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The Best Carpet Stain Removers for Fresh and Set-In Marks

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Written by Jenna Cartusciello
Best Carpet Stain Removers

Finding the best carpet stain remover isn’t as easy as it may seem. Think about it: Some sprays that work well for food stains don’t work as well for pet stains. Others do an amazing job of neutralizing odors, while some are better at sanitizing an area and preventing pets from marking their territory. It would be ideal if one carpet stain remover did it all — but does that really exist?

According to Us, there are a few carpet stain removers on the market that can tackle just about any stain on any carpet. They still have their downsides, but their effectiveness will keep you coming back to those brands for years. And if you need something that targets a specific type of stain, be it wine or oil (or even worse: cat urine), we have recommendations for those too. Learn more about what we consider to be the best carpet stain removers below, based on product reviews, formulation, scent, ease of use, availability and price.

The 15 Best Carpet Stain Removers

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Finding the Best Carpet Stain Removers

Whether you spilled your morning coffee, discovered your pet had an accident, or found your kid creating a painting on the floor with a tube of lipstick, the carpet sees it all! Carpet stains happen, and we’ve all been there. But when it’s time to remove those stains, you need an effective carpet stain remover. So, how do you choose the right one?

In addition to thinking about the type of stain and the carpet material, it’s important to also consider ingredients, ease of use, effectiveness, colorfastness and ability to neutralize odors.

What to Consider When Choosing the Best Carpet Stain Removers


While effectiveness may push you to choose a very powerful carpet stain remover, it’s also important to consider the ingredients in the formula. Children and pets may be particularly sensitive to harsh ingredients, so you may need to opt for a biodegradable and non-toxic formula instead.

If the stain is well established and you don’t have kids or pets — or the stain isn’t in a high foot traffic area — you may be fine to try out the toughest stain removers on the market.

Ease of Use

Bottle design might not seem like an important factor, but it can make a big difference in ease of use. Ideally, a bottle of carpet stain remover should spray smoothly without too much effort, and it shouldn’t leak. Bottles that have a brush cap are a big plus because they tend to keep your hands clean.


How can you tell whether a carpet stain remover is effective before buying it? Generally, the best thing you can do is check out product reviews. Customers don’t always use products correctly, but many of them can give a good recommendation in terms of how well different formulas work on different stains. Overall, a product with a proven track record of successfully eliminating stains is a good bet.


Unfortunately, some of the toughest carpet stain removers can actually lighten a carpet’s color or cause it to fade. Checking out product reviews before buying is a good way to ensure you don’t buy a formula that causes discoloration. However, we still recommend testing your new stain remover on an inconspicuous area of the carpet.


An added benefit to many carpet stain removers these days: Many of them have odor neutralizing technology. This can prevent your home from smelling like old stains and keep things fresh. However, be cautious of stain removers that are strongly scented, because you may dislike having a carpet that smells strongly of citrus or another overpowering fragrance.

What Are the Different Types of Carpet Stain Removers?

Enzyme Based

Enzyme-based stain removers can help break down organic stains such as food, pet urine, fecal matter and blood. These cleaners contain enzymes that digest the proteins found in organic stains, making them easier to remove.

Oxygen Based

Oxygen-based stain removers contain oxygenated compounds to lift and break apart stains. They work best on tough stains like wine, coffee and chocolate, but may not work as well on set-in stains, oil-based stains and ink. These types of stain removers may also slightly lift a carpet’s color.

Don’t be alarmed when your oxygen-based cleaner starts to foam! When activated with water, this type of cleaner releases bubbles that help lift stains from carpet fibers.

Solvent Based

Solvent-based stain removers contain chemicals that dissolve grease and oil. They work well on stains such as ink, lipstick and oil-based foods, but don’t always work as well on wine, pet urine or fecal matter and blood. These cleaners work by breaking down the molecular structure of the stain, which makes it easier to lift the residue from the carpet fibers.


Best Overall: Rocco & Roxie Oxy Stain Remover


  • Great scent
  • Removes toughest stains
  • Smooth spraying nozzle


  • Expensive
  • May need some resting time to perform well

For a reliable carpet stain remover that can remove just about any stain, we recommend the Rocco & Roxie Oxy Stain Remover. It tackles both fresh and set-in stains, eliminating oily food marks, wine spills and mud. Plus, we think it has a great scent and the nozzle sprays a smooth stream of product.

