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. Folex Instant Carpet Spot Remover – Top Pick
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This cleaner has an extremely dedicated following to it, and it’s easy to see why when you see how versatile it is. You can easily use it to get rid of a broad range of stains on your carpeting, including grease, pet accidents, ink, oil, coffee, red wine, rust, blood, cosmetics, food, grime, and dirt. It works well on shag carpeting as well as lower-pile options, and you can safely use it around both your pets and your kids without worrying about them accidentally getting into it. Additionally, this carpet stain remover works well on water stains and stubborn laundry stains.
You get 32-ounces each time you order it, so it can last a long time because a little goes a long way. The brand has been in business for over 40 years, and each product is made in the United States to strict quality control standards. It’s petroleum, solvent, and VOC-free, so you don’t have to ventilate when you use it. It’s also odor free, non-flammable, and water-based to make it safe for different fabrics. The easy spray bottle allows you to quickly pinpoint the stains when you use it.
- 32-ounces per bottle
- Cleans a large amount of stains
- Works on different carpeting
- Safe to use around pets and kids
- Easy spray application
- Made in the United States
- VOC-free and non-flammable
- Doesn’t work as well on set-in stains
2. Biokleen Bac-Out Stain Remover – Step-Up Pick
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If you have pets or kids running around that you don’t want to come into contact with any harmful chemicals, look at this carpet stain remover from Biokleen. Instead of using chemicals, this product introduces enzyme-producing cultures that are alive into the stains. They attack and eat stains from pets, kids, organic waste, and food, even if it’s set into your carpeting. It has several citrus extracts in it with a plant-based surfactant to help the live enzymes lift the stains. At the same time, this formula will work to get rid of any lingering odors.
This carpet stain remover doesn’t contain any ammonia, chlorine, or other pollutants, so it’s safe to use indoors without having to ventilate the area. The non-chemical, pleasant scent it leaves behind can leave your home smelling fresh. It offers a foaming action when you introduce it to the stain, so you can see it working. For the best results, you leave it sit for a few minutes before scrubbing at it. You can even use it to help get rid of tough stains under the arms of your shirts.
- Citrus extracts for scent
- Has live enzymes in the formula
- No chemicals
- No harmful odors
- Plant-based surfactant
- Quick and easy to use
- Foams on contact
- May need more than on treatment on stubborn stains
3. Pet Stain & Odor Remover – Mid-End Budget Pick
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If you’re on a slightly tighter budget and you want something new to tackle pet stains, this is for you. Pet stains are entirely different from a spilled glass of juice or ketchup, and it takes a specialized formula to help get rid of them. This carpet stain remover is a plant-derived formula that works well on vomit, feces, and urine from your four-legged friend. It has enzymes that will break down any odor-causing proteins in these messes to safely and effectively lift them from the floor.
The scent on this carpet stain remover is a pleasant mix of orchid, neroli, and apple, and it’ll linger for hours after you apply it. All you have to do to use this product is liberally coat the stains, allow it to sit for 10 to 15 minutes to give the enzymes time to go to work, and scrub the area with a clean cloth. You can choose from three options when you order it, including 17-ounce bottles and a travel-sized combo to take with you on all of your adventures. The dark bottle will help preserve the formula, and the spray application is easy to use.
- Formulated for pet stains on a budget
- Contains plant-derived ingredients
- Has active enzymes
- Pleasant scent
- Two sizes available
- Comes in a dark amber bottle
- Easy to apply
- Have to leave it sit for 10 to 15 minutes to work
4. Triple Oxi Advanced Carpet Stain Remover – Bargain Budget Pick
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If you’ve ever had to purchase a carpet stain remover, you’ve most likely heard of the Resolve line. It does an excellent job of attacking newer stains and taking care of deeper set-in stains like greasy salad dressing, tomato sauce or ketchup, red wine, makeup, and much more. This makes it very versatile, and you can use it on a host of different carpet types without worrying about causing any damage or fading the colors when you apply it to the stained area.
It works to lift out stains while neutralizing odors, and this carpet stain remover will get deep into the carpet pile to stop the stains from reappearing once you take care of them. It can break down a large range of stains, even if they’ve been there for weeks. It has a foaming formula that sits on the top of the carpet before sinking down, and all you have to do is scrub at your carpet once you let it sit and soak in. You can toss a towel over the area to help it dry or put a fan on it when you finish.
- Great for those on a budget
- Tackles a huge range of stains
- Easy to use
- Foaming formula
- Penetrates deep into the carpet
- Won’t fade colors
- Slim profile
- Have to work into the carpet
- Pet Expert Carpet Moist Powder – Best for Set-In Pet Stains
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You can easily brighten and freshen up any dirty, dingy spots on your carpet in high-traffic areas or by your favorite chair without having to rent a machine or mix specialized carpet cleaning agents with this product. Since it’s a powder-based product, you don’t run the risk of fading colors or damaging your carpet’s fibers. All you have to do is sprinkle it on the stain, gently work it in, and wait 20 minutes for the powder to absorb the odors and dirt as it dries. Once it’s done, all you have to do is vacuum it up to leave your carpet clean, fluffy, and soft.
This product also eliminates odors as it dries, and this can leave the area fresh and clean. You can apply a light or heavy layer to the stained areas, and it’ll all vacuum up without clogging your vacuum. It’s good for ground-in stains, and you can use it on almost any type of carpeting except for orental or antique rugs. You don’t have to wet the carpet before you use it, and it works very well on bigger areas.
