How to Remove Vomit Stains From Clothes, Carpet, and Upholstery

Removing vomit stains can be a daunting task. Vomit is acidic and corrosive, which allows it to set into fabrics quickly. However, with the right techniques and products, you can successfully remove vomit stains from clothes, carpets, and upholstery.

Supplies Needed

  • Cold water
  • Paper towels or clean rags
  • Stain remover or laundry detergent
  • White vinegar or hydrogen peroxide
  • Enzyme cleaner
  • Baking soda
  • Rubbing alcohol
  • Spot cleaning brush or scrub brush
  • Vacuum cleaner
  • Clothes washing machine

How to Remove Vomit From Clothes

When vomit gets on clothes, it’s important to treat the stains as soon as possible. The longer the vomit sits, the harder it will be to remove the stain. Here are the steps for removing vomit from clothes:

Step 1: Rinse With Cold Water

Rinse the soiled area under cold running water or soak in cold water mixed with a small amount of laundry detergent. This helps dilute the vomit and prevents the stain from setting. Don’t use hot water as that can set the stain.

Step 2: Dab Gently With Paper Towel

Gently dab and blot the stain to lift up as much excess vomit as possible. Don’t scrub vigorously as that can push the stain further into the fabric. Place an absorbent pad under the fabric to pull vomit through to the other side.

Step 3: Apply Stain Remover/Detergent

Apply a laundry stain remover or mix a solution of detergent and cool water. Let it sit for a few minutes to allow the chemicals to work on breaking down the stain.

Step 4: Wash With Detergent

Wash the clothing in your regular laundry cycle with detergent and the warmest water recommended for the fabric. This will help lift any remaining stain residue.

Step 5: Repeat If Needed

If any faint staining remains, do not put the item in the dryer. Repeat the stain removal process until no more vomit is visible. The heat of the dryer will set the stain permanently.

Tip: For tough, set-in stains, try soaking in an enzymatic cleaner or a mixture of 1 part hydrogen peroxide to 4 parts water before washing. This can further help break down proteins and lift the stain.

How to Remove Vomit Stains From Carpet

Carpets are prone to keeping stains if not treated properly. Follow these steps to remove vomit from carpet:

Step 1: Remove Excess Vomit

Use a spoon or dull knife to gently scrape up any solid chunks of vomit from the surface of the carpet. Try to remove as much as possible before proceeding.

Step 2: Blot With Paper Towels

Blot the area with layers of paper towels or rags to absorb and lift out the moisture. Apply pressure but don’t rub aggressively. Place an absorbent cloth underneath and push down to draw out vomit from the backing.

Step 3: Apply Vinegar Rinse

Mix one part white vinegar with one part water and gently pour it over the affected area. The vinegar will help neutralize and break down the vomit stain. Let it sit for 5-10 minutes.

Step 4: Sprinkle Baking Soda

Cover the damp area with a generous layer of baking soda. This will help absorb moisture and vomit odors. Let the baking soda sit for several hours or overnight if possible.

Step 5: Vacuum Baking Soda

Once dried, use a vacuum cleaner to thoroughly remove the baking soda from the carpet fibers. Run the vacuum back and forth over the area several times.

Step 6: Use Enzyme Cleaner

Next, apply an enzyme cleaner made specifically for pet stains and odors. This will further break down any remaining organic matter from the vomit. Let the cleaner soak in according to label directions.

Step 7: Rinse Clean

Mix one part vinegar with three parts water in a spray bottle. Spray the solution onto the affected area, let it sit briefly, then blot thoroughly with clean towels. The vinegar will neutralize any lingering odors.

Step 8: Allow Drying

Once the carpet is fully rinsed and damp-dried with towels, allow it to completely air dry. Point a fan towards the damp spot to speed drying. Do not walk on the carpet until it’s 100% dry.

Step 9: Repeat if Needed

Check if any faint staining remains once completely dry. You may need to repeat this process 2-3 times for stubborn, set-in stains. But persevere and you can get the carpet fresh and clean again.

Tip: For faster cleanup, keep an enzymatic cleaner like Nature’s Miracle on hand specifically formulated to target organic stains and odors such as vomit.

