How to Remove the Vomit Smell from Anything

1-#removing #smell #vomit #puke-004

The smell of vomit. It seems impossible to remove, but I have the perfect recipes for how to remove the vomit smell from anything. Isn’t in the worst feeling as a mom? It is the middle of the night. Suddenly, your child comes down crying because she has thrown up all over her bed. I remember the first major time with Abby like it was yesterday. You feel awful for your child who is experiencing throwing up for the first time in their lives. It’s the middle of the night, so you are also battling your own tiredness and have no desire for the stench or the clean-up that you now face. You walk into the room and the smell of vomit greets you immediately. That one night, I remember looking into her bed and seeing puke everywhere. The poor girl had let her stomach go and it covered her favorite stuffed animal, sheets, comforter pillowcase and pillow. Fun times. I do also have to say that I never imagined how much I would get puked on in the face as a mom. OK – So, it’s only happened a few times, but that is enough. My problem is that when I can tell my children are really sick, I become very compassionate. I wouldn’t say I’m hugely compassionate as a mom in normal circumstances. I’m not a coddler and tell my kids they’re strong and brave and try and get it under control. However, there’s no other time I feel more compassionate than with a genuinely hurting child over legitimate reasons. So, when my kids are sick, I’ll often lay them in my bed and cuddle up close so I can stroke their hair, look at their hurting face and pray for them. That’s when it happens. The vomit comes straight for my face. I’m learning. Last time I did this exact thing with Kenzie. Then, I heard her stomach churn, and I jumped up and ran to the kitchen for a bowl. I wasn’t in time to catch the throw up, but I was in time to remove myself from getting puked on, so that is good. OK – Back to our story…Abby’s things are all covered in vomit in the middle of the night. My husband doesn’t do well with the smell of vomit. If I’m not careful, I’ll have two pukers on my hand, so I handle it. I get Abby in the tub to wash her off. I get new pajamas and get her into our bed with a bowl and my husband. I head up to the room to take care of the situation. I take the sheets to the bathroom to spray them down in the shower, removing the chunks. Is this too much information yet? Maybe. I just wanted to give you some ideas for dealing with the vomit that enters your own world. Sorry if I’m making you nauseous in the dialogue. The final step (or so I think) is to throw everything in the wash. The next morning, I open the washer just to be visited by the same smell that haunted me the night before. So, I ran the load again. Nothing. I tried a different detergent. No luck. So, I do what any mom does, I complained about it on Facebook. In came my solution. A friend from high school responded with a couple recipes she said would work like magic. Here are the recipes:

1-#removing #smell #vomit #puke-003


How to Clean Sheets and Larger, Washable Items (affiliate links added)

For the sheets and bigger things that can go through the wash try soaking them in a good amount of Borax (it’s a laundry booster you can get it at the grocery store) 1 cup or more with your regular detergent. Just let them soak for a couple of hours and them wash them as normal. This was my first introduction to Borax, and it worked like a charm.

1-#removing #smell #vomit #puke-002

For the stuffed animals, clothing and even carpet try this (affiliate links added):

2 cups hydrogen peroxide (the kind you put on cuts)
2 tsp baking soda
2 drops liquid dish soap

Mix it together so the soda dissolves and you can then soak the items in it. It hasn’t discolored anything I’ve used it on (my clothes or our carpet). It may make the smell seem stronger at first, but it’s only because it’s getting wet again. It really works great. It also works on urine (kid or pet) which what I originally used it for.
I just keep a ton of peroxide and Borax on hand. The peroxide gets out blood and chocolate without bleaching anything and my friend told me about the Borax. I use to keep a bucket in the laundry room when the boys were babies and just fill it with water and the Borax and toss all the things they spit up on and let it soak until I could run the washer(days sometimes). Never had a permanent stain after that.

I was extremely grateful for this recipe because she had thrown up on her favorite stuffed animal that she had since she was a baby. I really wasn’t convinced I was going to be able to remove the smell after trying so hard prior to this recipe. This recipe worked on the first try.

So, there you have it. Sorry for such a detailed account. You can just be grateful you have these recipes in your arsenal now.

Other Cleaning Tips


Keeping the Shower Clean


Clean Bathroom While Kids are in the Tub


  1. Michelle says

    I completely understand, about getting vomited on. But, mine don’t get me in the face…nope that’s worse. Mine on three occasions, different children…throw up down my shirt. Now, this might be understandable if I was endowed more, or wore lower cut shirts, but I was wearing tshirts. They rest their heads on my neck….and then it gets scary. Poor kiddos. I’m grimacing and laughing…though I hope it never happens again. Praying actually.