- Works dry without any water
- Won’t clog your vacuum
- Easy to apply
- Covers larger areas
- Absorbs odors
- Gentle on a range of fabrics
- Can’t use on wet spills
6. Wine Away – Best for Removing Red Wine Stains
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A nice glass of red wine pairs perfectly with a meal or by the fireplace after a long, exhausting day. But, spilling your red wine can be a nightmare for your carpeting. This product works on both dried and fresh red wine stains, and it doesn’t contain any phosphates or bleach to make it a healthier formula. It also works well on blood, coffee, fruit punch, ink, red medicine, sauces, and some pet accidents. It was chosen by Disney as part of their Food and Wine Festival, and it has thousands of good ratings on Amazon.
This product comes made in the United States to very strict quality control standards, and this ensures that you get a consistent product each time you use it. You can use it on hard surfaces as well as carpeting, and it works to remove latex paint or graffiti, and it can degrease hard surfaces. You get 12-ounces each time you order, and it comes in a convenient spray bottle that makes it easy to saturate the stains to lift them out.
- Removes set-in and fresh stains
- Made in the United States
- Women-owned company
- 12-ounces per order
- Precision spray tip
- No bleach or phosphates
- Strict quality control standards
- Have to leave it sit for it to work well
7. Oxy-Powered 2-in-1 Carpet Cleaner – Best for Odor Removal
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If certain spills like soil are allowed to dry and set into the carpet, they can form a very hard crust that is difficult for a lot of carpet stain removers to cut through. This is where this product’s unique applicator top works well. You’ll get a brush and a soft sponge that you can use to break through dried, tough stains to allow the formula to reach the stain underneath and start penetrating to the lower layers of your carpeting. In particular, it works well to remove stains that have been allowed to set into your carpet overnight.
The oxy content helps with odors too. It’ll leave a very clean and fresh scent behind as you work on the stains, and your carpet will feel clean and fluffy once it dries. You get two bottles for the price of one when you order, but you do have to be careful when you open them so it doesn’t leak out. The fresh scent can linger for hours after you clean, and it’ll absorb any lingering odors as you work.
- Breaks through crusty stains
- Has a soft brush and sponge applicator
- Penetrates to the lower carpet layers
- Oxy content
- Helps get rid of odors
- Leaves your carpet fresh and clean
- Easy to use
- Easy to spill
8. Murphy Oil Soap – Best for Hardwood Floors
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If you have mostly hardwood floors in your home and you need a cost-effective way to clean them and keep them looking like new, this product will help. It’s a classic hardwood floor cleaner and stain remover that’s been around for over 100 years, and it can help restore your floor’s natural luster and shine each time you apply it. You can use it to regularly refresh your floor or do a deep clean, and it leaves a very comforting citrusy scent behind when you finish. It’s a very concentrated solution that you should mix with water before you apply it.
Because of this, a single bottle will last much longer than some other products you can get, and this is especially helpful if you have a lot of flooring to cover when you clean. IT works on linoleum, tile, and vinyl floors too. It has 98% naturally-derived ingredients, including water, plant-derived cleaning ingredients, and coconut. It doesn’t have any bleach or ammonia, so you don’t have to worry about it stripping your floor. All you have to do is apply it and allow it to dry.
- Natural cleaner
- Used for over 100 years
- Lasts a long time
- Very concentrated formula
- Brings luster to your flooring
- Plant-derived formula
- No bleach or ammonia
- Easy to make too strong
9. OxiClean Carpet Cleaner – Best for High-Traffic Areas
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Anyone who has high-traffic areas in your home that are very dingy and dirty, like by your fireplace or in the living room can use this carpet stain remover to restore their look and feel. This particular shampoo has a pH level of 10, and this means that it has a more alkaline formula. This formula will bind more readily to organic materials like dirt, greasy spots, or coffee to help lift them out of the carpet. This is especially true if you combine it with a high-quality rug scrubber. You can use it and hand scrub it too, but you won’t get the same results.
You can use this carpet stain remover with any carpet cleaning machine, and it’ll give you a very deep cleaning action that lifts stains and removes built-up dirt. You may want to pre-treat heavily stained areas first to give it the best chance of lifting your stains. Also, be sure to mix it at the recommended ratio before you use it since it is a very powerful and concentrated formula.
- Higher pH levels
- Binds to organic materials
- Works in different carpet cleaning machines
- Tackles set-in and fresh stains
- Get a gallon per order
- Easy to store
- Have to mix it carefully
10. ANGRY ORANGE Pet Odor Eliminator – Best for Cat Stains
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Can urine is hard to get out of carpeting, especially if your cat prefers to go back to one place each time they go. Angry Orange has an enzyme-based cleaner with a ready-to-use formula in a spray bottle that allows you to soak the stain as soon as you see it. The enzymes will break down the protein that is causing the odors, and the orange oil will leave a very pleasant scent behind. You can treat both dried and fresh stains with this product.
To use it, all you have to do is blot the area first before spraying the carpet stain remover liberally. Allow it to sit for 10 to 15 minutes before you wipe up any excess liquid. You can spray it on tiles, carpets, litter boxes, wood floors, pillows, garbage cans, car interiors, mattresses, and more without damaging anything. You won’t have to worry about mixing anything, and it offers two times the odor fighting power.
- Enzyme-based cleaner
- Works on fresh and dried stains
- Easy to apply
- Two times the odor-fighting power
- Leaves a citrus scent
- No mixing required
- Can use on a host of fabrics
- May need several applications
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.