Best Dry Carpet Cleaning Powders in 2021 [Buying Guide]

Carpets can get pretty filthy. Think about it. Every time you walk on it, you track in pollen from the grass, soil from the backyard, fertilizer from the lawn, oil from the driveway, you name it. Stepped on dog poop during your morning run and forgot to take off your shoes before getting into your home? Guess where all that ickiness ends up? That’s right – on your trusty old carpet.

Even if your carpet “looks” clean, there’s a lot of dirt lurking beneath those fluffy fibers. Now, you might argue that you vacuum it every other day, so it can’t be that dirty. We hate to break it to you but, that might not be enough to get rid of nasty mold, bacteria, stains, dust mites, and clingy allergens holding on to your carpet fibers for dear life.

That’s where dry carpet cleaning powders come in – to draw out stubborn dirt, grit, and stains from carpet fibers without having to get your rug professionally cleaned. Simply brush the powder over the carpet, let it sit for half an hour or so, and then vacuum it.

We’ve reviewed the best dry carpet cleaning powders that actually work.

 Capture Carpet & Rug Dry CleanerGood Natured Brand Saving Grace Carpet DeodorizerArm & Hammer Pet Fresh Dry Carpet Cleaner
Best OverallBest ScentedBest for Pet Odor

Quantity

4 lbs.2 lbs.1 lb.

Stain removal

YesNoYes

Deodorizer

YesYesYes

Chemical composition

Bleach-free, solvent-freeAll-natural, eco-friendlyBleach-free, solvent-free
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How We Tested and Compared These Products

There are two types of dry carpet cleaning powders you’ll come across – those that work and those that are just plain garbage – and believe us, we’ve encountered a ton. We analyzed the top brands on the market and were surprised to find that only a handful of detergents work.

When testing and comparing the different products, the first thing we wanted to establish was how effective they were in getting the carpet clean. Did they absorb spills? Did they remove stains? Did they leave the carpet visibly cleaner?

Yes, we did subject our carpet to a bit of abuse but, anything for science, right?

We were also interested in whether they left the carpet smelling refreshed. Products with deodorizing properties and fragrance infusions ranked higher on our list.

Finally, we checked for the ingredient composition. We wanted to find cleaners that didn’t contain harsh chemicals, bleach, or solvents. The products below are the only ones that met the majority of our testing criteria.

Our Pick: Capture Carpet & Rug Dry Cleaner – Best Overall

Capture Carpet & Rug Dry Cleaner

 

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Features:

  • Quantity: 4 lbs.
  • Stain removal: Yes
  • Deodorizer: Yes
  • Chemical composition: Bleach-free, solvent-free

Capture is no stranger to the carpet cleaning world. The company has been around since 1996, so they know a thing or two about getting carpets and rugs clean. We tried their Carpet & Rug Dry Cleaner, and we must say, the results blew us away.

Not only did it get the carpet clean, it got rid of the musty odor it had after accidentally getting rained on when we left it out to air a couple of weeks ago. We first sprayed the Capture Pre-Mist Spot Remover on the areas of the carpet that had coffee and wine stains. We then sprinkled the dry cleaning powder on the entire surface, including the pre-misted spots, and then brushed it into the fibers for a few minutes. We let it sit for about an hour.

The directions on the pack stated that 30 minutes would suffice, but the rug hadn’t been deep-cleaned in a while, so we thought it would be a good idea to let the powder work its magic for an extra 30. We weren’t worried about it potentially ruining the carpet since the ingredients don’t contain bleach, solvents, or any other harsh chemicals.

Once one hour was up, we proceeded to vacuum. The difference was immediate. The stains were gone, and the carpet was visibly cleaner than it was before. The offending odor disappeared, and the carpet was left smelling clean and refreshed. The Capture Carpet & Rug Dry Cleaner certainly lived up to our expectations.

Pros
  • Works on all fabric types
  • Works best with a pre-mist spray
  • Anti-allergen properties
  • Removes odor
  • Affordable price
Cons
  • It doesn’t contain fragrance
Sale
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  • STAIN REMOVER & DEODORIZER: Excellent bad smells neutralizer. It...

