How to Remove Vomit Stains Fast - Joy Through Chaos

How to Remove Vomit Stains Fast

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Everything you need to know to remove vomit stains fast from clothes, cars, carpets, and even mattresses is all right here! Get rid of gross stains now.

image of carpet getting cleaned with brush

Kids puke. It’s no secret. The worst part is always cleaning up the aftermath.

Yes, it stinks when your kids are sick. BUT- few things are worse than cleaning up vomit out of the carpet.

I’m dry heaving just thinking about it.

You do all the hard work of getting the puke cleaned up, disinfected, and the smell out of the room, and then start to notice a big, gross vomit stain.

What are you supposed to do? How do you remove a vomit stain?

I’ve removed a puke stain or two. I’m sharing everything I’ve learned so that you can get rid of vomit stains with ease.

Does vomit stain?

Yep. Sure does.

Puke is a protein rich substance- like yellow sweat stains, blood, and pee.

See any similarities?

All of those bodily fluids can stain any fabric. But, have no fear, just because they can stain, doesn’t mean the stain is permanent.

Image of child in carseat with hand over mouth, nauseated

Are vomit stains permanent?

Short answer: no.

Vomit stains are not permanent. But they can be pretty pesky- especially if you treat them the wrong way.

Vomit is a protein stain. In fact, many stains that are a result of a fluid from the human body are protein stains.

Why the science lesson?

Well. It matters.

There are very good ways to treat protein stains, and then there are very bad ways to treat protein stains.

The biggest thing you want to avoid when dealing with a protein stain is bleach. More on that later.

As long as you know how to effectively treat a protein stain, you can get a vomit stain out of almost anything. So, no, vomit stains are not permanent.


Related: How to Get Rid of Vomit Smells Fast


How do you get rid of vomit stains?

Now you know that vomit stains are protein stains, but how does that actually help you get rid of the stain?

Protein stains require an enzymatic stain remover to break down the protein and get rid of the stain. My favorite is Zout. It’s the bomb. But what if you don’t have Zout?

Many people swear by using baking soda and vinegar on the stains. Some also suggest dawn dish soap or lemon juice. I personally have not had great results with these methods, but they’ll do in a pinch if you don’t have an enzymatic stain remover on hand.

image of cleaning supplies

How to remove vomit stains from clothes or other washable fabrics:

  1. Get rid of all the gross, chunky puke.
  2. Rinse the garment.
  3. If you’re not able to wash the item quickly, keep it wet. This will help keep the stain from becoming set in.
  4. If you can’t keep the item damp, wash it as quickly as possible. The longer a stain sits, the harder it becomes to remove.
  5. Spray with Zout before tossing in the washer.
  6. Launder as usual!

If the item comes out of the washer and the stain is still present, spray it down with Zout again and launder another time. Sometimes it just takes 2 washes to get rid of particularly pesky stains.

What temperature should you use to wash clothes with vomit?

Good question. Typically, with stains you want to wash them at a lower temperature to prevent the stain from setting in. But, with vomit, you want to use a slightly warmer temperature to help kill any nasty germs lingering in the fabrics.

Bleach kills germs. But you don’t want to use it on vomit.

Chlorine bleach has a chemical reaction with protein stains that make them more yellow (hello pit stains on white shirts).

Instead of using bleach, wash the items in slightly warmer (but not HOT) water and use an oxygenated bleach like OxyClean, a color safe bleach, or -my favorite- Lysol Laundry Sanitizer to successfully remove any bacteria remaining in the stain.

Can dry cleaning remove vomit stains?

Dry cleaning alone will not remove a vomit stain. But, if your puke covered item is dry clean only, you can still have it dry cleaned.

Be sure to remove all the vomit to the best of your ability and pre-treat the stain with an enzymatic cleaner- Zout- before taking the item to the dry cleaner.

Once there, own it. Tell them there’s puke on the clothing and that you did your best to clean/pre-treat at home. They’ve heard it all, trust me.

Giving them a heads up will also help ensure your item comes out good as new.

That covers washable items! But what about things you can’t wash? Like carpet.


Related: How to Deal with Puke Covered Stuffed Animals


How to remove vomit stains from carpet:

Removing puke stains from things that cannot be washed, like area rugs or the carpet in your car, is a little trickier. But, with a little elbow grease, you can get those gross stains out and save yourself from buying new carpet!

  1. Get rid of all the vomit. Get as much of it out of the carpet as possible. You can try using cat litter or a fancy janitorial supplies that helps to absorb the vomit and neutralize the odor.
  2. Once the worst of the puke is cleaned up, take a damp rag and press into the stained area to dampen it some.
  3. Mix together a solution of blue dawn and water (or laundry detergent and water). Keep in mind, you want this to be a ‘low-suds’ operation. So don’t use a ton of soap.
  4. Dampen a cloth with the water/soap solution and scrub the stained area. You’ll likely have to do this for a while.
  5. Once the stain has lifted, take a CLEAN damp cloth and go back over the area to get any lingering soap.
  6. Press area with dry towel to absorb remaining moisture in the carpet.

If all of those steps just sound terrible and tedious, this handy carpet cleaner has worked perfectly for all sorts of stains in our vehicles, on couches, and carpets.

image of child in carseat nauseated with text overlay 'how to remove vomit stains fast'

How to remove vomit stains from a mattress:

I tend to have my kids’ mattresses covered with a waterproof mattress pad and then also a ‘pee pad’. That’s probably a terrible term. But, an extra layer of protection just in case there’s some sort of accident at night and I want to get them back in their own bed quickly.

We’ve been pretty lucky that it’s typically contained to the sheets and mattress pad, but every now and then when one of them gets sick in bed, puke gets on the actual mattress.

To remove puke from a mattress, the steps are the same as dealing with stained carpet: getting the puke up, cleaning with water and detergent, etc.

The biggest thing to be aware of with mattresses is that it needs to be completely dry before you put sheets back on it. Otherwise it can get smelly, generally gross, and sometimes moldy.


With vomit often comes diarrhea, here’s everything you need to know to get rid of diarrhea FAST.


Dealing with vomit stains is not fun! I hope this helps you get rid of any gross puke stain that crosses your path.

Do you have any tricks to remove vomit stains? I’d love to hear them! Leave a comment with your best tips.

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