How to Clean Vomit From Carpet | Industrial and DIY Solutions for Ugly Stains and its partners may earn a commission if you purchase a product through one of our links.

Cleaning vomit from a carpet is one of the most unpleasant duties you’ll ever have to deal with. Sadly, it’s a duty most will have contend with at some point along the way. Vomit on a carpet can put a real crimp in your day, irrespective of who’s responsible for it. Though by learning how to clean vomit from carpet the right way, you can at least make things slightly easier on yourself.

Most choose the store-bought route, opting for the best carpet cleaner they can lay their hands on. Used in conjunction with the best carpet cleaning vacuum for wet and dry spills, it’s a pretty effective approach. But what if you don’t happen to have a commercial-quality carpet cleaning vacuum to hand?  What if you’re dealing with an urgent mess on the carpet and the nearest store is miles away?

The answer – you learn how to clean vomit from a carpet with whatever you have lying around at home.

Things You’ll Need

One helpful note at this point – the strategies outlined below can be useful in quite a wide variety of scenarios. Whether looking for ways how to get soda out of a carpet or wondering how to get beer out of a carpet after it’s already started stinking, you can use pretty much any of these methods in the same way.

In terms of what you’ll need, it’s more or less a case of making use of whatever you have available. Cornstarch, hydrogen peroxide, vinegar and baking soda will help you remove  stains from your carpets and get the puke smell out of your carpets.

You’ll also need some hardware to deal with the ‘scooping and scraping’ side of things, along with (ideally) some disposable plastic gloves and the usual cleaning essentials.

Cleaning Fresh Vomit

The quickest and easiest way to deal with vomit is to deal with it as quickly as you possibly can. Puke smell in carpet can be pretty much avoided entirely by getting rid of the whole thing just as soon as it occurs.

It’s a messy job, but you just need to dive in (not literally) and go for it. Scoop up as much of the solids as you can, using a dustpan, a spoon, a spatula or anything else suitable. Flush it down the toilet if possible, or bag it in an appropriate trash bag with NO HOLES on the bottom.

After which, you can cover the entire area using a solution comprising equal parts water and white vinegar. Better yet, equal parts water and hydrogen peroxide. Pop the mixture in a suitable spray bottle and spray plenty of it all over the affected area.


Important note – never mix both hydrogen peroxide and vinegar in the same solution, as you’ll end up creating a product that’s dangerous and corrosive.

Use plenty of paper towels to blot up as much of the mess as you can at this stage, without rubbing the whole thing deeper into your carpet. Leave it to dry for a short while, before spreading a layer of corn-starch of baking soda on the still-damp spot. When the whole thing has dried to a powder, vacuum it away and you’re good to go.

a person showing a stain on his white shirt

Cleaning Older Vomit Stains

Older vomit stains are inherently more difficult and unpleasant to tend to. Not least because the puke smell in carpets only gets worse, the longer the mess goes uncleaned.

Assuming the vomit has been there for a while and is now dried-on, you’ll need to dampen it slightly before scooping it away. This can be a particularly horrible part of the job, so think about wearing a mask or tying something around your nose and mouth. Anything to ensure you yourself don’t puke while cleaning it away!

Dampen the dry vomit with a little warm water (without saturating it), after which you can follow the exact same process as when dealing with fresh vomit.  However, you’ll probably find that as it has been sitting there for a while, the smell will be much worse and more difficult to get rid of. It’s never particularly easy to get vomit smell out of carpet, but it’s way harder once it has set it.

Getting Rid of the Smell

It seems highly probable that whichever approach you take, there will be at least some degree of residual smell leftover. The severity of which depends on multiple factors, such as how long the stain was left to dry, the thickness of your carpet, the consistency of the vomit and so on.

Luckily, there are countless options available that don’t involve spending a fortune or re-carpeting your home. Each of the following has the potential to prove surprisingly effective:

White vinegar

A classic household cleaning staple, it’s simply a case of spraying a 50/50 solution of wine vinegar and water over the affected area. Dampen the area without soaking it and leave it to dry naturally, at which point it should have naturally eliminated the puke smell. There may be some residual vinegar smell, but it’s nowhere near as bad and will dissipate.

Baking soda

You can try this once or twice – dampen the area slightly, cover with baking soda and leave overnight. Vacuum away in the morning and your carpet should be much fresher. You can also add a drop or two of essential oils to the water or baking soda for added freshness, if preferred.


A mixture of baking soda and borax (again 50/50) makes a powerful weapon against puke smell in carpets. Sprinkle over the affected area, give it an hour or so and vacuum away – job done.


Grab yourself a bottle of the cheapest vodka you can find, spray some over the odorous area and give it around 15 minutes to get to work. Use a paper towel to blot up any excess liquid from around the space, sprinkle some baking soda on the still-damp carpet and give it another hour, before vacuuming away.

Club soda

Believe it or not, Club Soda can be a surprisingly effective household cleaner. The additional salts and carbon dioxide in the water can be great for getting to grips with jobs like these, while at the same time being 100% safe to use. Try rinsing the area with some Club Soda and seeing if it makes the difference.

Hydrogen peroxide

As touched upon a little earlier, a DIY solution comprising 50% water and 50% hydrogen peroxide can also be extremely effective. You can also try adding a couple of drops of everyday dish soap to the mixture, creating a solution that can subsequently be used for a whole bunch of household cleaning purposes.

Vinegar and detergent

This takes the vinegar-water cleaning method to the next level, comprising 2 cups of water, 1 tablespoon of salt, 1 tablespoon of dish soap, 2 tablespoons of robbing alcohol and ½ cup of white vinegar. Spray over the affected area, give it around 10 minutes and blot away any excess, before allowing to air dry.


Steam clean your carpet

By far one of the best ways of hygienically cleaning carpets, it’s definitely worth considering buying, borrowing or renting a steam cleaner. Easy to use, incredibly effective and 100% safe – often with no additional supplies of cleaning products required.

Alternative Methods

Other than the methods outlined above, there are really just two alternative options to choose from. Both of which can work (and work well), but typically turn out to be unnecessary after giving the DIY options a go:

Carpet cleaning solution

There are plenty of specialist carpet cleaning solutions available, which have been designed specifically to get to grips with difficult issues like these. Most of which are highly effective and easy to use, though in many instances may contain harsh chemicals and toxic cleaning agents that aren’t particularly safe.

Hire a professional

Last but not least, you can always take the ‘nuclear’ option and hire a professional to get the job done on your behalf. More often than not, they’ll turn up with a bunch of commercial-grade cleaning products and industrial-grade carpet cleaner, with the potential to restore your carpets to near-showroom-condition. Always an option to consider, but by far the most expensive option available.

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