best car stain removers

7 Best Car Stain Removers in 2023 (Clean Any Upholstery Stain)

Whether you’re an avid car enthusiast seeking to maintain your car’s pristine interior, a parent looking to keep your car clean despite daily messes, or a professional detailer seeking the ultimate stain-busting solutions, we’ve got you covered. We will take you through the process of understanding, selecting, and using the best stain removers to keep your car looking its best.

Best Overall: Chemical Guys CWS20316
Best for Deep Cleaning: Turtle Wax T-244R1
Best Non-Toxic: Adam’s Carpet & Upholstery Cleaner
Best for Versatility: Car Guys Super Cleaner
Best with Scrub Brush: Meguiar’s Carpet and Upholstery Cleaner
Best for Pet Owners: Bissell Professional Pet Stain and Odor Remover
Best for Long-Term Use: 3D Upholstery & Carpet Shampoo

7 Best Car Stain Removers

Here are our picks for the best stain remover products you can get for your car.

Best Overall: Chemical Guys CWS20316

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02/19/2024 08:56 pm GMT

We recently got our hands on the Chemical Guys Foaming Citrus Fabric Clean Carpet & Upholstery Cleaner and we were blown away by its performance. This cleaner is not just another product on the shelf, it’s a game-changer for anyone looking to restore their car’s interior to a like-new condition.

This cleaner works wonders on automotive carpets, fabrics, and upholstery. It uses high-sudsing, deep penetrating foaming bubbles that dissolve and lift dirt, odors, and stains. The best part? It doesn’t just mask odors – it eliminates them at their source thanks to the company’s patented odor elimination enzymes.

The formula is professional-grade, detergent-free, and low-moisture, leaving your car’s interior feeling soft and clean, not crusty or overly wet. Plus, it’s biodegradable, making it a choice you can feel good about.

What We Liked:

We put the Chemical Guys Cleaner to the test in a 2011 Honda Odyssey that had seen better days. With four kids, the seats had become grungy over time. After using the product, we were amazed – the seats looked brand new. The transformation was nothing short of miraculous.

We also tested it on a stubborn, hardened smoothie stain that had been sitting on the car carpet for who knows how long. The product softened up the hardened carpet and completely removed the stain. It was as if the spill had never happened.

We found that the best way to use the product is to spray the solution, let it sit for about 20 minutes, and then gently agitate the area with a brush. After that, blot and wipe the area dry with a premium microfiber towel. The results were consistently impressive.

  • Pros:
    • Highly concentrated formula.
    • Built-in odor remover.
    • Doesn’t feature toxic chemicals.
    • Effective at removing stains and leaving a pleasant smell.
  • Cons:
    • The high concentration means it needs to be diluted before use.
    • Some users may not like the smell.

Best for Deep Cleaning: Turtle Wax T-244R1

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02/19/2024 07:49 pm GMT

Next up on our list is the Turtle Wax T-244R1 Power Out! Carpet and Mats Cleaner and OdorEliminator. This product is a powerhouse when it comes to deep cleaning. It’s formulated with Odor-X odor eliminator, which helps remove odors caused by pets, cigarette smoke, food, and mildew.

The cleaner comes with a detachable micro scrub brush that reaches deep into carpet fibers and rubber mat crevices to remove the toughest stains. The brush cap is removable, allowing for cleaning in tight spots. The advanced cleaning formula not only deep cleans but also deodorizes. In addition to cleaning, it leaves a soil-repelling silicone shield of protection. This product is safe for use on all carpets – in the car, on the boat, or in the home.

What We Liked:

We found the Turtle Wax T-244R1 Power Out! to be a real game-changer for deep cleaning. We used it on a 2007 M35, and it was the cleanest the carpet had been since the car was new. It cleaned and rejuvenated the carpet with ease.

We also used it for spot cleaning around the house, particularly for cleaning up after pets. It worked great for this purpose, removing stains and odors effectively. The scrubbing brush was a handy tool, especially for getting into the crevices of rubber mats.

