6 of the best upholstery cleaners and stain-removing machines to remove stubborn marks and blemishes

Half a dozen of the best upholstery cleaners we've tested — including 41% off a cleaner and a highly-rated machine with more than 23,000 rave reviews.

A trio of the best upholstery cleaners including Carbona Oxy-Powered Pet Stain & Odor Remover, Bissell machine and Resolve Upholstery Solution
(Image credit: Future / Carbona / Bissell / Revolve)

We're on the countdown to Christmas and thankfully, the best upholstery cleaners and carpet cleaning solutions are still on sale today — hurray! So if you’re looking to shop for a stain-removing appliance, you should be able to save some money, if you hurry that is. Whether you live in a rental and are worried about not getting your security deposit back from your landlord, or have invested in a small couch for your apartment and the thought of getting a stain on it keeps you awake at night — an upholstery cleaner is a must-have. Let's not forget that recent Thanksgiving celebrations might have meant turkey trodden into the floor, cranberry sauce on the couch, and a gravy boat that sailed straight for the rug you layered under the dining table.

Trust me when I say that having a carpet cleaning solution in your caddy can be the difference between replacing your entire carpet or couch or salvaging your favorite furniture items. All it takes is a little elbow grease (or none at all if you invest in an electronic appliance).

I've never lived without an upholstery cleaner underneath my sink. In fact, when I run out, I always seem to spill something, typically my morning latte, the day after. So, this is your sign to invest in some of the best cleaning supplies for when accidents inevitably happen. Whether it's to clean a red wine stain on your favorite rug, or self-tan stains from your rental mattress, you won't believe how handy these solutions are. Luckily enough for you and conveniently enough for me, I've tested six of the best-performing upholstery and carpet cleaners. Excitingly two of them are discounted, with up to 41% off the usual retail price, so you can really "clean up".

Best upholstery cleaners to tackle stubborn stains

Why you can trust Real Homes Our expert reviewers spend hours testing and comparing products and services so you can choose the best for you. Find out more about how we test.

Best upholstery cleaner deals

Shop the current Amazon upholstery cleaner sale by brand just below:

Amazon deals on upholstery cleaners

FYI, those of you with a little more budget, a larger space (or both) will appreciate an upholstery-cleaning machine. Because, I've done my research, and if you're thinking about leasing, or paying for someone to do the job professionally for you: don't.

Based on cost-per-use, my girl math dictates that a device on offer will pay dividends in no time at all. Plus, owning an appliance outright has so many benefits. 1) You don't have to do that weird "first clean" before the cleaner (read: stranger) comes around. 2) You can clean outside of "working hours" and to your standards 3) It will be totally normal to undergo the task in your pajamas, and with your favorite playlist on Spotify.

1. Carbona Pro Care Oxy Powered Outdoor Cleaner with Active Foam Technology | Was $21.99 Now $12.95 (save $9.04) at Amazon

1. Carbona Pro Care Oxy Powered Outdoor Cleaner with Active Foam Technology | Was $21.99 Now $12.95 (save $9.04) at Amazon

If you need an outdoor textile cleaner, this foam formula is the one. It's great if you're looking to give your outdoor upholstery a good ol' scrub. We'd recommend stocking up now as this pack of two is currently 41% off. 

2. Kenmore SpotLite Portable Carpet Spot and Pet Stain Cleaner | Was $149.99 Now $112.59 (save $37.40) at Amazon

2. Kenmore SpotLite Portable Carpet Spot and Pet Stain Cleaner | Was $149.99 Now $112.59 (save $37.40) at Amazon

The Kenmore SpotLite Portable Carpet Spot and Pet Stain Cleaner is powerful enough to tackle stains caused by kids and pets and delivers impressive stain-cleaning power in a compact and lightweight package. It's officially at the lowest price we've seen.

Read more in our Kenmore SpotLite Portable Carpet Spot and Pet Stain Cleaner review.

The best upholstery cleaners and carpet cleaning solutions

What to consider when choosing an upholstery cleaner

Upholstery cleaner on rug

(Image credit: Future)

1. Find the right solution for your material
Whether your upholstery is a natural fiber or synthetic a good upholstery cleaner will work its way deep into the fabric to give it a complete refresh. But, before you buy a product, check that it will suit the material that you are cleaning. Leather upholstery, for example, can be easily cleaned of discoloration or marks but, you must use a leather cleaner rather than an all-purpose upholstery cleaner to bring it back to its former glory. 

