How To Clean Vomit From A Mattress? 7-Step Cleanup + Images

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Written by:

Max Stevens
How To Clean Vomit From Mattress

How To Clean Vomit From A Mattress? 7-Step Cleanup + Images

Struggling with a vomit-stained mattress after your child’s mishap, a wild night out, or a tummy bug? We know how tough and frustrating this can be for parents, partygoers, and everyone else.

The problem?

Vomit is acidic, highly contagious, and leaves an awful smell, making the cleanup a proper headache.

Fear not! We’re here with a swift and effective solution for every situation. Our comprehensive 7-step guide helps you safely clean vomit, neutralise odours, and remove stains from any mattress. Dive in to uncover the secrets of restoring freshness and cleanliness, regardless of the circumstances.

Cleaning Materials Needed For Vomit

Here are the materials you’ll need for washing your mattress. You can find these in your home. An important point since vomiting is often an emergency situation no one can prepare for:

materials needed for vomit on mattress

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

Choosing the Right Surgical Mask and Gloves

For surgical masks and gloves, any reputable brand that meets medical standards will suffice. In the UK, B-brand and Unigloves are well-known brands that offer quality products for personal protection.

How to Clean Vomit from Mattress

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

Diseases can spread through vomit particles, especially when the person who vomited is sick. A mask and gloves protect your mouth and hands from contracting the virus.

And 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 As Much Vomit As Possible

removing vomit from mattress

The first step is to scoop up and remove the vomit itself. We recommend using:

Dustpan – which you can wash and clean afterward
Paper plate – which you can dispose of afterward
Dish towel – which you can throw in a high-temperature washing machine after

We wouldn’t recommend using toilet paper as it may break and cause you more cleaning up.

Step 2 – Wash the Beddings

washing mattress on washer

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 eliminate vomit smell

Step 3 – Soak Up Remaining Liquid

soaking up liquid on mattress

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

applying baking soda to remove odor

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:

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

Therefore, any vomit will naturally smell bad, just like cigarette smells on a mattress.
Now, how to get rid of the puke 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.
– A vacuum cleaner with a HEPA filter and a brush attachment is ideal for removing baking soda from the mattress effectively.

To neutralise the odour, apply a generous layer of baking soda onto the affected area. Approximately 50 to 100 grams should suffice, depending on the size of the stain.

Step 5 – Remove the Stains

mixture of vinegar and water

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 throw-up smell. The acetic acid in the vinegar neutralises odour-causing molecules.

To do this method:

1. Vinegar can be used on its own. If the smell of the vinegar bothers you, you can dilute it with distilled vinegar and water.
2. Use an empty water spray bottle to spray the vinegar on your mattress.
3. Leave the vinegar mixture on the mattress for about 15-20 minutes before blotting it with a clean cloth.
4. Repeat this step until you are satisfied with the results.

To dilute distilled vinegar, mix with water in a 1:1 ratio. This combination provides a good balance of acidity to break down stains and odours without being too harsh.

Puking on the bed is not something you expect or prepare for. That’s why it’s always useful to keep this mattress-safe stain remover in your house. Brands like Vanish, which contain hydrogen peroxide can help to eliminate of any remaining puke stains.

Step 6 – Disinfect the Mattress

deodorizing the mattress

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

a man sun drying a 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:

1. Using baking soda – leaving baking soda overnight, like you did to get rid of the odour, can help soak up any excess liquid. Baking soda naturally draws up moisture.

2. Air drying the mattress in the sun – this is the best method if you can take your mattress outside. Aside from the heat, UV rays can kill any remaining bacteria from the puke that may have been missed during cleaning. This will also help deodorise the mattress as the odour-causing bacteria is killed.

3. Using a fan, hairdryer, or vacuum – any item that can promote air circulation and help you dry the mattress will do.

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.

Remove it afterward, as babies are explorative in nature and might accidentally get some baking soda on their eyes and mouth.

How to clean vomit from a memory foam mattress?

Follow the steps described above to cleaning vomit from a memory foam mattress. 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.

Do you have a futon? If so, bookmark how to clean a futon mattress, so it’s easy to access. It’s got a useful infographic in there for you!

Cleaning Vomit from a Pillow-Top Mattress

To clean a pillow-top mattress in this situation, first remove as much of the vomit as possible using a spatula or a flat-edged tool. Then, apply the vinegar mixture, blot it, and sprinkle baking soda over the area. Vacuum the mattress once the baking soda is dry.

How to clean vomit from a pillow?

You can do the steps described above in cleaning vomit from the pillow.

Or you can opt to wash your pillow entirely, if it allows.

  • 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. It would be easier to air dry the pillow in the sun as it is lightweight so dries easily.

Editor’s 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.

Written by:

Max Stevens

How to clean vomit from carpet?

vacuum cleaning vomit from mattress

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 around 50% of British dog and cat owners sleep with their pets despite known hygiene concerns. If you’re one of them, we get you. Our pets are irresistible; sometimes we just want to cuddle with them on the bed.

But when our pets throw up on the bed, aside from the abovementioned steps, using an enzyme cleaner will help you deal with this.

For pet vomit, enzyme cleaners like Simple Solution or Nature’s Miracle are effective at breaking down organic matter and removing odours.

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 protect your mattress from liquids and stains like blood, urine, and vomit. We recommend the following mattress protectors:

Written by:

Max Stevens