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The Best Carpet Cleaner Solution for Getting Stubborn Stains Out of Your Rugs and Carpets

The right rug or carpet can really tie a room together. But an ugly, noticeable stain can really make the whole look fall apart. The best carpet cleaner solutions come in a variety of forms, but they all give you what you need to clean your rugs and carpets and deal with stains before they become a permanent, attention-stealing and potentially stinky problem.

Thankfully, when it comes to finding the best carpet cleaner solution, there are tons of great products to choose from, including natural, plant-based cleaners as well as more traditional chemical cleaners. Most often, carpet stain removers use powerful chemical formulas to break down and lift all kinds of stains from the fibers of rugs, carpets, furniture and general upholstery.

These cleaners come in two different forms — spray-on spot cleaners and carpet cleaning machine solutions — and we’ve gathered all the top options for you below.

  

What to Consider When Buying the Best Carpet Cleaner Solution

Before you commit to buying a general, does-everything cleaner solution, it’s worth being aware that many products are designed for dealing with specific types of stain, such as oil or food-based problems. For example, if your home is home to a furry friend who loves leaving marks on your floors, it may be worth searching out one of the best carpet cleaners for pets. But no matter what carpet cleaning situation you’re dealing with, it’s never a bad idea to have one of the best carpet cleaner solutions in your cleaning arsenal.

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In addition to knowing the best carpet cleaning solutions can have specific uses, it’s also important to note that there are two main categories of cleaning solution. These are:

  • Spray-On/Spot Carpet Cleaner Solutions – These cleaning products are usually supplied in smaller bottles or spray bottles. They are designed for use on smaller stains on your fabrics or carpets. They are most effective not long after the stain has been created. In most cases, they are applied to the carpet, left for some time to loosen the stain and then manually blotted away using a clean or damp cloth.
  • Carpet Cleaning Machine Solutions – In general, any carpet cleaner solution which is found in a higher concentration or a larger bottle is meant for use in a carpet cleaning machine. Whether you own one of these machines or need to rent one, it is important to understand that certain cleaning solutions can only be used with certain brands or specific cleaning machines. Additionally, always check whether you need to dilute the cleaning solution before use.

Because the term “carpet cleaner solution” can be used to describe both of the products mentioned above, we’ve included both types in our selection below. To help you out, we’ve separated the two into individual sections for easier identification.

Now that you’re aware of the different types of carpet cleaning solution, try asking yourself these questions to figure out which one is right for your carpets or rugs.

Do you have a carpet cleaning machine? If you don’t already own a carpet cleaning machine, you’re going to need to buy or rent one before you can use a carpet cleaning machine solution. Without a carpet cleaning machine, the only solutions you can use to clean your floors are the spray-on/spot carpet cleaner solutions.

How big is the area you want to clean? Remember that carpet cleaning machines are made for comprehensive deep cleaning and covering larger areas faster. If you’re looking to clean a large area, you may want to opt for a carpet cleaning device and compatible solution. Conversely, if you’re only looking to clean a small area or remove a localized stain, a spray-on/spot carpet cleaning solution should get the job done.

How long has the dirt/stain been in the carpet? While either carpet cleaning solution should improve the state of your carpet, if the stains and dirt have been present for weeks, months or years, you may find using a carpet cleaning machine to be significantly more effective.

  

Spray-On/Spot Carpet Cleaner Solutions

These are our top picks for the best spray-on and spot-cleaner carpet cleaning solutions. We’ve included a range of different options to ensure there’s one for your specific carpet cleaning needs.

Keep scrolling to see the best carpet cleaner solution for steam machines and other carpet cleaning appliances.

1. Resolve Professional Strength Spot and Stain Carpet Cleaner Solution

BEST OVERALL

Resolve Professional Strength Spot and Stain Carpet Cleaner is the number one carpet stain remover on our list for everyday use. That’s because it lifts stains, neutralizes odors, then leaves the carpet feeling soft and smelling fresh. What more could you ask for? An added advantage is that it penetrates deep to keep stains from reappearing. This particular formula was designed for food and grease-based stains, such as tomato sauce, salad dressing or dirty motor oil. In addition, Resolve makes a version for effectively removing pet stains if that’s what you need most.