 

Best Alternatives

Good Natured Brand Saving Grace Carpet Deodorizer – Best Scented

Good Natured Brand

 

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Features:

  • Quantity: 2 lbs.
  • Stain removal: No
  • Deodorizer: Yes
  • Chemical composition: All-natural, eco-friendly

The Good Natured Brand is another home-grown favorite. The company has carved out a niche for itself in manufacturing eco-friendly, all-natural cleaning and deodorizing products. The Saving Grace Carpet Deodorizer is hands-down the best-scented cleaning powder we’ve come across. The Eucalyptus & Lemon variant, in particular, smelt divine.

We used it on our area rug that our pets love to snuggle on, which, needless to say, can get a little funky, especially when our dogs have been playing outside all day. We sprinkled a handful of the powder evenly, ensuring every inch was coated, before brushing it in to make sure the crystals really got in there. We let it sit for five minutes as indicated on the packaging and then vacuumed it.

The rug smelt like it had been freshly laundered. The eucalyptus and lemon scent filled the room, and any odor that was on the rug was completely eradicated. The best part is – we weren’t worried about any lingering toxic chemicals harming our pets. This dry carpet deodorizer is all-natural, with sodium bicarbonate (baking soda) as its main ingredient.

While we would have liked it to have stain removal properties, it’s a solid choice if all you’re looking to do is keep your carpets, rugs, and upholstery smelling citrusy and refreshing. It’s worth checking out.

Pros
  • Safe to use around animals and family
  • All-natural ingredients and no chemicals
  • Hypoallergenic
  • Multi-purpose
  • Refreshing scent
Cons
  • It doesn’t remove stains or grime
Good Natured Brand Saving Grace Carpet & Upholstery Deodorizer...
3,930 Reviews
Good Natured Brand Saving Grace Carpet & Upholstery Deodorizer...
  • ELIMINATES AND NEUTRALIZES CARPET ODORS: Our eucalyptus and lemon...
  • SIMPLE INGREDIENTS: Made with only three ingredients. Good Natured...
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Arm & Hammer Pet Fresh Dry Carpet Cleaner – Best for Pet Odor

Arm & Hammer Pet Fresh

 

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Features:

  • Quantity: 1 lb.
  • Stain removal: Yes
  • Deodorizer: Yes
  • Chemical composition: Bleach-free, solvent-free

Arm & Hammer products have been a staple in American households for more than 17 decades. The company’s range of Pet Fresh Dry Carpet Cleaner has received a ton of raving reviews, so we wanted to test it and find out how effective it is at getting rid of pet odor and urine stains.

We sprinkled the cleaning powder evenly on the spot on the carpet that had cat urine on it. We then brushed it gently to push the powder crystals through the fiber and let it sit for 25 minutes before vacuuming it up. The results were nothing short of outstanding.

Not only did the product lift the glaring yellow stain that was on the rug, it completely eradicated the lingering odor emanating from it. The fact that it was able to do that in just 25 minutes is quite impressive.

The Arm & Hammer Dry Carpet Cleaner proved to be exceptionally effective in absorbing allergens, breaking down stains, and eradicating pet odor. We particularly like that it is formulated using ingredients that are safe for both pets and children since it has baking soda as its main ingredient.

All in all, it’s a solid choice for pet lovers.

Pros
  • Good for pet owners
  • Eliminates odor
  • Removes all stains and spills
  • It doesn’t contain harsh chemicals
  • Great value for the money
Cons
  • Wide opening
Arm & Hammer Pet Fresh Formula Dry Carpet Cleaner, 18 Ounce
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Arm & Hammer Pet Fresh Formula Dry Carpet Cleaner, 18 Ounce
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Dyson Zorb Carpet Cleaner – Best for High-Traffic Rugs

Dyson Zorb

 

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Features:

  • Quantity: 66 lbs.
  • Stain removal: No
  • Deodorizer: Yes
  • Chemical composition: Bleach-free, solvent-free

Dyson is a British tech firm established in 1991. The company has since grown and expanded into several global markets, including the US. While the firm is well-known for its vacuum cleaners, its Zorb carpet cleaning powders line has earned a valuable spot in many households across the nation.

Zorb isn’t your regular cleaning powder. It has a sponge-like consistency that almost feels like you’re pouring millions of micro-sized sponges onto your carpet. We had an area rug in the foyer that was in desperate need of some TLC. We sprinkled some Zorb powder on it, worked it into the fibers using a soft-bristled brush, let it sit for about half an hour, and then vacuumed it.

