How to get rid of vomit smell from car (2022)

1. Items to Gather to Clean Vomit from a Car

Collect the necessary items, and get ready to clean the interior. Some of the items for vomit cleanup serve a similar purpose, such as the sponge and a scrub brush. You can decide what items work best for your vomit clean up situation.

  • Buckets
  • Disposable cloth or rag
  • Sponge
  • Scrub brush
  • Baking soda
  • Hydrogen peroxide
  • Garbage bag
  • Activated charcoal
  • Paper towels or shop-style absorbent towels
  • Rubber gloves
  • White vinegar
  • Lemon juice
  • Hot water
  • Vacuum cleaner
  • Plastic utensil
  • Safety glasses
  • Dust mast
  • Spray bottle
  • Round tooth picks
  • Carpet odor remover (optional)
  • Essential oil diffuser (optional)

2. Protect Yourself as You Clean

How to get rid of vomit smell from car (1)

Vomit can contain bacteria and viruses. Make sure you have protective gear when you clean the vomit deeper from within the surfaces. Wear rubber gloves, a dust mask and protective eye wear or eyeglasses. This may seem like an unnecessary precaution, but you should protect yourself.

3. Clean Up the Vomit as Quickly as Possible

If you act quickly, the vomit clean-up will be easier. The vomit will have less time to absorb and set into the fabric upholstery and other areas of the vehicle. Clean up the vomit before it has dried if possible.

4. Tackle the Surface Vomit and Any Solid Chunks Within

Put your rubber gloves on, and get your garbage bag ready. Wear a dust mask to potentially dampen the smell. You can use a plastic utensil to pick up and scrape as many of the particles as you can off the upholstery and carpet. Fresh vomit will likely have multiple layers. Use paper towels to remove any remaining particles or solid material from the vomit.

5. Clean the Surface and Mid-Level Vomit From Your Car

Use the paper towels to blot and absorb the fresh vomit and moisture. Do not use a back and forth scrubbing motion. Dab the affected area until it is virtually dry. You may have to use up to half of a role of paper towels to accomplish this.

6. Clean the Remaining Vomit From Your Car

There are several ways and cleaning agents you can use to get rid of the vomit and vomit stains. There are advantages to each, and they can perform differently. You can use baking soda, vinegar, dish soap, or a commercial cleaning agent. If you have to clean vomit from your car more than once, you can determine which method works best.

7. A Multi-Step Process To Clean All the Vomit From Your Car

To get the most complete results, you can often combine one method with another. Each home cleaning agent has different cleaning properties, and can interact with the soft surface and clean in a different way. You can begin with vinegar and continue with the baking soda treatment.

8. Cleaning Vomit From Your Car With Vinegar

This method for cleaning vomit involves combining distilled white vinegar, dish soap and warm water. Mix about three cups of vinegar, a tablespoon of dish shop in a bucket of warm water. The vinegar has cleaning and odor-eliminating properties.

Be sure to have on your protective gear including gloves, a dust mask and eyewear.

(Video) Auto Detailing : How to Get Rid of Vomit Smell in a Car

Use a scrub brush and a sponge dipped in the liquid mix you have prepared. Begin with the brush in a circular motion as you work the cleaning solution into the vomit-stained area. The brush will disrupt the fibers in the fabric upholstery and loosen the micro vomit particles.

Dab the area dry with a paper towel or disposable rag. Use as many towels or rags as necessary. Repeat the brush vomit-cleaning process one to two more times. Be sure to blot dry in between cleanings.

Soak the sponge in the cleaning mixture. Ring out the sponge a little. Scrub the area in a back-and-forth motion with the sponge. Blot dry the excess moisture with a towel or absorbent cloth.

9. Washing Vomit From Your Car With Baking Soda

Baking soda is a key agent to eliminate smells and provide a deeper clean. Baking soda is an inexpensive and effective product for cleaning.

Spread the baking soda on the wet vomit area. Do not be shy with the amount as you spread it up to ¼-inch thick. The baking soda will immediately go to work. Some experts recommend adding a spray of lemon juice to this mixture to eliminate vomit smells. Leave the Arm & Hammer or another brand of baking soda on the stained area for three to five hours. The longer it sits on the moist vomit, the more it will absorb.

