The Easiest Way To Clean Vomit From Carpet

The easiest way to get vomit out of carpet.

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.

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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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Kendra
About Kendra 1117 Articles
A city girl learning to homestead on an acre of land in the country. Wife and homeschooling mother of four. Enjoying life, and everything that has to do with self sufficient living.

78 Comments

  1. My cat has been throwing up on our carpet and even though we’ve tried our best to clean it up, it still looks to have stained in some areas. We’ll try your remedy of covering the areas in baking soda and vacuuming it up. If it doesn’t work, we’ll look into a professional cleaning service to hopefully save our carpet.

  2. So it’s 3:00 in the morning and my pour 7 year old son just blew chunks all over his bedroom carpet. Hot dogs, with ketchup and mustard, Apple sauce and red juice everywhere. Needless to say the last thing I want to me doing at 3:00 in the morning is scrub vomit out of the carpet so I Google the fool proof way to clean vomit out of carpet and wiki tells me to spatula up the chunks and paperror towel blot as much of the liquid as I can and cover with baking soda and or corn starch, wait 10-20 mins and vacuum up and then follow up with …. while reading on on line I stumbled across the posts so I’m trying your method mama’s and I’m leaving the baking soda/corn starch over night on my newly red dyed, hot dog, vomiting scented carpet. Wish me luck I really hope this work’s and I’m non left with red stains I can’t remove. I just want to go back to bed. 🙁

      • So if you cover the vomit with baking soda and throw a towel over it will it come out.I just threw up and I didn’t make it to the bathroom I threw up all over my bed and carpet. What should i do it’s been a day already and I don’t just wanna leave it there.i put baking soda on it and covered it. How long should I leave it on there. My washer does not work what should I do with the sheets.

  3. Friday night my son started vomiting in his sleep. Well I’m sure he woke up but it was pretty much already coming. It was around 2am give or take in which I was still up. My other kids had it a couple of days before and I thought he skated by this one. So I had stripped beds and disinfected everything. Let’s just say that was a BIG mistake! He was pretty much wearing a lot of it as the floor was to. So poor thing wanted to shower which I didn’t have my curtains up yet as I washed them and was gonna hang them back up the next day. Poor boy had to bath as I was scrubbing the floor stripping the bed and scrubbing that. It was the worst! I was up till almost 5 with the cleaning and laundry. I just couldn’t get it all out of the carpet. I felt like I was just smearing it more and making it worse. So after I scrubbed and cleaned it I put towels done on top. We’ll hear it stinks something horrible in there which I knew I was gonna have to clean it again! So I finally got to it tonight. I don’t know what to do because it stinks in there something terrible!! I scrubbed it with dawn dish soap and vinegar. I then sprinkled baking soda and I sprayed that arm and hammer carpet spray on top of it. Now I have the fan going in there letting it dry up. But I feel the smell is still bad idk what else I should do. Please help!

  4. Thanks for this. It’s 2am and I’ve just cleaned up my 6 yr old’s effort on her bedroom floor. I’ve done a water/hand soap job so far but was looking for something further as I have the added bonus of it being, well, a bright green colour. On beige carpet. Mea culpa, I shouldn’t have let her have quite so much of her little brother’s homemade birthday cake (a bright blue pond with chocolate frogs etc) and she announced she wasn’t ever eating cake with icing again. Without TMI, it’s pretty much just green liquid (curiously, as it went in BLUE) but it was that really strong gel colouring that you use for rainbow cakes etc. Will go grab the soda (known as bicarbonate soda in UK) and hope for the best. Any suggestions as to removal of a possible blue/green stain welcomed!

  5. My roommates son just threw up in the hallway due to not being able to open the bathroom due to the child lock (his little brother is 2 and tries to play in the toilet) we don’t have any baking soda until pay day but does anyone know if cornstarch would do the trick too? I’ve read some things but haven’t heard personal experiences from anyone. /: any and all help is super appreciated!

