8 Best Car Carpet Cleaners in 2022

car carpet cleaner

Staff, Courtesy of Hoover

Carpets are an often-overlooked part of your car’s interior. Without even noticing, it’s easy to track dirt, dead leaves, and snow across the floor of your car, eventually leading to unsightly spots and odors, and harming the presentation of the vehicle as a whole. There are, however, a variety of products on the market that are made specifically for car carpets, and with regular use, it’s easy to keep your car pristine.

8 Best Car Carpet Cleaners

What to Consider

Most car carpet cleaners come in a bottled liquid form, but the chemical formulation inside can vary. Most basic car carpet cleaning products will use ingredients similar to those found in household carpet or upholstery cleaners, while more premium options will be formulated for deep-cleaning tough stains or even mold and mildew. Most car carpet cleaners will contain deodorizing agents, and some will add a specific fragrance on top of that. However, if you want to maintain a neutral smell profile for your car’s interior, it’s best to go with an unscented option. Before using any type of car carpet cleaner, you should go over your upholstery with a vacuum cleaner to clear away loose dirt.

Most carpet shampoos can also be used on cloth upholstery. However, they are not intended for leather seats. A mild cleaner, or a specially formulated leather product, should be used for that purpose instead. Car carpet cleaners come in everything from small spray bottles to large gallon jugs; a handheld bottle will typically be enough for lightly-soiled carpets, but a large container may come in handy for detailers, or those who need to clean multiple vehicles frequently. Many car carpet cleaner formulas can be used with a simple scrub brush for regular cleaning, but if you need to reverse years of neglect, a dedicated carpet shampooing device can provide a deeper clean.

How We Evaluated

We selected these products using hands-on detailing experience, as well as review input from publications like Car and Driver, AutoGuide, and Bob Vila. We also searched for car carpet cleaners with a wide variety of uses and at various price points, so there’s something to suit every budget and need.

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Best Budget Buy

Power Out! Carpet and Mat Cleaner

Key Specs

  • Best For: Carpets and rubber mats
  • Size: 18-ounce spray can with brush
  • Scent: Non-fragrant and deodorizing

This Turtle Wax cleaner comes in a small spray can that can be easily stored in a glove compartment or center console. The can also includes a convenient scrub brush on top, making it useful for regular touch-ups and spot-cleaning. Inside the foamy spray are oxygenated cleaning agents similar to those found in household carpet cleaners, along with the manufacturer’s Odor-X deodorizing formula.

While the formula is unscented and leaves only a mild smell after drying, Turtle Wax says it will “remove odors caused by pets, cigarette smoke, food and mildew.” It also leaves behind a thin silicone coating, which bonds to carpet fibers and keeps dirt particles from sticking to them.

  • Affordable
  • Brush included
  • Dirt repellent
  • No larger sizes available


Best Value

Foaming Citrus Carpet Cleaner

Key Specs

  • Best For: Carpets and cloth upholstery
  • Size: 16-ounce bottle; 64-ounce jug; 1-gallon jug
  • Scent: Citrus scent with deodorizer

This Chemical Guys cleaner comes concentrated and should be diluted with warm water in a separate container or carpet shampooer prior to use. While this does mean a relatively small bottle can last quite a while, it does make this formula less convenient to use on the go.

Sizes range from a 16-ounce bottle to a full gallon jug. Inside are natural enzymes that help eliminate stains and odors from carpets and cloth upholstery without the use of ammonia or bleach. The formula works well, but reviewers say it leaves a strong orange smell, which some may not enjoy. Many Chemical Guys products, including this one, are also formulated locally in California.

  • Natural enzyme formula
  • Made in USA
  • Must be diluted
  • Strong citrus smell


Best Multi-Purpose

Super Cleaner for Carpet, Vinyl, Leather, and Rubber

Key Specs

  • Best For: Carpets; seats made of cloth, vinyl, or leather; dashboards
  • Size: 18-ounce spray bottle
  • Scent: Unscented

If you’re looking for an all-purpose car cleaner, look no further: Car Guys says this formula is good for just about any automotive surface except glass. It’s handy for spot-cleaning carpets, seats, and trim, but probably won’t provide as much stain-fighting power as more specialized formulas. Also, be sure to test this formula in less visible areas before using it on materials like dyed leather. It’s available in an 18-ounce spray bottle, comes with a microfiber cloth for applying and wiping, and is unscented.

