How to Clean Throw Up (Vomit) from Carpet

You may not want to think about vomit because it is smelly and disgusting. But you are likely to encounter it in various situations in your home.

For example, if you have a sick child, you will probably deal with their vomit while they are growing up. A simple stomach bug or virus can cause children to throw up. They may also experience food poisoning and have the same reaction. And some kids may vomit because of overfeeding.

Alternatively, if you are part of the 43.5 million caregivers in the U.S., sooner or later, you will deal with vomit. The patients you take care of may not be able to help themselves.

Also, if you have pets, vomit is a strong possibility. Pets may vomit after overeating, excessively eating of the wrong thing, such as grass for dogs or garbage for most pets, eating too fast, and getting sick.

Therefore, you should prepare to deal with vomit and vomit smells for a long time if you have children, a sick loved one, or a pet. Sooner or later, you will need to deal with the situation, no matter how disgusting you find it.

How to Clean Throw Up from the Carpet

Cleaning vomit from the carpet is not a joke. Many carpet fibers can absorb it, making the affected area and the vicinity stink for a long time.

It is worth noting that you will likely need some safety and protective gear to handle vomit. The items you may need include:

  • Latex gloves or rubber gloves
  • Disposable aprons
  • Garbage bags
  • Masks

It may be best to keep a supply of these items if your lifestyle makes it likely you will deal with vomit.

When dealing with fresh vomit, the first thing is to get rid of the excess vomit after putting on your protective gear. You can use paper towels or old rags. Then you can put the soaked items in a plastic bag, tie it securely, and throw the trash bag where it belongs. After that, you can proceed with the remaining vomit.

Dried vomit is a different matter. In such a case, the first step is to scrape off any vomit using a scraper of some kind and bag whatever comes off. Then you can continue with the cleanup using different methods.

Below are some of the best ways to get rid of both fresh vomit and old vomit stains left behind.

1. Absorb Vomit Using Cat Litter

The Zeolite in cat litter will absorb the vomit and also neutralize the odors caused by it. That makes it one of the best absorbent materials for absorbing any remaining cat vomit, dog vomit, or even human vomit left behind on the carpet.

 First, put the cat litter onto the vomit spot and leave it for a while so it absorbs both the vomit and the foul odor. Then scrape the entire thing off and put it in a plastic bag and throw it in the trash.

Dry vomit is more challenging to absorb. So, you need to get a spray bottle and spray some water on the vomit spot. Then pour cat litter all over the stained area and let it rest. Once it has absorbed the puke, and the vomit odor has significantly reduced, you can scrape the cat litter, bag it, and throw it in the trash.

Next, clean the stained area using a clean cloth, soap, and water, and sanitize everything within a 10-foot area. You can use a dry cloth to dry the affected area and then let it continue drying by itself. Alternatively, you can use a steam carpet cleaning machine. It is a better option than a vacuum cleaner when cleaning vomit from the carpet.

Afterwards remove your disposable apron and gloves, wash your hands, remove your goggles and mask, rewash your hands, bag all your trash, and clean your hands for the third time.

2. Dry Vomit Spot Using Baking Soda

People like to use baking soda to clean and dry things. And its odor absorption qualities help to clear smells from surfaces and spaces. For that reason, you can use it on vomit to dry it and remove odors.

Once you scrape off dry vomit and wet the area or wipe off the excess fresh vomit, you should sprinkle a generous amount of baking soda on the vomit spot. Then leave it for a while or overnight, and use a vacuum cleaner to remove the clumps. But opt for the tube instead of the head when vacuuming.

If some of the vomit odor still lingers, wet the carpet surface with warm water and sprinkle some more baking soda. And clean up similarly after another overnight stay.

Since baking soda doesn’t have a distinct smell, you can add a few drops of essential oils to each cup before pouring it. But ensure you perform a spot test using a small amount first. And it would be best to use clear-colored pet-friendly oils to avoid leaving colored stains on the carpet or poisoning your beloved pets.

After that, use plain warm water and a clean white cloth and wash off the remaining residue. And blot it dry with a similar type of clean rag.

Remember to protect yourself when handling vomit, especially if it’s from a sick patient suffering from an infectious illness like Norovirus.

3. Absorb Vomit Moisture Using Cornstarch

Corn starch will also enable you to absorb the moisture left behind when getting rid of the excess vomit. Pour it onto the stained spot and leave it for at least 15 minutes or overnight, just like baking soda. Then vacuum it.

Once you do that, clean the residue with plain warm water or one mixed with dish detergent and a clean white rag. Then blot it dry with another rag.

Be sure to bag all your disposable gear and throw it in the trash.

4. Spray Hydrogen Peroxide or White Vinegar

A homemade cleaning solution consisting of hydrogen peroxide or white vinegar can help you clean puke from the carpet by removing stains. You can use one or the other, but not both simultaneously.

Begin by mixing a cup of white vinegar with one of water. If you will be working on a large carpet area, increase the amounts in the same ratio.

Alternatively, use hydrogen peroxide. Then put the mixture in a spray bottle, spray the vomit-stained section, and blot with a clean cloth or towel. When the cleaning is complete, use a different clean, dry towel to pat down the entire section.

