an opened washing machine ready for carpet cleaner

Can You Use Carpet Cleaner in the Washing Machine?

Carpet cleaners are typically designed to target and remove stubborn stains, dirt, and debris from carpets. As carpets are exposed to daily foot traffic, accidental spills, and pet accidents, the use of specialized cleaning agents becomes essential. However, the question arises, can you use carpet cleaner in the washing machine?

Using carpet cleaner in a washing machine can enhance stain removal on fabrics, but it’s essential to proceed with caution. While certain methods, like pre-treatment and diluted solutions, are effective, there are risks of excessive foaming and machine damage. Always opt for washing-machine-friendly cleaners and follow manufacturer guidelines to ensure both fabric and machine safety.

We’ve detailed the best methods of using carpet cleaner effectively and safely either in the washing machine, or as a pre-treatment.

Pre-Treatment with Carpet Cleaner

Pre-treating laundry with a carpet cleaner can be an effective approach to handle stubborn stains before the main wash. This method ensures the carpet cleaner acts directly on the stain, breaking it down for an easier wash.

  1. Spot Test: Before full application, test the carpet cleaner on a small hidden area of the fabric to make sure it won’t cause damage or discoloration.
  2. Apply Carpet Cleaner: With a cloth or sponge, gently apply the carpet cleaner to the stained area.
  3. Allow it to Sit: Let the cleaner remain on the stain for about 5-10 minutes. Avoid letting it completely dry.
  4. Blot Away Excess: Use a clean cloth to blot and remove any extra carpet cleaner from the fabric.
  5. Agitate Gently: With a soft brush, gently scrub the area to further work the cleaner into the stain.
  6. Rinse: Rinse the treated area with cold water to remove any carpet cleaner residue.
  7. Wash: Place the treated item into the washing machine and proceed with a normal wash cycle.

Using this method, you can make the most of your carpet cleaner’s capabilities, ensuring stains are pre-treated and easier to wash out during the main cycle.

Diluted Carpet Cleaner Solution in the Washer

Using a watered-down mixture of carpet cleaner can be a gentler way to clean delicate fabrics in the washing machine. This ensures a balanced distribution of the cleaning agent during the wash.

  1. Prepare the Solution: Mix the carpet cleaner with water in a bucket, adhering to the manufacturer’s suggested dilution ratio.
  2. Stir Thoroughly: Ensure that the mixture is consistent by stirring it well.
  3. Pour into the Dispenser: Transfer the diluted solution into the washing machine’s detergent compartment.
  4. Load the Washing Machine: Add the items that need cleaning.
  5. Choose a Gentle Cycle: Since we’re using a diluted solution, opt for a gentler wash cycle to protect the fabric.
  6. Inspect After Wash: Once the cycle is complete, inspect the items for any remaining stains. If necessary, repeat the process or consider a different cleaning method.
  7. Air Dry: Rather than using a dryer, allow the washed items to air dry. This helps in preserving the fabric’s quality and ensures any leftover cleaner evaporates.

By following this method, you can benefit from the cleaning power of carpet cleaners while ensuring the safety and longevity of your fabrics in the washing machine.

Carpet Cleaner Pods in the Washer

Carpet cleaner pods, although not designed for washing machines, offer convenience and precision. These pods help ensure the right amount of cleaner is used without the need for measuring.

  1. Place the Pod: Insert the carpet cleaner pod directly into the washing machine drum.
  2. Load the Machine: Add items that you aim to clean.
  3. Select an Appropriate Cycle: Considering the nature of the stains and fabric type, choose a suitable washing cycle.
  4. Check Water Temperature: Use warm water, as it can help in dissolving the pod and activating the cleaner more effectively.
  5. Monitor the Wash: Keep an eye on the washing process to ensure the pod dissolves completely and evenly distributes the cleaner.
  6. Rinse Thoroughly: Run an extra rinse cycle to make sure no residue from the pod remains on the fabrics.
  7. Dry Naturally: Spread out the items in a shaded area, allowing them to dry without direct sunlight, which can help in maintaining fabric vibrancy.

Adopting this method can simplify the washing process, leveraging the efficiency of carpet cleaner pods to achieve optimal results without the fuss of manual measuring.


What are the risks of using carpet cleaner in the washing machine?

Introducing carpet cleaner into a washing machine can lead to a few issues. One main concern is excessive foam generation, which might result in an overflow or disrupt the washing cycle. Another risk is potential residues on fabrics, which, if not rinsed thoroughly, can lead to skin irritations or allergies. It’s also essential to consider the machine’s health; some harsh chemicals in carpet cleaners might corrode or damage certain parts over time.

What are the benefits of using a carpet cleaner in the washing machine?

Carpet cleaners are primarily designed to combat tough stains. When used in a washing machine, they can enhance its cleaning capability, helping to remove stubborn stains and ingrained dirt from fabrics. This can be especially handy for items that have been stained in a manner similar to carpets, such as rugs or heavy curtains. Using carpet cleaner can also save time and resources, as it may reduce the need for multiple wash cycles or professional cleaning services.

What kind of carpet cleaner can I use in a washing machine?

It’s vital to opt for carpet cleaners that are marked safe for washing machine use or those specifically meant for laundry purposes. Reading product labels and guidelines from the manufacturer can provide clarity. If unsure, it’s always a good idea to reach out to the manufacturer’s customer service or consult online reviews from other users with similar concerns.

Will using carpet cleaner in a washing machine damage the machine?

While carpet cleaners can offer enhanced cleaning, they might not always be friendly to the washing machine. The chemical composition of some carpet cleaners can be harsh, possibly leading to wear and tear of the machine’s internal components. There’s also the risk of the detergent compartment getting clogged if the cleaner is too thick. Always ensure you use the right quantity and consider running an empty cleaning cycle afterward to remove any lingering residues and protect the machine’s longevity.


While carpet cleaners are primarily designed for carpets, they can be used in washing machines with some precautions. By employing the methods described above, you can harness the stain-removing power of carpet cleaners for your laundry needs. However, always conduct a spot test, check compatibility, and ensure thorough rinsing to protect both your fabrics and your washing machine.