How To Get Vomit Smell Out Of A Mattress

Food poisoning, stomach flu, and other conditions that make you prone to puking can give you some slight traumatic experiences. Sometimes when asleep, it can be difficult to get out of bed in time to rush to the toilet to vomit. With such a mess on your mattress, vomit stains can make sleeping on the mattress discomforting primarily due to the reeking smell.

To clean vomit stains and get rid of the smell from a used mattress could sometimes be a challenging task. But if you act fast—with the help of cleaning agents like baking soda, alcohol, and vinegar solution— it will ensure you eliminate the vomit smell effortlessly. For more information on how you can get rid of such an awful smell, keep reading.

How to Clean Vomit from a Mattress

As already pointed out, acting fast is the first step to ensuring the complete removal of vomit's acidic smell and stains. It also helps reduce the chances of damaging your expensive mattress. So, immediately after you or your child has thrown up on the mattress, use a paper plate to scrape off the vomit waste from the bed–put it in a plastic bag, then discard it in the trash bin.

Remember to wear rubber gloves before you start to clean vomit from a mattress, to protect yourself from germs. If you don't have a paper plate, you can also use a dustpan to scrape off the waste and dump it in the toilet. 

Cleaning Vomit from Different Types of Mattresses 

Scrapping off the vomit from the mattress is the first step. In the next step, depending on the type of Mattress, there are different ways of cleaning each type. In the below outline, we'll explore different ways of cleaning vomit from latex and a memory foam mattress. But first, ensure you have the following items;

  • Vinegar
  • A clean old rag or a dishcloth
  • Baking soda
  • A vacuum cleaner with an upholstery attachment
  • Cold water and soap

Memory Foam Mattresses

These mattresses are popularly known to offer sleepers excellent support and cushioning while also contouring heavier body curves. If you have one, here's how to clean vomit from its surface. Before you proceed, be sure to wear rubber gloves first.

  • Using the vacuum cleaner—with the upholstery attachment— remove any dirt, lint, or hair from the affected area.
  • Mix a cup of warm water with a fabric cleaner to create a solution, then place it in a spray bottle.
  • Use the old clean rag to scrub the mattress surface as you lightly spray the water solution in the affected region.
  • You can eliminate stubborn stains that won't come off easily by mixing a ¾ cup of the spray solution and ¼ cup of white vinegar. Scrub gently and Continuously until the vomit stain is no more.
  • Wipe clean with the rag the air dry the mattress.

Latex Mattresses

Cleaning vomit from a latex mattress isn't that different from memory foam. After scraping off the vomit, remove the mattress cover immediately, then proceed as follows;

  • Mix water with mild laundry detergent, then spray it on the stained area as you scrub gently with a clean cloth
  • Remove any soapy residue from the soapy water solution using a different clean wet cloth.
  • Leave the mattress to dry out completely before dressing it with fresh sheets.

Other Solution on How to Clean Vomit Smell From a Mattress

If none of the above two solutions can't suffice for you, then this other solution will help you eliminate that disgusting vomit odor. Here's what you need to do after removing the vomit from the bed. Most importantly, it's best to act fast to prevent the vomit liquid from seeping deeply through the mattress layers.

Removing and Washing Other Bedding

Remove the pillows, duvet, mattress pad, and other bedding from the bed and put them inside the washer. Configure the washer at the highest temperature setting to eliminate the vomit odor. Note that it's best to wash them as per their recommended instructions. You can also make additional rinse cycles to ensure the complete removal of the vomit filth. While at it, you may also want to wash or fluff your pillow to keep it in top condition and restore the comfort to its original state.

Soaking Up the Liquid From the Vomit

Using a clean towel or an old clean rag, suck up the remaining vomit liquid. You can also use paper towels. But compared to an ordinary towel or a rag,  standard paper towels are less effective for soaking liquids. You may end up wasting more of them to achieve a simple soak task.

As you press the rag or the towel on the mattress, go the light-blotting fashion with the cleaning process. This helps avoid spreading the liquid further, which happens if you press the towel tightly.

