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Next to urine, a vomit smell is the most difficult odor to remove from the carpet, furniture and cars. The stomach acids found in vomit cause it to cling to fibers and damage the material. Due to its clingy nature, it seems that, no matter how well the carpet is scrubbed, the odor will linger forever. Fortunately, there are several measures you can take to remove vomit odor.
The first step in removing the smell is to remove the solid particulates. Put on a pair of gloves and pick up the solids. Place them in a bag and tie it off to prevent escape of the vomit smell. If the solids have dried, making them difficult to remove, soak the carpet with water to loosen them.
Scrub the area that was thrown up on with a detergent and water solution that is safe for the fabric. Read the manufacturer's recommendation for the furniture, carpet or car upholstery. Never use a bleach containing detergent, as it will weaken carpet fibers.
Absorb all the liquid from the carpet or upholstery with a dry towel. Apply firm pressure to remove the liquid from the padding under the carpeting. A shop vacuum works well to remove the liquid from the extra thick padding of auto carpeting.
Wet the area with an enzymatic cleaner to remove the smell. Enzymes break down the odor causing elements of vomit, urine and feces. Thoroughly saturate the area and allow it set for a couple hours. This ensures the cleaner soaks into the padding and removes the vomit smell.
Soak up the excess liquid with a clean, dry towel. Apply firm pressure to draw up the water from the padding. The towel may need to sit for several hours to fully remove the water. A shop vacuum may be used, if desired.
Allow the carpet or upholstery to air dry overnight. If the smell is in a vehicle, crack the windows overnight. Use fans to help dry the area, if desired. The vomit smell will remain until the area is thoroughly dry.
Repeat the process if necessary. Large areas of vomit may require multiple applications of the enzymatic cleaner. If the vomit was not cleaned immediately, the vomit smell will be more difficult to remove.
Discoloration may remain in the area that was puked on. If this is the case, mix up a solution of baking soda and water so it forms a paste. Rub it on the surface and allow it to dry. Scrape it up, then vacuum. The stain should be removed.