  6. I tried to clean vomit using cat litter to absorb the moisture. However the cat litter has formed a paste on my carpet! I have no idea how to get this out! I have tried carpet cleaner and stain remover but it’s still clumped as a paste on the carpet!
    Any advice would be appreciated!

  7. Kendra your post saved me! Was checking on my kids in the middle of the night stepped in CAT VOMIT nice! So beyond gross! Instead of tossing my cat out the window (Just kidding would never do that!!) I came upon your post dumped a whole box on the giant mess waited a day or two then vacuumed it up (a 2nd vacuum that I don’t really use). No stain, no smell, yada yada thank you!!!

  8. This is really smart. I guess the baking soda just absorbed the vomit and dried it up? I think everyone can learn a lot from this and apply it to other carpet stains. I have done it a few times. I recommend adding vinegar to the stain as well. It will react with the baking powder and bubble the area out.

  9. Yesterday, I went to a thrift store and found a very large, nearly new- looking area rug and bought it. Upon closer examination, however, I found it to have a moderate amount of dried vomit near one edge. Before I attempt to tackle the job of removing the vomit with baking soda and water, I was wondering whether anyone has been successful in removing vomit which has been dried for quite some time from carpet. Would I just soak the area with a spray bottle full of water, top it with a large amount of baking soda, then cover it and leave it a few days before attempting to work the vomit out? Thank you, in advance, for your return comment.

    • Jackie, if it was me (and I REALLY loved the rug), I would soak it with soapy water (liquid dish detergent should work fine), scrub it clean, then spray with an odor eater spray or essential oils.

      • I would use vinegar (heated in microwave), a little Dawn (not any others), and water first. Then baking soda and vinegar and water. And last, but most critical, an enzyme cleaner sprayed on. I use Bac a Zap (on Amazon). The chemical reaction in Enzyme cleaners actually remove smells, rather than masking them. I buy it by the gallon. I have used it on human & animal urine and feces, garbage containers, 19-year-old male’s tennis shoes, sports bags, dorm rooms (I have sent a small spray bottle to college with all 3 kids, and literally sprayed the whole room before any stuff went in),
        etc., etc.

  10. I cleaned up mess this morning as best i could but dudnt read this until now. What would you suggest for the stain that’s left. I believe the spot is already dry. Any help would be appreciated!

  11. 4:15am and up with the bf who vomited all the way down the carpeted stairs and on the kitchen tile. Small apartment living with the only bathroom downstairs was always annoying to pee in the middle of the night but the not making it to the bathroom in time has proved to be the worst thus far. Luckily the tile part was easy but thanks for the baking soda tip. I texted my trusty mom before finding the article but had already sprinkled it all the way up just about each step. BF is doing ok, Keeps asking me if he can poison himself with too many chocolate covered raisins haha.

    Thank you for the tip! Hoping the dog doesn’t get curious before I wake up and vacuum the remains. Good luck everyone and feel better to all going through this!

  12. Thanks it’s a real lifesaver considering it’s 2am and I’m packing up to move again.

    Next time I’ll avoid the Hawaiian pizza

  13. I will now be buying tons of baking soda! Oh and Essential oils as well! My daughter tried to make it to the toilet just awhile ago…. This is after my 17 month old is just getting over it and still having trouble 🙁 I used Clorox anti bacterial wipes papertowels and Febreze carpet powder. It worked ok but definitely gross

  14. Thanks for this tip – it made an unpleasant task so much more bearable! (Same story as manyabove – sick kid, late at night, didn’t make it to the bathroom. Fun times.)

  15. Thank you, thank you, thank you. Just used this idea a few minutes ago, but began the scoop and gag method before I found this article. It’s 245 in the morning and 1 ofy 5 sons has come down with a stomach bug :(. With a post graduation exam to tackle in the morning, I’m just happy I don’t have to continue cleaning up the soppy mess in the hallway tonight… again, thanks to you (and arm and hammer)! I’m sure I will be using this again in the all too near future.

  16. THANK YOU! This is a life-saver tonight. My daughter woke me up after projectile vomiting in her room, the hallway and the bathroom. It is everywhere and I was panicking about how to clean it all up. Thanks again for the great advice, working wonderfully at the moment.

