How to Clean Vomit From Carpet ASAP With Odor-Free Results

So that happened. There's puke on your carpet. Here's how to get it out and make your carpet clean and fresh again.

Published April 15, 2024
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Woman Cleaning Carpet with Brush

I still remember in kindergarten when some kid in our class puked on the carpet. The custodian came in with a big bottle of some mystery powder, dumped it on the vomit, and whisked it all away. But what if that happens at home? Kids, pets, and sometimes even grownups throw up on carpets, and chances are, you don't have whatever that magical custodial puke powder was. How do you clean vomit from the carpet and make sure you get it all out? Don't worry... we have all the answers.

How to Clean Vomit From Carpet

So here you are. There's puke on your carpet. First, sorry about that. That stinks (literally and figuratively). Second, vomit is a biohazard, so you need to clean it up right away and make sure you get every bit of it up ASAP so it doesn't stain or leave your carpet smelling like, well, puke. 

Gather Your Supplies

I used to have a cat that was a puker, and I always had a little caddy of cat vomit supplies ready to go so that anytime I walked through a dark house from the bedroom and stepped in a cold pile of cat puke in my bare feet (which — ew, hopefully, this NEVER happens to you), I could grab everything I needed and get to it right away (or at least as soon as I'd washed my foot). If your cat (or a human) barfs on your carpet, you'll need:

Scrape Up Any Excess Vomit

Don your mask and gloves. Then, use the scraper to remove as much of the puke from the carpet as you can. Put the puke in a plastic bag or garbage bag and use paper towels to wipe the scraper clean before you get back in there. Continue this process until there aren't any chunks (sorry) or excess liquid on the surface of your carpet.

Blot Excess Liquid

Use the paper towels to blot up any excess liquid. Don't scrub, as this will push the vomit further into the fibers. Toss the paper towels into your refuse bag.

Saturate the Stain

You can use a 1:1 ratio of vinegar and water in a spray bottle for this or use an enzyme cleaner, like Nature's Miracle. I prefer the enzyme cleaner because it works well on bio stains (from people or pets), breaking them down, deodorizing, and disinfecting.

Spray the stain thoroughly, saturating it. Make sure you cover every inch of the stain and spray outside of the stain a little, too, so you have it surrounded and completely covered with the cleaner. Let it sit for about 20 minutes to give the enzymes time to do the job and break down the stain.

Blot Up the Cleaner

Use a double layer of paper towels to blot the stain, replacing the towels as they get saturated. Continue to blot (not rub or scrub) until the liquid is removed from the carpet.

Use the Spot Cleaner if There's Still a Stain

Chances are good that, even after all that blotting, some stain will linger. Spray it liberally with a carpet cleaning spot cleaner. Use the tips of your gloved fingers to gently agitate the stain. Then, blot it up with more paper towels.

Finish With a Carpet Spot Cleaning Machine for the Ultimate Clean

When there's puke on my carpet, I prefer to hedge my bets. So after all of the above steps, I finish by using my carpet spot cleaner. Mix your cleaning solution according to the manufacturer's instructions, and use the spot cleaner to do a final cleaning on the stain. Be sure to suck up as much liquid as you possibly can. This step is optional, but it gives me peace of mind that I get it all up.

Related: How to Remove Old Stains From Carpet

A Note About Magic Puke Powder

So I did a little research (okay, I Googled "magic puke powder") and discovered that the magic puke powder I recall so vividly from my childhood is actually a commercial vomit-absorbing powder that absorbs something like 50 times its weight in liquid immediately so you can sweep it away. This is a janitorial supply that usually comes in industrial-sized containers, but if you have pets that make messes in the house a lot or you're planning on throwing a rager that ends with everyone puking on your carpet, you can grab some and try it out. There are tons of versions of it, including Super Sorb. I can't attest to its efficacy, but it seemed like a miracle when I was 6. But I'd still do all the other stuff listed above after I used the Super Sorb just to be safe.

Get Vomit Out of Your Carpet With Ease

I'm not going to say it's a pleasant job, or that it will only take five minutes, but if saving your carpet and keeping your house from reeking of puke is important to you, then the steps above will work. Your carpet will be clean again,  your home will smell fresh, and once the tummy ache has passed, it will be like nothing ever happened. 

How to Clean Vomit From Carpet ASAP With Odor-Free Results