What's the Best Shampoo for Your Carpet?

Give Your Carpet a Hairwash!

Carpet shampoo can be used on its own, either neat or diluted with warm water, or in an electric carpet cleaner.

Carpet shampooers operate like upright vacuum cleaners, but deposit a mixture of hot water and carpet shampoo as they go, cleaning stains, ingrained dirt, and freshening the carpet with the same amount of effort as is involved in vacuuming.

What to Look For in Carpet Shampoo

You'll need to think about whether you just need to spot clean some awkward stains, in which case you probably only need a small bottle of spray shampoo, which can be used neat, with a damp cloth, or whether you'd prefer to do all your carpets (to get that fresh, new-carpet feel), in which case you're going to need a large volume of carpet shampoo, designed for use in an electric carpet cleaner.

Different carpet shampoos have different drying times – if you have pets or children, for example, you'll want a low-foam, quick drying carpet shampoo, so you're not having to keep people and pets out of rooms with damp carpet.

Finally, consider whether a pleasant after-scent is important to you, as not all carpet shampoos are fragranced, and some do smell quite unpleasant as they're drying.

Top Five Carpet Shampoo Best Buys

#5: Crown Professional Carpet Shampoo, 5ltrs

This is designed for use in carpet shampooers, and has more than enough to last through three or four cleans of a large house. It is fragrance free, and suitable for use on all types of carpets, rugs, and upholstery.

It is low foam, and therefore quick drying.

While it provides good basic cleaning, it doesn't seem to perform that well on heavy stains.


  • Low foam, quick drying

  • Large quantity


  • Not good at stain removal

Value For Money?

If you just want to freshen up your carpets as part of your weekly clean, this is a good purchase, provided you have a carpet shampooer – it is compatible with most makes. However, if you are doing heavy cleaning, it isn't really effective on stains.

#4: Vax Ultra Plus Carpet and Upholstery

This can be used with all Vax carpet cleaners, but is not advised for other makes. It is safe for use on delicate carpets and fabrics, and is low foam, meaning it dries relatively quickly.

It neutralises odours, rather than just cleaning the fabric, and is therefore good if you have dogs, who can leave their odour in just about everything!

It does tend to give off quite an unpleasant smell as it's drying, but this quickly fades.


  • Safe on delicate carpets, such as wool

  • Neutralises odours

  • Low foam – quick dry


  • Can only be used with Vax machines

  • Unpleasant smell as it dries

Value For Money?

If you have a Vax carpet cleaner, this is the recommended shampoo to use with it. It performs well, and is a good purchase, rather than just another way for a company to make money.

#3: Vanish Clean and Fresh

This is designed for by-hand spot cleaning of stains. Apply the shampoo, leave for a couple of minutes, and clean with a cloth dampened in hot water.

Obviously, this can be quite labour-intensive, but is relatively simple, and doesn't take much time at all.

Do bear in mind, this is for spot cleaning, not whole rooms.


  • Easy to use

  • Don't need to have or buy a carpet shampooer

  • Works on all carpets


  • Spot-cleaning only

  • Hand cleaning can be quite labour-intensive

Value For Money?

Useful to have around the house for quick spot cleans.

#2: Astonish 750ml Carpet & Upholstery Cleaner

As its size suggests, this is more for spot-cleaning than full rooms, although there's more than enough to freshen a three-piece suite, cushions, and mattresses during the weekly clean.

It is a hand-use carpet shampoo, so you don't need an electric carpet cleaner.

Being in a spray bottle, it is easy to direct precisely at stains. It also kills damp and mildew, so can be used for treating affected clothes.


  • Easy to use spray bottle – precise stain targeting

  • No need for an electric carpet cleaner

  • Works on mildew and mould


  • Limited volume

Value For Money?

A good addition to the household cleaning cupboard.

#1: Rug Doctor Carpet Detergent

A wool safe, pet-friendly carpet shampoo which can be used in all makes of electric carpet cleaner. This carpet shampoo cleans and deodorises, leaving your carpets clean and fresh-smelling.


  • Wool safe

  • Cleans and deodorises

  • Suitable for use with any electric carpet cleaner


  • If you don't already have an electric carpet cleaner, you'll need to buy one

Value For Money?

For those who already have a carpet cleaner, this is an ideal addition, which will help leave your home clean and fresh.