Vacuum the baking soda with a vacuum cleaner or shop vac. Be thorough as you make persistent contact with the vacuum end attachment against the car interior. This will also help remove the remaining moisture. Determine if the vomit aroma still exists. Repeat the process as necessary, and leave the baking soda on for a few hours to eliminate the lingering smell.


10. Cleaning Fresh Vomit From Your Car With Hydrogen Peroxide

Hydrogen peroxide has properties that can eliminate this problem in your vehicle. Mix the hydrogen peroxide with a 50/50 mix of water in a spray bottle. Be cautious not to leave the mixture on fabric upholstery to long as it can lighten some fibers.

Spray the solution on a low-profile area to test the action. After you spray it, leave it on for a few minutes, and thoroughly blot up the cleaning solution with paper towels.

11. Using Steam as a Cleaning Solution for Vomit

(Video) Tips for vomit smell in cars

After you are done cleaning fresh vomit chunks and solid matter from the area, you can deploy steam as the next agent. Using a steam cleaner with an extractor will remove the liquid vomit, remove excess moisture and sterilize the surfaces.

12. Using an Enzymatic Cleaner to Clean Vomit From Your Car

An Enzymatic cleaner is an off-the-shelf cleaning product that uses enzymes to break down stains. This type of cleaner will break down protein-based stains and get rid of the foul smell that comes along with it. Follow the manufacturer instructions on the bottle.


13. Absorbing the Lingering Smells

The vomit smells from the odor causing bacteria can linger in your car. A car air freshener will simply mask the foul stench. For vomit, you will need to use more than an air freshener to eliminate the smell. Taking action with an overnight cleaning treatment is necessary to eliminate the unpleasant odors. You have great options on what to use.

13.1 White Vinegar

Pour white vinegar in a bowl. Leave the white vinegar in your vehicle overnight for at least 18-hours. If you have a larger SUV, you can use two or three bowls of white vinegar. The vinegar will naturally absorb the ambient odors.

13.2 Baking Soda

Vomit is acidic. The properties of baking soda allow it neutralize acidic odors. Open up the lid of the soda, and let it sit in the car overnight. Many soda boxes are designed with a “pull up” function that is made to absorb odors. You can leave that in your car for a week or longer and not have worry about spilling the box.

13.3 Coffee Grounds

Although black coffee grounds are less absorbent than other solutions, they are extremely cost-effective. If you want to get the vomit smell reduction job done fast, this is an effective technique. Coffee grounds will not entirely eliminate the smell, but they are effective in the short term.

13.4 Activated Charcoal

Activated charcoal is very effective at absorbing odors. You can purchase it in a package that exposes its large surface area. This allows for masses of pores to absorb the vomit smell. You can also use charcoal briquettes. Untreated charcoal briquettes are common. They also work to remove bad smells, including vomit. Leave the activated charcoal in and let it sit in your car overnight.

13.5 Another Choice On How to Remove Vomit Smell From Car Surfaces

There are carpet powders you can buy at your favorite department store. You can sprinkle these on the clean and dry carpeting or floor mats. The odor-absorbing properties of these can be effective. You simply vacuum them up.

14. Getting Back Into Your Car and Enjoying Your Trips

After you have applied an odor-reducer technique, you may want to introduce a strong fragrance to freshen the car. You can use an essential oil diffuser to effectively deliver a pleasant fragrance of your choice.

(Video) How To Get Rid Of Throw Up/Vomit Smell In Your Car.

15. Windows and Doors

How to get rid of vomit smell from car (2)

If you are treating the vomit smell in your garage, leave all the windows open overnight. This will allow the odor to dissipate. You can also keep all the doors open to allow fresh air in. Be sure to shut your dome lights off in your car so your battery does not drain.

Check this guide for car windows cleaning fast and efficient

16. Cleaning Vomit From Hard Surfaces in Your Car

How to get rid of vomit smell from car (3)

Seat belts, door handles and other controls can present special problems when cleaning up vomit. The vomit liquid can seep and cake in the cervices of these switches and buttons. Use a round toothpick to get the vomit out from the edges of the controls.

