How to Clean Vomit From Carpet

Reading Time: 4 minutes

Your carpet can become a catch basin for various spills and stains. These can range from the usual holiday wine to the downright nasty vomit. If you find yourself in the latter situation, here’s how to clean vomit from carpet.

While it might seem challenging at first, it’s nothing some baking soda, white vinegar, and your best enzyme cleaning products can’t handle. So prepare your materials and yourself — we know this is an unpleasant task — and let’s get cleaning!

Stock up on Cleaning Materials

  • Dishwashing gloves and a face mask (this is mostly for your benefit)
  • Spoon (one that you don’t mind throwing away after cleaning)
  • Trash bags
  • Old, clean rags, dish towels, or paper towels
  • Baking soda
  • Sponge
  • Spray bottle
  • White vinegar or hydrogen peroxide
  • Dishwashing liquid
  • Enzyme-based cleaner (usually found as pet stain removers)
  • Broom or wet dry vacuum cleaner (the vacuum is optional, but it does make the job easier)

How to Clean Vomit From Carpet

Now that you’ve got your materials, it’s time to get down to business. Follow the step-by-step guide below.

Wear Gloves and Use a Face Mask

Because cleaning vomit is unpleasant, so using a glove and a mask will make it more bearable.

Dishwashing gloves or any rubber or latex gloves will work as long as they don’t have any holes where there shouldn’t be. A face mask minimizes the risk of odor-induced vomiting — you don’t want to clean more than you have to.

Scrape Off as Much Vomit as You Can

Using the spoon, scrape off as much vomit as you can. Remember to use a spoon you don’t mind tossing in the bin immediately.
For a bigger mess, consider using a dustpan for faster scraping. Place everything you’ve scraped off in a trash bag, tie it tightly, and dispose of it immediately.

Use Baking Soda to Absorb Moisture and Odor

For nasty household messes like vomit, baking soda is your best friend. Using clean, old rags, paper towels, or dish towels, dry out the affected spot as much as possible. Then, remove the rags, sprinkle the baking soda over the area, and let it sit for at least 15 minutes.

This will absorb any residual moisture and odor that the towels couldn’t. Use either a vacuum or a broom to remove the baking soda. If you’re using a vacuum, remember to change your vacuum filter bag or clean the canister thoroughly right after.

Absorb the Stain

Make sure you spot-test the carpet before going in on the cleaning solutions. You can go about the next step in several different ways.

Use a Commercial Carpet Cleaner

Your first option is to use a commercial carpet cleaner. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions and start sponging.

Dilute White Vinegar or Hydrogen Peroxide with Water

Another option is to dilute white vinegar or hydrogen peroxide with water. Mix equal parts white vinegar or hydrogen peroxide in a spray bottle with water. Spray this onto the affected area and blot. Remember to use either white vinegar or hydrogen peroxide and never both, as their combination may damage your carpet.

Use a Mixture of Dish Soap, White Vinegar, and Water

Dilute a tablespoon of white vinegar with a cup of water and add a few drops of dishwashing liquid. Spray this onto the affected spot and start sponging. This is similar to the solution above, with dish soap for more substantial cleaning power.

Remember to sponge and blot the stain. Whichever solution you choose, don’t rub! Rubbing the stain will increase the risk of the vomit penetrating the carpet fibers even more.
Depending on how tough the vomit has clung onto the carpet, you may have to repeat this step multiple times. When satisfied with the cleanliness, rinse the solution from the carpet by sponging the area with cold water and letting it air dry.

You can also use clean rags or paper towels if you don’t have a sponge. Make sure you switch them with new ones when they get too soaked.

Use Enzymatic Cleaners For the Smell

If your carpet still smells funky after cleaning, use an enzyme-based cleaner. These powerful cleaning agents can remove even the most pungent smells by breaking them down at a protein level.

They’re usually found as pet odor removers. Apply them to the affected area, blot them with clean towels, and let them air dry again.

Tips and Tricks

Below are some tips and tricks to help clean vomit from a carpet more accessible:

Clean the Carpet as Soon as Possible

Generally, when dealing with spills on carpets, time is of the essence. The longer you leave the vomit uncleaned, the deeper it can seep into the carpet’s fibers.

If you can’t clean the mess immediately — maybe it’s more urgent to take whoever vomited to the doctor’s office — worry not. You can put baking soda on the spots with vomit and place a clean towel over it until you can return to it.

Don’t let it spend days or weeks on the carpet before you clean it.

What to Do With Dried-up Vomit

Okay, what if the vomit was already dry when you found it? Maybe it has been days or weeks since the mess, and you didn’t notice until after it started smelling rancid.
Don’t attempt to vacuum the dried vomit because this can rip your carpet fibers and leave a nasty bald spot. While this does make your job a tad more challenging, all you have to do is dampen the spot first. Then, you can proceed with the steps listed above.

Always Do a Spot-Test

Remember to always spot-test when working with different cleaning agents. Some cleaning agents can be too harsh on your carpet’s fibers. Check the carpet’s manufacturing details and see if there are any warnings and precautions.

Final Thoughts

In summary, your first steps are putting on a mask and gloves and scraping the vomit with a spoon. Use sponges for the stain and enzymatic cleaners for the smell. Remember that baking soda is your best friend.

Whether it’s from a sick child, a dog with a queasy stomach, or just someone who had too much candy on Halloween, we hope this 5-step guide has helped you prepare for how to clean vomit from carpet.

About Emily Leake

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