How to Get Rid of the Smell of Vomit

We must agree that dealing with the smell of vomit can be one of the worst tasks. So, you must be wondering how to get rid of the smell of vomit quickly and easily.

 Whether caused by a stomach bug, motion sickness, or excessive alcohol consumption, the lingering odor of vomit can negatively impact the environment.

Additionally, the well-being of those around. In this article, we will explore the most effective methods to eliminate the smell of vomit and restore freshness.

Understanding the Smell of Vomit

Vomit odor results from various compounds and acids in the stomach, including bile, stomach acid, and partially digested food.

These components combine to create a strong and pungent smell associated with vomit.

Several factors can influence the intensity and persistence of the smell.  

Such as the amount of vomit, the surface it’s on, and the duration it has been left unaddressed.

Understanding the chemical composition of vomit odor helps us choose the most effective methods for its elimination.

Immediate Steps for Cleaning Up Vomit

Immediate action is essential when cleaning up vomit to prevent the spread of bacteria and minimize odor.

Here is a more detailed explanation of the steps involved in effectively cleaning up vomit:

Prioritize Personal Safety

Wear disposable gloves and, if necessary, a mask to protect yourself from potential bacteria and pathogens in the vomit.

This step ensures your safety and prevents the risk of contamination.

Remove Visible Vomit and Debris

Carefully remove any visible vomit and solid debris using paper towels, disposable cloths, or plastic bags.

Start from the affected area’s outer edges and work toward the center to avoid spreading the vomit.

Proper Disposal

Place the used paper towels or disposable materials into a plastic bag.

Then seal it tightly, and dispose of it in an appropriate waste bin. Double-bagging the vomit-soiled materials can help contain the odor and prevent leaks.

Absorb Excess Liquid

Sprinkle some baking soda or cornstarch over the affected area.

It might also be a good time to determine if corn starch absorbs odors.

 These powders are excellent at absorbing moisture and neutralizing odors. Allow it to sit on the vomit for a few minutes. This will help absorb the liquid.

Vacuum and Sweep

After the baking soda or, if you prefer, cornstarch has had time to absorb the liquid, use a broom and dustpan to sweep up the powder.

Be thorough in removing all remnants of the absorbent material. You can also use a vacuum cleaner with a suitable attachment to ensure complete removal.

Deodorizing the Affected Area

To effectively combat the lingering odor, it is crucial to deodorize the space thoroughly. This is how to go about it.

Ventilating the Area

Ventilation is vital in removing stagnant air and replacing it with fresh air.

Open windows and doors to allow cross-ventilation, creating airflow that helps carry away the unpleasant odor. This step helps dissipate the stale smell and introduces fresh air into the space.

Baking Soda: Versatile Odor Absorber and Neutralizer

Baking soda is a versatile and inexpensive natural deodorizer.

Sprinkle baking soda liberally over the affected surface, ensuring full area coverage. Baking soda works by absorbing odors and neutralizing them.

As it sits on the surface, it helps to draw out and eliminate odor-causing molecules.

Leave the baking soda on the surface for a few hours or overnight to maximize its effectiveness.

After the desired time has passed, thoroughly vacuum the baking soda using a suitable attachment. This will remove the baking soda and the absorbed odors, leaving the area fresher and odor-free.

White Vinegar: Natural Deodorizer

White vinegar is known for its natural deodorizing properties.

Place bowls of white vinegar in the room, distributing them strategically to cover a larger area. The vinegar helps neutralize and eliminate odors in the air.

Alternatively, you can use a cloth dampened with white vinegar to wipe down surfaces affected by the vomit odor.

The vinegar will help neutralize the odor on the surfaces, leaving them smelling fresh. Remember to avoid using vinegar on delicate or porous surfaces that its acidity may damage.

Activated Charcoal: Highly Effective Odor Absorber

Activated charcoal is a highly effective odor absorber widely used to eliminate unpleasant smells.

Place small bowls of activated charcoal around the affected area, ensuring they are distributed evenly.

Activated charcoal works by adsorbing (not absorbing) odors, trapping them within its porous structure. It is particularly useful for eliminating stubborn or strong odors, including those from vomit.

Alternatively, you can use charcoal pouches specifically designed for odor elimination.

These pouches contain activated charcoal and can be placed strategically around the room to effectively absorb and neutralize the odor.

Commercial Odor Removal Products

Commercial odor removal products are specifically formulated to tackle vomit odors if natural remedies are not readily available or if the odor persists.

These products are designed to target and neutralize the odor molecules effectively.

Look for products that are labeled for vomit odor removal and follow the instructions provided by the manufacturer.

These products often come in sprays, powders, or concentrated solutions. And these can be used as an alternative to natural methods.