Use vinegar on a damp cloth to wipe the area. Do not soak this area. Use sanitizing wipes to clean and sanitize the hand controls and surrounding surfaces. If you use a steam cleaner, this will also sterilize the area.

Surfaces, such as door panels and dashboards can be easily cleaned. Use a paper towel to remove the vomit. Discard the towels in the garbage bag. Use a 50/50 vinegar and water mixture to finish the cleaning job on these hard surfaces.

17. Special Notes for Leather Upholstery in a Car

How to get rid of vomit smell from car (4)

Leather is especially absorbent. The acidic properties of vomit can discolor leather upholstery. Leather can also hold the foul smell longer, which can make removing vomit smell challenging.

You can rid the leather of vomit using 50/50 vinegar and water mixture. Some leather can discolor with cleaning solutions. Apply the cleaning mixture on a microfiber cloth to a hidden area of the leather to test the results. There are commercial leather cleaning products you can buy. If there are vomit stains in the seams and stitching of the leather seats, you can use a soft-bristle brush on that area.

(Video) How to Clean Vomit from Your Car for Cheap

Steam cleaning is also very effective in cleaning car leather.

18. Commonly Asked Questions

How to get rid of vomit smell from car (5)

Q. What neutralizes puke smell?

A. There are many great and common household solutions that will rid your car or truck of puke smell. You can use baking soda, vinegar, black coffee and activated charcoal.

Q. Will vomit smell eventually go away?

A. Vomit smell will not go away on its own. You will need to treat the surface of the vomit stain as well as the ambient air to rid the area of vomit smell. Keep the resale value of your car as high as possible by eliminating the vomit smell.

Q. How do you get the smell of vomit out of your car Reddit?

A. Clean the fresh vomit right away. You have great and effective options to treat the area. Use scrubbing techniques with odor-neutralizing agents, such as vinegar, baking soda and charcoal. You can use these products directly on the affected area and then later as an air-odor absorbent. Another great option is using ozone machine

FAQs

How long does vomit smell last in car? ›

Either way, your car will be rid of the nasty vomit smell in about 12 to 24 hours, depending how strong it is.

What neutralizes the smell of vomit? ›

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. Pour lemon juice or vinegar over the stain. The baking soda will begin to fizz.

Will vomit smell eventually go away? ›

A vomit smell can last for days after attending to the initial mess. If all goes well, the smell should eventually dissipate on its own. However, you might want to open the windows and use fans to help the air circulate faster.

How do you get vomit smell out of car seat straps? ›

Dish soap or baby soap should be used to gently clean vomit out of car seat straps and avoid damaging them. They can also get vomit smell out of car seat belts. Prepare your cleaning solution by adding a few drops of the soap to some cold water. Slightly dampen the cloth with the solution and wipe it on the straps.

How much does it cost to clean vomit in car? ›

Clean Vomit from Car Prices

$150.00 for the service call including the first half hour of work; $95.00 an hour there after. $100.00 for the first half hour; $85.00 an hour there after.

Does Febreze get rid of vomit smell? ›

If any of the vomit stain has dried, try dampening the affected area with cold water to loosen the stain. Using a scrub brush, scrub the area with a bit of laundry detergent and water. Finish by spraying the affected area with Febreze, which helps remove vomit smell from carpet.

How do you get vomit smell out of upholstery? ›

Mix 2 cups (470 mL) hydrogen peroxide, 2 tablespoons (30 mL) baking soda, and 2 drops of liquid dish soap together. Then, pour the solution into a spray bottle. Spray the solution on the smelly parts of your couch and let it air dry. This method should have your couch smelling good as new in no time.

How do you get the smell out of car seats? ›

Leave a small cup of white vinegar in the car overnight. The vinegar will absorb strong odours during its evaporation process. If you can locate the smell to one area, such as the passenger seat, you can use diluted vinegar and water to remove the smell with a wet cloth.