    • Daphne B says

      Thanks Michelle for the laugh. I’ve been there plenty of times too. After the kids got older, baby spit up seemed so mild, compared to the real thing when kids got older. I’m the one now with a strong inability to deal with cleaning up vomit. I’m the one who starts gagging. My husband poor guy gets clean up duty for that. I would be right there adding to it. With four kids and occasional sickness, I told them they better get to the toilet and fast or they would be cleaning it up.

  2. says

    This morning, you are my hero. Toddler with a wicked gag reflex + a coughing fit in the night equals beloved bear covered in you.know.what. So far, bear no longer smells.

    • says

      Oh, I’m so glad to hear that, and I’ve been there. I’m so sorry you’re dealing with some coughing and nastiness right now! Good to know others have the same results I did.

  3. Amber says

    I’m wondering if you have any more advice. my 15 month old vomited in his bed and i didn’t know it until the morning. it was dry and stunk terribly. i’ve washed sheets, dust ruffle, favorite blankets, and they are good, but the smell is still in the room! we had the window open and fan going but it is 20 degrees and raining. any thoughts?

    • says

      I would say the fan and open window is the best idea. If you could have the baby sleep in a different room for a day while you keep that room freezing would be my best thought. Sorry I’m not more help.

    • Lj says

      Try a nice smelling essential oil like lavender,spray lightly over the floor n wipe,,if carpeted,sprinkle baking soda lightly and vacuum when oil dries up,,hope it helps

  4. Josie says

    THANK YOU SOO MUCH!!!! We just had our whole family of 5 get the flu! I was so scared as a mommy that I wouldn’t be able to save their favorite stuffed animals, mostly because they cannot be submerged due to internal electronics. So I used the peroxide, dishwasher detergent and baking soda in a spry bottle. Sprayed them til very damp and dripping. Next I used a clean dry towel to blot the barf spots and they came right up!!! Just did them a second time. First time was for the gunk and stink. Second time was just to be sure to “sanitize” them and they are air drying over the tub as I post this. Hoping this isnt just a dream that it works!!!

    • says

      I really hope it works for you too, Josie. It saved ours, and I was so grateful to get the recipe from a friend. Sorry you are all sick. Absolutely no fun at all! Blessings.

  5. Jodi says

    Can’t wait to try this! My 18 mo old twins just had puking flu last night making for a happy new year.. Fave bunny anywhere chair smell after washing twice. Gonna go to the store as soon as dh gets up.

  6. Jodi says

    Thank you much! Never got out of the house to get borax but did the hydrogen peroxide mix and worked great! All smells gone.

  7. Jodi says

    Thank you so much! Never got out of the house to get borax but did the hydrogen peroxide mix and worked great! All smells gone.

  8. says

    Hi! I just tried this after multiple failed attempts of scrubbing our rug and couch with dish soap and laundry detergent. I should have asked before I did this and in the future will have a spray bottle on hand for this but do you just poor it on the carpet and couch? Do you let it dry or let it sit and then Try to scrub it up? Thanks for the recipes! I have high hopes that its going to solve our problem!

    • says

      I have only had to use it on stuffed animals and blankets since my kids haven’t hit the carpet or furniture yet. I think I would poor it on the carpet, let it sit for a bit, add a little water to moisten it again and scrub. I’d then sprinkle some baking soda and vacuum. That’s just my intuition though. This was a friend’s recipe that she wrote out for me. I would let it soak into the couch a bit and then scrub. I would encourage you to test in a hidden spot. Although she assured me she has never had issues, I think it would be a safe bet. Good luck. Please let me know if it works, and I’d love to know your methods too.

      • says

        I’m returning to get the recipe yet again for the same kid that threw up in the same spot as before. I apologize for not returning and responding previously. This worked amazing! Last time all I did was pour it on the affected areas, let it soak for a while and then scrubbed it with a wet cloth. I did clean all the chunks up first by sprinkling homemade washing powder on the areas and vacuuming. Now I am off to whip up the recipe and start the soak! Thanks again for this life saving recipe. Also, I had NO discoloration in my couch or rug previously!

  9. Michelle McCallister says

    Great post Jodi! Just found your blog. Love it and will be giving some of this a try. We are going through our own flu episode right now. UGH!