2. Be sure to read the directions carefully
Before you use any upholstery cleaner, make sure you read the label that comes with your furniture so you can ensure that you’re not going to damage the material. In some cases, furniture will require a water-based cleaner, while others require water-free products, and some may advise against using an upholstery cleaner altogether. 

3. Double-check the application
In our list of the best upholstery cleaners, we’ve provided you with a combination of shampoos, sprays, foams, and aerosols so you can choose the best cleaning method for you. Double-check the ingredients and do a patch test on a hidden part of your furniture first. This way you are confident that it will have no adverse effects. 

4. Master your cleaning technique
The type of product is one thing, but you've got to finesse the way you use it for the best results. Some solutions have to be blotted in gently with a microfiber cleaning cloth, others have to be scrubbed in, using bristled brushes to work the product into the material, and a few have to be 'left to sit' for a short period of time. Try to use only what you need, as a) it can be wasteful otherwise, and b) excessive product might make dyed fabrics 'bleed'.

5. If it is a machine — check the specifications
There are loads of electronic upholstery cleaning devices out there. But to find the best one for you, you might want to assess the weight (to see if you can carry it around the home), and check the tank capacity. The latter might determine how much solution you will need to use (if any), and how often you empty the reservoir and replace it with clean water. Also make sure to check the length of the hose and cord length, as this may give you an indication of how easy it will be to clean the offending stains. If you know the wattage, you can also work out how much the device will cost to use per hour using this electricity cost calculator


What is the best upholstery cleaner?

The Resolve Upholstery & Multi-Fabric Spot & Stain Remover from Amazon is our top pick, and helpfully, the cheapest in our guide too. It's marketed as a stain remover and is great at zapping even bad stains, but it's also a great all-around upholstery refresher, so essentially is a two-in-one product.

What is the best way to clean a couch?

It depends on how dirty your couch currently is. If it needs a full deep clean, then you'll want to invest in a machine like the Bissell SpotClean Pro Upholstery Cleaner which you can buy from Amazon. If it's just a little bit gross, you should be able to remove your cushion covers and throw them in the wash. And with the fabric on the frame, you can try the pan lid trick. Not sure what we're talking about? Read more on the carpet cleaning hack we discovered on TikTok and tried for ourselves — it truly is a game changer.

How can I easily keep my upholstery clean?

It sounds simple, but frequent use of a powerful cordless vacuum cleaner or a good handheld vacuum cleaner will change how your upholstery looks. Use specialist attachments such as a crevice tool to get into cracks and corners, and don't forget to move your sofa out of the way and vacuum the back of it as dust will build here. When it comes to curtains, check their washing instructions and make a note to clean these in your washing machine (or by hand) once every six months. You wouldn't believe how much dirt sits on your curtains. As for rugs, the same goes for vacuuming but you can also use the aforementioned pan lid trick, and don't forget to vacuum underneath your rugs, too.

Our guides on how to clean upholstery and how to clean a carpet are full of expert tips and tricks.

Should I wait until after Christmas to buy an upholstery cleaner?

Historically, some of the biggest discounts have been spotted on Black Friday, Cyber Monday and after Christmas. Saying that, we at Real Homes compare prices and provide insight using the Amazon price tracking site, camelcamelcamel. This allows us to see the lowest and highest prices recorded and provide guidance on the right time to buy. For example, we've spotted the Kenmore SpotLite Portable Carpet Spot and Pet Stain Cleaner at a record-low price outside of the obvious promotional periods.

How do you clean upholstery that can't be washed?

To clean upholstery that can't be washed, such as a couch or mattress, using an upholstery or spot cleaner is the best way to effectively clean the piece of furniture. 

What can upholstery cleaner be used for?

Upholstery cleaners can be used to maintain any form of upholstery, including to clean couches, refresh mattress toppers, de-gunk car seats, and revive carpets. Just make sure to check the manufacturer's cleaning and care instructions before using an upholstery cleaner on an item, and always spot-check on a small hidden area before use. 