  17. This is a brilliant idea and certainly will save me from a disgusting (and inevitable) task. Baking soda is great for cleaning and lemon oil gets rid of all funky odors. I just discovered you can dip a half lemon in baking soda and use it to scrub your sink, etc.

  18. Here’s a “frugality” tip. Check for baking soda the next time your at the feed store. You can get a 25 lb bag for about 10 buck$. I store mine in a plastic 5 gal bucket. Comes in handy all over the homestead.

  19. Oh this is BRILLIANT!!! Can’t thank you enough. I hate cleaning up puke in carpet and it’s really hard to do with your eyes closed and one hand ( the other is always holding my nose)! And thank you so much for not posting a picture of the “spill” I was waiting for the picture to load with a finger on the mouse ready to scroll:)

  20. THANK YOU! Our lab has a very sensitive stomach, and I can’t tell you how many times this has happened to us. Particularly when she finds some kind of droppings that smell great (to her), but are a nightmare after her stomach’s exorcism on my carpet.

    THANK YOU.

  21. I can attest that this works really well. The more baking soda you pile on, the longer you can let it sit and the more moisture will be absorbed. I’d advise against vacuuming, unless it’s a very small spot. I clogged a vacuum with wet baking soda once. It was a chore to clean it out.

    You can also use a combo of vinegar and baking soda to remove the odor and stain. After absorbing the mess with baking soda and sweeping/vacuuming it up, add a thin layer of baking soda and pour a small am of vinegar on it. Allow it to sit overnight. Vacuum with a shop vac or wait until it completely dries to vacuum. This works great for urine stains, too.

  22. Kendra,
    All I can say is a hearty Thank You!! It is 1230a.m. I have just been woken out if a deep sleep by (nudge) ‘Mom, I just threw up all over my floor…sorry!’……got the items in the washer…then for the carpet…..thank you Google…your blog post……I grabbed the baking soda, dumped the entire large box….(no essential oils available 🙁 )….did have room spray from Bath n Body….sprayed the baking soda pile….my daughter moved to the couch saying she couldn’t sleep with the ‘disgusting smell of puke’ in her room….I summoned her back to the room after the baking soda and said….’what smell?’….LOL, Completely, and I mean COMPLETELY gone!!!! What an answer to prayer you are…thank you for the wild, if by chance..post! Tonight I call it ‘divine intervention”!!! Thanks again! Will go down in my forever arsenal of what to do’s! Will vacuum in the daylight, for now….Goodnight!! Be blessed, you sure blessed me!!
    Lisa

  23. Kendra…Thank You Thank You and I too luv ya! 😉 my grandson had a double whmmy in the same spot
    after chuggin milk =-O which. I.m.o….is the ABSOLUTE worst smell that can be very hard to get rid of completely!!! So last night I had the cleanup halfway done but the sptot was still very wet and smelly and I did not want to half to put more water onto it but in the past have had to in order to clean then go back over with bleach water then the fun part of attempting to dry. In tightly woven carpet…SUCKS.
    Anywho…after reading your heaven sent trick, I luckily had a full box of baking soda, before going to bed last night I poured entire box onto the spot-o-yuck and woke up to NO milky vomit smell:-D
    I’m still trying to decide how I want to get it off the floor. I have on orek …thought about trying to tie a trash bag to the where the bag goes but as still worried about it getting stuck in the rollers and the in side of vac. So a small dust broom may be my next course of action but HUGE PROPS TO YOU SI!STER!!!! Truely a lifesaver

  24. thank you so much for this!! Will the baking soda work if the vomit has beei n somewhat cleaned but is halfway dry? Does it mainly pull out the moisture?? Also…any tips or tricks on. Avoiding the awful smell staying in vacuum and everytime you turn it on after the fact that’s what you smell????

  25. I have Gastroparesis. Terrible disease. It comes with nausea most of the time and abdominal pain. I have a bucket by my bed but worry I’m not gonna make it somewhere sometimes. Thank you for this remedy. I’m off to get a bag of backing soda.

