or red wine. While the enzymes go to work as soon as you apply them, they are even more effective if you cover it with a damp towel and give it up to 12 hours to work.
It works well on protein and organic stains, like spilled milk or potty accidents. You can also use it on carpets, mattresses, upholstery, or in your car. It comes in a spray bottle that allows you to target your stains and help it penetrate into the carpet down past the surface layer. You get a sustainable design that contains no heavy metals, phosphates, optical brighteners, or dyes.
There is patented odor removal technology that will remove mold, smoke, mildew, kitchen, and pet odors from the air. You can also use it in any room in the home you need without a problem.
- Has enzymes to get rid of odors
- Lifts more than pet stains
- Easy to use
- Works best with a 12-hour wait
3. Carbona Oxy-Powered Carpet Cleaner – Mid-End Budget Pick
If spills like spaghetti sauce or chocolate syrup dry on your carpet, they can form a hard crust that makes it very difficult for plain sprays to get through. This is where the applicator top on this product comes in handy. It is a soft brush and sponge that will let you get through dried, tough, stains so that the formula can soak into the carpet down to the padding to give you a thorough clean.
It’s a portable carpet cleaner that is easy to use and extremely effective for removing stains that you allow to set overnight like tea and red wine. It can even perform better than some machines. You should be careful to only barely puncture the foil seal on the top when you open it so you don’t accidentally spill out a huge amount when you go to use it on your stain.
It has an oxy formula that will work to lighten stains on your carpeting without bleaching any of the fibers. The applicator is attached directly to the bottle, and you can use it on a broad range of surfaces without worrying about any damage.
- Cuts through dried stains
- Applicator top allows you to scrub
- Oxy formula that will help lighten stained areas
- Easy to leak if you puncture the foil too much
4. Woolite Advanced Stain & Odor Remover – Bargain Budget Pick
This product will not only strip stains from the carpet, but it has agents in the formula that will kill up to 99.9% of bacteria and sanitize any soft surfaces you put it on. So, it’s great for homes that have kids and pets running around since it helps keep the surfaces clean to the touch. It also works well on car seats, pet beds, mattresses, bathroom mats, upholstery, rugs, and carpeting.
These cleaners always score very well in the GH cleaning lab tests, and it only has to stay damp for a minute before the stains get removed from the soft surface and it sanitizes the fabrics. It offers penetrating action to help to remove stains, dirt, odors, allergens, and bacteria. You get a double pack of product with a single sprayer in each order to double your cleaning power.
You don’t want to use this product on olefin or polypropylene fibers because it can damage or weaken them. It’ll leave your surfaces soft, clean, and deodorized in a matter of minutes without any hard scrubbing from you.
- Deodorizes and sanitizes
- Works on a broad range of soft surfaces
- Double product in each shipment
- Can’t use on polypropylene or olefin fabrics
5. Pet Expert Carpet Moist Powder – Best for Set-In Pet Stains
Dirty, dingy spots in the front of your chair or by the bed can be brightened or freshened without having to rent a machine or mixing up a messy solution if you use this solution on your pet’s stains. Because this is a powder-based formula, there is no risk of damaging or over-wetting the carpet. You also don’t have to worry about fading colors either.
All you have to do is sprinkle it on, work it into your stained spot, and use a soft brush to work it in. Allow it to sit for at least 20 minutes. The moist granules absorb the odors and dirt while they dry. Once it’s dry, you’ll vacuum the area to pull all of the dried powder out of the carpet. It can leave your carpet fibers fluffy and soft, and it’s very easy to use and gentle on your carpet pile.
You can use this product on larger areas, and it cleans without you having to wet the carpet. It’s not something you would use on wet spills, and you should use a clean canister or bag for the best results.
- Allows you to clean without wetting the carpet
- Absorbs dirt and odors
- Easy to use
- Doesn’t work on wet stains
6. Wine Away Red Wine Stain Remover – Best for Removing Red Wine Stains
If you have a bottle of this cleaner on-hand, you won’t cry over spilled wine, juice, coffee, or even blood. It is an excellent stain remover on carpet and fabric, and it’s very easy to rinse out of your carpet pile without leaving any residue. Since there’s no residue left when you use it, it won’t stay wet to help attract dirt or grime. You can use it safely on any washable clothing or upholstery too.
It also works on berry stains and ink. It’s available in a travel size if you want to take it with you, and it comes with a targeted sprayer nozzle on it that allows you to get deep into any stains and lift them out with a few simple squirts. You’ll get a fresh citrus scent with this product that will leave you home smelling fresh and clean each time you use it.