How we tested these upholstery cleaners

Two bottles of Carbona upholstery cleaner, one yellow the other blue, on white wooden coffee table in front of grey sofa

Two bottles of Carbona upholstery cleaner in testing

(Image credit: Future/Annie Collyer)

We strive to test everything we recommend at Real Homes, so with the help of our team members, we've managed to test all of the upholstery cleaners featured in this guide. We test these solutions and machines in our own homes, to clean real-life day-to-day messes that we're faced with.

But we don't go spilling red wine on our carpets and rugs on purpose, because that would be counterproductive. Instead, we keep them underneath our sink and use them when necessary, snapping photos as we go. We use them based on the instructions on the packaging and we'll always test them in an inconspicuous spot beforehand. Some work using enzymatic solutions to chemically break down the stain, and others come with scrub heads to physically agitate the upholstery fibers to help lift the stain out. In some cases, you can leave products to dry, but others need rinsing off. Do be sure to rinse your hands, or wear gloves (like this pair from Mr. Clean available from Amazon) when treating stains as some of the formulas can irritate skin — especially if you're someone that touches their face all day!

You'll notice this guide has a high-low mix of liquid solutions and machinery, and we've done this on purpose to ensure a clean home is accessible for everybody. If you do have the extra dollars to shell out on a device: go for it.

In this instance, we will assess the weight of the product, how powerful the nozzle suction is, and how easy it is to use (ie: is it an upright cleaner, or do you have to carry it?). Finally, once we've cleaned the offending stain, how easy it is to rinse the machine of the dirty water? As a heads up, while some machines come with trial or sample-size solutions, you might want to look at how much the bottles are normally, and how long they last to ensure you can keep up with the cost of cleaning. Using a non-branded / cheaper detergent may invalidate your warranty, so check your service documents before using any old cleaning solution.

And, in case you didn't know, some of our writers live with animals, so whether our pets have been poorly, had an accident, brought in a wild animal, or entered the house with muddy paws from their walks — we've dealt with all types of stain removal (whether we've made the mess or not).

Because of this, we might favor pet-safe cleaning products, or if the formula is biodegradable, organic, or plant-based. Ultimately, this is one of the most effective ways to get rid of pet odor in a small space, rather than simply masking the smell with one of the best air fresheners (which unfortunately can only do so much, and in some cases, distress our fur babies).

Meet our upholstery cleaner testers

Annie Collyer illustration
Annie Collyer

Hi, I'm Annie and I live with a messy pet who likes to keep me busy. I tested the Carbona 2 in 1 Oxy-Powered Pet Stain to clean my rugs and couch, and the Carbona Pro Care Oxy-Powered Outdoor Cleaner to clean the cushions on my patio furniture. I've also used the Dr. Beckmann Carpet Stain Remover for years to spot-clean my rugs.

Christina author photo
Christina Chrysostomou

Christina tested the Ecover Stain Remover and for her, it's an under-the-sink essential. She uses it to target stubborn foundation stains on her blouses and clean her cushions when she's used them as a lap tray for lazy weekend brunches. 

Jaclyn Turner illustration
Jaclyn Turner

Jaclyn was preciously ecommerce editor at Real Homes, as well as our sister brands Livingetc and Homes & Gardens. Jaclyn tested the Revolve Upholstery Cleaner and her pet Reese gave it a run for its money. She also tested the outdoor cleaner from Carbona in her yard on some very tired-looking cushions.

Where to buy an upholstery cleaner

While we've highlighted some of the best upholstery cleaners, there are loads of other places you could shop including online retailers, home improvement stores, and direct from the brand itself.

Annie Collyer
Head Ecommerce Editor

Hi! I'm Annie, and I'm the Head Ecommerce Editor at Real Homes. I've been part of the Real Homes team since 2018, when I joined as Deals Editor. Along with covering major sales events — from Black Friday to Amazon Prime Day — I review home must-haves so that you can buy with peace of mind. Mostly focusing on home fragrance and sleep, as well as a few vacuum cleaners, I've tested pretty much every item you can think of that you need in your home. I live on the outskirts of the city in a two-bed apartment with my husband and my pug, Doug. So I am always searching for compact alternatives and ways to save floor space. What about when I am not typing away? Well, you'll find me enjoying an iced coffee (no matter the season) and trying out the latest brunch spots the city has to offer, or booking my next holiday. Where else can you find my words? Livingetc, Homes & Gardens, Ideal Home, Gardeningetc, and Woman & Home.

With contributions from