  26. No children here but a boyfriend who cooked a spicy supper followed by his favorite activity(going to the bar) has made for a huge living room mess. As I was trying to clean it earlier, he was howling into the kitchen sink which turned into me howling in the bathroom toilet. Just woke up thirsty and realized the mess i hid with towels wasn’t going to disappear like a great magic trick. Normally I have such a strong stomach but not tonight. Thank you for the blog! My carpet it’s saturated with baking soda at the moment and fingers are crossed for clean up to be a breeze in a few hours! Any thing to make things easier for me is heaven sent! I’m only 23 but suffer with neuro issues which come with a ton of pain and difficulty doin most everyday Normal things!thank you again 🙂

  27. Hi, and THANK YOU!!!!!!! I also had a bucket by the bed, BUT, my son totally missed the bucket and all over the carpet it went, I swear it was a case of possession!!!! After calming the “demon”, lol, I have a HUGE stain, I’ve used the stuff for dog stains, etc, but, nope! What kind of carpet cleaner did you use, and does it involve 30 rolls of paper towels????? HELP!!! Judy

  28. Annette, that’s brilliant. I didn’t have enough baking soda, so used baby powder. Worked great in soaking up the funk. I do preferbsoda tho, but in a pinch the baby powder helped in marking the area so it wanst steppex on

  29. Boy, am I ever glad I didn’t miss this post! This info came in really handy when my 6-yo was sleep-vomiting last night! It even helped save his mattress, I soaked up what moisture I could, applied baking soda liberally, put a bath towel folded in quarters over the wet spot, put on a clean sheet & put my boy back to bed. This morning, everything is clean & not the least bit smelly! And my son feels fine, must have been something he ate! Thanks, again, my dear friend!

  30. Great idea! My vacuum motor gives out if I vacuum too much powdery stuff. Ruined filters and a vac with this stuff once ($400 estimate to repair). I like to cover my dustpan with a plastic grocery back, sweep in the bulk of the stuff, turn the bag inside out and throw the stuff away. Then I vacuum the remainder and save the vac!

  31. Can’t believe I’m going to say this online, but a year ago, by dog had yucky diarrhea on my carpet, and it was during a four day power outage so I couldn’t have cleaned it up even if I wanted to (which to be honest, I really wasn’t looking forward to.) So, basically to cover up the smell until our power came back on, I poured gobs of baking soda on it. Then I laid some paper towels over it. A few days later the power came back on and I finally got brave enough to face the mess. Same results as Kendra. First I vacuumed, then I steam cleaned the area for good measure, and it didn’t even leave a stain!

  32. What a fantastic idea!!! I wonder if it would work well with diarrhea? (yep, that’s right. I went there!) My 90lb dog has left me that wonderful mess before when I’m not home to take her out.

  33. Thanks for the laugh and the great information!

    Years ago my son spewed vomit all over the top of a set of encyclopedias.
    Yes, almost every book was covered. I’m not talking about the hardcover,
    I’m talking about the tops of the PAGES as the books set upright. And he had just eaten FISH…gag!

    We cleaned it up the best we could, but years afterward when we opened a book, there would be this flaky dried fish vomit that would dislodge.

    So if you eradicated your vomit mess in just two days, I’d say you did GREAT!

    Again, thanks for the hearty laugh and useful information!

  34. If we’re sick, we sleep with a pail/bucket next to the bed, for the times we can’t reach the bathroom. Also, for long car trips, traveling with a bucket with a lid (like those big ice cream containers) can be a lifesaver. Better safe than sorry.

  35. My mom just sent me this article- oh how I could have used this just 2 days ago when my 2 year old son was sick!! Although, now that my husband has this junk I may still get to use this tip -not that i am really hoping to!

  36. Good to know! I have been scooping the yuck with a spoon and throwing it in the compost and then spot cleaning with the carpet brusg. I thought it was pretty smart of me. But dry clumps sounds soooooo much better.

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