The 7 Best Carpet Stain Removers of 2022
By Corrie Pelc
No matter how careful you are, if you have carpeting in your home, at one point you're going to spill something on it. And with all fabric-related messes, having something on hand that you can quickly use to clean up the spill is what will help determine if there will be a stain or not.
Thankfully carpet stain removers have come a long way, and today there's a wide variety to choose from, from concentrated sprays designed to target sudden stains, to removers made to dig out and destroy older stains.
Best Overall Carpet Stain Remover: Folex Instant Carpet Spot RemoverA carpet stain remover that is non-toxic, has no overpowering scent, and works instantly to remove a wide variety of stains.
Best Wine Stain Remover for Carpets: Chateau Spill Red Wine Stain Remover SprayWine lovers rejoice — a non-toxic carpet stain remover formulated especially for handling red wine stains, that also works on upholstery and carpeting.
Best for High Traffic Areas: Resolve High Traffic Large Area Carpet FoamIf you have a lot of muddy feet and paws trampling the high-traffic areas of your home, this will not only remove current stains but also help protect against future ones.
Best Pet Stain Remover for Carpets: Bissell Professional Pet Stain & Odor RemoverNever worry about pet accidents again with a bottle of this carpet stain remover in your home cleaning toolbox.
Best Carpet Stain Remover for Old Stains: Zep Instant Spot and Stain RemoverQuickly and efficiently removes set-in carpet stains with no fuss.
Best Eco-Friendly Carpet Stain Remover: Biokleen Bac-Out Stain & Odor RemoverAn eco-friendly carpet stain remover that uses a combo of live enzymes and plant-based surfactants to effectively remove stains from carpeting, clothing, furniture, and even baby diapers.
Best Powder Carpet Stain Remover: Capture Carpet Dry CleanerA powder carpet stain remover that can be used on the most delicate carpeting and upholstery fabrics.
How to Select a Carpet Stain Remover
Know Your Stain Type: While you may think a stain is a stain, not every carpet stain is created equal. For instance, if your family is constantly tracking dirt and mud into your house, you'll want something that can handle getting out grime that's been ground into your carpeting. Love to host dinner parties? You'll want something on hand to help quickly remove the inevitable red wine or coffee stain. And if you have four-legged members of your family, you'll need a carpet stain remover that can not only remove pet stains but combat their odors as well.
Pick a Formula: Today's carpet stain removers are available in both liquid and powder options:
- Liquid carpet stain removers are the more traditional option and can do a great job of removing carpet stains. Liquid carpet stain removers can be either designed for spraying directly onto stains, and will normally come in a spray bottle for that, or to be used in a carpet cleaning machine.
- Powder carpet stain removers are pretty easy to apply—just shake on the stain and then vacuum once it’s absorbed the stain and odors. Unlike with liquids, you don't have to worry about oversaturating a stain with a liquid, which can sometimes cause fading of your carpet's color. However, once dry powders do require vacuuming to remove them.
Know Your Ingredients: Read the back of a bottle of carpet stain remover and you’re bound to find a lot of ingredients that are very hard to pronounce. That’s because all stain removers use a combination of chemicals to get the job done. Normally the main stain fighter will be a solvent, surfactant, or enzyme:
- Solvents are a liquid that—just as the name implies—work by dissolving whatever it is applied to.
- Surfactants are able to impact the surface tension of the material it is applied to, which allows the stain removing agents to have better contact with the stain so it can be removed easier.
- Enzymes are a great option for organic stains as they literally chomp down on and digest the organic stain molecules they come in contact with.
No matter what type of carpet stain cleaner you pick, make sure you read the directions thoroughly before applying and try to protect yourself by applying it in as ventilated an area as possible and wear gloves to protect your sensitive skin.
Factors to Consider When Buying a Carpet Stain Remover
With so many carpet stain removers on the market, it’s hard to know what to pick. We’ve done a lot of the legwork for you and have compiled a list of what we consider the top carpet stain removers to have in your home cleaning arsenal. Each product on our list has been evaluated and ranked for these main factors:
- Bottle Size: How many ounces do you get for the money, and how concentrated is the formula.
