Odor Removal

How to Get Rid of Vomit Smells

Some people simply cannot hold down a drink. Some people try to prove that they have iron stomachs and kidneys of stone, and try to drink as much as they can at a party. They do good after the first few beers, then start to get a bit brave and start chugging on vodka and orange juice cocktails. By the time they down a tequila shot, it happens; from deep in the pit of their stomachs, they start to hurl. A big puddle of vomit stains the floor, the couch, a pair of new shoes across the room, and the pants of the two sober fellows who help the poor guy lie down. It’s embarrassing, humiliating, and definitely smelly.

Vomit is one of those odors where you definitely get what you put in, and then some. The smells of whatever you ate or drank will eventually make their way into vomit. Food smells, together with the acids and other chemicals in your digestive system, don’t make for a pleasant odor. Once vomit spews forth from someone, there’s pretty much nothing you can do about it. If you find yourself repulsed by the smell of vomit, here are some ways to get rid of the foul odor. (Learn how to get rid of vomiting)

What Makes Vomit Smell So Bad?

To properly get rid of the foul odors from vomit, you need to know a bit about what it contains. Here are some of the reasons why vomit smells bad.

  • Food. Whatever you ingest will eventually make its way into what you vomit, whether it’s a heavy meal or an alcoholic drink.
  • Mucus, blood, and bile. For people who vomit heavily, some parts of the mucus membrane may make their way into the vomit. The force and the acidity of the vomit may also result in blood and bile to be expelled out of the body with the vomit. “Coffee-ground” vomit happens when the iron in red blood cells are exposed to stomach acids, oxidize, and form solid compounds that makes the vomit look like coffee granules.
  • Stomach acids. Some of the water and moisture in vomit is made up of highly corrosive stomach acids. Digestion changes the chemical make-up of food, and will eventually change the odor.

When all these funky-smelling ingredients combine, you have a formula for one really smelly housekeeping disaster. The vomit of babies, and vomiting caused by overindulgence in good food, have a less-offensive odor than vomit caused by alcohol. Most vomit smells like spoiled milk, but the vomit of a drunk person will smell like spoiled milk and whatever he drank that caused him to regurgitate.

Mop It Up Quickly

If someone vomits on the floor, then you need to mop up the vomit quickly. While you won’t have a problem with tile or glass floors, you need to be very quick when you’re dealing with wooden floors. Wood is porous, and the liquid from the vomit will be absorbed very quickly by the pores of the material. A mop, door mats, old rags, or paper towels should be used immediately to pick up the excess moisture that will seep into the wood. (Tips on how to clean wood floors)

Soap Away

Soap and water are your best friends when cleaning vomit stains. It takes a while before you can completely remove the odors from the vomit, but you can remove the odor easier with the following tricks:

  • Use strong-scented soap. Mint scented soaps and other soaps with a strong scent are great at masking the spoiled odor of vomit.
  • Try pet odor removal soaps. Pet soaps have a strong scent that can help hide or even eliminate the vomit smell.
  • Make a blend of shampoo and conditioner. Shampoo and conditioner is not just for hair. Many hair care products have strong odors that can help remove odors. Use the shampoo and conditioner in the same way that you wash your own hair.

Try Vinegar Water

Vinegar is a useful kitchen and cleaning ingredient that can help get rid of vomit smells. Gastric acids have a pH level of 1.5 to 2.0. The many acids found in vinegar are more neutral, with a pH level of 2.9. The lower acidity of vinegar helps it to neutralize the odor of vomit smells. To make a cleaning solution out of vinegar, you need the following ingredients:

  • One part distilled white vinegar
  • Two parts warm water
  • A few drops of citrus-scented liquid soap or liquid dish washing detergent.

Mix the ingredients together in a metal bowl, and wash off the vomit stain. If the vomit has permeated into the cushion of the couch or the nap of the carpeting, you need to scrub it off with a brush or a sponge. Dry the area under the sun, or use a warm blower or air dryer.

Sprinkle On Some Baking Soda

The acidic smell of vomit can be neutralized with an alkaline substance like baking soda. When mixed with water, baking soda has a very alkaline pH level of 8.3, which is enough to counteract and neutralize the acidic substances and odors found in vomit. To make a cleaning solution from baking soda, you need the following ingredients and tools:

  • Baking soda
  • A small amount of water
  • A plastic bowl
  • Sponge or a mop
  • Paper towels
  • Vacuum cleaner

Follow these easy steps to get rid of the vomit smell:

  1. Clean what you can of the vomit using a sponge or a mop.
  2. Make a paste with some baking soda and water. The paste should be of a thick consistency. If the vomit is runny or watery, you can use the baking soda on its own.
  3. Cover the baking soda and vomit pool with paper towels, and leave it there overnight.
  4. Take out the paper towels, and suck out the baking soda lumps with the vacuum cleaner.

Use Window Cleaner

Window cleaning sprays are effective at removing the foul odors found in vomit. Make sure to use a diluted window cleaner spray, because the chemicals in the full-strength cleaning liquid may discolor or fray the textile covering your couch, or the fibers of your carpeting.

Vomit is one of those funky-smelling stains that linger on for days. Removing vomit smells will take a lot of hard work and elbow grease, but you don’t want your house smelling like a tavern at 3 in the morning. With these hints and tricks, not even the smell of a gallon of vomit will linger in the air for too long. If you’re interested in reading this article, you’ll surely enjoy reading how to get rid of vomit stains.

About the author

Nicole Harding

5 Comments

  • There’s a great brand-new product on the market called Room Shocker. It gets rid of every odor I’ve tested it on including vomit. They even have one for the cars, which is great if you have kids or pets. The only place I know that you can get so far is on a website called BiocideSystems.com. They even have a moneyback guarantee, so you can’t go wrong. It really does the job.

  • well not a tip just want something thats ok to use on leather sofa to remove wee and diorrea smell as my little one was ill and sleep on sofa i clean as soon as i see it and i cant remove cover or seat as al attached please help the smell driving me crazy. i herd that distiled whiter vinger is good ?????????????

  • Hi All! I have used roomshocker as well. I live by this stuff and won’t use anything else. I’d also give their AutoVaccine a try to, it’s amazing!! Good luck and I hope it works out.

  • Got a little too drunk last night and vomited on my bed spread. Used a 1/2 cup of warm water with a couple tablebspoons of distilled white vinegar, and some lemon scented all-pupose cleaner. It worked great! Can’t smell my puke anymore, and the vinegar scent was gone once it dried.

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