  10. Jim says

    FANTASTIC!! Just used the peroxide and baking soda cleaner on my leather couch. Our 6 year old vomited all down in the cushions and saturated the cloth underneath. Tried a few cleaners with no luck. Just used this ONCE, and the smell is 100% gone!!

    • says

      Yay! Another successful report. I’m so glad this worked for you. You can pass on the recipe to your friends. It seems to have been helpful for a lot of people.

  11. Carl says

    Last night our 7 YO saturated the couch and carpet. I used a wet vac to remove the mess and sprayed everything down with an ammonia/water solution. My hope was to neutralize the stomach acids and that would eliminate the odor. The room no longer reeks but I can still smell it on the couch. I’m applying the peroxide/baking soda solution tonight in hopes of killing the lingering reminder.

      • Carl says


        I sprayed everything with the peroxide/baking soda solution just in case my sniffer had accliimated to the odor or the lingering scent of ammonia was masking it. I even removed the cushion covers and treated the foam and batting. I never dreamed a munchkin could hold anywhere near that much. Unless, perhaps, it just looks like an awful lot when spewed across the living room. I’m so glad we had a 32 oz bottle of peroxide.

        Thank you.

  12. StephanieM says

    My couch and carpet had been blessed by my sons stomach virus. It’s been over 24 hours, and I know my husband wasn’t as thorough as I was hoping. I have a sinus infection so I can’t smell very well, but when I can I smelled it. So tonight, I was finally able to get the ingredients. I think I was able to cover the areas that were “blessed” and we shall see.. I will report back.

    • says

      Thanks so much for reporting back. I know a lot of people have had success with this. I hope it helps you too, and I’m so sorry for all the sickness over there. Life is just hard when everyone isn’t well. I just saw a friend taking funny Photo Booth (Mac thing) computer pictures of themselves on a sick day. Maybe something like that would cheer everyone up. :-)

      • StephanieM says

        My friends daughter came to my home the next morning and I had explained what happened and what I did to clean everything. Said she couldn’t smell anything. I still don’t have my sense of smell back yet. The internet is a wonderful thing. Thank you for saving my couch!

  13. Julie Carpenter says

    This worked like a dream on our living room rug! Thank you so much. So glad I found your site. Also, for the issue of lingering smell in the room, I have found that a glass of white vinegar up on a shelf out of the way for about a day works well in addition to the fan and open windows.

    • says

      Another great report. I’m so happy this recipe has been such a good help for people. Thank you so much for reporting back here. It is really helpful for others who might want to try it. Hope you’re all hewing.

  14. Rebecca says

    My daughter threw up all over my car. I did everything and anything I can think of to get rid of the smell and nothing work!! It has been a week since she threw up but the nasty smell still lingers in my car. Its disgusting! until i read your post. Tried it right away and it worked!!! THANK YOU sooooooo much for sharing your info!!

  15. Amber says

    The stomach flu ran ramped through my house this week. My daughter vomited all over the couch and I can not get the smell out! It is driving me crazy. I have tried many different cleaners on numerous occasions. Tonight I tried your mixture. I really hope that it works.

  16. Connie Whit says

    Just had my family of 6 get over the flu. My daughters room is the worse. Just cannot get the smell out. I’m so glad I found this site! I first tried the remedy on an old mildewey smelling rag n it worked like a champ. Off to my daughters room. Wish me luck everyone!!!!!

    • says

      Good luck! Another success story – how fun. Well, kinda fun. I’m sorry you’re going through the sickness. That’s never fun. I’m just glad you found my recipe! Thanks for commenting!

  17. Deb McGuire says

    It’s not working for me.. I’m not sure with the solution, is it 2 cups of hydrogen peroxide straight?? My pharmacist told me to mix it 50mils h/p and 500 mls water & it’s not working.. So do I use 2 cups of straight hydrogen peroxide?

    • says

      I’m so sorry it’s not working. There has been so much success. It’s a bummer to hear it’s not working out for you. I used it straight without diluting it with water – just 2c. hydrogen peroxide(the kind you put on cuts), 2tsp. baking soda & 2 drops liquid dish soap. I would try it without the water and let me know how that goes.

  18. Anne says

    I use bleach in my wash, At one point I thought I will try bleach and i dont care if it fade ir discolors the sheets because i would rather kniw that the smell abd virus/bacteria were dead. To my surprise it didnt even phase the multicolored sheets at all. So I too put bleach in a load if stuffed animals and they were absolutely fine! This was regular bleach not color safe.

