Stomach Flu Season: How to Clean Vomit Out of Carpet

Stomach flu season is in full swing. Soon, you’ll be holding it together, cleaning up messes, trying not to get nauseous yourself. The kids always try to make it to the bathroom, but sometimes they don’t make it in time. With vomit on the carpet, what do you do? Does vomit stain?

Not to worry! Keep reading to learn how to clean up the mess and get rid of lingering odors.

How to Clean Up Vomit Without Getting Sick

While the stain from vomit cleans up remarkably well if you get to it right away, it can become difficult to fully clean if a little has dried into the carpet. Not only does the liquid sink deep into the porous material, but the acids can affect the carpet fibers, forever changing the texture of that spot of carpet. Your best chance is to clean it as soon as possible. Here’s how:

  1. Prepare for the cleanup. Start by minimizing the nausea and the ick factor by limiting your contact. Pull on cleaning gloves and a face mask (if the smell gets to you). No gloves on hand? A plastic bag can protect your hand from directly touching the mess.
  2. Wipe up as much as you can. The goal is to limit how much goo sinks into the carpet. Scrape up as much of the liquid as you can and put it into a trash bag.
  3. Dab with a homemade stain remover. Rubbing motions would spread the stain and drive it deeper down, so dabbing with a cleaner and a fresh towel is the most effective method. For a homemade solution, mix together 3 tbsp. dish soap, 1 tbsp. vinegar, and 2 cups of water.
  4. Repeat until the stain clears. You may need to dab the carpet several times to pull out all of the stain.
  5. Sprinkle a layer of baking soda. After the stain clears, it’s time to dry and deodorize the carpet. Bicarbonate (baking or cleaning soda) has a low acidity and neutralizes the odor while it absorbs the moisture from the carpet.
  6. Vacuum. Once dried, the carpet can be vacuumed, cleaning up the leftover deodorizing powder and leaving your carpet fresh and clean.

Related content: Preventing the Spread of School Germs at Home

Best Cleaners for Vomit

In addition to the dish soap mixture we shared above, there are various ways to keep the cleaning free of harsh chemicals. Here’s what to use to clean up vomit.

  • Hydrogen peroxide. With antimicrobial and mild bleaching qualities, peroxide can pull stains from deep inside the carpet. Spray it on the stain and dab it with a clean cloth. If you have colored carpet, be sure to test this on an inconspicuous area before any widespread use.
  • Vinegar. Fill a spray bottle with one part vinegar to ten parts water and spray the affected area. Use a clean towel to blot the stain.
  • Club soda. This liquid helps by bubbling the mess up from the carpet. Spray or pour the club soda on the stain and use a clean towel to dab dry.
  • Steam. Steam cleaners are often inexpensive to rent and are a good way to kill smelly bacteria in the carpet and give it a lift.

Eliminate Lingering Odors

The carpet might be free of the stain, but sometimes the smell stays. Rather than waiting for time to wear it off (if ever), here are household solutions for how to get rid of the smell in your carpet.

  • Vinegar. Combine equal parts white vinegar to water and use a spray bottle to dampen the carpet. Let the solution air dry.
  • Bicarbonate. Baking soda is a great pantry item for cleaning. If the smell is light, sprinkle the powder liberally on the dry problem spot. If the odor is strong, dampen the carpet with water before applying the baking soda. Allow it to set overnight, and then vacuum clean.

Does Vomit Stain? 

Yes, vomit can leave stains. The best way to prevent a lasting vomit stain is to take immediate action to clean it. The longer the stain sits, the more difficult it will be and the greater the chance of permanent damage.

Related content: Cleaning After an Illness

Freshen Up Your Home

After stomach bugs hit the home, it’s hard to have the energy to clean like you normally would. Let The Cleaning Authority experts handle the germ buildup while you focus on recovering after the illness. Whether for one-time cleaning to get your home in shape or for regular service to keep your home clean and sanitized, call (888) 658-0659 or request an estimate online.