On the other hand, this stain remover is expensive. It may also need ample time resting on the stain before it effectively removes the mark.


Best Budget: Carbona Oxy Powered 2-in-1 Carpet Cleaner


  • Comes with durable scrubbing brush
  • Don’t have to let cleaner sit before scrubbing
  • Works well on big area rugs as well as carpet


  • Not as great for old, set-in stains
  • Easy to squeeze out too much product

While the Carbona Oxy Powered 2-in-1 Carpet Cleaner handles old stains with ease, it excels at eliminating fresh stains. The product is easy to squeeze out of the container and then scrub with the built-in brush, so you don’t have to get your hands dirty. Plus, it works well on not just carpet, but also area rugs.

The downsides (which were hard to find): A few customers found that this product didn’t work as well on old, set-in stains. It’s also easy to squeeze too much product out of the bottle.


Best Eco-Friendly: Biokleen Bac-Out Stain and Odor Eliminator


  • Removes the toughest stains
  • Excellent at removing odor
  • Non-toxic and phosphate free


  • Ring from the stain may still be left behind
  • Pricey

If you’re worried about the chemicals you’re spraying in the air and around your feet, consider an eco-friendly carpet stain remover like the Biokleen Bac-out Stain and Odor Eliminator. This product works well on even the toughest stains, including blood, mud and wine. It also eliminates odor (no more smelly cat spots).

However, some customers have noticed that this product can have a “ring” effect, meaning a ring from the stain may be left behind. It’s also one of our more pricey recommendations.


Best for Old Stains: Krud Kutter Original Cleaner and Degreaser, Stain Remover


  • Works on other surfaces to remove tape, glue, etc.
  • Gets rid of set-in stains
  • Biodegradable


  • Takes some setting time to remove old stains
  • Strong enough to remove wood stain/glaze

Got a tough, old stain that won’t budge? Try treating it with Krud Kutter. This water-based carpet stain remover works on all kinds of set-in stains, from oil-based marks to urine. It also works well on other surfaces, such as wood, to remove tape and glue residue.

The downsides (which were hard to find): We recommend letting Krud Kutter sit for at least 10 minutes on a stain before trying to blot or scrub it, and that wait time might be frustrating. In addition, be careful when using this on polished wood; it’s strong enough to remove wood stain and glazes.


Best Formula That’s Safe for Children and Pets: Bissell Woolite INSTAclean Pet Stain Remover


  • Removes toughest stains, even old pet stains
  • Safe to use around children and pets
  • Better smell than other Woolite stain remover sprays


  • More expensive when purchased online
  • Other Woolite products may perform better

If you’re struggling to find a formula that is safe around children’s hands and pet paws, we recommend the Bissell Woolite INSTAclean Pet Stain Remover. This product can eliminate the toughest stains, including old pet stains. Plus, most buyers agree that this spray smells better than other Woolite sprays.

On the other hand, the Bissell Woolite INSTAclean is more expensive when purchased online. Some customers also believe that other Woolite products perform better than this one.


Best for Pet Stains: Angry Orange Stain Remover, Enzyme Pet Cleaner


  • Eliminates odor
  • Deters cats from urinating on same spot


  • Citrus scent may be overpowering
  • Pricey
  • Not as great for food stains

Pet stains (urine, fecal matter and vomit) are notoriously difficult to remove from carpet, but the Angry Orange Stain remover handles them extremely well. It successfully eliminates odors too, and deters cats from urinating on the carpet again.

The downsides: You may find the citrus scent to be overpowering. Plus, pets could be sensitive to the ingredients — so it’s important to monitor your pets when you first try it. A few customers have also received defective bottles, and note that the formula isn’t as great for removing food stains.


Best Eco-Friendly Spray for Pet Stains: Bac-Out Pet Stain and Odor Remover – Foaming Spray


  • Great on urine and fresh food stains
  • Works on furniture and fabrics as well
  • Biodegradable


  • Effectiveness varies depending on stain
  • Scent may be off-putting

Having tough pet stains on your carpet doesn’t mean you have to use harsh chemicals to remove them. The Bac-Out Pet Stain and Odor Remover is a great alternative to tough products because it works well on urine and fresh food stains, all while being biodegradable.

