How to Remove Vomit Smell from Carpet: A Step-by-Step Guide



As unpleasant as it is, vomit happens. Whether it’s from a sick family member, pet accident, wild night out, or stomach bug, vomit can unfortunately end up on carpets and rugs. While dealing with the mess is never fun, it’s important to know how to remove vomit from carpet as quickly as possible. Lingering vomit leads to lingering odors that can make a room unusable.

In this detailed guide, we’ll explain how to fully eliminate vomit smells from carpets using proven cleaning methods. With the right techniques and products, you can get carpets fresh and odor-free again.

Act Quickly to Blot Up Vomit

The key is to act fast when vomit lands on the carpet before it has time to set in. Follow these important first steps:

  • Remove solid chunks: Use a spoon or dull knife to scrape up any solid chunks and place them in the garbage. Taking care of the main mess first prevents stains.

  • Blot with towels: Use paper towels or clean cloths to blot and absorb as much excess liquid as possible. Apply pressure to lift vomit from the fibers.

  • Avoid rubbing: Rubbing vomit will only push it deeper into the carpet fibers and make odors worse.

  • Rinse with water: Once most of the vomit is blotted up, rinse the area with cool water and blot again. This will dilute and flush out more vomit from the carpet.

  • Use a fan: Direct a fan towards the carpet to speed drying after rinsing. This prevents odors.

With quick action, you may be able to remove the vomit and avoid lasting stains and smells. But for stubborn odors, move on to advanced cleaning steps.

Cleaning Vomit Stains from Carpet with Vinegar

White vinegar is a natural deodorizer and cleaning agent ideal for removing vomit odors. Follow these steps:

  • In a spray bottle, mix equal parts white vinegar and cool water. Shake well.

  • Liberally spray the affected area until damp. Let sit 5-10 minutes.

  • Blot the area firmly with clean, dry towels to soak up moisture and vomit residue.

  • Repeat spraying and blotting until no more moisture transfers to the towels.

  • Allow carpet to fully air dry before walking on it. Vinegar smell will dissipate.

  • Repeat as needed for stubborn odors. Vinegar helps eliminate vomit smells at the source.

While vinegar is safe for most carpet types, always test first in an inconspicuous area to check for discoloration.

Baking Soda for Removing Set-In Vomit Odors

For vomit stains that have dried and left lingering odors, baking soda is ideal for lifting the smell from carpets.

  • Generously coat the affected area with a thick layer of baking soda.

  • Allow to sit for at least 15 minutes, or overnight for severe odors.

  • The baking soda will absorb vomit odors during this time.

  • Vacuum thoroughly to remove the baking soda residue.

  • Check for any lingering odors. Repeat the process if needed.

Thanks to its odor absorbing power, baking soda pulls vomit smells from carpet fibers to leave a fresh scent.

Mix Hydrogen Peroxide and Dish Soap

For extra cleaning power against stubborn vomit stains, mix:

  • 1 tablespoon hydrogen peroxide

  • 1 teaspoon liquid dishwashing or laundry detergent

  • 1 cup of water

  • Shake solution well and apply it directly to the affected area of carpet.

  • Let it dwell for 5-10 minutes to break down the vomit stain and odor.

  • Blot thoroughly with clean white towels to remove solution.

  • Rinse the area with fresh water and blot again.

  • Allow carpet to fully dry before walking on it.

Caution: Always test hydrogen peroxide on a small hidden part of the carpet first, as it can potentially bleach some carpet fibers.

Steam Clean Vomit-Stained Carpets

For deep-set vomit stains that simple cleaning won’t fix, use a steam cleaner. The hot steaming action helps release vomit odors from carpet fibers and backing.

To use a steam cleaner:

  • Vacuum carpet thoroughly before steaming to remove dried vomit chunks and debris.

  • Pre-treat heavily soiled areas according to your steam cleaner’s instructions.

  • Slowly pass the steam cleaner over the area, partially overlapping passes.