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2. Woolite Carpet and Upholstery Cleaner

BEST BUILT-IN BRUSH

By including a brush built into the lid, this Woolite Carpet and Upholstery Cleaner gives users everything they need to comprehensively clean their carpets right away. The foam cleaner is ideal for use on a range of stains, including dirt, mud, grease and oil. When applied to your floors, the formula’s Stainlift Technology loosens tough, stuck-on stains while a patented odor eliminator neutralizes unpleasant odors. Furthermore, in addition to carpets, this versatile cleaning product can be used on rugs, upholstery and car interiors.

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3. ANGRY ORANGE Pet Odor Eliminator

BEST SCENT

If one of your main priorities is a pleasant smell after you’ve successfully cleaned your carpets, you may want to give this ANGRY ORANGE Pet Odor Eliminator a try. This best-selling carpet cleaner solution contains natural cleansers derived from fresh orange peel, and so you’ll get to enjoy a truly fresh scent after cleaning with this popular cleaning product. Cleaning-wise, this ready-to-use liquid only needs a quick shake before it can be sprayed onto carpet, tile, turf, garbage cans or no-leather furniture to deal with all kinds of stinks, including pet pee and poop. Furthermore, this eliminator is also available with an attached UV light to help you see normally invisible sources of unpleasant smells.

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4. Bissell Professional Power Shot Oxy Carpet Spot

BEST VALUE

The worst stains smell just as bad as they look. But, Bissell Professional Power Shot Oxy Carpet Spot features patented odor removal technology that works on tough odors, like smoke, mold, mildew, pet messes and kitchen gunk. In addition, it reaches all the way down to the backing of the carpet for a thorough cleaning and comes in a pressurized spray bottle for easier carpet application. If you already trust Bissell appliances, then this spot carpet cleaner solution is the one-two punch you need to remove stains for good.

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5. Folex Carpet Spot Remover

BEST MULTI-SURFACE

While some cleaners are great for rugs, others for upholstery and yet others for pet stains, Folex Carpet Spot Remover safely and instantly removes stains from virtually any surface. There’s no rinsing or vacuuming necessary with this spot remover. Simply spray it on your stain, rub it around with your fingers and blot it with a clean, absorbent cloth to see it get to work instantly.

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6. Car Guys Super Cleaner

BEST FOR CARS

Car Guys Super Cleaner brings new meaning to the phrase “deep down clean.” That’s because it uses advanced nano-technology to effectively lift away dirt and grime at the molecular level. It works on every surface, except glass and delicate instrument panel screens, to leave a clean finish with no gloss or greasy film.

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7. Febreze Heavy Traffic Carpet Foam

BEST FOAM

In addition to removing more dirt from your floors than vacuuming alone, this Febreze Heavy Traffic Carpet Foam protects treated carpet against future stains. To use it, you simply follow the three-step process, which involves spraying it on, scrubbing it and then vacuuming it clear. As it treats your carpet’s fibers, it replaces any unpleasant odors with an appealing, fresh scent and also leaves everything feeling soft. This popular cleaning product is also particularly effective for use in high-traffic areas in your home.

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8. OxiClean Carpet & Area Rug Stain Remover Spray

BEST FOR AREA RUGS

If you’re dealing with stains on an area rug, such as food, drink or pet mess, this OxiClean Carpet & Area Rug Stain Remover Spray can definitely help. The spray-on formula uses a fast-acting, oxygenation process to lift stubborn stains from within rugs or carpets. Once it has loosened the stuck-on stain, all you have to do is blot it away using a color-fast cloth and then vacuum the area to complete the job. Additionally, for an even deeper clean, this spray can be paired with the Oxiclean Splot Carpet Stain Remover.

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9. Woolite INSTAclean Permanent Stain Remover

FASTEST ACTING

It only takes 30 seconds for the Woolite INSTAclean Permanent Stain Remover to work its magic. Simply blot up the excess liquid on your stain, and spray on this stain remover to watch the mark on your carpet disappear. Once the stain is gone, simply blot the area with a wet rag to ensure you have removed all of the offending substance. Not only does the Woolite Stain Remover get rid of any visible marks, but it also does away with tough odors and leaves a clean scent behind.

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Carpet Cleaning Machine Solutions

These are the best carpet cleaner solution designed for use inside a carpet cleaning machine. Some are made for use inside specific models; however, others offer greater versatility and may allow you to apply them to your carpets directly even if they aren’t being used inside a cleaning device.

