The 10 Best Carpet Shampoos

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This wiki has been updated 28 times since it was first published in March of 2016. What do kids, dogs, and cats all have in common? Well, yes, they can be cute, but they are all definitely messy, too. If your two- or four-legged family members have dirtied up your floors, it's time to apply one of these carpet shampoos that will bring your soft surfaces back to life, and maybe even regain their original texture and color. Some are even suitable for upholstery, too. When users buy our independently chosen editorial recommendations, we may earn commissions to help fund the Wiki.

1. Bissell Deep Clean Pro

2. Kirby Pet Owners

3. Hoover Paws and Claws

Editor's Notes

November 02, 2020:

Due to availability concerns, we replaced Chemical Guys Fabric Clean, Puracy Fresh Citrus, Rug Doctor Oxy-Steam, and Hoover Platinum with Resolve Steam Solution, Biokleen Citrus, Rug Doctor Triple Action, and Hoover Paws and Claws, respectively. Biokleen Citrus made the list because we wanted to include another natural option. All of the cleaning agents used are plant-based, so they’re completely safe to use around children and animals. Additionally, it doesn’t include any harsh fragrances, so you won’t be left with any nasty fumes. The Rug Doctor Triple Action, along with the Nature’s Miracle Stain & Odor, is another pet-specific option that uses enzymes to effectively break down stains and messes, making it a good fit for folks who find themselves cleaning up after their furry friends often.

May 28, 2019:

Unlike hard floors, carpets suck up stains and odors from liquids, pet waste, and dirt, which is why it is important to pair an effective cleaner with a high-quality machine to give them a thorough cleaning. While no carpet cleaners is going to work miracles, a good one can go a long way towards bringing back that original luster, vibrancy, and freshness. If you are a pet owner, you know that any old cleaner won't do, since dog and cat urine is one of the hardest odors to remove. Generally, the most effective cleaners for pet waste stains will be enzyme based, like Kirby Pet Owners and Hoover Platinum. That being said, we have also found some other non-enzyme-based formulas that have been proven to be quite effective at removing leftover odors from pet accidents, such as Sunny & Honey Carpet Miracle and Bubba's Super Steamer. People who suffer from allergies should consider Oreck Full Release Allergen Control, which can remove 99.9 percent of mold and dust mites, or Nature's Miracle Stain & Odor. For those with sensitivities to chemicals and harsh smells, Puracy Fresh Citrus is a smart choice since it is a hypoallergenic formula. Bissell Deep Clean Pro claimed our number one spot because it is not only effective at removing stubborn stains, but it also adds a Scotchguard barrier as you clean, helping to protect against future stains. Plus, it is EPA-approved as safe around kids and pets.

4. Sunny & Honey Carpet Miracle

5. Bubba's Super Steamer

6. Rug Doctor Triple Action

7. Oreck Full Release Allergen Control

8. Biokleen Citrus

9. Resolve Steam Solution

10. Nature's Miracle Stain & Odor

The Importance Of Cleaning Your Carpet

If a child crawls or plays on dirty carpet, they may pick up bacteria that could potentially cause them to become sick.

Laying carpet in your home is a great way to give it a warm and welcoming feel. Unfortunately, carpet tends to be a catch-all for dust, dirt, bacteria, dead skin cells, and more. In fact, carpet can actually hold four times its weight in foreign particulates. Everything from pet hair to insects and mold gets trapped in carpet.

Many people feel that vacuuming carpets regularly is cleaning enough, and that steam cleaning isn't necessary, but this is untrue. Did you know that an area being vacuumed is one of the five dirtiest places in your home? This is because of the way a vacuum cleaner functions. It sucks up air along with dust, dirt, and other material. That air is then released from a vent. While the vacuum's filter is supposed to trap the majority of the dust, dead skin cells, and dirt, it can't catch them all. Instead, some of the foreign particles sucked up into the vacuum are [recirculated back into the air](, before they land somewhere in your house once again, most often back on the carpet.

If you have environmental allergies or asthma, choosing to solely vacuum your carpets instead of implementing a regular schedule of steam cleaning along with your vacuuming can be seriously hazardous. Only steam cleaning can effectively remove the majority of dirt and allergens that have found a home in your carpets. It also helps to improve your indoor air quality, so there are less potentially irritating pollutants circulating around your house.