How do you get rid of vomit smell without baking soda? ›

You can also make a solution out of warm water, table salt, vinegar, laundry detergent, and rubbing alcohol. Clean the stain with this solution, then rinse the area with water and blot it dry. If the affected area still smells, cover it with baking soda and allow it to sit overnight before vacuuming up the baking soda.

Does baking powder get rid of smells? ›

Baking soda, unlike most commercial air fresheners, doesn't mask odors, “it absorbs them," says Mary Marlowe Leverette, a home economist and blogger. Baking soda (sodium bicarbonate in a convenient box) neutralizes stubborn acidic odors -- like those from sour milk -- as well as other funky smells lurking in your home.

How do you get the smell of vomit out of carpet with baking soda? ›

Pour baking soda over the affected spot on your carpeting. Place a towel over the baking soda for at least 15 minutes. Make sure the room is closed off to any pets if you won't be able to keep an eye on them. When you're able to tend to the stain, toss the towel in the washer and vacuum up all the baking soda.

How do you get the smell of vomit out of your car Reddit? ›

A LOT of baking soda. Let it sit for a number of hours and then vacuum the baking soda out when its time. If stains are left behind then use a carpet/upholstery cleaner and agitate with an appropriate brush. Then baking soda some more.

How do you clean spit up from a car seat? ›

Instead, you should gently sponge-clean the straps using a little bit of water and — if the seat's manufacturer allows it — mild soap. Mild, according to CSFTL, means something with a pH near neutral, such as liquid dish soap.

Can I hose down a car seat? ›

Don't drench it with a hose.

Drenching a car seat with water can cause rust to form in the parts along the underside of the seat, which can reduce the seat's effectiveness in a crash.

Will car washes clean vomit? ›

Though some specialty car washes and auto detailing shops will clean out vomit from vehicles, they do not protect you from future liability if someone becomes sick down the road due to the original incident.

Does car detailing clean vomit? ›

So, the professional uses a scoop and scoops right underneath of the vomit and bag it. Then, detailer takes a professional cleaner and dispense a few ounces right on the area that requires treatment. Allow the cleaner to set up for about 10 to 30 minutes, depending on how long the vomit has been sitting.

How do I get the vinegar smell out of my car? ›

You can put an open box of baking soda in your car and the vinegar odor will get away. Also, you may put some herbs and dried lemon inside a net pouch and leave it inside the car. That will help to get rid of the bad smell of vinegar easily.

How do you get rid of vomit breath? ›

If you have a bad taste in your mouth, try rinsing with a solution of baking soda, salt, and warm water before you eat. Use 1 teaspoon (5 grams) baking soda, 3/4 teaspoon (4.5 grams) salt, and 4 cups (1 liter) warm water. Spit out after rinsing.

How do you clean up throw up? ›

Use disposable absorbent material (paper towels, kitty litter, baking soda or disposable cloths) to soak up visible vomit and/or stool. Scrape up vomit and/or stool with paper plates or cardboard. Dispose of soiled items/waste/gloves in a plastic trash bag.

Why does vomit smell sour? ›

The bad smell is due to stomach acids and a chemical called bile. Bile helps to digest fatty foods. When you puke, bile can come up along with the half-digested food. It smells pretty bad!

Are vomit stains permanent? ›

Short answer: no. Vomit stains are not permanent. But they can be pretty pesky- especially if you treat them the wrong way. Vomit is a protein stain.

How do you get cat puke out of carpet? ›

Mix 1/4 teaspoon of dishwashing soap, like Dawn Ultra Dishwashing Liquid, and 1 tablespoon of white vinegar with 1 cup of warm water. Using a clean, white cloth, gently sponge (don't rub) the stain with this solution and blot.

How do you get vomit smell out of microfiber couch? ›

Steps to Remove the Vomit and Smell:

Mix one part vinegar with one part hot water in a spray bottle. If the vomit has left a stubborn stain, add a small amount of detergent. Spray the surface liberally with the mixture. Use a soft scrub brush or soft cloth to scrub the surface clean.

How do you get a sour smell out of a car seat? ›

Mix one part white vinegar with two parts water in a spray bottle and spray on your seats. No labor necessary; just let it dry. Repeat as many times as needed.

