The Ideal Carpet Cleaner for 5 Stain Scenarios

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Carpet is cozy underfoot and makes your house feel a little more like home. However, carpet is oh-so-easy to soil and stain. If you want to protect your carpet flooring investment, a good carpet cleaner is essential. 

Some carpet cleaners even help you tackle stains elsewhere in your life, such as your vehicle and your furniture. There are many different types of carpet cleaners and machines. Some of these work better than others depending on the type of stain you’re tackling.  Here is all you need to know about finding the right carpet cleaner for five different stain scenarios. 

Standard Types of Carpet Cleaners 

In general, you find three types of carpet cleaners: 

  • Portable/Compact—For spot cleaning; usually the least costly 
  • Upright—For general carpet cleaning; built like a vacuum
  • Commercial Grade—Heavy-duty, larger build, and more costly 

Each of these carpet cleaners boasts a variety of features, so it’s best to think about all of the features you may need before you commit. 

For example, some upright cleaners offer an onboard heating system for quick drying and many have a handheld attachment with a brush for deep scrubbing in a localized area.

The primary method of cleaning action also varies with different machines. Some units offer steam or automatic scrubbers to enhance cleaning.

Best Carpet Cleaners According to 5 Stain Scenarios

1. Best Carpet Cleaner for Pet Stains 

Got pets? If so, the occasional accident is bound to happen. The quicker you go after pet stains, the less likely they will leave odors and discoloration behind. Keep something like the Bissell Pet Stain Eraser with PowerBrush Plus Carpet Cleaner on hand and tackle any accident right away. 

The Pet Stain Eraser is a cordless, portable carpet cleaner with a small tank for water and your choice of cleaning solution. Simply run the cleaner over the stain and the rotating brush powers through pet stains like they were never there. 

2. Best Carpet Cleaner for Area Rug Stains 

Area rug stains are not always possible to clean in the washing machine. The wash cycle can even damage wool, hand-knotted, or antique rugs. And then heavy-duty carpet cleaners are a little too powerful for area rugs. However, the BISSELL CrossWave All-in-One Multi-Surface Wet Dry Vac is less aggressive than a standard carpet cleaner and works well on more delicate rugs. 

The CrossWave is lightweight, easy to maneuver, and uses more gentle rolling scrubbers to scrub away stains. This tool works well for area rugs, but it also serves as a multi-purpose tool that vacuums and washes hard-surface flooring, even hardwood floors, too. 

3. Best Carpet Cleaner for Large Carpet Stains 

Some carpet cleaners are ideal for small stains, but, sometimes, you need something bigger and more capable of cleaning a big area. The Hoover SmartWash+ Automatic Carpet Cleaner is a full-size, upright cleaner built for larger jobs. 

The SmartWash+ offers a deep clean but does so while being just as easy to operate as a regular vacuum. The incorporated FlexForce PowerBrushes do the tough work, and the cleaner has an auto-mix dispenser so you always get the perfect ratio of cleaning solution and water. 

If you’re concerned about drying time, this carpet cleaner has that covered—it has its own heating system to encourage faster drying.

4. Best Portable Carpet Cleaner for Stair Stains 

Carpeted stairs are tricky to clean, which is unfortunate because stairs can receive a lot of foot traffic and be prone to stains. For stairs, you need a carpet cleaner that’s portable and easy to maneuver. The RugDoctor Pet Portable Spot Cleaner is a good example.  

The lightweight build of this cleaner plus the handheld tool with dual suction makes it perfect for stairs (even though this Rug Doctor is also a top pick for pet stains). The handheld scrubbing tool has rubberized bristles to really break down caked-in grime in tight spaces like stairs. 

5. Best Upholstery Cleaner for Furniture Stains 

Furniture stains are a fact of life for most people, but these stains can be especially hard to tackle with just a scrub brush and towel. Machines like Bissell’s Little Green Portable Carpet Cleaner work wonders on tough upholstery stains.

Despite its small size, the Little Green offers a large tank capacity, a self-cleaning hose, and a three-inch tough stain tool to really scrub out those tougher-than-usual spots. 

The machine is not just good for use on your sofa, its portable size also makes it great for use on stains in your car interior. 

Ready to Make Carpet Cleaning Simpler?

Whether you’re cleaning your area rugs, wall-to-wall carpet, or just spots left behind your beloved pet, the right carpet cleaner makes life easier. While robot vacuums are great for regular surface cleaning, one of the machines above is best when tackling stains. A little prior research will help you find the right carpet cleaner for your lifestyle.