If you have young children in the home who often crawl around on the carpet, regular steam cleaning is doubly important. If a child crawls or plays on dirty carpet, they may pick up bacteria that could potentially cause them to become sick. There may also be insect colonies hiding in the carpet that eluded the suction of the vacuum cleaner. Steam cleaning can help to minimize the chances of you or your child being bitten by such insects.

Steam cleaning isn't just about the health of your family either, it is also about appearances. Carpet that is stained and soiled makes a whole house look dirty, even if the rest of the surfaces are spotlessly clean. A well-maintained carpet tells people that you care about the cleanliness of your home. It can give the entire home a fresh feeling.

What To Look For In A Carpet Shampoo

When choosing a carpet shampoo, there are a few things to keep in mind to ensure you end up with the best product for your needs. If you have kids or pets in your home, or are sensitive to chemicals, an all-natural shampoo is a smart choice. These contain ingredients like orange peel or grapefruit seed extract to remove stains and leave behind a fresh scent. Many are also bio-enzymatic cleaners, which means they contain microbial nutrients and enzymes that can degrade chemical and organic waste. Working in conjunction, these types of ingredients not only remove stains, but also odors to leave behind spotlessly clean carpet with a fresh scent.

These contain ingredients like orange peel or grapefruit seed extract to remove stains and leave behind a fresh scent.

All-natural cleaners are non-toxic, eco-friendly, and biodegradable, so not only are they safe for you and your family, but the environment, too. Unlike chemical cleaners, all-natural cleaners rarely leave behind any sticky residue, which is very important. When a carpet shampoo leaves behind a sticky residue, it actually causes the carpet to become soiled again more quickly. This is because dirt and other foreign particulates will adhere to the residue, causing a build up of grime.

The downside to some all-natural cleaners is that they may be less effective at removing really old or stubborn stains. If you think an all-natural option may not be powerful enough for your needs, there are some very good chemical-based options. Ideally, you should choose a chemical option that doesn't leave behind any scents to minimize the possibility of it causing irritation to anybody in the building.

Any carpet shampoo you choose should be able to penetrate deeply into the carpet to get at the source of unpleasant smells and extract older stains that have seeped in. Most people would do well to choose a shampoo that contains some form of protectant, as well. This way it creates a barrier against future stains.

How To Maintain Your Carpet Between Cleanings

Maintaining your carpet between cleanings is actually relatively easy. Despite the many drawbacks of vacuuming, it is still an ideal way to help minimize the dust and allergens that are trapped in your carpet. It is important, though, to vacuum regularly, at least once a week. For high-traffic areas or if you have pets, it is a good idea to vacuum twice a week. If you vacuum regularly, the foreign particulates that land on your carpet won't have a chance to get ground in, and will remain closer to the surface, making it easier for the vacuum cleaner to do its job.

Instead, blot at it with a towel to suck up as much of it as possible.

It can often be helpful to open the windows while you vacuum, too. This brings in fresh air and expels some of the dust blown around by the vacuum cleaner. When vacuuming, go slowly. Most people make the mistake of vacuuming too quickly, which hinders the vacuum's ability to do its job.

If you spill something on your carpet, clean it as soon as possible. Many times, going at the stain before it has a chance to set will allow you to completely remove it. Never rub a stain. Instead, blot at it with a towel to suck up as much of it as possible. Then apply some of your carpet shampoo to a fresh, clean cloth and continue to blot at the stain, working from the outside inwards. Next, use another, slightly damp, clean cloth to blot the stain in the same way. Finally, lay some dry towels on top of the stain to suck up any excess moisture. It can sometimes be helpful to leave a stack of paper towels on top of the stain with a heavy object placed on top for a few hours, as this will draw up even more of the leftover moisture.

Brett Dvoretz
Last updated by Brett Dvoretz

A wandering writer who spends as much time on the road as in front of a laptop screen, Brett can either be found hacking away furiously at the keyboard or, perhaps, enjoying a whiskey and coke on some exotic beach, sometimes both simultaneously, usually with a four-legged companion by his side. He has been a professional chef, a dog trainer, and a travel correspondent for a well-known Southeast Asian guidebook. He also holds a business degree and has spent more time than he cares to admit in boring office jobs. He has an odd obsession for playing with the latest gadgets and working on motorcycles and old Jeeps. His expertise, honed over years of experience, is in the areas of computers, electronics, travel gear, pet products, and kitchen, office and automotive equipment.

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