Zorb lifted the dirt and left the carpet looking and smelling clean and refreshed. We particularly like the fact that it is made from 100% biodegradable and recycled ingredients, a feature we hadn’t come across before in any of the other dry carpet cleaning powders we tested.

While it may not be super effective in lifting stains, it will eliminate dirt and allergens from all types of carpets and rugs. Dyson Zorb is just the tool you need in your cleaning arsenal if you need a simple, safe, and effective dry carpet cleaner. You’ll like it as much as we do.

Pros
  • No skin irritation
  • Usable with any vacuum
  • Environment-friendly formulation
  • Biodegradable
  • No residue
Cons
  • Ineffective on stains
Dyson Zorb Carpet Maintenance Powder, 26.5 oz.
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Best Dry Carpet Cleaning Powders: Buyer’s Guide

Powder in action

When faced with these messy conditions, selecting the right product for your specific needs can get a bit difficult. But don’t worry!

We have a thorough buying guide for you that covers every aspect to consider when hunting for the best dry carpet cleaning powders.

Chemical Composition

Similar to other cleaning products, carpet cleaning powder comprises fast-acting chemicals. These chemicals work together to bring about the desired action: carpet cleaning.

Concisely, a carpet cleaning powder has the following types of chemicals:

Alkaline Builders: These chemicals control the pH value to bring about the best cleaning results.

Examples: Sodium bicarbonate, Sodium Metasilicate, and Phosphates.

Caution: Several companies use Sodium Carbonate (Soda Ash) in carpet cleaning powders as a cheaper alternative. However, this chemical reacts with water to produce calcium carbonate, leaving the carpet fibers dull and weak.

Anti-Caking Agents: As the name suggests, anti-caking agents prevent the accumulation of lumps or cakes in cleaning powders.

Examples: Sodium Aluminosilicate and Calcium Silicate.

Bleaching Agents: In carpet cleaning powder, oxidizing bleaching agents are present that remove a carpet stain by altering the dye structure. The bleaching agents brighten the fabric, though too much concentration can reduce the carpet’s lifespan.

Examples: Sodium Persulfate and Sodium Percarbonate.

Good to know: 

  • The bleaching agents get classified into oxidizing and reducing categories
  • An oxidizing bleaching agent removes electrons from other molecules. In contrast, reducing bleaching agents donate Electrons to other molecules

Caution: Avoid exposing the cleaning powders (with oxidizing powders) to moisture when not in use.

Corrosion Inhibitors: These chemicals in powdered carpet cleaners prevent the corrosion of metallic parts, such as aluminum, brass, and steel.

Examples: Sodium Metasilicate

Crystallizing Agent: The crystallizing agents prevent the remaining dust and debris from sticking back onto the carpet during the drying process. These agents crystallize the remnants to form a non-sticky residue, reducing the resoiling process and preventing the dirty appearance of carpets, even after cleaning.

Examples: Resins or Polymers

Odor

We all want our carpeted rooms to smell fresh and clean after a hectic tidying and scrubbing session. However, only removing the dirt and stains won’t do the trick!

To have your interiors speaking positively about your strenuous effort, you need to look for a dry carpet cleaner that brings about that refreshing smell.

Most companies incorporate fragrances into their cleaning powders. These fragrances provide a long-lasting and pleasant odor to the room. Other companies offer fragrances separately. So, you can add it to the cleaning solution whenever you feel like it.

However, anti-allergen cleaning products lack this essential property. And we believe it is due to the different chemical compositions of the product.

Dyes

Another thing you need to look out for is the presence of dyes. Some cleaning powders come with specialized dyes that tend to absorb ultraviolet light and emit back visible light.

As a result, the carpet appears brighter than usual, making it look newer. Although it brings temporary good looks, it yellows the carpet permanently in the long run.

These dyes are better known as optical brighteners. You must avoid all cleaning products that contain them unless you plan on changing out your carpet frequently.

Brand & Price

Although many carpet cleaning powder brands are present in the market, you must trust only a few well-established and reputable names, especially if you are a novice buyer and the carpet’s expensive.

At times, some brands use cheaper chemical alternatives that weaken the carpet fibers and reduce the attractiveness and lifespan of the carpet.