- Formula Type: What are the main ingredients that give this carpet stain remover its gusto?
- Application: Is it a targeted spray bottle, an aerosol can, a powder that is sprinkled on, or a liquid that needs to be applied through a carpet cleaning machine?
- Stains it Cleans: What types of messes does this carpet stain remover work best on.
- Where it Cleans: Does this carpet stain remover work on anything else?
- How Long It Takes to Work: How many minutes does it take for this carpet stain cleaner to work its magic.
- Scent: If you have a sensitive nose, you want to know if the carpet stain remover will have a potent smell or not.
- Safe for Kids and Pets: Super important if you have either—or both—in your household.
Let’s now take a look at our top picks for carpet stain removers.
Best Overall Carpet Stain Remover: Folex Instant Carpet Spot Remover
With almost 38,000 reviews and 4.5 stars on Amazon, it's obvious why our top overall carpet stain remover pick would be Folex Instant Carpet Spot Remover. This carpet stain lifting powerhouse uses a water-based surfactant to remove a wide variety of stains, including dirt, pet messes, food and beverages, cosmetics, grease, blood, and rust from not only carpeting and rugs but can be used on upholstery and clothing as well. The directions are simple—spray the Folex Instant Carpet Spot Remover on to the stain, gently agitate it, and then blot the stain away with a clean cloth or paper towel. This non-toxic stain remover is safe for use around both children and pets and has no smell.
- No scent
- Instantly removes a wide variety of stains
- None that we can see!
Best Wine Stain Remover for Carpets: Chateau Spill Red Wine Stain Remover Spray
If you've ever had to deal with a red wine stain on carpeting, you know how frustratingly hard it can be to get it out. Chateau Spill Red Wine Stain Remover Spray is specially formulated to deal with the high level of tannins in red wine—which is what gives it its color—while not containing any peroxide, chlorine, or phosphates. The formula is pH neutral, contains 100% biodegradable surfactants, and can be used on not only carpeting but furniture upholstery and clothing as well. Simply moisten the area with water, spray Chateau Spill Red Wine Stain Remover Spray on the stain, rinse the residue, and repeat as needed. Can be used on both new and old stains, and also comes in a wipe.
- Specially formulated to deal with the tannins in red wines
- Non-toxic formula
- Available in both a spray and pre-moistened wipe for convenience
- Bottle is not very big for the price
Best for High Traffic Areas: Resolve High Traffic Large Area Carpet Foam
Just like it says in the name, the Resolve High Traffic Large Area Carpet Foam is specially formulated to handle stains in high traffic carpeted areas of the home, such as hallways, stairs, living rooms, and entryways. The foam formula comes in an aerosol can that is simply sprayed onto the stain and then gently agitated with a colorfast mop to lift up and remove the stain. Once dry, the remaining dried foam and loosened grime is simply vacuumed up to be removed. With a new and improved formula, Resolve High Traffic Large Area Carpet Foam can be used on all types of carpeting, including wool, nylon, synthetic and stain-resistant types, as well as most household fabrics including upholstery, curtains and mattresses. And once used, its foam formula gets so kept into carpeting fibers it helps protect against future stains.
- Specially formulated to tackle stains in high-traffic areas
- Foam formula gets deep into carpet fibers to help combat future stains
- Can be used on almost all household fabrics
- Can take a while for the foam to dry
- Requires vacuuming after use
Best Pet Stain Remover for Carpets: Bissell Professional Pet Stain & Odor Remover
With "pet stain" right in its name, we figured the Bissell Professional Pet Stain & Odor Remover would be pretty effective on pet stains, and we were right! The effectiveness comes from its enzyme formula, which is great at dealing with organic stains like pet accidents. However, the enzymes also work just as well on other organic stains such as food and beverages, as well as tougher stains like makeup, motor oil and even blood. And Bissell's Advanced Odor Elimination technology means odors disappear along with the stains.