How to Remove Vomit From Upholstery

Vomit stains on upholstered furniture such as couches, chairs, and car interiors can also be removed with a bit of diligence. Follow these steps:

Step 1: Blot Excess Vomit

Immediately blot up any excess vomit from the upholstery using paper towels or a clean rag. Try to remove as much of the stain as possible before further cleaning.

Step 2: Sprinkle Baking Soda

Cover the entire stain area with a generous amount of baking soda. The baking soda will help soak up the remaining moisture and neutralize odors.

Step 3: Let Sit Overnight

Allow the baking soda to sit on the upholstery overnight. This gives it time to fully absorb and dry out the vomit stain.

Step 4: Vacuum Away Baking Soda

In the morning, use a vacuum hose or hand vac to thoroughly remove all the baking soda from the upholstery.

Step 5: Clean With Vinegar-Water

In a spray bottle, mix together equal parts white vinegar and water. Lightly spray this solution onto the stain and let it sit for 5-10 minutes.

Step 6: Rinse Clean

Use a clean damp rag to blot and rinse away the vinegar solution. Wipe gently and try to absorb as much liquid as possible from the upholstery.

Step 7: Use Enzyme Cleaner

Apply an enzymatic cleaner made for upholstery or pet stains. Follow the product directions in terms of soak time and process. This will break up any remaining organic matter.

Step 8: Rinse & Blot Dry

Once done soaking, rinse away the enzyme cleaner with fresh water on a clean rag. Thoroughly blot dry with towels.

Step 9: Allow to Completely Dry

It’s important to let the upholstery fully air dry before using again. A damp environment allows odor-causing bacteria to thrive.

Step 10: Repeat if Needed

Reapply the vinegar rinse and enzyme cleaner until no stain or odor remains on the upholstery. This may take 2-3 repetitions for tough set-in stains.

Tip: For car upholstery, blot the stain immediately with paper towels to prevent it from setting into the fabric. Follow the vinegar, baking soda, and enzyme cleaning methods above. A scrub brush can help work the products into the fibers. Leave windows open to allow complete drying.

Common Questions and Answers

Here are some frequently asked questions about removing vomit stains:

How do I get vomit smell out of clothes or upholstery?

  • Rinsing with vinegar-water helps neutralize odors from vomit. Baking soda and enzyme cleaners are also effective at removing smells. Allowing items to completely air dry prevents lingering odors.

What temperature water removes vomit stains?

  • Always use cold water when rinsing or soaking vomit stains. Hot water can permanently set the stain by cooking the proteins into the fabric.

Does hydrogen peroxide remove vomit stains?

  • Yes, hydrogen peroxide can help lift vomit stains through its whitening and disinfectant properties. Mix 1 part peroxide with 4 parts water and soak fabric for 30 minutes before washing.

What removes vomit from wool carpet?

  • Blot gently, avoid scrubbing. Rinse with cold water mixed with laundry detergent then sprinkle baking soda. Vacuum once dry. Spot clean with an enzyme cleaner made for wool.

Can vomit permanently stain clothes?

  • Vomit stains can become permanent if not treated promptly and properly. Heat from drying can set the stain. Repeated washing alone may not fully remove it. Use proper enzymatic cleaners.

How do you get old vomit stains out of a mattress?

  • For older stains, mix baking soda and hydrogen peroxide into a paste, spread on stain, let sit 1-2 hours then rinse with vinegar-water and blot dry. Use an enzyme cleaner and repeat process if needed.

Does vinegar help remove vomit smell?

  • Yes, vinegar effectively neutralizes odors from vomit through its acidic properties. A vinegar-water rinse after cleaning can get rid of any lingering vomit smells.


Removing vomit stains is possible with the right techniques. By using products like cold water, vinegar, hydrogen peroxide, baking soda, and enzyme cleaners, stains can be lifted and any odors neutralized. The key is to act quickly when vomit gets on fabrics and upholstery so it doesn’t have time to set in. Repeating the cleaning process 2-3 times is often needed for stubborn stains and smells. With some patience and diligence, clothes, carpets and furniture can be restored to a fresh, clean state again.

How to Remove Vomit Stains From Clothes, Carpet, and Upholstery