However, the effectiveness of this product can vary depending on the stain type. The formula works well on wine stains, for example, but not as well on grass and mud stains. In addition, a few customers find the scent to be off-putting.


Best for Cat Stains: Nature’s Miracle Advanced Stain and Odor Eliminator for Severe Cat Messes


  • Effectively removes odor from all stains
  • Works on other surfaces
  • Easy to use


  • On food stains, effectiveness varies
  • Foam sprayer can get messy
  • Citrus scent may be too strong

If you want to completely remove carpet stains from your cat and deter your pet from marking its territory again, opt for Nature’s Miracle Advanced Stain and Odor Eliminator. This product effectively removes urine, vomit and fecal matter stains and eliminates odor. Plus, it’s easy to use and works well on other surfaces, such as rugs and wood floors.

The downsides: The effectiveness of this product varies when it comes to food stains. It works well on wine, for example, but not as well on barbecue sauce. Also, the foam sprayer can get messy, and some customers find the citrus scent to be overpowering.


Best Germ Killing: Woolite Advanced Pet Stain & Odor Remover + Sanitize


  • Pleasant, fresh scent
  • Eliminates fresh and moderately new stains
  • Affordable


  • Doesn’t thoroughly remove tough, set-in stains
  • On food stains, effectiveness varies
  • Some customers dislike scent

Hoping to sanitize your carpet while removing stains? If so, opt for the Woolite Advanced Pet Stain & Odor Remover. The formula does a great job of making fresh and slightly older stains disappear, and it effectively kills germs. Plus, it has a pleasant, fresh scent.

On the other hand, the spray doesn’t thoroughly remove tough, set-in stains, and its effectiveness varies depending on the source of the stain. A few customers also didn’t like the scent.


Best for Smelly Stains: OxiClean Carpet and Area Rug Stain Remover Spray


  • Works well on tough, dried stains
  • Eliminates strong odors like urine
  • Pleasant, fresh scent


  • Pricey
  • Has to sit a long time to be very effective
  • Better at removing dried stains than wet ones

Lingering smells from carpet stains are difficult to neutralize, but the OxiClean Carpet and Area Rug Stain Remover Spray does an excellent job of eliminating both mild and strong odors. It works well on tough, dried and set-in stains, and it has a pleasant scent.

However, this product is pricey, and it has to sit a long time on top of a stain in order to be effective. It also tends to work better on dried stains as opposed to wet ones, so you may need to let a fresh, wet stain sit in order for the spray to be effective. This is a gamble, unfortunately, because set-in stains are usually tougher to remove.


Best for Dark Stains: Bissell Professional Power Shot Oxy Carpet Spot and Stain Remover


  • Biodegradable
  • Great for toughest dark stains (wine, ketchup, blood)
  • Easy to use


  • Pricey
  • A few customers have received faulty sprayers
  • Effectiveness on pet stains varies

What we like about the Bissell Professional Power Shot Oxy Carpet Spot and Stain Remover: It has a high-pressure, stream sprayer which makes the product very easy to use. (You don’t have to constantly pump the sprayer!) The packaging is also eco-friendly, and the formula works well on tough, dark stains.

What could be improved: This product is pricey, and a few customers have received faulty sprayers. In addition, its effectiveness on pet stains varies.


Best for Spilled Wine: Chateau Spill Red Wine Stain Remover


  • Quickly cleans fresh and set-in wine stains
  • Travel-sized bottle is great for planes
  • Doesn’t require much blotting/scrubbing


  • Not the best at eliminating odors
  • Expensive
  • Effectiveness on other stain types varies

With the Chateau Spill Red Wine Stain Remover, you don’t have to use a lot of elbow grease — the formula quickly cleans fresh and set-in wine stains without much scrubbing or blotting. It also comes in a travel-sized bottle, which is great for planes and long trips.

However, this stain remover isn’t the best at eliminating odors, and its effectiveness on other stain types (like pet and food stains) varies. It’s also expensive.


