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Which? reveals a big-brand stain remover to avoid

Don't Buy stain remover far more expensive than the top Best Buy

Carpet stain remover being used on stain

Which? tests have uncovered a Don’t Buy carpet stain remover from a well-known brand that’s more than seven times the price of our top Best Buy.

When spilled red wine seeps into your new wool carpet, the temptation is to make a mad dash to the shops for a carpet stain remover. However, our latest stain remover tests have found you don’t have to splash out to save your carpet.

We put 17 carpet stain removers, including soapy water, through our tough lab tests to find out which ones will really clean away those tough-to-shift stains – ranging from red wine to chocolate.

The worst-scoring product on test costs £4 per 100ml. In stark comparison, our top-scoring Best Buy carpet stain remover costs just 54p per 100ml. Our other Best Buy is also cheaper than our worst scorer, at 95p per 100ml.

To discover the best and worst carpet stain removers, visit our carpet stain remover reviews.

Best and worst stain removers

We test for almost any type of mark your carpet might encounter: from sticky stains, such as fruit juice or jam, to gloopy chocolate, all the way through to mud marks and spilled food. Not forgetting those heavily staining dark marks, such as red wine, black coffee and tea.

We also test them when fresh, and once dried on, and score every product individually, stain by stain. This means that if you’re prone to a particular type of stain, you can use our results to buy the best product for the job.

Some stain removers fare better than others on particular stains. Our Don’t Buy failed to have any impact on most stains, including chocolate, fresh mud and red wine. Our two Best Buys were among the best at tackling all stains, with one exception – one Best Buy struggled with mud.

Muddy dog

Mud is a tough stain to shift, though. As anyone who owns a muddy dog or child will know. If this is you, resist the urge to get out your stain remover the next time your carpet is under attack. We found that mud is easier to clean why dry.

To find out which stain buster is best on each stain, and when it’s best to leave a stain to dry, see our carpet cleaning tips.

Are carpet stain removers worth it?

Our tests also found that in some cases, a simple soapy water solution is better at tackling stains than the majority of cleaners we tried. Only six products in our tests did the job better.

Soapy water was particularly good on fresh stains, and one of the best at getting rid of sticky stains and tea. So if you don’t have a Best Buy in the cupboard, reach for the trusty bucket and sponge.

Sadly, not all home remedies are a winner. Steer clear of salt or white wine on red wine stains, for instance. When we’ve tested these in the past, we’ve found they’re useless.

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