Remember, hydrogen peroxide can discolor fabrics. So do a spot test first. And properly get rid of your trash.

5. Create a Dish Soap Mixture

Dish soap comes in handy when you need to remove tough stains that have been around for a long time. And it works well to clean off any residue left behind by stain and odor removers, such as baking soda and corn starch.

Start by mixing one tablespoon of white vinegar with one cup of plain warm water and a quarter teaspoon of dish soap in a bowl. Next, get a clean piece of cloth, dip it into the mixture, gently sponge the affected area, and blot it with a clean towel.

When the cleaning is complete, sponge the entire spot with cold water to remove the cleaning solution and blot the area dry. Then let the air finish the drying process.

6. Apply Club Soda

Club soda consists of water and carbon dioxide gas, making it acidic. So, it could work on smaller and shallower vomit stains on the carpet.

When using club soda, pour it on the stain and the surrounding area. Let it stand for about half a minute, then blot it dry with a clean cloth. Replace the rag when it becomes wet and repeat the process until there is no more stain on the carpet.

7. Clean with Dry Cleaning Solvent

A dry cleaning solvent usually cleans fabric without water. You can use various brands, such as Dry Cleaner’s Secret, for that purpose.

When you have removed the excess fresh or dry vomit and have dried it using cornstarch or baking soda, you can apply the dry-cleaning solvent of your choice using a clean towel. It would help if you then blotted the stain until it disappears. But be sure to read the manufacturer’s instructions first.

8. Apply Laundry Detergent

You can use laundry detergent in various ways to clean any vomit spot on the carpet.

You could mix plain water and laundry detergent and use a brush to scrub off the remaining vomit or a piece of cloth to sponge it off. Then you should rinse the affected area with cold water and blot it dry.

The second alternative is to create a laundry detergent mixture that can remove tough vomit stains. In this case, you could mix two cups of water, one tablespoon of salt and a similar amount of laundry detergent, half a cup of white vinegar, and two tablespoons of rubbing alcohol.

Next, put the mixture in a spray bottle and dampen the stained spot. Then let the mixture stay on the area for 10 minutes and blot dry.

If the stain is still visible after the first resting period, apply more of the laundry mixture, wait another 10 minutes, then blot dry. You can do this twice or thrice, then rinse the spot with clean water to eliminate residues.

9. Use a Commercial Carpet Cleaner

Different brands produce various carpet cleaning products that will work on stains and all kinds of dirt found in the carpet. In addition, most of them also remove odor, making them a good choice when you need to clean vomit and get rid of the stink simultaneously. So, find and use the right one for your needs.

If you opt for a commercial carpet cleaner, ensure it has a CRI certification, which means it has been tested and approved by the Carpet and Rug Institute (CRI).

Alternatively, choose a multipurpose stain remover that works on both the carpet and other fabrics to remove all manner of stains, such as vomit and pet stains. That way, you can clean the carpet and any other surface that the vomit has tainted without having to resort to separate cleaning solutions.

10. Clean Using Enzymatic Cleaners

Enzyme cleaners are products that incorporate enzymes for cleaning. They can easily break down the molecules in organic materials like urine, blood, and even pet vomit, making it easier for the incorporated bacteria to consume them. And they also get rid of odors, which means your carpet will smell fresh after the cleaning process.

If you are a pet owner, you need to have an enzymatic cleaner in your home. It will come in handy when dealing with pet vomit and stains caused by their fecal matter, vomit, and urine. However, products of this kind do not disinfect the surfaces on which they are used. Therefore, you need to apply a disinfectant once you have cleaned the surfaces.

Where cleaning vomit is concerned, you should apply an enzyme cleaner onto the stained carpet area after removing the excess vomit and sponging the surface with warm water and detergent.

You will then sponge the stained spot using a generous amount of enzymatic cleaner and leave it on for several hours. Then you can blot the cleaned surface and switch on the fan in the vicinity to accelerate the drying process.

Nobody likes dealing with vomit, regardless of who produces it. But you may be required to clean it up from the carpet several times in your life. So, it helps to have the right supplies for the job. Paper, scrapers, and old rags will come in handy for getting rid of the excess vomit. And garbage bags are how you will bag the puke every time and put it in the trash.

On the other hand, baking soda, cat litter, or cornstarch will help you dry the affected area, while white vinegar, club soda, and hydrogen peroxide are helpful for stains. Then dish soap, laundry detergent, commercial carpet, or enzyme cleaners will help wash and complete the cleaning process. Therefore, you should have a few of them in your home for any eventualities. You will appreciate them when you need them.

Photo of author

Brandi Miles, BSW, MS Human Services

Brandi Miles, BSW, MS Human Services is the mother of two adult children and three beautiful grandchildren. Brandi has 20+ years of experience helping people with developmental disabilities.
DISCLAIMER: The content published on is intended for informational use only and should not be considered professional advice, diagnosis, or treatment. You should always consult with a licensed medical professional or physician for professional advice. is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to We also participate in other affiliate programs with other affiliate sites. We are compensated for referring traffic and business to these companies.