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- The carpets in our homes add style and keep our feet warm but they take lots of abuse and spills. What’s the best cleaner to keep them stain-free?
- Carbona 2 in 1 Oxy Powered Carpet Cleaner, with a built-in scrubbing applicator and active foam technology, can tackle whatever hits the carpet.
Whether your carpet is a plush wall-to-wall installation or an accent area rug, it’s going to get dirty. Accidents happen: We dribble drinks, drop food, startle a pet, and simply bring in soil on our shoes. Replacing carpeting is expensive and unfeasible, so when stains happen, we need to use the best products available to tackle the problem.
There are three basic types of stains: water-based, organic, and oil-based. Food and drinks are the main culprits for water-based stains, but if it’s addressed immediately with an oxidized, water-soluble cleaner, these stains are among the easiest to remove.
Organic stains are the bodily fluids excreted by pets and humans. These stains need an enzyme-based stain remover to literally consume the protein stain and odor molecules. Finally, there are oil-based stains that require a solvent to break apart the grease molecules so that they can be lifted away from the carpet fibers. This is one of the hardest stains to remove because the majority of carpets sold today are made from petroleum-based fibers like polyester and olefin that trap and hold onto grease molecules.
With any type of carpet stain, there are several steps to take for successful removal.
- Identify the stain: Knowing what caused the stain will help you select the best cleaner.
- Act as quickly as possible: Fresh stains are much easier to remove than older, set-in stains.
- Use the right tools: In addition to using the best stain remover, always use a white cloth or paper towels to blot and treat the stains. Colored cloths and napkins can transfer dye to the carpet giving you another difficult stain to remove.
- Rinse the treated area: Once the stain has vanished, be sure to blot the area with a cloth dipped in plain water to rinse away any cleaning product residue. If soapy products are left, they can actually attract soil. Your carpet could actually look dirtier than before you cleaned it.
Regular vacuuming and stain removal can help a carpet look better and last longer. Fortunately, there are products available that do a great job in removing stains from carpet. During my testing, I must say that finding stains to treat was not difficult. With a pet, a toddling grandson, and my own clumsiness, I had loads of opportunity to find the products that are the most effective, easiest to use, and offer the best value for your money when removing stains from carpets and area rugs. And, another little tip: These stain removers work well on most upholstery fabric.
Here are the best carpet stain removers you can buy in 2019:
- Best carpet stain remover overall: Carbona Oxy-Powered 2-in-1 Carpet Cleaner
- Best carpet stain remover for pet stains and odors: Mister Max Anti Icky Poo Odor & Stain Remover Combo
- Best carpet stain remover for grease stains: ChemDry Grease & Oil Carpet Stain Extinguisher
- Best carpet stain remover for ground-in soil: Resolve Pet Carpet Cleaner Powder
- Best eco-friendly carpet stain remover: Simple Green Naturals Carpet Cleaner
Read on in the slides below to discover our top picks to remove stains from your carpets.
The best carpet stain remover overall
Why you’ll love it: No need to hunt a scrub brush with Carbona Oxy-Powered 2-in-1 Carpet Cleaner, it’s right there at the top of the bottle to help remove food and drink stains and general soil.
We all know that when a stain happens, a quick response is required. But when you have to hunt for the stain remover and a brush or sponge, it can be tempting to let it go until later. With Carbona Oxy-Powered 2-in-1 Carpet Cleaner, it’s all in one place. The sponge and bristle brush applicator are attached; just give the bottle a gentle squeeze and you’re ready to clean.
The formula contains a mild oxygen-based bleach that helps to break apart the stain molecules so they can be lifted from the carpet fibers. After applying the solution to a red wine-stained area, I stepped back and let it do the work. No need to remain on my knees, scrubbing away: After letting the formula do its work, the stain came right out by just blotting with a white paper towel. I finished the job by “rinsing” the area with a cloth dipped in plain water. After the carpet dried, there was no hint of the mishap.
Always follow the directions and use only a small amount. You don’t need to saturate the carpet, just let the formula do the work directly on the stain and you’ll have less residue to clean up. This Carbona carpet cleaner is great for removing specific stains but would be difficult to use for overall wall-to-wall carpet cleaning.
The product has received five stars from 84% of Amazon reviewers. One customer said it also works for cleaning up pets’ messes.
Pros: Built-in sponge bristle applicator, only a small amount needed, light fragrance, safe to use on all colorfast carpet and upholstery, removes most common stains
Cons: Does not remove all stains, bottle is not refillable, not ideal for cleaning an entire room of carpet
The best carpet stain remover for pet stains and odors
- Mister Max
Why you’ll love it: With the Mister Max Anti-Icky-Poo Odor & Stain Remover Combo, not only will the visible stains disappear, the lingering odors will too.
It’s a good thing we love our pets because they can cause stains on carpets that have a double whammy. First, there is visual evidence, obviously. But the real problem is the odor that often lingers on carpet and upholstery. That’s why the Mister Max Anti-Icky-Poo Odor and Stain Remover Combo is such a winner.
My precious rescue pup tends to urinate (or worse) when startled. When it happens, I clean up the accident and grab the Mister Max stain remover and give the area a good spray. After getting rid of the stain (follow the directions), one more spray with the Mister Max Anti-Icky Poo-Odor – with its live bacteria and enzymes to destroy the odor molecules – there is no residual odor remaining that attracts the pup or her friends to the same spot. Using the two together is the best of all worlds.
