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How can I get Rid of Vomit Smell?

By Nychole Price
Updated May 16, 2024
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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.

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Discussion Comments
By LittleMan — On Nov 24, 2010

Do you guys have any good tips for how to get the vomit smell out of a mattress? My son has had a terrible case of food poisoning over the past week, and unfortunately he hasn't been able to make it to the bathroom on time a lot of the time.

There are also other smell issues from other "particulates" if you know what I'm talking about (he's been having diarrhea as well).

Right now we've got him sleeping on an air mattress in front of the bathroom door until we can figure out what to do with his old mattress. Do you think it's even salvageable, or do we just need to get rid of it and get a new one for him?

Any tips or input?

By EarlyForest — On Nov 24, 2010

So here's a question for all you homemakers -- how would you remove the smell of dog vomit? I just got a bichon frise, and I don't know if the poor thing has a stomach condition or what, but it has thrown up about once every two days since I got it.

I'm taking her to the vet on Monday to see if there's something he can do to make her feel better, but in the mean time, my house reeks of dog vomit smell.

Should I just follow the same instructions listed above, or are there different rules for getting rid of a dog vomit smell?

I have a pretty thick carpet with a pad underneath, but unfortunately most of the vomit is very liquid, so I'm pretty sure that it's soaked into the carpet pad, especially in one spot where she likes to yak.

So what should I do? Please don't tell me I have to replace my whole carpet just because of a dog!

By rallenwriter — On Nov 24, 2010

You are so right, vomit smell removal has got to be about the hardest thing ever.

One thing that I've found helps a little is to put down baking soda over the area. It helps to soak up all the liquid from the puke, which makes it easier to clean.

Another good thing to remember is that you really have to dab, not scrub, at places with vomit on them. If you scrub it, the smell will just get forced even farther down into the carpet or mattress, and you'll be stuck with an even bigger problem.

Oh, and one other thing -- don't just spray a bunch of Lysol in the air to try and get rid of the smell. All you'll end up with is vomity-lemon smell, which is not that much better than the original smell that you had.

Well, that's all the tips on how to remove the smell of vomit that I've got -- best of luck when you find yourself in that situation, it's a total pain!

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