As much as we love our pets, sometimes they can make a mess. This includes everything from taking all of their toys out of the container and flinging them around the room for no reason, tracking mud from outside throughout your home, or leaving everything they touch coated in a layer of fur.
And sometimes, the messes are a little more complicated than that—like when they throw up. On carpet. Here’s how to clean that up.
Start with the chunks
When it comes to getting vomit out of a carpet (whether from a pet or human), time is of the essence. According to Kathy Cohoon, the director of franchise operations for Two Maids & A Mop, you should try to address the vomit as quickly as possible to minimize the possibility of staining.
She recommends starting with the biggest part of the mess first. “Scoop up or lightly scrape away the largest chunks, picking up as much of the vomit as possible,” Cohoon tells Lifehacker. “To do this, wear gloves and use a spoon—or any household item that has a soft edge and won’t damage the carpet—to scoop up as much as possible into a trash bag.”
Once the chunks are gone, if the carpet is still wet, sprinkle baking soda or cornstarch over the stain and allow it to sit for 10 to 15 minutes to absorb the extra moisture. Then, when it’s dry, vacuum up anything that’s left. “If the vomit has already dried by the time you get to it, dampen the area 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 Cohoon, you can create an effective cleaning solution using household products that you probably already have on-hand:
- Mix one part liquid dish soap with one part white vinegar and two parts warm water
- Dab or spray the solution onto the stain
- Use a cloth or sponge to blot until it is dry
Before using anything to clean your carpet—whether a homemade solution or retail carpet cleaner—Cohoon recommends testing it on a small spot to make sure it won’t cause any damage.
How to get the smell of pet vomit out of your carpet
Ideally, the vomit smell will go away after you thoroughly clean the carpet. But sometimes, the liquid permeates the carpet so much that the odor lingers. In that case, Cohoon says that there are a few things you can try.
The easiest is to go back to the baking soda. Sprinkle it over the part of the carpet that still smells, allow it to sit, and then vacuum it up.
“If the stubborn odor still persists, use a steam cleaner to give the carpet a deep clean,” Cohoon says. “The steam will kill any remaining germs or bacteria that could be causing the smell.” She recommends following that up with a retail deodorizer, or making your own by adding a few drops of your favorite essential oils to a cup of water.