Best for Kids: KIDS ‘N’ PETS Instant All-Purpose Stain & Odor Remover


  • Works on just about any stain type (makeup, food, pets)
  • Eliminates pet odors
  • Biodegradable


  • Some buyers have received faulty sprayers
  • Expensive if bought online
  • Can take a while for remover to sink in and work

If you have a kid or two at home, you know just how difficult it is to keep up with their messes. Fortunately, the KIDS ‘N’ Pets Instant All-Purpose Stain & Odor Remover is exactly what you need. This versatile cleaner eliminates just about any type of stain, from lipstick to greasy foods to pet accidents. It’s also biodegradable, and the scent isn’t overpowering.

The downsides? A few buyers have received faulty sprayers, and the product is expensive if you buy it online. You may also need to let the product sit on top of the stain for a while before removing it.


Best No-Rinse Formula: FOLEX Instant Carpet Spot Remover


  • Light scent, not overpowering
  • Works well on upholstery
  • Great on wine stains


  • If you use too much product, may create a ring around the stain
  • Some buyers received a faulty sprayer
  • Not great for eliminating odor

Do you hate the extra step of rinsing out a carpet stain and letting it dry? If so, we recommend the FOLEX Instant Carpet Spot Remover. The formula is no-rinse, meaning you don’t have to wash it out of the carpet once you use it (so it won’t lighten the carpet if you leave it in). Also, it works well on upholstery and it has a light, pleasant scent.

However, some buyers have noticed that this spray may leave a ring around a stain if you use too much product. A few customers have also received faulty sprayers, while others note that the formula isn’t the best at eliminating odors.


Best Powder: Arm & Hammer Dry Carpet Powder Cleaner


  • Neutralizes pet odors
  • Easy to vacuum away after letting it sit
  • Helps remove allergens from carpet


  • May need to scrub it in to fully lift stains, dirt and hair
  • Can get clumpy
  • Expensive

Powder carpet cleaners do an excellent job of dissolving and absorbing dirt that you can easily vacuum away. The Arm & Hammer Powder Carpet Cleaner goes even further — it helps eliminate carpet stains. Indeed, customers note that the powder successfully eliminates fresh and set-in stains, which saves them the trouble of wetting the carpet with a sprayer.

On the other hand, you may need to scrub the powder into the carpet in order to fully lift stains, dirt and hair. A few buyers also found that the formula can get clumpy.

People Also Ask

  • Q: What is the best stain remover on carpets?

    A:We recommend the Rocco & Roxie Oxy Stain Remover.

  • Q: How much do carpet stain removers cost?

    A:Carpet stain removers cost anywhere between $5 and $40.

  • Q: Can you use stain remover as a carpet cleaner?

    A:It’s more cost effective and better for your run to use a carpet shampoo to clean large areas. Carpet stain removers are best for specific patches with stains.

  • Q: What is the best way to remove old stains from carpet?

    A:If you have a long-standing stain on your carpet and don’t know what caused it, we recommend trying the Krud Kutter Original Cleaner and Degreaser. Spray the stain remover on it and let it sit for at least 10 minutes before scrubbing.

Why trust Us

At Us Weekly, we aim to inform readers to make smart purchasing decisions, saving you both time and money. Our editors are obsessed with finding products in a variety of categories from fashion and beauty, to home and fitness.

We try various products, so we can recommend our favorites, and we also summarize feedback and data from other customers. Data, like product reviews and ratings, helps us recommend the best product choices for individual price points and needs.

On top of that, we highlight unique product features for special use cases, ingredients preferences, and more. We strive to make sure you are discovering new products that can make your life easier, while keeping you up to date with the best product choices for types of items you already know and love.

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By Jenna Cartusciello

Affiliate Commerce Writer Jenna loves recommending great products to her friends and family, so helping the rest of the internet on their quest to find the best stuff makes tremendous sense! Though she mainly writes in-depth buyer’s guides these days, Jenna still enjoys crafting the occasional health article. In her spare time, she loves immersing herself in creative writing. Her favorite authors (for anyone who is willing to geek out with her) include Neil Gaiman, Cheryl Strayed, and Jennifer Egan.

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