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How To Clean Vomit From Mattress

How To Clean Vomit From Mattress Graphic

Dealing with vomit on a mattress can be very unpleasant. The liquids can soak into the mattress and bedding, causing the smell to stick around.

Luckily, you can easily clean a vomit stain on a mattress with some household products and a little elbow grease.

Follow along for Chore-ology's step-by-step guide on how to clean vomit from a mattress and get rid of the vomit smell.

Cleaning Vomit From A Mattress: What You Need

Here's what you'll need before you start cleaning:

  • Rubber gloves

  • Peppermint or menthol oil (optional)

  • Trash bag(s)

  • Old rags and/or paper towels

  • Paper plate or cardboard

  • Water

  • Liquid dish soap (optional)

  • White vinegar

  • Baking soda

  • Vacuum cleaner

  • Rubbing alcohol

Cleaning Process: Step-By-Step Guide

Before you get started, wear rubber gloves. If the smell is too offensive, you can rub a few drops of menthol or peppermint oil below your nose to help you get through the cleaning process.

Step 1: Scrape off the vomit

You first need to get rid of most of the vomit (especially the solid debris).

The easiest way to do this is to scoop it up with paper plates or pieces of cardboard and dump it in a trash bag. You should throw out the scraper you use, and immediately take out the trash to prevent anyone else from getting sick.

You can also use a dustpan or any other scoop or spatula to scrape off the vomit, but you may want to throw out your scraper afterward - especially if the person was vomiting because of a virus.

Step 2: Wash the sheets and bedding

It is highly unlikely that the vomit is only on the mattress - the sheets and blankets are most likely victims of the vomit too.

Remove the bedding and sheets and place them in the washing machine. Wash the sheets/bedding at the highest temperature setting and make sure to use an antibacterial detergent to kill microorganisms in the vomit.

Step 3: Absorb the liquid

Now you can finally move on to the mattress. Odds are the liquid from the vomit soaked into the mattress.

You can use paper towels or a dry cloth and press on the vomit stain to lift up the liquid.

Avoid rubbing or scrubbing the area - rubbing will only spread the vomit.

Keep blotting the area with a fresh paper towel or clean cloth until most of the liquid has lifted.

Step 4: Remove the odor

Once most of the liquid has been absorbed, it is time to tackle that horrific vomit smell.

Baking soda is a great absorbent of both liquids and smells and can make quick work of the vomit stains.

Sprinkle baking soda over the area, making sure to cover the entire stain. Leave the baking soda overnight, or at least 8 hours.

Once the baking soda is dry, you can use a vacuum cleaner to remove the baking soda residue. Remember to immediately empty your vacuum cleaner so that there are no bacteria left in the vacuum.

If you don't have a vacuum, use a brush to sweep the residue straight into a plastic bag.

Step 5: Clean the remaining vomit stains (optional)

Even after all this hard work, there might still be a vomit stain visible on the mattress.

Here are a couple of ways in which you can tackle the stain with a home-made cleaning solution:

  • Mix warm water with a gentle detergent or liquid dish soap. Pour it into a spray bottle and spray the stain, or use a clean cloth and blot the area until the stain is no longer visible.

  • Mix water and white vinegar (ratio 1:1) in a spray bottle and give the bottle a good shake. Spray the stain, and use a clean cloth to blot the area. Spray and blot until the vomit stain is gone. It may take a couple of sprays.

Once you can no longer see the stain, use a damp cloth to blot the area. This will remove the cleaning solution.

Step 6: Allow to dry

Allow the mattress to air dry overnight - or at least for 8 hours. You can speed up the process by opening the windows or switching on a fan next to the bed.

Step 7: Get rid of remaining germs

You might be surprised to learn that your mattress cleaning journey is not yet done.

Despite all your efforts, there might still be some harmful bacteria left behind in the mattress.

You can use a cloth and some rubbing alcohol to blot over the area where the vomit was to kill the remaining pathogens and bacteria. Once again, allow the mattress to completely dry.

Keep pets and young children away from the bed while you're waiting for the rubbing alcohol to dry.

When To Get A Professional Cleaner

Cleaning vomit from a mattress is not too complicated, but there are some instances where you'll have to call a professional biohazard decontamination company to assist. That's because vomit - like other bodily fluids - is considered a biohazard that needs extra care when being cleaned.

Here are some scenarios where you'll need a professional cleaner to do the vomit cleaning for you:

  • If the vomit is from a person with a highly contagious disease, you'll need professional cleaning and decontamination.

  • Commercial properties, like guest houses or hotels, should consider calling professionals to clean vomit-soaked mattresses.

  • A delicate or antique mattress will require a gentler cleaning approach that professionals can offer.

  • If the vomit has soaked through all the mattress layers (a real concern with a memory foam mattress), no amount of blotting will be able to help and you'll need professional cleaning equipment.

  • Are the lingering odors not dissipating, no matter your cleaning attempts? You'll need the assistance of a cleaning team, complete with a steam cleaner and other professional equipment to get rid of the smell once and for all.

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