How to Clean Up Vomit
Puke happens. Let’s face it; whether it’s a pile of vomit from a sick toddler or a wild party guest, we’ve all been in the position at some point of having to clean up a bit of barf. And if you’re like a lot of people, the mere sight or smell of vomit could also make you sick. Yikes! It’s a never-ending cycle of upchuck.
And then, of course, there’s the issue of staining. When somebody vomits on carpet or upholstery, it can be difficult to completely remove the stain (and smell) for good. Getting vomit stains out of clothing generally isn’t as difficult, but can still pose some challenges. By following some of our tips and tricks, however, you can effectively remove vomit stains from just about any surface and possibly prevent yourself from getting queasy as you clean.
Cleaning Vomit From Carpet and Upholstery
Getting puke out of carpet or upholstery can be a challenge; depending on how thick the carpet is, it’s possible that chunks of vomit will have settled into the fibers and will be difficult to remove. Generally, the best way to begin cleaning up puke from carpeting, a rug, or upholstery is to first address the larger “chunks.” A piece of cardboard or even a thick paper plate can be effective in more-or-less scooping the larger chunks off the surface without having to touch them. Still, it’s a good idea to don a pair of rubber gloves before you get started.
Use an Absorbent
Once you’ve removed as much of the vomit as possible from the surface of your carpet or furniture, you’ll want to use something absorbent to pull out the remainder from carpet or upholstery fibers. Baking soda is an excellent option here and something many people keep on-hand in their kitchens and pantries. However, cat litter can also be used effectively here if you have it available.
Let the Absorbent Dry
The best method to use here is to sprinkle the baking soda or cat litter on top of the vomit stain; make sure the stain is completely covered and leave it for at least 20 minutes. This will give the baking soda or cat litter time to pull out excess moisture while also neutralizing the odor.
As the baking soda or litter sits on top of the stain, it will begin to dry and solidify. This will make it easier to clean up; in most cases, you can vacuum the remainder to avoid needing to touch any of the vomit itself.
Wipe Away and Deodorize
Don’t expect the stain to be completely removed after this, however. You’ll still likely need to follow up with treatment using a carpet stain remover and/or deodorizer. Enzyme-based cleaners tend to be best for neutralizing odors rather than just covering them up, but you can also make your own using warm water, white vinegar, and a small amount of dish soap. From there, you can apply the mixture to the stain and blot, rinse, and repeat as needed until it is completely gone and your upholstery or carpet is clean.
Cleaning Vomit Stains From Clothes
It’s not uncommon for the vomit to end up on clothes in addition to on carpeting or upholstery. The good news is that it’s generally a bit easier to remove puke from clothing due to the simple fact that you can put your clothes through a washing machine! The specific process you should follow to clean vomit from clothing will vary a bit based on the type of fabric you’re dealing with, so it’s always best to check the care/garment tag on your clothes before moving forward.
In general, however, there are a few steps you can follow to remove as much puke as possible from your clothes. Begin by scraping off as much of the residual puke as possible (you can use the paper plate or cardboard method here to avoid touching any of the vomit yourself). From there, run some warm water over the stain and then cover it with a layer of baking soda.
Next, pour some white vinegar over the stain. It will react with the baking soda and begin fizzing. While it’s doing that, scrub away at the stain using a scrub brush or an old toothbrush before tossing the soiled clothes in your washing machine for a regular cycle. It’s generally best to run them through the washer on their own or with other vomit-soiled clothes. From there, the stain should be removed—but you can repeat this process once more if there is any staining leftover.
How to Solider Through Cleaning Up Vomit
If you’re the type of person who gets queasy or even falls ill yourself when handling other bodily fluids (such as vomit), then you may need to take some additional measures to get through the process of cleaning up puke. Many people find that wearing a respirator mask (such as the kind you might wear while painting a room) is helpful in reducing the stench that can often cause you to gag or get sick yourself. You can also smear a small amount of Vicks (or another medicated vapor) just below your nose before you get started; the strong smell from it can help to mask any vomit odor as you clean.
Also, don’t hesitate to ask for help or take breaks from cleaning as needed. The last thing you need is to puke yourself while you’re trying to clean up another vomit stain.
Advice For Future Clean-Ups
For parents or those who deal with cleaning up vomit on a fairly regular basis, it can also be a good idea to keep a “barf box” in an easily accessible area of your home. This box should be stocked with everything you need to clean up puke, including a box of baking soda, rubber gloves, a scrub brush, vinegar, and towels. This will save you the time and hassle of compiling every item you need when the inevitable happens, which especially comes in handy when you’re dealing with a sick child in the middle of the night.
Speaking of sick kids, you can also make changing soiled bedsheets easier by following a simple method. When you make up your child’s bed, make it in two layers that are separated by a waterproof mattress cover. This means you should have a fitted sheet/sheet followed by a mattress cover, followed by another sheet set. If your child gets sick on the bed in the middle of the night, you can simply remove the top layer of sheets and the mattress cover. You’ll still have a clean set of sheets underneath so your child can get back to sleep without you needing to totally re-make the bed.
Speaking of Cleaning…
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