Can you use Febreze on car seats? ›

Do not use cleaning products like Lysol, Febreeze, vinegar, etc., on the car seat. Car seats are one of the only products you'll ever buy with the sole purpose of saving your child's life. Car seats have to withstand thousands of pounds of force in a crash.

How do you get smells out of car seats? ›

Mix one part white vinegar with two parts water in a spray bottle and spray on your seats. No labor necessary; just let it dry. Repeat as many times as needed.

How do you get the smell of vomit out of carpet with baking soda? ›

Pour baking soda over the affected spot on your carpeting. Place a towel over the baking soda for at least 15 minutes. Make sure the room is closed off to any pets if you won't be able to keep an eye on them. When you're able to tend to the stain, toss the towel in the washer and vacuum up all the baking soda.

What vomit smells like? ›

It might smell a little like Parmesan cheese. In a study from Brown University, people were given a smell created by a chemical combination and told that it was Parmesan cheese—and they loved it. But when they were given the same smell and told it was vomit, they found the smell completely objectionable.

How do you clean up throw up? ›

Use disposable absorbent material (paper towels, kitty litter, baking soda or disposable cloths) to soak up visible vomit and/or stool. Scrape up vomit and/or stool with paper plates or cardboard. Dispose of soiled items/waste/gloves in a plastic trash bag.

Can you use Febreze on car seats? ›

Do not use cleaning products like Lysol, Febreeze, vinegar, etc., on the car seat. Car seats are one of the only products you'll ever buy with the sole purpose of saving your child's life. Car seats have to withstand thousands of pounds of force in a crash.

How do I get the vinegar smell out of my car? ›

In most cases, you can resolve the issue by investing in a cleaning product created for air conditioners. The enzymes in the product will eliminate the odor almost immediately. This process accelerates the chemical reactions and prevents the smell from returning.

Does white vinegar get rid of sick smell? ›

Vinegar is a natural deodorizer that can neutralise the nasty odour of vomit smells. Mix together a cleaning solution comprising of one part distilled white vinegar, two parts warm water and a squirt of lemon-scented SUNLIGHT dishwashing liquid and gently wash off the vomit stain with a sponge, or cloth.

Does baking soda eliminate odors? ›

Baking soda alone can be used to remove odors from almost anything, from refrigerators to carpet. Just sprinkle some in the offending area (on the carpet, in your shoes) and let it sit or put some on a plate and let it sit. It just sucks the odor right out of there.

Can you put throw up in the washer? ›

In the event of puke in the night (or an accident or bloody nose, for that matter) just take the top layer off, including the first mattress pad, and throw it in the washer (just shake out any chunks first!). 3.

Can you get sick from smelling vomit? ›

Smell does not usually contain bacteria, which carry disease and are much larger than the gaseous molecules that make up a smell. So the odor itself cannot make you sick.

Why does vomit smell so strong? ›

The bad smell is due to stomach acids and a chemical called bile. Bile helps to digest fatty foods. When you puke, bile can come up along with the half-digested food. It smells pretty bad!

Why do I smell vomit when there is none? ›

An olfactory hallucination (phantosmia) makes you detect smells that aren't really there in your environment. The odors you notice in phantosmia are different from person to person and may be foul or pleasant.

Does Febreze get rid of vomit smell? ›

If any of the vomit stain has dried, try dampening the affected area with cold water to loosen the stain. Using a scrub brush, scrub the area with a bit of laundry detergent and water. Finish by spraying the affected area with Febreze, which helps remove vomit smell from carpet.

What is it called when you want to vomit but can t? ›

What is retching? Retching, or dry heaving, is when the body keeps wanting to vomit but can't. Nothing (or very little) comes up. You may gag and feel uncomfortable. In medical terms, "retching" is when your diaphragm contracts when trying to vomit but the body is unsuccessful in doing so.

What do schools put on vomit? ›

Some of the most commonly used solutions to cleaning up vomit and other bodily fluids in a school will include chlorine bleach, soap and water, sawdust, and even cat litter. Chlorine bleach and soap/water are important to ensuring that the bacteria and viruses present in the vomit are wiped cleaned from the surfaces.

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