One thing to note is that the product has a strong smell, which some might find overpowering. However, we found that airing out the carpets for a day after cleaning helped to reduce the scent. Overall, we were impressed with the deep cleaning capabilities of the Turtle Wax T-244R1 Power Out! It’s a reliable choice for anyone needing a thorough clean of their car’s interior.

  • Pros:
    • Comes with a removable brush cap for deep cleaning.
    • Uses Odor-X technology to remove odors.
    • Leaves behind a soil repelling silicone shield.
  • Cons:
    • The smell is reported to be quite average.
    • May not be as effective on older, more stubborn stains.

Best Non-Toxic: Adam’s Carpet & Upholstery Cleaner

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02/19/2024 07:31 pm GMT

We’ve also tried the Adam’s Carpet & Upholstery Cleaner, which is a fantastic non-toxic and hypoallergenic option. This cleaner is dye-free, perfume-free, and has a non-foaming formula. It’s easy to use and effective even on the worst stains. It’s safe and non-toxic, making it a great choice for those with allergies or sensitivities.

What We Liked:

We found the Adam’s Carpet & Upholstery Cleaner to be a real gem. We used it on a passenger seat that had been frosted with cupcake icing. Despite the stain sitting in the sun for over a month, the cleaner managed to restore the seat to its original condition. It was easy to use, and we appreciated that it didn’t have a strong smell.

We also used it on a car upholstery and were impressed with how little scrubbing was needed. The cleaner did most of the work. We did have to apply it a few times for more stubborn stains, but the results were worth it.

One thing we loved about this product is its non-toxic and hypoallergenic properties. It’s a great choice for those who are sensitive to strong chemicals or fragrances. However, it’s worth noting that while it worked wonders on our car seats and upholstery, it didn’t perform as well on an upholstered chair in our home. But for car interiors, it’s a top-notch product.

  • Pros:
    • Non-toxic and hypoallergenic.
    • Non-foaming cleaning formula.
    • Works on multiple surfaces.
    • Leaves a pleasant lemon-smelling aroma.
  • Cons:
    • Not as effective on stubborn stains.
    • Not suitable for leather seats.

Best for Versatility: Car Guys Super Cleaner

The CarGuys Super Cleaner is a versatile and effective solution for a multitude of cleaning needs. This cleaner is not just for cars, it’s also suitable for boats and home use. It’s designed to work on nearly every surface except glass and delicate instrument panel screens. The product is formulated with the latest advancements in nano-technology, effectively lifting away dirt and grime at the molecular level. It’s a multi-surface product that can clean upholstery, fabric, canvas, leather, vinyl, plastic, rubber, and much more. It’s a non-toxic, easy-to-use cleaner that leaves a new and super clean finish without any residue or gloss.

What We Liked:

We were genuinely impressed with the CarGuys Super Cleaner. It’s a powerful all-in-one solution that made our cleaning tasks a breeze. We used it on various surfaces in our car, including the upholstery, fabric, leather, and plastic, and the results were consistently exceptional. The cleaner left our car’s interior looking brand new, without leaving any oily residue or unpleasant odor.

We also found it to be a great solution for home cleaning tasks. We used it on our furniture and were pleased with how effectively it removed dirt and grime. The cleaner didn’t require excessive effort or multiple applications, which saved us a lot of time.

One thing we loved about this product is its versatility. It’s not just a car cleaner, but a multi-purpose cleaner that can be used on a variety of surfaces. This feature makes it a valuable addition to any cleaning arsenal.

However, there’s one minor drawback that some users might find bothersome: the smell. Although the scent is not overpowering or unpleasant, it is noticeable, and some individuals may be sensitive to it. But, this is a minor concern compared to the product’s overall cleaning capabilities.

  • Pros:
    • Works on almost every type of seat surface, including upholstery, leather, and vinyl.
    • Doesn’t require a vacuum or extractor.
    • Affordable and easy to use.
  • Cons:
    • Set in stains will require agitation, which means you’ll need a brush or scrubber.

