How to Get Rid of Vomit and Vomit Smell From Your Car

Remove vomit and its foul odor from your car interior like a professional with baking soda, cleaning solution, paper towels and a putty knife.
Written by Bonnie Stinson
Reviewed by Carrie Adkins
When your kid, pet, or passenger throws up in your car, you need to get it
cleaned up
right away. The faster you clean up the vomit, the easier it will be to get rid of. There will also be less risk of residual smells.
But no need to panic. Just follow this three-part process and you'll have both vomit and smell out of your car in no time. First, scrape up as much as you can, second, scrub the stains, and third, eliminate any residual odor.
If cleaned up properly, a vomit incident shouldn't affect the resale value of your car. To ensure your vehicle is adequately covered against other types of accidents, download the car insurance broker app
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So, here's how to get that nasty puke smell out of your car:

Clean up the surface vomit

Materials Needed
  • Dust mask
  • Garbage bag
  • Paper towels or absorbent towels
  • Plastic utensil or putty knife
  • Protective eyewear
  • Rubber dishwashing gloves
Step 1: Put on the gloves, eyewear, and dust mask. This may seem like an unnecessary precaution, but viruses and bacteria (like E. coli and Staph) thrive in vomit.
Step 2: Pick or scrape up as much of the vomit as possible. Use the plastic utensil or putty knife to scrape as much of it as you can off the carpet or seats and put it in the garbage bag.
Step 3: Blot up as much of the moisture as possible. Soak it up with the paper towels or absorbent towels until it is practically dry.

Clean up the remaining vomit and stains

Materials Needed
  • Absorbent towels or paper towels
  • Baking soda
  • Bucket
  • Dish soap - 1 teaspoon
  • Distilled vinegar - 1 cup
  • Hot water - 1 gallon
  • Sponge or scrub brush
  • Vacuum
Step 1: Mix the vinegar, dish soap and hot water together in the bucket.
Step 2: Put your protective gloves, eyewear, and dust mask back on.
Step 3: Dip the sponge or scrub brush into the cleaning solution and scrub the vomit stain with it. Dip the sponge or scrub brush into the solution multiple times while scrubbing and really work it into the stain.
Step 4: Blot up the cleaning solution with paper towels or an absorbent towel. Get it as dry as you can.
Step 5: Smother the wet area where the vomit was with baking soda. Really pile it up on the spot. You want the baking soda to be about 1/4-inch thick.
Step 6: Let the baking soda sit for a few hours. If you can leave it on the stain overnight, or even for a couple of days, it will do a better job of absorbing the moisture and vomit smell.
Step 7: Clean the baking soda up with the vacuum cleaner. A powerful shop vacuum or wet/dry vacuum will work best. Use your household vacuum, if necessary, but empty the dust catcher or change the dust bag first so that it will work more efficiently.
Step 8: If you can still smell the vomit, repeat steps 6 and 7.
Step 9: Park the car outside with all of the windows down, if you can. This will help dry the wet areas faster and clear out any leftover vomit smell.

Vomit can linger, so eliminate residual odor

Materials Needed
  • Baking soda or another odor absorbing substance
  • Essential oil diffuser
  • Spray upholstery and carpet odor remover
Step 1: Spray the entire interior of the car with a spray-on odor neutralizer. Make sure you spray every upholstered surface.
Step 2: Get an automotive essential oil diffuser. Essential oils smell great and many of them kill bacteria, viruses, and fungal spores. You can buy the oils and a diffuser for use in cars at Amazon.
Step 3: Place a few bowls of baking soda in your car. Baking soda absorbs the vomit smell, just like it absorbs unpleasant odors in your refrigerator. You can also get small plastic containers of an odor-eliminating substance and leave them in your car. They are available at most hardware and discount stores.
Another option is
bags. These are small burlap bags that contain an odor-absorbing substance. Charcoal briquettes will also absorb the odor.
While your car is airing out, it's a good opportunity to clean the rest of it.
Keeping your car clean
will make it easier to remove any messes that happen in the future - although hopefully cleaning vomit out of your car won't be necessary again!

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MORE: How to make your car smell good
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