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Removing Vomit Smells from Carpet, Beds and Furniture

Posted January 21, 2023 by Mike Lewis under Tips

Removing Vomit Smells from Carpet, Beds and Furniture

Vomit smells can be extremely difficult to remove from carpets, beds, and furniture. The acidic nature of vomit can leave lingering odors that are very unpleasant. However, with the right cleaning methods and products, you can eliminate vomit odors completely.

Why Vomit Smells Linger

Vomit contains acids that can bond to fabrics and materials. The main culprits are hydrochloric acid from the stomach and bile acids from the small intestine. These acids can penetrate deep into fibers and padding. Even after cleaning the visible stain, the acid residues remain trapped and continue releasing bad odors.

Additionally, vomit contains chunks of partially digested food. Bacteria feast on these food particles and release more noxious gases that add to the smell. So dealing with vomit requires removing both the acid residues and food particles.

Supplies You Will Need

To fully remove vomit smells, you need:

  • Enzymatic cleaner – This breaks down the proteins and acids in vomit. Look for a pet odor eliminator or a product designed for vomit and urine smells.

  • White vinegar – The acetic acid in vinegar helps neutralize vomit acids and odors.

  • Baking soda – A natural deodorizer and odor absorber. It helps pull smells from deep in fabrics.

  • Hydrogen peroxide – Oxidizes stains to lift them. Can be used on white fabrics.

  • Dish soap -Cuts through oily stains and helps lift acid residues. Use a degreasing kind.

  • Scrub brush – For working the cleaners into fabrics to lift stains and odors.

  • Vacuum cleaner – To suck up loose particles and powders after cleaning.

  • Odor absorbers – Look for products with activated charcoal or baking soda to place near smell areas.

Carpet Cleaning Steps

Carpets are prone to retaining vomit odors. Here is how to fully remove vomit smells from carpet:

  1. Blot up any leftover vomit using paper towels or an absorbent cloth. Remove any solid chunks.

  2. Sprinkle a thick layer of baking soda over the affected area. Let sit for 15 minutes to absorb odors.

  3. Vacuum up the baking soda.

  4. Make a cleaning solution of 2 cups warm water, 1 tbsp dish soap, and 1 tbsp white vinegar. Apply it to the area and scrub with a brush.

  5. Use paper towels to blot up the cleaning solution. Press them firmly onto the carpet to absorb liquid and acids.

  6. Apply an enzymatic cleaner to break down remaining proteins and acids. Let it sit for 30 minutes.

  7. Rinse the area with clean water and blot dry. Allow carpet to fully dry.

  8. Sprinkle more baking soda and let sit overnight to absorb musty smells.

  9. Vacuum up the baking soda in the morning.

  10. Place odor absorbers like charcoal bags nearby to help remove any lingering odors.

Mattress and Furniture Cleaning

Vomit can soak deep into mattresses, couches and other furniture. To remove the smells:

  1. Blot up any leftover vomit using paper towels. Remove chunks or soaked fabric if possible.

  2. Mix a solution of 2 cups warm water, 1 tbsp dish soap, and 1/2 cup hydrogen peroxide. Use a scrub brush to work it into the stain.

  3. Blot area with clean towels to remove solution and lift stain.

  4. Apply an enzymatic cleaner to the area. Let it sit for 1 hour.

  5. Blot again with paper towels.

  6. Allow the area to completely air dry. Place near a window or use a fan to speed drying.

  7. Once dry, sprinkle a layer of baking soda and let sit overnight to absorb odors.

  8. Vacuum the baking soda in the morning.

  9. Use odor absorbers like activated charcoal to remove any lingering smells. Change them regularly.

  10. For mattresses, sprinkle baking soda between the mattress and box spring to absorb odors.

Preventing Vomit Smells from Returning

To prevent vomit smells from coming back:

  • Dry clean any washable vomit-stained fabrics, curtains, etc. The chemical solvents help kill bacteria and lift stains.

  • Steam clean carpets to remove odors from deep in the padding. Professional services are best.

  • Re-treat areas periodically with enzymatic cleaner to stop bacteria growth.

  • Maintain air circulation and dryness in affected areas to prevent musty smells.

  • Use waterproof mattress covers to prevent future vomit from soaking into mattresses.

When to Call a Professional

If vomit odors remain after thorough cleaning, call an air duct cleaning service. Vomit smells may have dispersed through ventilation systems.

For older carpets and furniture with stubborn stains, a professional carpet cleaner can use powerful steam cleaning equipment to deep clean and deodorize.

Upholstery cleaning services also have experience removing vomit stains and smells from difficult fabrics. Their chemicals and tools are stronger than household ones.

Extensive vomit damage may require mattress or carpet replacement if smells cannot be eliminated through cleaning. Professionals can advise if this is needed.

Stay Diligent to Remove Vomit Smells Completely

Eliminating vomit odors requires diligence and repeated cleaning over several days. But with the right methods and products, you can successfully remove all traces of even the worst vomit smells from carpets, beds, and furniture in your home. Just remain thorough and persistent in attacking the bacteria, acid residues, and particles left behind.

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