A quick look at how to clean the vomit smell from a car:
- Prep Yourself and the Workplace
- Remove Any Solid Vomit and Discarding It
- Get Rid of the Leftover Liquids
- Apply Baking Soda to Neutralize the Odor
- Use Water, White Vinegar, and Mild Soap for a Deeper Clean
The specifics of how to clean the vomit smell from a car using common household items are covered in the tips and tricks that follow. Since you never know when your child or pet will leave a foul-smelling surprise on the backseat of your car, we’ll also offer a few cleaning tips for vomit.
What You Will Need to Have
- A pair of rubber gloves
- A spoon or spatula
- A plastic sealable bag
- Paper towels or napkins
- Baking soda
- Warm water
- Mixing containers
- Soft-bristle brush or soft rag
- Several sets of fresh rags
- White vinegar
- Mild soap
- Hydrogen peroxide (Optional)
- Enzymatic cleaner (Optional)
- Air freshener (Optional)
- Activated charcoal, coffee grounds, or white vinegar (Optional)
- A rented steamer (Optional)
Despite the length of this list, the materials are not particularly hard to locate. They can be purchased for affordable prices both online and offline. You might even have a few at home already!
How to Clean Vomit and Vomit Smell from Your Car?
Prep Yourself and the Workplace
Determine all of the vomit you will need to clean up first. To know what to address and where to focus your attention, you must have a clear understanding of the situation. For your hands’ protection, put on a pair of rubber gloves. After that, let fresh air in by opening all the doors or closing all the windows.
Remove Any Solid Vomit and Discarding It
Then, using a spoon or spatula, remove any large chunks of vomit. Since working with fresh vomit is easier than working with dried and hardened vomit, get as much out as you can as soon as you can. Additionally, since vomit is acidic, you don’t want it to sit in your car for an extended period of time and cause harm.
Verify that you are not using excessive force to push the vomit deeper if it is on the upholstery. Put the vomit in a plastic bag that can be closed and dispose of it properly by placing the bag in the trash.
Get Rid of the Leftover Liquids
The remaining liquids will be your next task. With paper towels, blot them away. You can remove the moisture from the upholstery by gently dabbing it, but you should take care not to press too firmly lest you further embed the liquid. Blot until all of the liquids are visible being drawn out.
Apply Baking Soda to Neutralize the Odor
Herein lies the role of baking soda. Give the area-to-be-treated a generous coating, then wait 30 minutes for it to settle. Leave the baking soda on for at least the entire night. It will remove moisture and eliminate the vomit odor in your car.
Then, use the baking soda in a different mixture with a 3:1 ratio of warm water to baking soda. It should resemble a paste. With a soft-bristle brush or soft rag, use it to thoroughly clean the vomit area. To achieve your goals, you might need to repeat this step several times. Vacuum any leftover baking soda after it has dried.
Use Water, White Vinegar, and Mild Soap for a Deeper Clean
Prepare an 8:1 solution of warm water and distilled white vinegar before moving onto the carpets. Before continuing, thoroughly combine all of the ingredients in a clean container with a few drops of mild soap. Your carpets’ vomit can be removed using this remedy.
Top Tip: Put on a face mask if you want to because the vinegar smell can be quite overpowering.
After some time, use a clean, damp cloth to wipe the mixture away. Make sure you are soaking the cloth in water rather than drenching the area with water. After finishing this, you can pause and wait for the smell to gradually leave through the open doors and windows.
Additional Tips to Clean Vomit Smell from Car
The disgusting smell, which lingers even after all the vomit has been cleaned up, only makes the horror of finding vomit in your car worse. Here are a few quick fixes to improve the smell of your car.
Sprinkle Cornstarch and Baking Soda onto Your Seats
Both cornstarch and baking soda are excellent absorbents. The smell of your toddler’s vomit can be eliminated by liberally sprinkling either of the two on the affected area and letting it sit overnight. However, in the majority of cases, you can simply leave it on for 15 to 20 minutes before vacuuming, at which point the foul vomit smell will have vanished and any liquid that you hadn’t been able to remove earlier will have been absorbed.
Use Concentrated Fabric Softener
Uncommonly, concentrated fabric softener can be used to get rid of the sickly smell in your car or anywhere else. The smell of your car will be lovely the next morning if you soak one or two small soft plastic cylinders in water and leave them in your car overnight. Quick, simple, and affordable!
Soak With Hydrogen Peroxide
Step 1: Put a few minutes’ worth of time into soaking the troubled areas in a 3% hydrogen peroxide solution. Hydrogen peroxide’s mild antiseptic properties will stop the spread of disease-causing microorganisms, thereby lessening the unpleasant smell.
Step 2: After letting the solution sit on the affected area for a few minutes, press an absorbent cloth against it for no longer than a minute. Until the area is no longer moist, carry out this procedure as often as required with a fresh cloth. Soon after this, the smell ought to go away.
