How to Clean Vomit Stains From Car Interior

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Vomit is one of the worst types of stains that can happen in your car. They smell awful, look disgusting and sometimes, they can also make you throw up when you attempt to clean them by yourself. 

This can happen when you’re traveling with kids, pets, or even adults who experience motion sickness, food poisoning, stomach flu, or some other kind of illness or virus.

car cleaning vomit

Cleaning vomit and getting rid of the smell from the vehicle is something no car owner would willingly do unless it’s really necessary. However, knowing how to clean it up the right way is a useful basic skill that all car owners should have in case of an emergency. If you’re not sure how to properly clean vomit from your car, don’t worry; we got you covered.

In this blog, we’ll help you deal with vomit using basic household tools and chemicals. If you think the vomit is too much for you to handle, River Islands mobile car detailing is always here to help you.

Remove Vomit from Car Washing Tips

8 Steps to Clean Up Vomit From Cars

Step 1: Protect yourself by using Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

When you encounter fresh vomit, the first thing you need to do is to gather your protective equipment: wear gloves, a mask, a plastic bag, and a paper towel. If possible, get protective eyewear.

All vomit should be treated as infectious and therefore using personal protective equipment (PPE) is necessary when you clean it.

Pro Tip: If you’re the type of person who is easily grossed out by vomit, you can ask someone for help. If you really have to do it, we suggest spraying some perfume near the area and chewing some gum to help you stop throwing up.

Step 2: Cover and scoop up the vomit with a bunch of paper or old towels

For this bit, make sure you’re wearing a pair of gloves and a mask. When you’re ready, take a deep breath and cover and scoop up the affected area in your car with a bunch of paper towels (or old towels).

Scoop and mop up as much as you can until you’ve removed most of the indigested solids. Then put the dirty paper towels and your gloves in the trash bag. Wear a fresh clean pair of gloves for the next step.

Step 3: Prepare baking soda, vinegar, and hydrogen peroxide to remove vomit

Fatty or oily grime such as dirt, soot, fats, cooking oils, food stains, and baked-on grease can be removed using basic solutions with a pH greater than 7 (the neutral pH of water). Baking soda falls under the basic or alkaline category. All-purpose cleaners, oven cleaners, and laundry detergents also have a basic pH.

Rust, mineral deposits, water spots, and soap deposits can be removed using acidic cleaners with a pH of less than 7. Vinegar falls under the acidic category. Toilet bowl cleaners, tile cleaners, lemon juice, and any cleaning products that remove hard water, mineral deposits, and mold also have an acidic pH.

Hydrogen peroxide is a chemical compound that dissolves proteins and disinfects surfaces. This can be a powerful and effective vomit remover, especially after using baking soda and vinegar.

Baking soda acts as an odor-absorber and a mild abrasive that can quickly loosen stuck-on greasy residue without damaging the surface. You can use it to polish metal, unclog drains, and of course, clean up vomit in the car.

Vinegar can be used as a food-safe bleach to disinfect kitchen sinks, counters, floors, and more. When diluted with water, it can remove many types of stains including vomit.

PRO Tip: Do not mix hydrogen peroxide and vinegar together. Doing this will create peracetic acid which is harmful to your skin, eyes, and respiratory system. Worst case scenario, peracetic acid can even cause serious lung damage.

Step 4: Boil hot water and put it in a spray bottle and spray the affected area

Before we get to our 3 main vomit cleaners, let’s kill some germs first. Boil hot water and put it in a spray bottle. Spray the affected area generously to help kill some germs and also to loosen the fabric and upholstery. This will make removing the stains easier. Scoop and mop the area again with a paper towel.

Step 5: Apply ¼ cup of baking soda to the affected area

Now, to the main event. Pour baking soda directly onto the affected area and let it sit for about 10-20 minutes or until you see dry clumps. The baking soda will soak up the excess moisture and a good portion of the vomit stain over time.

Step 6: Spray the area with vinegar and scrub it with a brush

After waiting for 10-20 minutes, spray the affected area with vinegar generously and scrub with a fabric or upholstery brush. Make sure to use a soft to medium bristle brush so you don’t damage the fiber or other surrounding surfaces.

Step 7: Repeat the process until vomit is completely removed

If you still see some vomit stains, do the whole process again. Spray with hot water, apply baking soda and vinegar, then scrub with a brush. Mop the area to collect the stains.

Pro Tip: If you still see stains, we suggest diluting hydrogen peroxide. You can dilute it at 1:10 and test it on a conspicuous area. Adjust the dilution strength if necessary. Scrub and mop again until you don’t see any more stains or there are hardly any stains left.

Step 8: Disinfect your car interior from vomit

The final step is to disinfect the puked-on area by applying some liquid detergent and water. This will help further remove germs and soils from the affected surface and restore it to its clean and vomit-free state. 

Make sure to scrub thoroughly and wipe until dry and clean. Lastly, spray some disinfectant spray on the fabric, mop the excess, and dry.

Scrubbing and Cleaning Car Vomit

And there you have it! A clean car interior free from vomit in 8 simple and easy-to-follow steps. With this guide plus all cleaning solutions readily available in your kitchen, cleaning vomit from your car interior should be easy.

With the proper tools and chemicals, you can easily do it by yourself. There’s nothing to be afraid of! Just always remember to wear protective equipment such as gloves, masks, and eyewear.

If the sight and smell of vomit makes you throw up, freshen up the area with a few spritzes of perfume and/or chew some gum. This will help dealing with vomit more bearable.

Who knew daily household items and chemicals such as baking soda, vinegar, and hydrogen peroxide can be your best cleaning solutions for removing vomit stains?

Summary

There you have it! A clean car interior free from vomit in 8 simple and easy-to-follow steps. With this guide and all the cleaning solutions readily available in your kitchen, cleaning vomit from your car interior should be easy.

With the proper tools and chemicals, you can easily do it by yourself. There’s nothing to be afraid of! Just always remember to wear protective equipment such as gloves, masks, and eyewear. If the sight and smell of vomit makes you throw up, freshen up the area with a few spritzes of perfume and/or chew some gum. This will help dealing with vomit more bearable.

Just remember the acronym C.H.A.T. while cleaning the vomit stains. Start with hot water, chemicals, agitation with a brush, add some dwelling time, and voila! You’ll be greeted with a vomit-free car interior in no time.

If, after all these steps and guides, you’re still not satisfied with the removal of vomit stains in your car, no worries, we offer our professional stain removal services for you.

We deal with all types of stains at River Islands Car Salon, including vomit, coffee, wine, juice, and others!

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Call us or get a quote now!