The 6 Best Natural Carpet Cleaners of 2023

Our top pick is KisClean Carpet Cleaner.

We independently research, test, review, and recommend the best products—learn more about our process. If you buy something through our links, we may earn a commission.

Vacuuming a carpet

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There are a range of ways to clean your carpets naturally, including cleaning regularly with a vacuum equipped with a High Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) filter.

“Cleaning using chemicals is mostly unnecessary on carpet,” notes Alex Varela, General Manager of Dallas Maids, a house cleaning service in Dallas, Texas. “What you need is consistency when it comes to vacuuming. You need to do it at least twice a week, although every other day would be ideal.”

But you also need to deal with the eventual stains and odors that get set in and won't come out with vacuuming. “Carpet is made out of hundreds of fibers that are highly absorbent. This material is prone to several types of bacteria and viruses. It’s one of the types of flooring that harbors bacteria the most,” adds Varela. “This is because carpet absorbs organic matter all day: Hair, skin cells, dandruff, pet dander, and food and beverage spills or residues.”

As with any carpet or fabric cleaner, always do a spot test in an inconspicuous area to ensure the product won’t change the color of fibers or damage your carpet or other fabric.

We found the best carpet cleaners that rely on mostly natural ingredients, including sprays, powders, and shampoos to remove stains, odors, and grime.

Best Overall

KisClean Carpet Cleaner

5
KisClean Carpet Cleaner

KisClean

To earn the Best Overall spot on our list, a cleaner must work well, earn top ratings, be relatively affordable, and accomplish all of this with a few, simple healthy ingredients. KisClean Carpet Cleaner is an excellent option because it can be used for spot-cleaning carpets, furniture, drapes, and other fabrics in your home. It can also be diluted with water to be used in a carpet cleaning machine.

It contains only plant-based enzymes and minerals, organic alcohol, folic acid, natural vanilla, and coconut oil. Although the types of enzymes in the spray are not fully defined on the label, this spray earned a respectable “B” grade from Environmental Working Group, a nonprofit focused on education and transparency to protect your health and the planet.

Manufactured in Los Angeles, CA, this cleaner is sold in a refillable 16-ounce spray bottle, a one-gallon jug, and a five-gallon bucket.

Price at time of publish: $10

Best Budget Shampoo

Biokleen Carpet & Rug Shampoo Concentrate

4.8
Biokleen Carpet & Rug Shampoo

Courtesy of Amazon

You can spend a lot of money on carpet shampoos that contain chemicals with names you don’t recognize. But there are several available on the market that work just as well for half the price or less. A 64-ounce jug of Biokleen Carpet & Rug Shampoo costs around $12.

This shampoo relies on a combination of four plant-based surfactants (soaps) that break up and wash away the oils and proteins that make up stains and odors. In their place is a fresh natural citrus scent that’s not overpowering, made from orange peel and grapefruit seed extracts,and orange oil. These ingredients earn this shampoo a grade of “B” from EWG.

At the recommended dilution of 5 ounces per gallon of cleaning machine water, a single container covers a lot of territory for a small investment.

Price at time of publish: $12

Best for Odors

Good Natured Carpet & Upholstery Deodorizer

5
Good Nature Saving Grace

Courtesy of Amazon

The Good Natured brand was founded by a mom, Janice Johnston, who wanted to keep her home clean and safe for her family. Independently-tested by Green Seal and rated by Whole Foods Market in the highest tier of its Eco Scale, this carpet and upholstery deodorizer is easy to use. Simply sprinkle the child-safe powder on your problem area, let it sit for five minutes and then vacuum it up. Done.

Made in Maine from aluminum-free sodium bicarbonate, plus concentrated eucalyptus and lemon essential oils, this deodorizer has antibacterial qualities while leaving a bright clean scent. Appropriate for area rugs, carpets, upholstered furniture, and car mats, it even works on that chemical smell caused by VOCs in new furniture. It earns an "A" grade from EWG.

If you’ve used other powdered carpet deodorizers, you’ll appreciate that this product vacuums up cleanly without leaving a perfume smell or a sticky residue. Note that eucalyptus essential oil can be toxic to pets, so be sure to use care and to vacuum up the product completely when using in a household with animals.

Price at time of publish: $21

Best Enzymatic Carpet Cleaner

Puracy Natural Carpet & Upholstery Shampoo

Puracy Natural Carpet & Upholstery Shampoo

Courtesy of Amazon

Enzymatic cleaners are among the most natural and effective cleaners. That’s because they use enzymes, naturally-occurring biochemicals found in all living things, to break down stain- and odor-causing elements on contact. While most enzymatic cleaners use one or two types of enzymes, Puracy Natural Carpet and Upholstery Shampoo uses six different types while remaining 100% biodegradable. Each naturally focuses on a specific type of stain or odor caused by proteins like blood and urine, food starches, fats and oils, and all types of dirt.

This shampoo is about four times more concentrated than the average carpet shampoo, so it goes further while using fewer plastic containers. It can be used in a carpet cleaning machine or by hand without bleaching or discoloring carpets and fabrics. With no synthetic fragrance, it’s fresh citrus scent comes from pink grapefruit essential oil.