  19. Laurie says

    My one year old son threw up on the carpet. Of my bedroom two nights in a row . I tried to scrub the carpets but before I could completely get the smell out he got sick again.. I scrubbed with different things last night and the smell is still there. I finally bought the ingredients for this today and I’m going to try it on the carpet.

  20. Laurie says

    This has worked great sorry it took so long to check back in, I’ve used this three times and its worked everytime! On blankets, carpet, high chair, etc. I just used it again today ( the little guy put too much food in his mouth ) . This is so great!

  21. onetruth says

    I used this on my kiddo’s vomit stain last week after carpet cleaner just didn’t work. I poured it on and scrubbed immediately, and the smell was gone in moments. I’m going to use it on my car today because we took 3 large dogs to the beach yesterday, and ew.

    • says

      I’ve only had to use the recipe once, and I really don’t remember worrying about water temperature. I probably chose hot. I can’t give a for sure answer about what is best though. Sorry I’m not more help.

  22. Melissa Archuleta says

    I’m so glad I found your article! This isn’t about my kiddos but about my old lady dog 😉 She is having a hard time controlling her bladder at night and has made a couple messes in the house – one on her therapudic (I know it’s not spelled right – not sure how it’s spelled) dog bed and one all over my daughters carpet in her room. I’m going to try this recipe and see if it takes the smell out – I really don’t want to throw out her dog bed but I will if the smell doesn’t go away. I will let you know! Thank you!

  23. Momtotwogirls says

    Thank you! thank you! thank you! My little one threw up in her room last night (again) and I had no idea how I was going to get the smell out of her rug and stuffed animals. Carpet cleaner did nothing. Steam cleaning the rug helped a little, but you could still smell a lingering nasty odor. This worked in about 5 seconds flat. Super easy to make too. Thank you again!

    • says

      Yay! Another happy customer. I’m so glad it worked so fantastically for you. It’s really been the miracle solution. Thanks for taking the time to comment.

  24. says

    Which of these solutions would you recommend for mattresses? My daughter has puked on her mattress a few times and always seems to hit the “target” where the mattress cover doesn’t reach.

    • Misshelly says

      I use the peroxide solution on my toddler son’s mattress regularly; i spray generously, then wipe with microfiber and then blot with a towel and air dry (urine smell) i had first tried it on one of his stuffed animals that he vomited on that had then sat and mildewed, and it was like new after several sessions of spraying and air-drying to avoid electronics.

  25. Katy Slabaugh says

    My daughter has been chewing on her favorite stuffed animal since she was four months old (she is now 14 months old, and still chewing on him) and the poor guy STINKS!! I tried all kinds of stuff before I found your blog, and am happy to report a “spa day” and a few hours of soaking in Borax and laundry soap usually gets rid of the smell. But we are on a trip, and no one in the family keeps Borax anymore, so after a long soak in Oxiclean and some laundry soap, I am going to try the baking soda and peroxide mix and see if he fairs any better. I will definitely keep you posted, and THANK YOU for posting this, you are a Moosey life saver!!

      • says

        sure, why not write it out, i needed to get supplies but put baking soda over it over night then vacuumed this morning smell is pretty much gone, we are going to make up a spray bottle of peroxide and baking soda with the 2 drops to clean up the rest sounds like from what i’ve read we should be good. So happy to find this tread, thank you!

  26. Gidget says

    OMG – we had our first vomit-bed-experience last week with our 2 year old. That smell when you enter the room is powerful, gut-wrenching stuff! I wish I would have had this article last week at 3am! Rinsing off the sheets…pillows…blanket… etc… in the shower – genius!

    • says

      I’m so sorry for your experience! You’ll have to save the recipe for future use. I just had to use it last weekend, and I’m just so glad that I had it in my arsenal. Thanks for commenting.

  27. melissa Almanzar says

    Thank you soooooo soooo much!!! This worked like a charm!! You probably saved me $1000!!! My 1 year old had the stomach bug and threw up alllllllllll over the couch and rug in the living room…but this REALLLLLLLY WORKED!!! thank you soooooooo much again!!

    • says

      What a happy report. Thanks so much for checking in with your results. I am thrilled that I saved you so much in damage. It’s bad enough to have people throwing up. Damage on top of it is never fun.