Best with Scrub Brush: Meguiar’s Carpet and Upholstery Cleaner

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02/19/2024 06:42 pm GMT

The Meguiar’s Carpet & Upholstery Cleaner is a professional strength formula that provides deep cleaning and removes stains and odors. This fast-acting foam breaks down stains for quick and easy cleaning and dries quickly without leaving behind a sticky residue. It leaves behind a fresh, new car scent. The product comes with a removable carpet scrubber top for maximum cleaning results.

What We Liked:

We were pleasantly surprised by the Meguiar’s Carpet & Upholstery Cleaner. We used it on a car seat that had been stained with coffee, and it managed to remove about 95% of the stain, which was impressive considering the stain had been there for years. The cleaner was easy to use, and the scrubber top was particularly useful for working the product into the fabric.

We also used it on a car carpet that had been soiled by a dog. The cleaner not only removed the stain but also eliminated the odor, leaving behind a fresh, new car scent. We found that the product worked best when used with a separate brush, as the included scrubber wasn’t as effective.

One thing to note is that the product has a strong smell when first applied, but it dissipates once the product has dried. Overall, we were impressed with the cleaning capabilities of the Meguiar’s Carpet & Upholstery Cleaner. If you’re looking for a cleaner with a built-in scrub brush, this is a great option.

  • Pros:
    • Includes a helpful detachable scrub brush.
    • Works on all types of seat upholstery and auto carpets.
    • Dries quickly and won’t leave behind a sticky residue.
  • Cons:
    • The brush can be fairly abrasive.

Best for Pet Owners: Bissell Professional Pet Stain and Odor Remover

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02/20/2024 03:39 am GMT

The Bissell 2X Pet Stain & Odor Full Size Machine Formula is a 60-ounce solution designed to tackle the toughest pet messes and odors. It’s safe to use on carpets, area rugs, and upholstery, making it ideal for pet accidents and stains like cat urine, vomit, and tracked-in dirt. The formula is made for upright carpet cleaners and contains no heavy metals, phosphates, or dyes. It’s biodegradable and safe to use around kids and pets when used as directed.

What We Liked:

As pet owners, we know how challenging it can be to keep our homes clean and odor-free. That’s why we were thrilled to discover the Bissell 2X Pet Stain & Odor Full Size Machine Formula. This solution is a game-changer for anyone with pets.

We used it on a carpet that had been stained by our dog. Not only did it remove the stain, but it also eliminated the odor, leaving the carpet smelling fresh. We also used it on an area rug that had been soiled by a cat. Again, the solution worked wonders, removing both the stain and the odor.

One of the things we loved about this product is that it’s safe to use around kids and pets. We also appreciated that it’s biodegradable, which is a big plus for us as we try to make more environmentally friendly choices.

The Bissell 2X Pet Stain & Odor Full Size Machine Formula is a must-have for any pet owner. It’s effective, safe, and leaves your carpets and upholstery looking and smelling great.

  • Pros:
    • Tackles both pet stains and odors.
    • Removes urine, stool, and vomit stains with ease.
    • Easy spray bottle delivery and affordable.
  • Cons:
    • Can require significant soaking time.

Best for Long-Term Use: 3D Upholstery & Carpet Shampoo

The 3D Upholstery & Carpet Shampoo is a high foam stain remover and odor eliminator that comes in a generous 1-gallon size, making it perfect for long-term use. This product is designed to clean and deodorize carpet, upholstery, and more in one simple step. Its high foaming formula is tough on spots and stains, providing a deep clean that restores the original beauty and texture of the surface. The shampoo leaves a refreshing lemon scent and is proudly made in the USA.

What We Liked:

We were amazed by the 3D Upholstery & Carpet Shampoo’s performance. The high-foaming formula made it easy to tackle stubborn stains and grime, and it left our carpets looking as good as new. The lemon scent was a pleasant surprise, leaving our car smelling fresh and clean.