Treating Carpets, Upholstery, and Fabrics

When vomit seeps into carpets, upholstery, or fabrics, it requires special attention to ensure complete odor removal.

Blot it out.

Blot the area gently with a paper towel or use a clean cloth.

This will help to remove moisture from the area. Avoid rubbing the stain, as it may push the vomit deeper into the fibers.

Prepare the cleaning solution.

Once you’ve removed excess moisture, prepare a cleaning solution by mixing a teaspoon of mild dish soap with warm water.

Dab the affected area with the solution using a clean cloth, starting from the outer edges and working toward the center.

Avoid oversaturating the fabric, which can lead to further staining or damage.

Time to rinse it.

Rinse the cloth frequently and repeat the process until the smell and stain are eliminated. Consider using a steam cleaner or hiring professional carpet cleaning services for deep-set stains and persistent odors.

These methods ensure thorough cleaning and help remove any residual odor trapped in the fibers.

Removing Vomit Smell from Hard Surfaces

Hard surfaces such as floors, countertops, or furniture require a different approach to eliminate vomit odor effectively.

Clean the surface with a mild disinfectant. This will eliminate bacteria and sanitize the area.

Ensure the disinfectant is safe for the specific surface you are cleaning. Enzymatic cleaners are particularly effective in breaking down organic matter and neutralizing odors.

These cleaners contain enzymes that digest the proteins found in vomit, eliminating the source of the smell.

Follow the instructions on the enzymatic cleaner and thoroughly wipe the surface to remove any lingering odor.

If you are a DIY enthusiast, check out this Homemade Enzymatic Cleaner to help eliminate that annoying smell.

For specific surfaces like wood, tile, or plastic, utilize appropriate cleaning products that won’t cause damage or discoloration.

Dealing with Lingering Odor

If the vomit smell persists even after cleaning, additional measures may be necessary to eliminate it.

Consider deep cleaning and deodorizing the entire space, including furniture, curtains, and other porous surfaces that may have been affected.

Steam cleaning carpets and upholstery can help remove any remaining odor particles deeply embedded in the fibers.

Air purifiers equipped with activated carbon filters can also aid in improving air quality and eliminating odors. Using room fresheners or scented candles can also add a pleasant smell.

In severe cases where the odor persists, professional odor removal services can provide specialized techniques and equipment to tackle stubborn smells effectively.

Preventive Measures

Preventing the occurrence of vomit and the subsequent smell is crucial for maintaining a clean and fresh environment. Here is an expanded explanation of the preventive measures you can take:

Encourage Good Hygiene Practices

Promote regular handwashing, especially after vomiting, to prevent the spread of bacteria and reduce the chances of contamination.

Proper hand hygiene helps eliminate the germs that cause illness and can minimize the occurrence of vomiting.

Encourage thorough handwashing with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, ensuring all surfaces of the hands are covered.

Proper Waste Disposal

Ensure proper disposal of vomit and other waste materials associated with vomiting. Use sealed bags to contain the vomit-soiled materials, preventing the spread of odor and bacteria.

Dispose of the bags in an appropriate waste bin or designated waste disposal area. By properly containing and disposing of vomit, you can prevent the smell from permeating the environment.

Promptly Clean Up Spills and Accidents

Cleaning up spills immediately helps prevent the spread of odors and bacteria.

Use appropriate cleaning methods and products suitable for the surface involved.

Prompt action can prevent the vomit from seeping into carpets, upholstery, or other porous materials, reducing the chances of lingering odors.

Maintain Cleanliness in Vulnerable Areas

Pay extra attention to cleanliness in areas more susceptible to vomit incidents, such as bathrooms, kitchens, and bedrooms.

Regularly clean and disinfect these areas to minimize the buildup of bacteria and potential odor sources.

Use appropriate cleaning agents for each surface, ensuring they effectively eliminate germs and odors.

Air Freshening and Ventilation

Implement measures to maintain fresh air and good ventilation in your space.

Open windows and doors periodically to allow fresh air to circulate and remove stale odors. Use air fresheners or natural alternatives like essential oils or fresh flowers to add a pleasant fragrance to the environment.

Regularly replace air filters in HVAC systems to maintain optimal air quality and reduce the chances of odors lingering in the air.


Getting rid of the smell of vomit requires swift action, thorough cleaning, and effective deodorizing methods.

By following the detailed methods outlined in this article, you can successfully eliminate the odor and restore a fresh and clean environment.

Remember to prioritize personal safety, use appropriate cleaning agents for different surfaces, and implement preventive measures to minimize the chances of encountering lingering smells.

With these strategies in place, you can effectively eliminate vomit odor and enjoy a pleasant and odor-free space for yourself and those around you.

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