Puracy is a wonderful brand that was created by two best friends from Austin, Texas who wanted safe alternatives to household products for their newborn daughters. The products are also vegan, cruelty-free, and have never been tested on animals. Made in the United States, Puracy offers a 100% satisfaction guarantee. Puracy also pays it forward with each purchase by making donations to local children and families in need.

Price at time of publish: $20

Best Booster

Branch Basics Oxygen Boost

Branch Basics Oxygen Boost

Courtesy of Branch Basics

Boosters are products that are meant to be used in combination with other cleaners, doing a better job than either product used alone. Although Branch Basics Oxygen Booster is meant to be used with Branch Basics Concentrate, it can be added to standard carpet shampoo to get out even the toughest stains and odors.

This booster is made from simple, plant-derived sodium percarbonate and sodium bicarbonate. That’s it! It’s fragrance-free, biodegradable, and not tested on animals. Perhaps the best part is that it’s so simple and safe that it can also be used for laundry, tile and grout, and even in your bathtub.

For carpets, Branch Basics recommends you spray the spot with a carpet spray or shampoo and then sprinkle on the powdered Oxygen Booster. Then scrub with a brush or damp cloth. Let it sit for five to ten minutes, then scrub it clean and vacuum up any excess.

This booster is also an EWG Verified product, which means it has been meticulously evaluated for human and environmental safety. Both ingredients earn an “A” grade from EWG.

Price at time of publish: $22

Best Steam Cleaner

McCulloch Heavy Duty Steam Cleaner

4.2
McCulloch Heavy Duty Steam Cleaner

Courtesy of Amazon

This versatile steam cleaner costs a little more but most say it’s worth it because of its versatility. It uses hot, pressurized steam to cut through a range of stains including grease and mold. The cord is longer than 15 feet, and 9-foot steam hose mean you’ll be able to reach the stain without having the machine underfoot. It's equipped with 18 accessories, including a squeegee, nylon and brass brushes, and microfiber pads.

It has a large capacity water tank (48 ounces) that heats up in less than eight minutes and lasts for up to 45 minutes of use, so you can tackle a tough job without refilling. The rolling canister design makes it easy to use anywhere in the house, chemical-free. This cleaner gets hot (more than 200 degrees). That also means that the machine can be used improperly, causing burns, so be sure to read that instruction booklet before you begin.

Price at time of publish: $150

Final Verdict

Our Best Overall KisClean Carpet Cleaner is a great product to keep on hand because it can be used as a spot treatment or diluted to use in most carpet cleaning machines. For tough and persistent odors, try Good Natured Saving Grace Carpet & Upholstery Deodorizer; it's effective and easy to use while leaving a fresh, natural lemon eucalyptus scent.

Frequently Asked Questions
  • Are there any cleaners or chemicals consumers should avoid?

    “Definitely avoid ammonia or any cleaning products that use ammonia, because they might stain your carpet. Plus, the smell is very strong so it won’t be a good idea for allergic people,” advises cleaning expert Alex Varela. “Also, bleach is not a good idea for the exact same reasons. It might cause staining and release toxic gases, especially when mixed with other chemicals.”

    Consumers should also avoid synthetic fragrances, naphthalene, and acrylic acid. Synthetic fragrances are made from toxic petroleum- and coal-based chemicals that have a number of documented negative chronic health effects. Several cleaners also use naphthalene because it is effective at dissolving dirt but is also known to cause cancer and is toxic to aquatic organisms even after passing through standard sewage treatment. Acrylic acid is added to carpet cleaning solutions because it coats carpet fibers with a protective layer similar to plastic that prevents future stains. Both naphthalene and acrylic acid have earned an “F” from EWG.   

  • Can you use vinegar to clean a carpet?

    Yes, white vinegar mixed in equal parts with warm or hot water can be used to remove stains and odors from many carpet types without harming fibers or changing their color. The vinegar leaves a faint scent that dissipates when the carpet is dry.

    However, using undiluted vinegar on wool, silk, or some other natural fiber carpets can damage the material, so be sure to dilute it properly and use with care. As always, spot test any cleaner in an inconspicuous area first to ensure no damage will occur.

  • Are there any homemade solutions that work for cleaning carpets?

    “For any homemade solutions that you try, remember to test in an inconspicuous area first,” says Valera. “I would say that baking soda is usually an effective, harmless solution. It works for most couches and carpet floors. What you want to do is sprinkle a bit over the surface, let sit overnight and vacuum the next day.”

Why Trust Treehugger?

To make this list, we carefully reviewed the ingredients in a range of carpet cleaning products, and consulted with a cleaning expert. We also considered ratings from the Environmental Work Group, a non-profit watchdog, and prioritize brands that are committed to ethical manufacturing.

Writer Lorraine Wilde has years of experience cleaning carpet and upholstery in the home and car as a mom of teen twins and a long-time pet owner. Lorraine also holds a Master’s degree in environmental science and is a firm believer that consumers can make informed choices that protect the planet.

View Article Sources
  1. EWG’s Guide to Healthy Cleaning. “KisCleaner Carpet Cleaner.” Environmental Working Group. 

  2. EWG’s Guide to Healthy Cleaning. “Biokleen Carpet & Rug Shampoo. Environmental Working Group.

  3. EWG’s Guide to Healthy Cleaning. “Good Natured Brand Carpet & Upholstery Deodorizer, Eucalyptus & Lemon.” Environmental Working Group. 

  4. "Eucalyptus." ASPCA.