How To Clean Vomit From Mattress?

by Max S
How To Clean Vomit From Mattress

Are you wondering how to clean vomit from a mattress? If you’ve had a fun night drinking or a tough time because you’re feeling sick, then chances are some vomit is on your mattress.

What’s the big deal, you may ask?

While you may think scooping the vomit off is easy, vomit actually needs careful handling.

You can catch a virus even through small particles of the sick person’s vomit. One example of this disease is viral gastroenteritis, affecting 1 in 5 people in the UK.


In this blog, we will share proper and safe ways to clean vomit, remove vomit smell, and get rid of vomit stains.

What Materials You’ll Need

girl holding stomach on mattress looking like she may vomit
Image: Pexels

Here are the materials you’ll need, which can be found in your home. An important point since vomiting is often an emergency situation no one can prepare for:

  • Surgical mask
  • Gloves
  • Dustpan or paper plate
  • Kitchen or paper towels
  • Baking soda
  • Vacuum
  • Distilled Vinegar
  • Alcohol
  • Spray bottle
  • Clean cloth
  • Optional: fan, hairdryer

How to Clean Vomit from Mattress

Before you start, make sure you’re wearing a mask and gloves to handle vomit.

  • Diseases can spread through vomit particles, especially when the person who vomited is sick. A mask and gloves can protect your mouth and hands from contracting the virus.
  • Another benefit is if you’re the type of person who feels like throwing up when you see or smell other people’s vomit. Wearing a mask helps with the smell.

Step 1 – Remove the Vomit

The first step you need to do to clean the vomit on the mattress is to scoop up the vomit itself. When you or anybody in bed throws up, you’ll grab anything you can find to clean up the mess. But if you’re just about to clean up, we recommend using

  • Dustpan – which you can wash and clean afterwards
  • Paper plate – which you can dispose of afterwards

We suggest throwing the vomit in the toilet or in the garbage bin.

Step 2 – Wash the Beddings

women filling up laundry machine with detergent
Image: Pexels

After removing the vomit, remove all the beddings, including the bedsheet, blankets, pillowcase, and mattress cover, to give it a good wash. Even though certain items were not affected by vomit, it is recommended to wash everything to get rid of the lingering smell.

Use a high temperature in washing or use the sanitise cycle in the washing machine. This is to ensure any bacteria from the vomit are killed. We recommend laundry detergents like Ariel, which contains

  • Enzymes that can help remove stains
  • Bleaching agents that can help in disinfection
  • A fragrance that can help in eliminating vomit smell

Step 3 – Soak Up Remaining Liquid

After removing and washing all the beddings, you’ll be able to see the mattress surface and how much vomit was able to seep through the mattress itself.

Make sure to soak up any liquid using a kitchen towel, paper towel, or any cloth you can use to absorb liquid.

It is important to dispose of the used paper towel or wash the cloth you used to soak up the liquid in the laundry. Like the vomit itself, the remaining liquid may contain disease-carrying bacteria too.

Step 4 – Get Rid of the Odour

The more pressing concern than the stain is the odour. The stain, we can deal with later on. But the smell of vomit is foul, and it would be unpleasant to lay on the mattress with that smell. Vomit contains

  • Whatever food or drinks you’ve taken that day
  • Stomach acid
  • Bacteria
  • And many more, depending on the person’s gut health

Therefore, any vomit will naturally smell bad.

Now, how to get rid of the vomit smell? We’ll use the good old baking soda trick.

  • Sprinkle baking soda over the vomit area.
  • Leave this overnight to allow it to absorb the smell and any remaining moisture. Baking soda can also help with the lifting of stains.
  • If you need to use the bed, lay a clean towel over the baking soda and use the mattress with a bedsheet as you would typically do.
  • Remove the baking soda the following morning using a vacuum.

FAQ: How to get the puke smell out of a baby mattress?

The baking soda method will also deal with a cot mattress since baking soda is non-toxic. You can leave it on the baby’s mattress whenever the baby is not sleeping. Just remove it afterwards, as babies are explorative in nature and might accidentally get some baking soda on their eyes and mouth.

Step 5 – Remove the Stains

You can use distilled vinegar to deal with vomit stains. Distilled white vinegar is an acid that can help break down stains. In addition, it can also help with the funky vomit smell. The acetic acid in the vinegar neutralises odour-causing molecules.

To do this method,

  • Vinegar can be used on its own. If the vinegar smell bothers you, you can dilute it with distilled vinegar and water equally.
  • Use an empty water spray bottle to spray the vinegar on your mattress.
  • Blot with a clean cloth.
  • Repeat this step until you are satisfied with the results.

