No. Nobody’s sick here at the moment (knock on wood). This is a completely random post. But I figured with the cold and flu season here, you might be interested in tucking this little nugget in the back of your mind for a rough day.
I came upon it by accident, really, as most brilliant ideas come about. This is seriously the easiest way to get vomit out of the carpet. I wish I’d known to do this from the beginning. It sure as heck would have saved me from way too many stomach churning moments.
One night my daughter was sick with a stomach flu, and didn’t make it to the bathroom before she spewed all over her bedroom floor.
Lovely, I know. Stay with me here, it’s gonna get worse before it gets better.
It was chunky, and smelled horrible, and I really didn’t feel like trying to sop it out of the carpet with a towel at 2 o’clock in the morning. Her brother was sleeping in the same room at the time, and begged me to make the awful smell go away.
So, I did what first came to mind. Baking Soda. LOTS of it. I grabbed a big bag from the pantry, and sprinkled it liberally all over the mess on the floor. Enough to completely bury the puke. And then I put a towel over it just in case somebody accidentally stepped on it.
There. Done. Back to bed.
Dare I admit, with all the vomiting that went on those next few days, I didn’t even get around to cleaning that mess under the towel for two days. Hey, don’t judge.
When I finally remembered there was something there that really needed to get cleaned up, I was shocked and amazed when I pulled the towel up to find that the baking soda had transformed all of the throw-up into small, odorless clumps of powder. Besides that, all that was left was a stain that needed scrubbing.
What’s this? No disgusting mess to slop up with my bare hands?
Using the vacuum, I (probably too ecstatically) sucked all of the dried clumps up in one mess-free motion. (If you don’t want to use your vacuum, a broom will do just as well.) With that out of the way, I sprayed a little carpet cleaner on the spot, and had it as good as new in minutes.
No sopping. And gagging. And scooping. And gagging. And washing. And picking chunks of leftover food out of the washing machine.
It was brilliant!
I’m telling you, the next time you have throw-up on your carpet- Baking Soda. LOTS of it. Add a couple drops of essential oils while you’re at it. You’ll love me forever.
additional notes by Rebekah White…
Now, looking back at this post, you may want some more in-depth tips for getting rid of vomit on the carpet. Whether it’s a sick child, pet, or (dare I say) a drunken house guest, there is a high likelihood that at some point or another, you are going to end up with puke on the floor. There’s not a lot you can do to prevent it, but it’s good to know how to deal with it if – and when (because it definitely will) – happen.
Put Yourself First
This is going to sound selfish, but you shouldn’t start cleaning up any bodily fluids-related mess before first making sure you and those around you are safe. If it’s a vomiting child you are dealing with, make sure he is moved to the bathroom and tended to before bothering to deal with the clean-up.
Essential oils are a great way to remedy upset stomachs, as are chewables like mint and ginger. Get the child some water and some medicine, whether natural or pharmaceutical, before proceeding.
Next, make sure YOU are taken care of. Meaning, put on a pair of rubber gloves, change into some clothes you don’t mind smelling like vomit, and make sure you are covered. You can also rub something on your top lip, just underneath your nose.
I recommend a menthol-based essential oil or peppermint. This will help to keep the smells away and prevent you from feeling the need to puke next (and thereby increasing the mess you need to clean up). Just make sure you don’t get your odor-reducer of choice inside your nose, as that can cause some seriously unpleasant burning.
Soak Up the Mess
Scrape up as much of the mess as possible using a scraper or a flat-sided object. You can scrape the thick pieces into a dustpan or a dense plastic bag, just keep in mind that you’ll need to wash your tools later to prevent additional grossness.
Another interesting, creative way to scrape up the large pieces of vomit is to use pieces of cardboard. You can use the pieces as a scoop and then toss the mess directly into the trashcan.
I recommend using a towel you don’t mind getting disgusting, but keep in mind that whatever you use can be thrown in the wash. Vomit doesn’t usually stain (as long as the fabric can be put into a washing machine, that is) so you don’t need to worry too much about that. However, if you plan on washing the rag you used later on, keep in mind that you’ll want to make sure any large chunks are not on the cloth. This can be left behind in your washing machine and dryer (ew).
Try to avoid using paper products, like toilet paper or paper towels. These can disintegrate once you start scooping up the chunks, and you’ll be left actually touching the vomit or having to deal with tiny pieces of paper in addition to your original mess. So stick with cloth whenever possible.
When you’re soaking up the mess, try to get as much of the chunks and liquid out as possible. I know, I know – not terribly appetizing. But what did you expect? You may have to go back a couple of times to get any mixture you did not pick up. For this reason, it’s often helpful to keep a trash can or a bag next to you to dump the soiled rags in.