Clean With the Old-Fashioned Vinegar Bowl Remedy
Even though it will take a little longer to get the sickly smell out of your car, this antiquated remedy is surprisingly effective. It only takes filling a bowl with white vinegar and leaving it in your car overnight. The smell may need more than one night to disappear, so if you don’t usually use your car on the weekends, it might be a good idea to leave the vinegar bowl in starting on Friday night and remove it on Sunday night. To ensure that the vinegar completely absorbs the odor, you will need to replace it in the bowl after about 24 hours.
Brew Some Black Coffee
Another inexpensive and simple solution to get rid of this revolting odor uses coffee, which is many people’s go-to morning beverage. A can or mug of unsweetened black coffee left open overnight in your car will absorb the odor and leave your car smelling wonderful.
Leave Untreated Charcoal Briquettes in Your Car
Charcoal briquettes, like coffee, are a cheap and natural deodorizer that many people probably already have laying around their homes. If you plan to take a long drive the following morning, make sure the charcoal you use has not been chemically treated before leaving it in a confined area overnight like the interior of your car.
Open a bag of charcoal and leave it inside, or just arrange a few briquettes on a metal tray. Depending on how strong the smell is, it will disappear from your car in either case within 12 to 24 hours.
Use a Homemade Disinfectant
If you’re trying to get rid of the sickly smell in your car, the following homemade disinfectant spray will work well. It will also be useful when cleaning your home. Check out our other cleaning advice for additional tips and tricks. But for the time being, let’s concentrate on getting rid of the offensive smell in your car.
- One glass or plastic spray bottle
- One quarter cup of water
- One quarter cup of white vinegar
- One quarter cup of rubbing alcohol
- Peppermint, lemon or rosemary essential oil
Fill a spray bottle with ingredients 2 through 4, then thoroughly combine. Add 15 to 20 drops of your preferred essential oil; for their antiseptic, antibacterial, and antiviral properties, we advise using peppermint, lemon, or rosemary. However, the mixture already contains vinegar and rubbing alcohol, which also have these qualities. Therefore, you only need to add a few drops of the essential oil of your choice. After using the disinfectant for a few hours, the scent of the essential oil will linger, so make a wise choice!
Spray liberally on the affected area once the mixture is ready, and then let it sit for a few minutes before wiping it off with an absorbent cloth. Until the smell is gone, repeat the process several times.
Use An Air Freshener for Ongoing Maintenance
Your car shouldn’t smell like vomit after completing these steps; it should instead smell clean and fresh.
It’s a good idea to use an air freshener for ongoing maintenance. It will also eliminate any odors, preserving the fresh scent of your car.
There are numerous products available, and the majority of them perform admirably.
Consider Renting An Extractor
You might want to think about renting an extractor if you’ve exhausted all other options and the vomit smell is still pervasive in your vehicle.
Any liquid or solid particles can be removed from a surface using an extractor, a device that uses suction to do so. Any vomit or odor particles that may still be in your car can be eliminated in this way.
Before choosing the best extractor for you, do your research as there are many different types available for rental.
It will take some time to remove the vomit and smell from your car, but it will be worthwhile to get rid of the disagreeable smell.
What to Do With the Carpets
You might need to replace your carpets if vomit damage or stains have occurred.
New carpets can be purchased from a variety of retailers, or they can be professionally installed.
You can use a carpet cleaner machine to clean your carpets if they are in good condition. Any odors or stains that might have been left behind will be eliminated as a result.
It’s crucial to completely dry the carpets after cleaning them. Use a fan or leave the windows open to achieve this.
What Not to Do When Cleaning Vomit in Your Car
When cleaning vomit out of your car, there are several things you should stay away from.
- Never use a steam cleaner because the heat will trap any vomit or other odors that may be present.
- If the smells aren’t entirely removed, water will also aid in sealing them in. Therefore, be sure to completely dry your car before using it once more.
- The area will smell worse after being cleaned with vinegar and water if you use vinegar to clean up a mess like this. A vehicle’s carpets and upholstery can both be harmed by vinegar. Because it can cause color loss and cracks if improper care is not taken, vinegar is particularly bad for fabric on seats.
- When removing vomit, avoid using cornstarch because it may leave a starchy or powdery residue that will draw in dirt and dust particles from the air. It’s best to stay away from these kinds of treatments altogether.
- Never clean your car’s fabrics with ammonia or bleach, as doing so will harm the fabrics and lead to additional issues in the future.
- Avoid rubbing the area with water as this will only spread the vomit and make stains and smells worse over time. In order to get rid of any lingering odors or stains, try to get rid of as much of it as you can and then use one of the methods mentioned above.
You can get rid of even the toughest odors, like vomit odors, from your car using these affordable and simple homemade solutions. No matter how long you’ve been attempting to remove the unpleasant smell left behind by your child, your pet, or an inebriated friend or family member, we guarantee that at least one of these solutions will be effective on your car.
Use an interior car cleaning service if you think you need some expert assistance. Your car will be in excellent condition and smell brand new when they leave.