How to Get Pet Vomit (and Its Smell) Out of Carpet

As much as we love our pets, sometimes they can make a mess. This includes everything from taking all their toys out of a container and throwing them around the room for no reason, to throwing dirt outside all over the house, or leaving everything they touch covered in a layer of fur.

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And sometimes the mess is a little more complicated, like when they’re throwing up. On the carpet. Here’s how to remove it.

Start with pieces

When it comes to removing vomit from carpet (whether from a pet or a person), time is of the essence. According to Cathy Cohoon, director of franchise operations forTwo Maids & A Mop , you should try to get rid of the vomit as quickly as possible to minimize the possibility of staining.

She recommends starting with the largest part of the mess. “Collect or lightly scrape off the largest pieces by picking up as much vomit as possible,” Cohoon tells Lifehacker. “To do this, wear gloves and use a spoon or any household item with a soft edge that won’t damage the carpet to scoop up as much trash as you can into the trash bag.”

When the clumps are gone, if the carpet is still damp, sprinkle baking soda or cornstarch on the stain and let it sit for 10 to 15 minutes to absorb excess moisture. Then, when it dries, vacuum up whatever is left. “If it’s already dry by the time you get to the vomit, dampen it with a cloth or sponge to make it easier to pick up,” Cohoon says.

Clean and disinfect the carpet

Now it’s time to clean the carpet. According to Kohun, you can create an effective cleaner using household items you probably already have on hand:

  • Mix one part liquid dish soap with one part white vinegar and two parts warm water.
  • Apply or spray the solution to the stain
  • Use a cloth or sponge to blot until dry

Before using anything to clean carpet – whether it’s a homemade solution or carpet cleaner – Cohoon recommends testing it on a small area to make sure it won’t cause any damage.

How to get pet vomit smell out of carpet

Ideally, the smell of vomit will disappear after a thorough cleaning of the carpet. But sometimes the liquid penetrates the carpet so much that the smell remains. In this case, Kohun says you can try something.

It’s easiest to go back to baking soda. Sprinkle it on the part of the carpet that still smells, let it soak in, and then vacuum it up.

“If the lingering odor still lingers, use a steam cleaner to thoroughly clean the carpet,” Cohoon says. “The steam will kill any remaining germs or bacteria that may be causing the odor.” She recommends using a retail deodorant or making your own by adding a few drops of your favorite essential oils to a cup of water.

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