Depending on where the vomit is located, as well as the size of the potential stain, you might also consider soaking it up with sand. You can dump it on the area to encourage the vomit to clump, and then use a broom and dustpan (or your scooping method of choice) to pick it up.
If it took you a few days…or weeks…or longer – hey! no judgment! – to notice the stain, you are not without hope. Simply dampen the area to help loosen the dried vomit, then use a spoon or something else with rigid edges to pry the vomit up.
Treat the Stain
As mentioned, baking soda is a great option for reducing and eliminating stains. I keep large containers of baking soda on hand at all times, not just for cleaning up messes like this, but because it is also a great all-purpose household cleaner. It can also be used for a number of medicinal and culinary purposes, but that’s another post for another time!
Sprinkle baking soda liberally, and wait about fifteen minutes to let it fully absorb into the moisture. You may need to wait longer if it’s a set-in stain, or one that has been there for quite some time (as in my case). Then, scrub the spot with a scrubbing brush to make sure all the of the vomit has loosened from the carpet. You can also choose to leave the baking soda overnight to help soak in, but don’t do this if there are lots of chunks.
Cornstarch is another natural method to help soak up the vomit. Sprinkle cornstarch and then follow the same methods as you would with baking soda.
Whatever you do, try not to rub too vigorously. Pressing down when trying to remove vomit can actually cause the adverse effect. You will push the vomit deeper into your carpet and make it more difficult – or impossible – to remove. Use a clean rag and plain warm water to help work out the remaining vomit. Try to use a white towel, especially if you have a white carpet or white furniture, as a colored cloth can sometimes bleed color onto the surface once you start applying even a little bit of pressure.
Next, vacuum the mixture up. A wet/dry vacuum works well for this, but you could also use a regular cleaner. The only caveat is that you should avoid using the vacuum’s head, because you don’t want to get little pieces of vomit lodged in places where it will be difficult to get them out. And trust me, they will smell!
Then, you will need to spray generously with some kind of a cleaning agent. You have several options for this, which I’ll detail in a second. Let it set and absorb for about five minutes, then spot it mostly dry with a clean cloth. This will prevent staining caused by irregular drying, and also prevent any weird texture issues. You don’t need to get it totally dry, but can let it air-dry the rest of the way.
Cleaning Solutions for Vomit
There are several different combinations you can use to help treat an area that has been dealt a vomit-y blow. I try to avoid chemical cleaners, especially around the kids and pets, because these simply aren’t safe. Instead, opt for a natural solution that will not leave any remaining residue on the carpet or furniture. This can draw dirt and stains to the area later on.
Another benefit of natural cleaning solutions is that they won’t stink later on. You can clean up the mess and deodorize your home all at once – a win-win that will help you make the most of your time!
Good cleaning solution ingredients include things like water, vinegar, lemon essential oil, and even club soda. Club soda helps get out all kinds of stains, and vomit is no exception. Vinegar is another good, all-natural choice, and while it has powerful antimicrobial and antibacterial properties, it does leave behind a slight odor. You’ll want to either use this one in moderation or combine it with a fresh-smelling essential oil to remedy this.
Depending on the color and texture of your carpet, you could also use hydrogen peroxide. This should be a last resort, as it can cause discoloration even on white carpets. Ammonia is another option, but again, it is a bit more potent and can be toxic. Ammonia should also not be used if you have pets, because it will attract them to that spot and cause them to urinate there.
If the stain remains after trying all of these methods, your last option is to rent a carpet cleaning machine. These are super expensive to rent, but will definitely get every last trace of that mess out of your carpet.
Perform a Deep Clean
After getting all of that vomit out, your carpet is likely going to need some TLC. Once the stain has dried, you need to clean the area. You can clean by sprinkling baking soda and vacuuming it up again, or you can perform a deep clean.
I already mentioned the option of renting a carpet cleaning machine. I’m not crazy about this option since many machines use detergents loaded with chemicals and other toxic ingredients. If you call a professional carpet-cleaning service, you’ll be dealing with the same old situation.
However, you can deep clean your carpet in a more natural way. First, start by vacuuming. You should be doing this about once a week anyway, to keep dirt and dander to a minimum. Next, add equal parts water and vinegar to your steam cleaner. You can also add a few drops of essential oils to make it smell especially nice. If your carpet is particularly stained in areas, consider using a bit more vinegar than water.
After you have vacuumed and cleaned your carpet, add a cup of baking soda mixed with twenty drops of your favorite essential oil. You can also add borax if you have pets that are prone to fleas. This mixture can be sprinkled on, allowed to sit, and then vacuumed as usual. While you should do this when you deep clean, you can also keep this mixture on hand to use each week before you vacuum.
So there you have it. A few tips to keep your carpet smelling clean and fresh – and without vomit! – without having to resort to chemical treatments.
Do you have a better way to clean vomit from carpet?? I’m game to learn an even better trick if there is one!
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