  • Works on carpets, seats, and trim
  • Microfiber cloth included
  • Not as strong as dedicated carpet cleaner


Best Unscented

Oxi-Magic Carpet and Fabric Cleaner

Key Specs

  • Best For: Carpets and fabric upholstery, but not vinyl or leather
  • Size: 22-ounce spray bottle
  • Scent: Unscented/deodorizing

This formula uses fairly gentle cleaners like hydrogen peroxide and isopropyl alcohol, along with oxygenated cleaning agents, to lift stains and deodorize carpets and fabric upholstery. It should be kept away from vinyl and leather, however, as the peroxide can easily discolor these materials. ArmorAll states that it’s good for a wide range of stains, including “mud, coffee, cola, ink, grass, and motor oil.” It’s only available in a 22-ounce spray bottle, and has a mild smell that subsides after use.

  • Only one size available
  • Can damage leather


Best Fast-Acting

Lightning Fast Stain Extractor

Key Specs

  • Best For: Carpets and cloth upholstery
  • Sizes: 16-ounce spray bottle; 1-gallon jug
  • Scent: Unscented with deodorizer

This concentrated stain-lifting formula, which is made in the U.S.A., can be used as a pre-treatment with regular carpet shampoo, or can be diluted to make a standalone cleaner. It’s effective at both fighting stains and deodorizing upholstery and carpets, and the formula begins working in seconds. The manufacturers also note that it can work on items like sofas and sneakers, in addition to cars. Reviewers say the product has a nondescript chemical smell, but it dissipates after drying.

  • Powerful stain fighting
  • Smell doesn’t linger
  • Made in USA
  • Works better used with another shampoo


Best For Fabric and Vinyl

Carpet and Upholstery Cleaner

Key Specs

  • Best For: Carpets, cloth upholstery, vinyl, sheepskin
  • Size: 24-ounce spray bottle
  • Scent: Not specified

This water-based, non-foaming cleaner, which comes in a 24-ounce spray bottle, is useful for regular treatments to keep your carpets dirt-free. However, it’s not as effective for deep-cleaning as a true carpet shampoo. Due to its lighter nature, it is also safe to use on materials like vinyl and velour. Mothers’ also provides a satisfaction guarantee, offering a full refund if the product hasn’t met your expectations.

  • Works on variety of materials
  • Satisfaction guarantee
  • Strong smell
  • Not great for deep-cleaning


Best Pro-Grade Formula

High Foam Upholstery and Carpet Shampoo

Key Specs

  • Best For: Carpets and cloth upholstery
  • Size: 16-ounce bottle/1-gallon jug
  • Scent: Lemon

This concentrated foaming shampoo, which is available in a 16-ounce bottle and gallon jug, is made to be diluted with warm water, and can be used with either a scrub brush or electric carpet shampooer. The formula uses optical brighteners to remove stains and discoloration, making carpets and upholstery look new again without too much elbow grease. This formula, which is made in the United States, includes deodorizing agents and has a lemon scent.

  • Available in bulk
  • Restores factory colors
  • Made in USA
  • Must be diluted
  • Lemon scent may not work for everyone


Best Premium Option

CleanSlate Plus Portable Shampooer

Key Specs

  • Best For: Deep-cleaning carpets
  • Size: 40-ounce solution container and wastewater tank
  • Scent: N/A

An electric carpet shampooer will clean deeper and faster than scrubbing by hand, helping you get the most out of your concentrated carpet products. This particular device is great for cars because it features a portable design and an 18-foot power cord, making it easy to carry around and use inside your vehicle.

Inside the shampooer is a useful dual-tank system. Cleaning solution flows out of the main tank, then gets sucked into the secondary tank, preventing dirty water from flowing back into the carpet. This Hoover model will hold up to 40 ounces of diluted shampoo, which may be enough to clean an entire vehicle in one go. Four suction heads are included, for either spot-cleaning or cleaning larger areas of your car. It also comes with a bottle of stain remover, but you may still want to consider purchasing a specialized automotive cleaner for a deeper clean.

  • More effective than scrubbing
  • Portable and compact
  • Separates cleaner from wastewater

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