1. Nature’s Miracle Carpet Shampoo

BEST OVERALL

This Nature’s Miracle Carpet Shampoo is a versatile cleaning product that can be used alone or inside any water-based carpet cleaning machine or steam cleaner. When applied to your carpets, the formula penetrates deep to loosen stains, odors and allergens and traps them, ready to be picked up by a cloth or cleaning device. Handily, the solution produces a minimal amount of foam, ensuring the process creates as little of its own mess as possible. Furthermore, the shampoo is backed by over 14,000 five-star ratings and comes in a choice of different scents.

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2. Zep All-Purpose Carpet Shampoo Concentrate

BEST ALL-PURPOSE

The Zep All-Purpose Carpet Shampoo Concentrate is not only the best concentrate on our list, but it’s also one of the best value products on the market. That’s because each bottle can create up to 25 gallons of effective shampoo for use in both extractor carpet cleaners and steam cleaning machines. The industrial-strength detergent is also low foaming, so it doesn’t require as much rinsing as other brands. However, because this concentrate isn’t scented with something more pleasant, it may leave a heavy cleaning smell in its wake.

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3. OxiClean Large Area Carpet Cleaner Solution

BEST FOR LARGE AREAS

Since it first appeared on late-night infomercials, people across the country have been depending on OxiClean as their go-to carpet cleaner solution and all-purpose stain remover. That’s why it’s only natural that OxiClean makes one of the best solutions for use in carpet cleaning machines. (They also make a spot cleaning spray that we recommend, too.) The powerful carpet cleaning solution penetrates carpet fibers to get at the root of your stains. Thanks to this, it can remove food, wine, coffee, dirt and more from flooring. Simply follow the manufacturer’s recommendations for use in any carpet cleaning machine.

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4. Hoover Paws & Claws Deep Cleaning Carpet Shampoo

BEST FOR PETS

With more than 23,000 five-star ratings from customers who love it, you can be confident this Hoover Paws & Claws Deep Cleaning Carpet Shampoo does what it advertises. It’s made for homes with furry inhabitants and is particularly powerful when it comes to removing odors, vomit, feces and urine. The formula, which is designed for use in full-size cleaning machines, uses enzymatic action to break down organic messes, making it easier to remove them from deep within carpet fibers. Handily, Hoover’s Paws & Claws range includes a complete selection of top-rated products for cleaning up pet-specific messes.

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5. Bissell 2X Pet Stain Portable Machine Formula

BEST FOR PORTABLE DEVICES

You no longer have to worry about stains from pet messes with the BISSELL 2X Pet Stain & Odor Portable Machine Formula. This stand-out product comes backed by over 17,000 five-star ratings and has been specially formulated to work in all BISSELL and Dirt Devil compact deep cleaning machines. Plus, because it provides two times the concentration, you can clean more by using less, so your dollar stretches farther.

Read More: The Best Bissell Appliance Deals

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How We Chose the Best Carpet Cleaner Solution

To ensure only the very best carpet cleaner solution made it into our selection, each product we featured fulfilled a particular set of criteria. Firstly, every solution on the list has hundreds, if not thousands of ratings and reviews from happy customers who have tried and tested the product. Secondly, every solution offers a good value for the money and won’t break the bank, but will still produce outstanding results. Finally, we looked at ingredients lists, brand reputations and specific functions of each solution to ensure we had something for every carpet cleaning need.

Finally, we included the best carpet cleaners tested by SPY.com reviewers and editors. When our own carpets need cleaning, we’ve had great success with Angry Orange, Bissell products, Resolve and Woolite Carpet and Upholstery Cleaner. The result is the most well-rounded collection of carpet cleaner solution available to buy online.

So, if you’re tired of seeing that stubborn stain on your carpet and finally want to do something about it, grab one of the best carpet cleaner solutions and get rid of those stains to restore that like-new look to your floors again.

  

Deep Clean and Restore Your Carpet’s Appearance With a Steam Cleaner

1. Apply the cleaning solution to the whole carpet or the specific area you're looking to target.
2. Scrub the area with a brush. It's advisable to try and scrub all carpet fibers in the same direction.
3. Once complete, use the towel to remove any excess cleaning solution and dab the fibers dry.
4. Next, sprinkle a light covering of water over the cleaned area to help remove any remaining cleaner or residues.
5. Finally, use the towel one last time to dry your carpet before allowing it to completely dry naturally at room temperature.