One of the best things about this product is its size. The 1-gallon bottle is perfect for those of us who need to clean frequently or have a large area to cover. It’s also a cost-effective choice for long-term use.

We also appreciated the fact that this product is hypoallergenic and made in the USA. It gave us peace of mind knowing we were using a product that was safe for us and our environment.

Lastly, we were impressed by the customer reviews. Many users praised the product’s effectiveness, with one customer even stating that it effortlessly removed grime and cat urine from their entryway. Another customer mentioned that it worked wonders on their car’s upholstered mats and home rugs.

  • Pros:
    • Great for long-term use.
    • Good for stain fighting.
  • Cons:
    • May require a stronger mix for tough stains.

Expert Tips About Cleaning Stains In Cars

Here are 10 expert tips we’ve gathered from our years of experience in car cleaning and detailing:

  1. Use a Microfiber Cloth: Always use a microfiber cloth when cleaning your car’s interior. It’s gentle on surfaces and won’t leave scratches or marks.
  2. Avoid Direct Sunlight: Try to clean your car in the shade or in a garage. Direct sunlight can cause cleaning products to dry too quickly, leaving streaks and spots.
  3. Use a Toothbrush: A toothbrush can be a great tool for reaching into those hard-to-reach spots, like air vents or buttons on your dashboard.
  4. Vacuum First: Before applying any cleaning products, vacuum your car’s interior thoroughly. This will remove any loose dirt or debris that could scratch your surfaces during cleaning. Use a brush attachment to help aggrovate and remove any dust and sand.
  5. Use a Foam Applicator Pad for Leather: When cleaning leather seats, use a foam applicator pad to apply the cleaner. This will help to distribute the product evenly and prevent over-saturation.
  6. Test First: Always test cleaning products on a small, hidden area first to ensure they won’t discolor or damage your surfaces. I personally use a spot cleaner for this just like many professional detailers do. 
  7. Use a Steam Cleaner for Deep Cleaning: A steam cleaner can be a great tool for deep cleaning your car’s upholstery and carpet. It can help to lift and remove stubborn stains. This can really reduce the amount of elbow grease you need to put into detailing your vehicle.
  8. Don’t Forget the Ceiling: Many people forget to clean their car’s ceiling. Use a gentle, all-purpose cleaner and a soft cloth to wipe down this often-neglected area.
  9. Use Baking Soda for Odors: If your car has a bad smell, sprinkle some baking soda on the carpets and seats, let it sit for a few hours, then vacuum it up. Baking soda is great at absorbing odors.
  10. Avoid Silicone-based Products on the Dashboard: Silicone-based products can make your dashboard shiny, but they can also cause glare on the windshield. Instead, use a matte-finish product specifically designed for dashboards. It can also cause stains on any clear plastic once you wipe it clean.

Remember, the key to a clean car is regular maintenance. By following these tips, you can keep your car looking its best and extend the life of its interior.

How to Choose the Best Car Stain Remover

When it comes to selecting the best car stain remover, you need to consider a variety of factors. Different types of car stains require different solutions. Pet stains, for example, may need a remover with patented odor elimination capabilities, while a stubborn coffee stain may require a more heavy-duty cleaner. Additionally, you should consider the type of upholstery in your car – whether it’s cloth, leather, or vinyl, as some cleaners may be best suited for a specific material.

  1. Type of Stain: Understand the type of stain you’re dealing with. A grease or oil stain may require a different approach than a water-based stain, such as juice or coffee.
  2. Type of Car Upholstery: Check the material of your car’s interior. Is it leather, fabric, or synthetic? This will influence your choice of the best stain remover for car upholstery.
  3. Eco-Friendliness: Consider the environmental impact of your cleaner. Biodegradable and eco-friendly cleaning products are a great choice, as they not only clean effectively but are also kinder to our planet.

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