Moreover, you must also consider whether the product falls within your budget or not. Please note that higher quality products will fall in the mid to expensive range.

A decent carpet cleaner powder’s chemical composition, packaging, and production costs will fall in the mid-range. Do not trust cheaper alternatives.

FAQ

Q. How Do You Use Carpet Cleaning Powders?

Most dry carpet cleaning powders do not require any processing or specific handling for effective usage. A general step by step guide is as follows:

  • Open the packaging and take out an appropriate quantity of carpet cleaning powder
  • Next, sprinkle and spread it evenly across the spotted, stained, or generally dirty carpeted surface
  • Rub the powder into the carpet with a disc machine or a rotary roller with a brush or white pad. This optional step helps the powder deeply integrate into the carpeted surface.
  • Then leave the powder to do its work for at least 20 minutes. For better results, you can even leave it overnight or for the entire day to eliminate unwanted spots and stubborn stains.
  • After that, vacuum the powder-covered carpet thoroughly. It’s best to use vacuum cleaners with a brush as they pick up dirt quickly. Also, timely clean the dust bag to ensure maximum collection of dust and powder particles.

Q. Can You Use Carpet Powder with a Dyson Vacuum Cleaner?

Yes, you can use carpet cleaning powder with the Dyson vacuum cleaner, especially the Zorb. It can significantly brighten the color of the carpet and leave it feeling fresh.

You only need to sprinkle the carpet cleaning powder over the affected area and use the Dyson vacuum to clean it up.

Q. What’s better, carpet cleaning powder or liquid wash?

Carpet cleaners come in both forms, i.e., liquid and solid (in the form of powders). The supremacy of one form over another is not universal or applicable to all conditions. Rather, it is a matter of preference and circumstance.

Liquid carpet cleaning agents or carpet shampoo contain various chemicals and have different methods of use. However, all of them involve wetting the carpet. Although a carpet shampoo promises a more thorough cleaning and considerably long-lasting results, it also demands great effort and time.

You will need to wash the carpet with your carpet cleaning product once and then with water. It will also take further time to dry.

Liquid carpet cleaning products also use various chemicals that may deteriorate the look and quality of your carpet over time. Powders, in comparison, are safer to use. Powders are also easy to store.

Concentration per packaging happens to be greater for powders. So, they occupy less space and have reduced shipping costs. Consequently, they have reduced retail prices.

Thus, if you’re searching for a quick and efficient carpet cleaning solution, then you should opt for powders.

Q. Are Carpet Powders Safe to Use?

Similar to any other product, carpet cleaning powders do come with a set of pros and cons. The powder may irritate the lungs when inhaled. A constant encounter may lead to the development of serious problems, like asthma.

At times, fine powder particles travel deep into the carpet fabric and will stay there, regardless of how much you vacuum. This can lead to the growth of microorganisms and can become a source of allergies.

Also, as children and pets love spending most of their time on the carpet, they may target these allergens and bacteria.

It also decreases the indoor room quality. It promotes the growth of allergies, diseases and reduces lifestyle quality.

Q. What Are Homemade Carpet Cleaning Powders?

Many people are not fond of using company-manufactured products that involve the use of chemicals. So, they strive to find competent natural homemade alternatives.

Along the same lines, homemade carpet cleaning powders are cheaper, natural alternatives that millions use to rid their carpets of unpleasant odors and stubborn stains. Examples of these include baking soda.

Q. Are Homemade Carpet Powders as Effective as Company-Manufactured Ones?

Every product has its pros and cons. Homemade carpet cleaning powders may cut down your cleaning-related expenses greatly, but their benefits are short-lived as well. They may not provide a refreshing smell and a clean outlook that lasts as long as that of the professionally manufactured product.

Consequently, you will have to use that natural powder again and again. So, it may consume more of your energy, time, and even money.

At times, natural carpet cleaning powders have particles so fine and sharp that they clog the pores of the dust bag or HEPA filters, which reduces suction performance.

The sharp edges of each baking soda particle may even act as a saw for your rug and deteriorate its quality.

Conclusion

So far, we have evaluated the best dry carpet cleaning powders, though the real answer still lingers. Which is the best dry carpet cleaning powder?

Considering the factors mentioned in the buying guide and comparing the products against each other, we conclude Capture Carpet Cleaner as the winner.

Happy Cleaning!