Vomiting in the bed is not something you would expect and prepare for. But if you do happen to have a mattress stain remover in your house, you can use this to clean. Just make sure that it is safe for use in your mattress. We recommend using brands like Vanish, which contain hydrogen peroxide. This will help in the bleaching of any remaining vomit stains.

Step 6 – Disinfect the Mattress

spray bottle on gloves to clean mattress
Image: Pexels

After all the cleaning, deodorising, and stain removal, it is vital to disinfect the mattress to make sure any remaining germs are killed. You can do this by simply spraying rubbing alcohol over the mattress and mainly focusing on the vomit area.

Step 7 – Dry the Mattress

While the alcohol from the disinfecting may evaporate quickly, we’ve used other liquids to remove the stain. And you must make sure to completely dry the mattress to not leave any moisture.

Moulds can grow in moist environments, and you don’t want this happening since moulds have negative effects on the health, including

  • stuffy nose
  • sore throat
  • coughing or wheezing
  • burning eyes
  • skin rash

You can dry the mattress in three different ways:

  • Using baking soda – leaving baking soda overnight, like what you did in getting rid of the odour, can help soak up any excess liquid. Baking soda naturally draws up moisture.
  • Air drying the mattress in the sun – if you can take your mattress outside, this is the best method. Aside from the heat, UV rays can kill any remaining bacteria from the vomit that may have been missed during cleaning. This will also help deodorise the mattress as the odour-causing bacteria is killed.
  • Using a fan, hairdryer, or vacuum – any item that can promote air circulation and help you dry the mattress will do.

FAQ: How to clean vomit from memory foam mattress?

In cleaning vomit from a memory foam mattress, follow the steps described above. Only this time, you have to make sure that you won’t risk damaging the material of your memory foam mattress.

Read our detailed guide on how to clean a memory foam mattress.

Memory foam mattresses can be pretty heavy, weighing up to 40 kg for a queen size. If you have difficulties air-drying the mattress outside, you can use the other methods above.

If using a hairdryer, use only the cool setting.

Excessive direct heat from a hairdryer can damage the memory foam material of your mattress.

FAQ: How to clean vomit from a pillow?

In cleaning vomit from the pillow, you can do the steps described above.

Or you can opt to wash your pillow entirely.

  • After removing the vomit from the pillow, remove the pillowcase for separate washing.
  • Place two pillows on the washing machine to limit the movement of pillows. This will avoid lumps later on.
  • Choose the gentle cycle or no-spin cycle of your washing machine.
  • Machine dry or air dry the pillows. In fact, it would be easier for you to air dry the pillow in the sun as it is pretty lightweight.

Note: The machine washing method is not for memory foam pillows as it can be challenging to dry the pillow. Always check with the pillow care guide on how to properly wash.

FAQ: How to clean vomit from carpet?

red vacuum for cleaning
Image: Pexels

In dealing with vomit on the carpet, whether you or your friends had a great party in the living room, you can also do the same steps as above.

  • Removing the vomit
  • Soaking up excess liquid
  • Getting rid of the odour
  • Removing stains
  • Disinfecting the carpet
  • Drying the carpet

But what’s more straightforward about cleaning a carpet is you can clean the stains and any remaining liquid using a carpet cleaner. A carpet cleaner will thoroughly clean your carpet with the powerful vacuum suction.

“My dog threw up on my bed. Now what?”

Did you know? A survey found that nearly half of British dog and cat lovers sleep with their pets despite hygiene concerns. If you’re one of them, we get you. Our pets are irresistible, and sometimes we just want to cuddle with them on the bed.

But when our pets throw up on the bed, aside from the steps discussed above, using an enzyme cleaner will help you deal with this. Enzyme cleaners like Simple Solution contain enzymes that break down biological-based wastes like vomit, urine, or poop.

Enzyme cleaners are also effective if you deal with how to get pee out of a mattress.

How To Clean Vomit From A Mattress – Summary

Vomiting in the bed is expected, whether because of sickness or intoxication. While you can always deal with the mess using the steps discussed, you can always prevent that from happening.

To prevent stains and accidents like this in the future, it is wise to invest in mattress covers. Mattress protectors or waterproof covers can protect your mattress from liquids and stains like blood, urine, and vomit. We recommend the following mattress protectors:


Photo of author


Max S

Chief Editor here at The Sleep Checklist. Suffered from a seemingly infinite knot in my thoracic area (between the spine and shoulder blade) due to my lifelong side sleeping habits. With my girlfriend, we look to provide the most relevant and best mattress advice.