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Carpet stain removers

Carpet cleaning without chemicals

By Patrick Gallagher

Article 6 of 7

Put us to the test

Our Test Labs compare features and prices on a range of products. Try Which? to unlock our reviews. You'll instantly be able to compare our test scores, so you can make sure you don't get stuck with a Don't Buy.

Carpet cleaning without chemicals

If you don’t have a carpet stain remover to hand – or want to clean without chemicals – we’ve tried out home remedies to see if they work.

It makes good sense to have an effective carpet stain remover in your home for dealing with those annoying spills.

However, if you don’t have a stain remover to hand when you spill something, would a home remedy be any good? We decided to put salt, white wine on red wine, soapy water and tepid water through our tough carpet stain-removal tests to find out.

Our lab tests revealed that diluted washing-up liquid is the best home remedy - it was as effective or more effective at cleaning stains than the majority of cleaners on our most recent test.

Read on to find out how home remedies did in our tough tests. To see the most effective products to use on tough spills, check out our best carpet stain removers.

Red wine stain myths revealed 

You may have heard that the best way to remove a red wine stain on your carpet is by putting salt on the stained area or by putting white wine on red wine. We put both these remedies to the test and guess what? Neither of them work. 

We found that as well as being useless at removing red wine stains - salty granules got stuck in the carpet pile, and the white wine left a pungent smell.  

Soapy water was better at removing red wine than white wine or salt. The trick is to use no more than one squirt of washing-up liquid per two litres of water. Any more may leave dark spots on your carpet if it isn't rinsed out properly.

Nearly half (47%) the 1,200 Which? members we surveyed* confessed to trying a home remedy. The most popular remedies were salt on red wine (27%) and white wine on red wine (22%). Hopefully, if you've read our advice, you now fill a bowl with soapy water instead. 

*(Survey: Jan 2014)

Carpet stain removers outdone

Soapy water beat many of the lower-scoring removers on both fresh and dried-in stains. To find out which home remedies and products are the best on specific stains, see our full carpet stain results.