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Best Multipurpose: Folex Instant Carpet Spot Remover
This cleaner has a bit of a cult-like following. With thousands of reviews and more five-star ratings than you can count, you know this carpet stain remover performs. This spray solution can tackle it all, pet, wine, pen, cosmetics, dirt, and grime.
Besides carpets, reviewers also use this on laundry stains, water stains and more. Coming in at 32 ounces, this solution will last you a long time. Plus, the brand has been around for over 40 years and is made in the USA.
Best for Wall-to-Wall Carpet: Hoover Platinum Collection Instant Stain Remover
Safe to use on carpet, rugs and upholstery, our pick from Hoover effectively removes even the toughest stains—from red wine and chocolate, grease, cosmetics and more. Unlike many strong carpet cleaners, it won’t damage the surfaces beneath your wall-to-wall carpeting or area rugs.
Approved by the Carpet & Rug Institute, this extra-strength, professional formula is affordable, easy to use and fast-acting. Real-life customers tout this product for its effectiveness; several wrote that it easily removed stains — even old, set-in stains—from their car’s upholstery, wall-to-wall carpeting and more.
Best Budget: Resolve Spot + Stain Carpet Stain Remover
If you've ever bought a carpet stain remover, Resolve was probably your first pick (and a smart choice). Resolve does a great job of attacking stains right when they happen as well as deep set-in-stains tomato sauce, greasy salad dressings, make-up, red wine and more.
Whether you don't want to spend a lot or you don't have a lot of options at the store Resolve is always a safe and trusted pick.
Best for Pet Stains: The Spruce Stain and Odor Remover in Fresh
Pet stains are an entirely different beast than say ketchup or a spilled bowl of macaroni and cheese. That’s why the team at The Spruce set out to create our own line of pet care products—including The Spruce Stain & Odor Remover.
Our plant-derived formula targets hard-to-clean pet stains like urine, feces, and vomit by using enzymes to break down the odor-causing organic proteins found in each. With our pleasant Fresh scent (a winning combination of neroli, apple, and orchid), you can have your carpet back in tip-top shape in just a few minutes. Simply spray stains liberally, let it sit for up to 15 minutes depending on how set in the stain is, and then scrub with a clean cloth.
Runner-Up, Best for Pet Stains: Bissell Woolite Advanced Pet Stain & Odor Remover
Let's face it, pets are messy! If you have a pet and any carpet or rug in the house, then a pet-formulated stain and odor remover is a must. This formula not only removes stains and pungent odors from carpet, stairs, pet beds, upholstery and more it also sanitizes 99.9 percent of the stain, so it get's beyond the bacteria that you see.
Best Eco-Friendly: Biokleen Bac-Out Stain & Odor Remover
If you have kids and pets—and don’t want to expose them to potentially harmful chemicals—check out Biokleen’s Stain & Odor Remover. Here’s how it works, totally chemical-free: Live enzyme-producing cultures attack (and eat!) stains from kids, pets, food and organic waste. Go, science.
This cleanser also contains citrus extracts and plant-based surfactants to aid the enzymes in the removal of stains and odors. It’s totally free of chlorine, ammonia and other pollutants, so it’s completely safe to use in and around your home.
Over 800 Amazon customers have reviewed this product, touting its pleasant, non-chemical smell, effectiveness and safety. Some even recommend using it to remove tough underarm stains from t-shirts and shirts.
Best for High-Traffic Areas: Resolve High-Traffic Carpet Cleaner
If highly trafficked areas in your home need a deep clean, try Resolve’s High-Traffic Carpet Cleaner. Not only can it easily cover larger surfaces, but it can remove the toughest stains from heavily used areas, like stairs, hallways and living rooms.
This product is designed to remove set-in stains, dirt and odors from larger carpeted areas, large area rugs and upholstery. Simply spray the product on the stain and wait for it to lift stains from the carpet or upholstery’s fibers. Because it sets deep into fabrics, it can help protect against future stains, too.
Best for Cat Stains: Nature's Miracle Cat Stain and Odor Remover
While Fluffy might be cute, he's prone to leaving smelly messes around the home, be that vomit, feces, urine or more. While any pet enzyme carpet stain remover would work in a pinch, a more targeted cat stain remover will be a better bet—especially when dealing with urine stains which have more of an ammonia makeup than dog's urine.
This cleaner not only lifts away the stain and odor in carpet it can also be used on tile, hardwood or linoleum so it is a must for any household with cats. The spray leaves a light citrus scent so it isn't too overpowering.
Best Dry Formula: Capture Carpet Dry Cleaner
This pick from Capture is ideal for removing stains from liquids. In addition to cleaning stains, it soaks up any moisture, preventing the growth or bacteria, mold and other allergens. Plus, for a relatively low price tag, you get a whopping four pounds of product—which can cover about 400 square feet of carpeted area or area rugs.
How does it work? Simply sprinkle the product on the stain, let it absorb and vacuum. For tougher stains, you can use a toothbrush or another soft-bristled brush to rub it into the carpet’s fibers.
Although this product can be used on any kind of stain, reviewers highly recommend it for pet stains. Heads up: A few customers complained about the product’s smell, but note that it disappears after vacuuming.
What to Look for in a Carpet Stain Remover
If you’re buying stain remover proactively, you may not know exactly what type of stain you’ll be dealing with. However, you’ll want to consider whether your home is most prone to food stains, dirt stains, or pet stains, as certain products are specially formulated to tackle different types of messes. In particular, pet stain removers often contain enzymes to remove both stains and odors.
As you shop, you’ll have to choose between liquid and powder stain removers. Liquid products are usually better for small, one-off spot treatments, and while effective, they usually leave your carpet a bit damp for a few hours. On the other hand, powder products require a little more work, as they usually must sit for a set period of time and be vacuumed up after.
Depending on what kind of stains you’re dealing with, you may want a carpet stain remover that combats odors, as well. This type of product is especially helpful if you have pets.