  28. Karyn says

    We just had our first carseat puking incident with my 18-month-old. I’m so glad I found this blog entry after the smell didn’t go away with just washing his clothes! The borax soak worked great to fix that problem, and I plan to use it for the carseat cover, as well! Now for the carseat harness – the manual says to just wipe clean with mild soap and water, and I’m sure that won’t be enough. Do you know if the hydrogen peroxide solution would be safe to use? Thanks!

    • says

      Hello! I’m so sorry for your experience. I haven’t had to deal with the car thing yet. That does not sound fun at all. I’m glad that you are having success with the recipes. I do no know for sure if the hydrogen peroxide solution would be safe to use. I would think it would be fine, and I would probably use it. That said, it’s totally up to your discretion.

  29. says

    My son vomited all over my back seat of my new car :(… and it reeks the smell i tried getting the vomit off but the smell is horrible.. I saw your posted and I am going to give it a try I hope its not too late this happened last night..

    Do you mix any water with this solution ?
    Should i sprinkle some baking power on the rugs and seats first and let it sit for a few
    and than make the mixture and spray the seats down ans wipe ?

    • says

      I’m so sorry! Not fun at all. You do not need to mix water with the solution or worry about sprinkling backing soda. I would make the mixture and just go for it. That said, although I’ve never experienced any discoloration and have loads of comments on this post with no mention of an issue there, I’d always do a spot test. It’s written on every cleaner for a reason, I’m sure. I really hope it works well for you. Report back, and I hope he’s feeling better soon!

        • says

          Well here is my re post I am in absolute awwwwwww.. I cant believe how good this mixture is 😀 Super happy mommy here I used the mixture and it worked awesome on my car.. My car smells back to normal LOL.

          I would definitely recommended this to anyone who has experienced this nightmare… Which I hope wont happen again :)

          I give it an A+ FIVE STAR 😀

          • says

            Yay! I love those great reports – especially for your sake. It’s such an awful smell, and to know there is a solution does make a happy mom! Thank you so much for checking back in. It makes me happy I could help.

          • Amy says

            So, I’m about to try this in my car after a ‘projectile x4’ incident in the back seat yesterday. Just to confirm…I make the mixture and spray it everywhere, then, should i let it sit for awhile, scrub it in and then let it dry? Anymore details with the car would be helpful. Thanks!

          • says

            Yes that should work I cleaned out as much as I could of the vomit :( GRosssssss but then I sprayed the solution let it sit for a few went back whip it down a little more and sprayed again I also left the windows open to air out the car too and it work very very well. Good Luck after my vomit ordeal I bought covers for my back seats in case I hope I don’t have to do this again but just in case better safe than sorry. :)

          • says

            So glad it worked. Smart to have covers now. Not a fun experience, but I’m glad I could make it a little bit brighter.

  30. Julie says

    Thank you! My son threw up on his mattress and it was a huge mess (no waterproof cover). I tried cleaning it many different ways (over a 2 day period), then found your post. I mixed it up in a spray bottle (1/4 the recipe), sprayed the mattress, and the smell was gone! I also used this on the couch (different kid, same bug). It’s amazing! Thanks!

  31. zuzu says

    This worked really well on my dog’s bed “someone” barfed sometime in the last week. I was able to wash the comforter I keep on it for extra coverage for accidents like this, but the upholstered part still smelled. Your tip kept me from having to totally deconstruct the bed then figure out how to put it all back together myself. I’m passing the info along to my niece who’s having a baby next month so she’s prepared ahead of time for the joys of mommyhood.

  32. Shauna López says

    Love this post! Just some quick questions, how much borax did you add to your bucket of water that you soak your clothes in? I’m a ratio nut lol and also, I have front loading washer/dryer so how would I pre-soak the vomit stenched blankets in the laundry detergent and borax mixture beforehand? Thank you SO much!

    • says

      Oh man. I’ve only had to soak once, and I don’t remember the ration. I know I had a big bucket (5 gallon type of bucket) that I scooped the borax into and added water. There also had to be enough room for the item being washed. I hope that’s at least a little helpful. :-)

  33. Moonstar says

    Yea, I understand. I did it once too when i was younger. I had NO clue what to do since i was the only one awake and i was scared to tell my mom because i was afraid she would punish me for making a mess. But you know what i did? I slept somewhere else because hey, my bed was dirty. And my stomache was empty again. And i felt horrible when my parents walked in to check on me and nothing was there but a big mess that they cleaned up. But in the end it was cleaned up. ^_^


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