- Removes red wine stains
- Travel sized
- Able to use on fabrics and upholstery
- May need to follow up with another round
7. Professional Strength Stain & Odor Eliminator – Best for Odor Removal
This product comes with almost 31,000 5-star reviews on Amazon to attest how well it works for removing odors. Just like the Bissell top pick, it has a host of enzymes that help get rid of odors. It’s also efficient at cleaning organic stains like vomit, uring, and feces. The label says that this product will work in 10 minutes for any surface stains.
For deeper set-in stains, you should spray this product and leave it to sit for an hour at a minimum. It has the Carpet and Rug Institute Seal of Approval, and this means that this particular industry organization has certified that this product is non-damaging to your carpets. It doesn’t claim to remove food stains, but it works well on organic stains.
- Has enzymes to break down organic stains
- Works relatively quickly
- Doesn’t claim to work on food stains
8. The Spruce Pet Stain & Odor Remover – Best for Hardwood Floors
Pet stains are an entirely different category than your spilled macaroni and cheese or ketchup, so it makes sense that you’d need a specialized cleaner. This product has a plant-derived formula that targets hard-to-clean pet stains like vomit, feces, and urine. It uses enzymes to break down the odor-causing organic compounds that you find in each of these items.
The fresh scent in this product has a combination of apple, neroli, and orchid to leave the room feeling fresh and clean each time you use it. All you have to do is spray it on the stains liberally and allow it to set for up to 15 minutes. You may have to have it sit longer depending on how set in your stain is. Scrub it with a clean cloth to remove it from the carpet. You can choose from three different sizes, including a travel-sized combination pack.
- Available in a few sizes
- Has active enzymes
- Fresh scent
- Sprayer isn’t very durable
9. Resolve High Traffic Area Carpet Foam – Best for High-Traffic Areas
If the areas that get a lot of traffic in your home on your carpet, you’ll notice that it’s very dirty and dingy, and this makes it hard for standard cleaners to work well. This spray can cover very large surfaces, and it’s a very thick foam that gives you even coverage. It’ll pull the toughest stains from the heavily used areas, like living rooms, hallways, and stairs.
All you have to do is put this product on stains and wait for it to pull the stains from the carpet or upholstery fiber. Because it sets really deep into the carpet pile when you spray it, it can help screen against future stains to keep your rugs looking nice. It comes in a canister, and this makes it easy to spray it on the stain and store it when you’re done using it.
- Comes in a slim canister
- Works well on heavy-traffic areas
- Offers coverage for large areas
- Have to work it into the carpet
10. Nature’s Miracle Cat Stain and Odor Remover – Best for Cat Stains
While your cat may be cute, he’s prone to leaving messes around your home like feces, vomit, urine, and more. Any pet enzyme cleaner could work in a pinch, but the best thing you have is a cat-specific enzyme cleaner like this one. This is especially true when you deal with urine stains because cat pee has a higher ammonia content than dog pee.
The cleaner will lift away odor and stains from the carpet, and you can use it on hardwood, tile, and linoleum. The spray also has a very light citrus scent that leaves your carpet or flooring feeling and smelling fresh and clean. There is a bacteria-based formula here that produces the enzymes. It comes in a spray bottle that is ready to use too.
- Works for cat urine
- Lifts out odors and stains
- Light citrus scent
- Small amount of product
Homemade Carpet Stain Remover
If you don’t want to go the chemical-based carpet stain remove route, you can easily use homemade cleaners to tackle the stains. We’ve rounded up four options to try.
1. Vinegar and Borax
If you want to try and make your own, vinegar and borax are powerful cleaners that can lift away several different stains. You will have to run a vacuum over the carpet once it dries though because this cleaner leaves a residue.
You’ll need to mix two tablespoons of borax and two tablespoons of salt into a ½ cup of white vinegar. Take your mix and gently work it into the carpet using a brush or a soft cloth. Allow it to dry and vacuum it up. If this doesn’t work, make a paste using one tablespoon of cornstarch and one tablespoon of vinegar. Apply it directly to the stain and let it dry.
Vinegar does have a strong smell associated with it, especially if you go with pure or undistilled white vinegar. However, this smell usually fades away rather quickly once it dries and you take the time to give your carpets a thorough vacuuming.
- Easy to make and use
- Gentle and safe
- Can take a few hours to work
- Has a stronger smell
- Can discolor some fabrics
Charlotte Carpet Cleaning – CitruSolution – 704-677-5903 by CitruSolution Carpet Cleaning / CC BY-NC 2.0 Sometimes, using natural cleaning solutions work just as well as chemical-based ones, and vinegar and borax work well.
2. Shaving Cream
Shaving cream can be a surprising addition to the list because it’s gentle enough to use on your face. But, it’s strong enough to lift out several different stains. It works wonderfully on oil, juice, and grease stains, and it’ll help with dirt and mud too.