  • Avoid over-wetting the carpet, which can cause mold growth underneath.

  • When finished, use fans to accelerate drying time.

  • Some machines also have attachments for hand steaming and spot cleaning affected areas.

Call a Professional Carpet Cleaning Company

For large vomit stains, foul odors that won’t go away, or delicate carpets, call a professional carpet cleaning service. Reputable companies have industrial equipment and commercial-grade cleaners to eliminate vomit stains and odors fully.

Professional carpet cleaning may involve:

  • Pre-inspection of the soiled area and carpet condition

  • Powerful truck-mounted systems that steam clean carpets at 200°F+ temperatures to sanitize and deodorize

  • Vacuuming up loose particulates before deep cleaning

  • Pre-treating heavy stains with enzymatic cleaners

  • Agitating carpets with rotating brushes during steam cleaning

  • Rinsing carpets thoroughly to remove cleaning agent residues

  • Post-cleaning application of deodorizers

  • High-speed drying to prevent moisture and odors

Though costs vary, professional cleaning is highly effective for vomit stain and odor removal.

Preventing Future Vomit Stains

While vomit stains can be remedied with cleaning, prevention is the best policy when possible:

  • For pets, avoid sudden diet changes and overfeeding. Limit access to houseplants.

  • Clean pet accidents ASAP to avoid re-soiling the area. Odors attract pets to eliminate there again.

  • During stomach bugs, cover high-traffic carpet areas with washable throw rugs or plastic runners.

  • Place washable doormats at entryways to prevent tracking vomit indoors from outside areas.

  • Keep air circulation flowing to avoid lingering odors that can trigger further nausea.

DIY Vomit Odor Removal Tips and Tricks

Here are some bonus DIY tips for removing vomit smells from carpets:

  • Pour salt liberally over fresh stains to deodorize as it dries. Vacuum once dry.

  • Mix 2 cups baking soda with 10 drops essential oils for an extra odor-removing boost.

  • Make a thick baking soda paste with just a little water and spread over dried stains.

  • For pet stains, use an enzyme cleaner formulated to break down the urine compounds in vomit.

  • Rent a carpet shampoo machine to deep clean carpets after applying cleaning solutions.

  • Look for carpet stain removers with activated charcoal to absorb stubborn odors.

Common Questions About Vomit Odor Removal from Carpets

We hope these vomit odor removal tips help you get carpets fresh again. Here are answers to some frequent questions:

What is the fastest way to get vomit smell out of carpet?

Acting quickly is critical. Scoop up solids then rinse the area immediately with water. Apply an odor remover like vinegar next. Thoroughly blotting and drying within 30 minutes can eliminate odors.

How do you get old vomit smell out of carpet?

For dried stains, baking soda or hydrogen peroxide mixtures help lift old vomit smells from carpets. Allow to dwell for 15+ minutes before blotting and drying fully.

Do vinegar or baking soda work better?

Both can be effective for vomit odors. Vinegar disinfects and deodorizes quickly. Baking soda is better for lifting embedded, lingering smells over time. You can use either or both together for a 1-2 punch.

How long does vomit smell last in carpet?

Vomit smells can last for weeks or until properly cleaned. Blotting promptly then using absorbent ingredients minimizes lasting odors. Steam cleaning is highly effective for sanitizing carpets.

What do professional carpet cleaners use to remove vomit smell?

Companies use industrial machines that reach up to 230°F to steam clean carpets. They also have commercial-grade cleaners and odor neutralizers not available to consumers.

Can I shampoo vomit out of carpet?

Yes, carpet shampoo machines help scrub up vomit and flush out stains and smells. Use an enzyme-based shampoo and focus on heavily soiled areas for best results.

Does vomit stain carpet permanently?

Vomit stains do not have to be permanent with proper cleaning. Quick action followed by repeated cleaning can remove stains. Severe cases may require replacing affected carpet and padding sections.

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How To Clean Vomit Smell From Carpet? (Super Easy Methods)

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