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How To Clean Vomit From Car Interior

How To Clean Vomit From Car Interior Graphic

Getting car sick is pretty horrific for the person doing the vomiting. But it is equally bad for the person having to clean up the vomit from the car interior.

Not only do you have to get rid of the vomit but you'll also have to take action to disperse lingering unpleasant odors. If you're faced with a lot of vomit or you have a taxi or rideshare car, you should consider hiring a biohazard decontamination company to do the cleaning for you.

But, if you want to clean your car interior yourself, follow our guide for the best ways to get rid of vomit from car seats and upholstery.

Cleaning Vomit: What You'll Need

Grab the following tools and cleaning solutions before you start cleaning vomit from your car:

  • Rubber gloves

  • Face mask (optional)

  • Cardboard or paper plate

  • Trash bag

  • Baking soda

  • Warm water

  • Paper towels

  • Clean cloths and rags

  • Soft-bristled brush

  • Vacuum cleaner

  • Vinegar

  • Dishwashing liquid (mild)

  • Ozone machine (optional)

Method 1: Cleaning Fresh Vomit

Vomit can leave stubborn stains, so it is best to act quickly and clean it while it is fresh. This will also prevent the worst of the vomit smell from absorbing into your car's interior.

Step 1: Scrape up the vomit

You should immediately try to scrape up as much of the vomit, especially the solid and semi-solid pieces. You can use some cardboard or paper plates for this task and immediately dispose of the "scraper" once you're done with it.

Alternatively, you can use paper towels to pick up the largest pieces.

Just make sure to toss everything in a plastic bag as soon as possible.

Step 2: Absorb the liquid

Vomit contains solids and liquids.

Next, you need to absorb the worst of the liquid.

You can start by pressing a paper towel or an absorbent cloth onto the stain to absorb excess moisture. Make sure the cloth is dry. Press hard enough to absorb the vomit, but not push the liquid deeper into your car seats.

Then, add warm water to the vomit stains and use a clean cloth to press on the area again. By doing this repeatedly (water and blotting), you'll notice the stained area starts to become less discolored.

Eventually, the water you're absorbing will be completely clear. This shows that your efforts paid off.

Step 3: Wash and rinse

Sometimes, just soaking a vomit stain with water isn't enough.

You can create a cleaning solution with warm water and a bit of liquid dish soap. You can then use a cloth dipped in the soapy water and blot the vomit stains.

You can also use upholstery cleaner for this step, and follow the instructions on the product label.

Once the stains have lifted, rinse it with clean water and use paper towels to pat it dry. You can also allow it to air dry with the windows down.

Step 4: Get rid of the smell

You can no longer see the vomit, but you can still smell it.

The easiest way to get rid of the smell is to sprinkle baking soda over the area where the vomit was. Make sure to cover the entire vomit stain (or area where the vomit stain was).

Leave the baking soda for at least 30 minutes. For the best result, you can leave it overnight.

Vacuum up the baking soda after letting it sit.

As a final step, roll down the windows to let fresh air into the car, and consider placing an air freshener in your car to give the car interior a refreshing smell.

Method 2: Cleaning Dried Vomit

Cleaning dried vomit is more or less the same as fresh vomit, with a few extra steps thrown in. One thing to keep in mind is to not scrub too hard. You may also have to repeat some steps as the vomit stains have had time to set.

Step 1: Remove dried pieces

Start by scraping off any dried vomit pieces that are stuck on the car seats and upholstery. A soft-bristled brush can be used on leather or vinyl seats.

A wet-dry vacuum can also be used to suck up the dried vacuum.

Step 2: Apply a cleaning solution

Next, you need to get the stain wet again.

Blot the area with a damp cloth, and then get to work with a cleaning solution!

You can either:

  • Mix some baking soda with warm water and apply it to the stain.

  • Mix one part vinegar with eight parts water and blot the stain with the solution.

  • Mix some dishwashing liquid into the vinegar solution above and pat it on the stain.

Allow the cleaner to sit on the stain until it dries completely. Then, use a wet cloth to wet the stain, carefully rubbing it without pushing too hard.

Repeat this cleaning process - rinsing the cloth in between scrubs - until the vomit stains are no longer visible on the car seats.

Step 3: Rinse the area

Dip a clean cloth in warm water and blot the area to get rid of the cleaning solution and the last bit of the vomit.

Step 4: Remove the vomit smell

Sprinkle baking soda on the newly cleaned area and allow it to sit for about 30 minutes (until it is completely dry). Once dry, vacuum the area to remove the baking soda and the smell!

You can place an ozone generator machine in the car if there's still a lingering smell.

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