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The easiest way to remove vomit stains from clothing, furniture or rugs

Vomit is definitely one of the more disgusting stains to remove, but once you get past the task at hand, it’s entirely do-able. Here to offer professional advice on cleaning this major mess are four stain-removing pros: Merry Maids cleaning pro Debra Johnson, ServiceMaster Clean’s expert Pete Duncanson, carpet cleaning expert Dean Carter, and William Hadley of Bio-Pro Research.

How to remove vomit from clothing

Johnson uses two household items — baking soda and vinegar or lemon juice — to remove vomit stains from clothing.

  1. The first step is to scrape any solids off the garment.
  2. Dampen the stain with warm water and apply baking soda to the area, enough to cover the stain about 1/4 inch (1/2 cm) thick. The baking soda will absorb the smell and also help lift the stain from the fibers.
  3. Pour lemon juice or vinegar over the stain. The baking soda will begin to fizz. Rub the stain with your fingers or a toothbrush. Try to rub out as much of the stain as possible.
  4. Rinse the baking soda/lemon juice mixture from the clothing with warm water.
  5. Machine wash as usual.
  6. Air dry or, before machine drying, make sure the stain is completely gone; otherwise, the heat from the dryer will set it.

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How to remove vomit from upholstery

Duncanson, offers the following tips for removing vomit from washable upholstery.

  1. Remove as much of the vomit as possible from the material. To help loosen dried vomit and make it easier to remove, spray a small amount of water directly onto the stain.
  2. Sprinkle baking soda directly onto the affected area and let it sit for a few hours. The baking soda will soak up a good portion of the vomit stain over time.
  3. Using a wet/dry vac, vacuum the baking soda off the furniture.
  4. Spray a small amount of water onto the stain, sprinkle the area with baking soda, and allow the second coat of baking soda sit for an additional few hours.
  5. After vacuuming the baking soda, dab club soda onto the entire stain.
  6. Rinse the upholstery by dabbing with a dampened cloth and blotting dry with a clean microfiber cloth (Or, if you have a wet/dry vac, vacuum the club soda from the upholstery.)
  7. If the stain remains, contact a professional upholstery cleaner.

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How to remove vomit from carpets and rugs

Note: Always have silk or wool carpets professionally cleaned.

There are two methods that warrant mentioning. Depending on the stain you have to clean, one may be better than the other for you.

Method #1

When it comes to a mess of this kind, Dean Carter turns to this easy DIY cleanser.

  1. Carter uses a 50/50 mixture of white vinegar and water. "The vinegar helps with the odor," he says.
  2. Spray enough vinegar/water solution to wet the stain. Do not saturate the carpet.
  3. Let this work for 30 seconds.
  4. Vacuum using a wet/dry vac or blot the stain with a clean dry cloth, soaking up the stain. Replace the cloth as it becomes wet.
  5. Repeat until no more stain is transferred onto the cloth.
  6. If the stain persists, try dabbing it with a solution of 1 teaspoon blue Dawn dish detergent and 1 cup of water.
  7. Blot to remove liquids and vomit residue.
  8. Rinse detergent from stain by dabbing it alternately with a damp cloth and a dry cloth.
  9. Blot to dry.
  10. If the stain persists, call a professional carpet cleaner.

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Method #2

For cleaning pro William Hadley, removing vomit stains from carpet is easiest with professional cleansers and solutions.

  1. Scrape off excess vomit, or use a super-absorbent powder like Zorb-It-Up that will absorb the deposit and turn it into a dry powder that can be swept up.
  2. If you do not have such a powder, use paper towels, or clean white cloth, and press the stain and absorb what liquid remains. Do not rub the nap of the rug.
  3. To neutralize stomach acid that can harm the carpet fibers, apply baking soda diluted with water sparingly to the deposit (no need to “flood “it). Always treat an area approximately 1.5 times the area of the deposit, as the liquid in the vomit will migrate down and outward.
  4. Let it stand 2-3 minutes, then vacuum with a wet/dry vac, or absorb the moisture with paper towels or a clean white cloth.
  5. Apply a biological stain remover, like Urine Off. Cover the area with food wrap so the solution won’t evaporate. Allow it to work overnight.
  6. Apply water to rinse the area and use paper towels or a clean white cloth to absorb the moisture.
  7. Allow the area to air dry.

Note: Don't scrub the nap of the carpet as this can cause “napping” and leave a “fuzzy” looking area.

If a ring appears around the edge of the treated area, this is caused by the soils in the carpet migrating to the outer edge of the treated area. This can be treated by either cleaning the carpet, or cleaning the edge lightly, blending the treated area into the untreated area.

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