All you have to do is blot the stain to remove the excess moisture and pat it with a wet sponge. Get your shaving cream and spray enough to cover the stain. Work the shaving cream into the stain with a damp towel or sponge and let it sit. Dry it and wipe it off.
- Easy to obtain
- Can clean large stains with ease
- Quick to apply
- Can have a scent
- May take more than one application
- Messy to apply
3. Ammonia and Warm Water
Ammonia has a very, very strong odor associated with it. So, if it’s possible, don’t use this cleaner unless you can open the windows and allow it to air out after you apply it. This ranks as one of the best carpet stain removers due to how potent it is.
You’ll mix one cup of clear ammonia to a half gallon of water. Put the cap on and shake it thoroughly to mix it. Get a small sponge or cloth and use it to blot at the stain with this solution. Let it air dry until it’s 100% dry and check the stain. If it’s still there, repeat the process until the stain lifts.
- Very potent
- Works on different stains
- Prevents stains from reappearing
- Very strong odor
- Can ruin some fabrics
- Not recommended for humid areas
4. Baby Powder and Milk
This is one of the best carpet stain remover ideas for ink, oil, and grease spills. You can try to remove the first few layers of the stain by sprinkling them liberally with just the baby powder and allowing them to dry for a few hours. Once the time is up, vacuum it up. Another solution is to make a paste.
Get a small bowl and mix your baby powder and milk together until you create a thick and smooth paste. Gently work the paste into the stain, leaving a thick layer on top. Allow it to dry and crack for a few hours. Brush up the dried residue and vacuum your carpets.
- Easy to mix up
- Vacuums up quickly
- Milk can leave an odor
- Takes a few applications to work
The Best Carpet Stain Remover Buyer’s Guide
Random stain (basement) by Erin Kinney / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0 Finding the correct combination of carpet cleaners will help you remove a huge amount of stains, but this can take some trial and error on your part.
Now that you know 14 different best carpet and stain removers available, we’ll break down how they work and why you’d want one. Additionally, we want to give you several reasons why you’d want to buy them in the first place and what to look for when you start comparing products.
Why Buy the Best Carpet Stain Remover?
Stain removers can be very expensive, depending on the brand and type. However, they can effectively break down stubborn stains from pets, oil, and beverage or food spills. Once they lift the stains out, you can clean your carpet and keep it looking like new. Anyone with a busy household will tell you how important this is, and a high-quality cleaner will help save you time.
Ideally, it’ll lift out the stains in one application, or two at the most. If you have pets, you want to make sure you get a formula that has enzymes in it. These enzymes are what will break down the odor-causing bacteria and help clean your carpets. If you don’t, you can go for a plant-based cleaner that is safe to use around your family and anyone who comes into your home.
Types of Stains the Best Carpet Stain Remover Can Banish
Generally speaking, you can put stains into three broad categories, and the best carpet stain removers can tackle all three. However, knowing what the different stains are is important if you want to find a cleaner that specifically targets one over the other. The three categories are:
- Oil-Based – You can’t clean oil-based stains with regular soap and water because this will just spread the stain around and make it messier. These stains include motor oil or splatters of cooking oil.
- Organic – Organic stains are the ones your pets, kids, or yourself leave, and they need enzymatic cleaners to break them down. They include things like blood, vomit, urine, or feces.
- Water-Based – Think of water-based stains as any beverage or food that doesn’t have oil. This includes beer, wine, and condiments like ketchup or ranch.
How to Choose Carpet Cleaners
What do you look for when you start shopping for your stain remover? With so many options available, you need a way to quickly and easily break down your choices and compare them. Keeping these buying considerations in mind will help you choose the best to suit your needs in record time.
Liquid or Powder
Stain removers come in liquid or powder form, and both forms work very well. You can usually tackle more stains with a liquid formula than you can a powder, and it’s generally less messy. However, you can cover more ground down a decent-sized tub of stain removing powder than you can with a liquid.
The best carpet stain removers used to come packed with a lot of chemicals, and this is what made them so potent. However, there has been a recent shift to more gentle formulas that are safer to use around your pets and kids. Make sure that whatever product you choose has a biodegradable, non-toxic, and organic formula. This decreases the risks of someone getting hurt by accidentally ingesting it.
What type of fabric do you want to use this on? It’s important you know this because these stain removers can bleach the color out. Additionally, some fabrics like wool tend to really hold onto stains and make you treat them several times before it lifts it all of the way out. If you have hardwood or laminate flooring in your home, some stain removers will double as a wash for them.
Using this will give your entire family a healthy home to live and play in.
Whatever you choose, make sure you follow all of the usage directions. This will help them be more effective, and they’ll help you keep your carpet looking nice for years after you install it.