- Enzyme-based formula effectively treats many organic stains
- Removes odors along with the stain
- Can be used on both carpeting and upholstery
- Can take anywhere from 12-72 hours to work
- Requires a moist towel applied over the stain treated with the remover while working
Best Carpet Stain Remover for Old Stains: Zep Instant Spot and Stain Remover
For stains that have been on your carpeting for longer than you can remember, try Zep Instant Spot and Stain Remover. Easy to use, you simply shake the can and spray it on the stain—the foaming formula of Zep Instant Spot and Stain Remover requires no scrubbing. After about a minute, blot the stain with a clean cloth or paper towel, and repeat as needed for difficult stains. Use it on carpeting, as well as rugs, upholstery, and floor mats, to remove both sudden and set-in stains from food and beverages, oil, grease, cosmetics, ink, and pet accidents.
- Professional strength formula works on a wide variety of stains, both sudden and set-in
- Works in about 1 minute
- Foaming formula requires no scrubbing
- Need to keep kids and pets away while it's working
- Not for use on sensitive fabrics, such as wool and silk, or finished wood
Best Eco-Friendly Carpet Stain Remover: Biokleen Bac-Out Stain & Odor Remover
If you want a powerful carpet stain remover that's also not harmful to the environment, then a bottle of Biokleen Bac-Out Stain & Odor Remover should be in your house cleaning arsenal. Made from a special formula of plant-based surfactants, live enzyme-making cultures and citrus extracts, the Biokleen Bac-Out Stain & Odor Remover can be used on a wide variety of stains, including food and beverages, dirt, and pet accidents. As it contains no phosphates, chlorine, or ammonia, this stain remover can be used on not only carpeting but clothing, furniture, and even baby diapers. Biokleen Bac-Out Stain & Odor Remover is never tested on animals and is made in the USA.
- Eco-friendly alternative
- No harsh scent
- Safe enough for use on baby diapers
- May take more than 5 minutes to work depending on the stain
Best Powder Carpet Stain Remover: Capture Carpet Dry Cleaner
Not all carpet stain removers are liquids. Case in point: Capture Carpet Cleaner, which is a dry carpet and area rug cleaner with almost 4,800 reviews and 4.5 stars on Amazon. While liquid carpet stain removers can sometimes be tricky to apply as you run the risk of over-saturating your carpeting, this dry powder eliminates that worry. Capture Carpet Cleaner's specially-formulated powder is simply sprinkled and lightly brushed into the stain and absorbs it along with any odors and even allergens. Once finished, the powder just needs to be vacuumed up, and the formula is safe for use with all vacuums. Capture Carpet Cleaner can be used on all types of carpeting including wool, as well as more delicate fabrics like Code S fabrics—those that require upholstery dry cleaning solutions and do not respond well to water —and silk.
- Dry formula helps eliminate any
- Safe for use with any vacuum
- Safe for kids and pets
- May need Capture Pre-Mist to help loosen the stain first
- Takes up to 30 minutes to work for very soiled areas
- Needs to be vacuumed after use
How to Get the Most Out of Your Carpet Stain Remover
Now that you've selected your carpet stain remover of choice, how do you get the most out of its stain-eliminating powers? Here are a few tips to help:
- Read the Directions: While this may seem like a no-brainer, it's important to familiarize yourself with the directions of your new carpet stain remover before you have to rush to use it on a sudden stain. Make sure to learn things like how the remover should be applied, how long it should be allowed to work, and if you need to do anything special after it has dried, like vacuuming.
- Check Before Using: Before you have to use your carpet stain remover on a stain, make sure to check the formula first in an inconspicuous spot of your carpeting or any other substance it was made to be used on to make sure it does not change the color of the fabric you're applying it to.
- Act Fast: When spills and accidents suddenly occur, act as quickly as possible so they don't have time to set in. Try to keep your carpet stain remover in an easily accessible spot so you can get it applied to the stain ASAP.
- Blot It: Before applying the carpet stain remover, first, try to soak up as much of the spill as possible. Use paper towels, a clean cloth, or a rag to first blot the stain to get as much of it removed as you can.
- Have Patience: Remember that every stain is different and maybe harder to remove due to how much was spilled or the type of carpeting it’s on. While all of the carpet stain removers on our list are highly rated and recommended, sometimes a second application may be required. Just remember your extra effort and patience will be rewarded!
Do you have a carpet stain remover that you recommend? Tell us about it in the comments below!