Mister Max offers a 100% satisfaction guarantee and the product comes in both a light scent and an unscented formula, in several sizes. Here’s a tip for new parents: It also takes care of odors from diaper and vomit accidents on carpet or upholstery.
While you can buy the two products separately, the combo pack has a 5-star rating from 100% of its buyers on Amazon. One customer wrote, “This is the only brand I used for years and usually ordered it from my local pet shop. Very pleased to find it on Amazon. Great product.”
Pros: Eliminates the toughest pet stains and odors, environmentally safe to use around humans and pets, 100% money-back guarantee
Cons: Not readily available in most mass-market stores
Buy Mister Max Anti-Icky-Poo Odor and Stain Remover Combo in two 32-ounce spray bottles on Amazon for $30.96
The best carpet stain remover for grease stains
Why you’ll love it: Tackle the toughest grease stains with the ChemDry Grease & Oil Carpet Stain Extinguisher.
Oil and grease stains are some of the toughest to remove from the carpet but ChemDry Grease & Oil Carpet Stain Extinguisher does an excellent job. I am not sure how I did it, but I tracked some heavy motor oil or axle grease onto the carpet in my car. It not only looked bad, it also smelled bad.
After doing a bit of research, I settled on ChemDry to treat the stain. I was familiar with the ChemDry carpet-cleaning franchise, and I like how the company uses carbonation to penetrate stains and lift them to the surface without a great deal of water and soap. I also wanted a product that is nontoxic and would not leave a heavily perfumed scent.
I was very pleased with the results. After giving the can a quick shake, I sprayed the ChemDry on the stain and waited a couple of minutes to allow it to penetrate the oil. With just a light scrubbing with a paper towel, the oil was lifted away.
Majority of Amazon reviewers (76%) gave it a 5-star rating. If you have oily stains from mascara, crayons, food, makeup, or automotive work, this is the product for you.
Pros: Nontoxic, removes oil and grease stains, safe to use on all colorfast carpet and upholstery
Cons: Does not effectively remove all types of stains
The best carpet stain remover for ground-in soil
Why you’ll love it: When you have a large area of dirty carpet with ground-in soil, Resolve Pet Carpet Cleaner Powder is the easiest way to clean it.
After you’ve treated and removed some very specific stains, does the rest of the carpet look dingy or have a different color completely from the recently cleaned area? That means the fibers are coated with ground-in soil from shoes, feet, etc.
You can hire a professional cleaner or rent a carpet-cleaning machine, or you can use Resolve Pet Carpet Cleaner Powder for a quick-and-easy treatment. This is a powdered formula that doesn’t take hours to dry and will brighten and freshen a large area of carpet.
Even though it is labeled for use with pets, I use Resolve powder regularly between professional cleanings, even in rooms where my pet doesn’t visit because it helps remove day-to-day odors by trapping soil molecules in the powder, which I then vacuum away. I just sprinkle the slightly damp powder on rugs and carpets and use a soft-bristled brush with a long handle (no kneeling) to lightly work it into the fibers.
After approximately 20 minutes, you’ll be shocked by how much dirt and soil were embedded a carpet. The Resolve powder that goes on as white, will turn gray. But, your carpet will look brighter and smell much fresher than it had been 30 minutes earlier.
One Walmart customer wrote, “This is great to use when you have an area that can’t be left wet for long. This product has a short dry-time as the powder only has a slight dampness to it. It cleans the carpeting and smells very nice. I have been using this product for years.” Nearly 70% of Walmart reviewers gave it 4 or 5 stars.
Pros: Cleans and freshens large areas of carpet, removes light stains, helps remove pet hair, inexpensive
Cons: Scent can be strong for those with odor sensitivity
The best eco-friendly carpet stain remover
Why you’ll love it: With no aerosol, petroleum distillates, or other toxic ingredients, Simple Green Naturals Carpet Cleaner is safe to use around children and pets.
I like that Simple Green has been designated as a Safer Product by the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). But, does it work to remove stains?
The Simple Green company is known for its environmentally-friendly cleaning products and its Simple Green Naturals Carpet Cleaner proves that less-toxic products can still stand up to tough stains. Containing no bleaches, petroleum-based products, or dyes, it can be used for spot-cleaning stains or diluted in water to add to steam carpet-cleaning machines. The product is available in a refillable 22-ounce spray bottle or in a one-gallon container.
I tested it on a coffee stain on a light-colored carpet. Just by following the directions and giving the product time to work, the stain was gone. The fragrance was light and not overpowering. The formula also contains a special protection agent that helps carpets maintain stain-resistance for the next time I slosh coffee out of the cup.
With an Amazon rating of 4.5 stars out of 5, other reviewers also found that Simple Green works well. “I’ve used it on carpet, a rug, and on a mattress (to clean a bed-wetting accident from our little son). I cannot believe how well it works to lift stains and smells. I love that it’s more natural,” wrote one customer
Pros: Nontoxic formula, can be used for spot-cleaning or in a steam machine, removes stains and odor
Cons: A bit more expensive than other carpet cleaning products