Unfortunately, cleaning vomit from a carpet is not one of the most pleasant tasks in the world but must be done as soon as possible, preferably while it is still wet. Follow these steps to clean the vomit up quickly, effectively and with a minimum of fuss.
Step 1 – Accessorize
Don a pair of gloves and a face mask or tie a bandanna around the mouth and nose area. Be aware that vomit may contain bacteria or viruses that could be contagious or infectious. Dab some menthol or other types of essential oils on the mask or bandanna to alleviate the unpleasant odor associated with vomit, especially if you have a strong gag reflex and feel like vomiting at the sight of the mess.
Step 2 – Remove
As disgusting as it sounds, most vomit will contain chunks of undigested food. It is important to clear this away before the cleaning process can actually begin. A spoon or other kitchen utensil should suffice depending on the size of the area. It may even be necessary to scrape away partially digested food. Unfortunately, there is no easy way out if this and the mess will need to be cleaned away manually.
Step 3- Blot
It is important to remove any excess moisture next. Use an old, dry towel, cloth or paper towel and gently press into the carpet fabric. Don’t push too hard and repeat the blotting process until the cloths or towels are no longer absorbing the moisture. Do not rub as this will just cause the vomit to absorb deeper into the carpet fibers and will spread the mess.
Step 3 – Remove Additional Moisture
Pour baking soda or cornstarch on the entire area as well as surrounding area (about an inch around the actual vomit site). Both these products are super absorbent and will remove any remaining moisture. However, baking soda (bicarbonate of soda) is preferable as it has cleaning properties too. Take a break and leave the products to do their work for about 15 minutes.
Remove the cornstarch or baking soda with a brush and pan or vacuum away. Vacuuming is the recommended route, especially with cornstarch, to remove all the particles. It is best to do this before the product sets are cakes.
Step 4 – Clean
Vomit contains organic materials which mean that to effectively clean the area, an enzyme cleaner is preferable to a chemical cleaner. Enzyme cleaners break down organic matter and will effectively remove the vomit as well as the odor. You should be able to locate enzyme cleaners at your local supermarket or at a pet store. Some laundry detergents are also enzyme-based cleaners and will suffice in an emergency where an enzyme spot remover is not available.
Simply pour the detergent or enzyme cleaner onto the vomit. Be careful not to be too liberal as this will spread the mess. Also, read the instructions and follow these. Do not rub, scrub or wipe away at the mess. Rather leave the cleaner to work for a few minutes before blotting or dabbing the moisture out of the carpet. Use a wet vacuum to suck out the detergent and broken down vomit. Alternatively, wait for the area to dry and then vacuum.
Any of the above steps may need to be repeated more than once to effectively remove the vomit from the carpet. However, the most important factor to keep in mind is sooner rather than later. Leaving the vomit will allow it to absorb deeper into the carpet, making it more difficult to clean.