Removing the Vomit Stains and Disinfecting the Stained Area

The cleaning solutions above aren't sufficient to eliminate the vomit's acidic smell. Note that the smell can make it very uncomfortable to sleep peacefully on your bed at night. The proven solution to try out includes the following;

Using Baking Soda

According to most scientific experts, baking soda is an excellent natural deodorizer that can eliminate any foul odors, making it ideal for this situation.

Sprinkle Baking Soda on the Affected Mattress Area

Sprinkle baking soda on the affected area as much as possible. Apart from removing the pungent smell of vomit, baking soda will also help absorb any remaining liquid leaving your mattress clean and stainless.

How Long the Baking Soda Should Sit on the Mattress

According to expert recommendations, let the baking soda sit on the stained area for at least 7 hours. More importantly, it would be best to wait until the baking soda is completely dry. If you need to sleep on that bed, place a towel or two, depending on the size of the affected area. Then cover the entire mattress with a fitted sheet. Remember, you'll have to clean the fitted sheet and the towels afterward.

Removing the Baking Soda Residue

After sitting on the mattress long enough, vacuum off the powder residue. Afterward, empty the machine and change the bag or clean the canister to prevent bacterial growth.

A vacuum cleaner with a hose attachment is the right equipment which will ensure there's no baking powder residue remaining on your bed. For those who lack such a machine, you can remove the baking powder manually with a dustpan or simply brush it with a dry cloth.

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Using White Vinegar Solution

White vinegar is a primary alternative for folks who don't have baking soda. Though smelly, this solution is an excellent disinfectant that can easily eliminate the puke smell. Since it's a strong agent, you'll have to mix it with water to dilute it.

Mix a cup of white vinegar solution with the same quantity of normal or distilled water. You also can add one teaspoon of dish soap into the solution to give it some extra cleaning power. Pour the resultant solution into a spray bottle, then shake. Spray it lightly on the affected stained area and let it dry by itself. If you want to use the mattress ASAP, you can speed up the drying process using a blow dryer.

Using Rubbing Alcohol

The volatility of rubbing alcohol allows it to bind and dissipate molecules into the air. Add a few drops of rubbing alcohol, or a filled bottle top, in a pulverizer and sprinkle it carefully over the stained area on the bed. Not only does rubbing alcohol help remove the vomit odor, but it also kills germs on the bed.

Using Hydrogen Peroxide to clean vomit

Hydrogen Peroxide and dish soap offer a perfect recipe for removing vomit stains and smell on a bed. The role of hydrogen peroxide is to clean and disinfect the stained area while the dish soap breaks down the vomit.

Mix an equal ratio of the dishwashing soap and hydrogen peroxide, then transfer the liquid solution to a spray bottle. Spray the solution onto the stained area and leave it for some time before scrubbing it. You can use a brush to scrub it off. Finish up by vacuuming any remaining debris or liquid.

Let the Mattress Dry Up

After eliminating the vomit stains from the mattress surface, let it dry—preferably overnight. After about 8 hours, the mattress should be dry and ready for use. You can also use a freestanding or overhead fan to speed up the drying process. Additionally, you can open the windows near the bed.

After thoroughly cleaning the mattress and drying it up, probably, some germs may still be on the mattress, or a slight smell depending on the method you chose to clean and dry it. Using rubbing alcohol, spray the affected region on the mattress surface to kill any remaining germs. Alternatively, you can use an unscented hand sanitizer or any strong disinfectant you have in the house to substitute the rubbing alcohol. After which, you should let the mattress dry again.

The best place to have the mattress dry is outside under the sun. The sun is good for killing germs and getting rid of strong stenches. However, don't let it overstay under the sun. Keep checking the mattress for dryness so that you can return it to the house early. Additionally, ensure that the manufacturer of the mattress hasn't warned against drying it under the sun.

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Puke-Proofing With Mattress Protectors and Pads

Puke-proofing your mattress is the best way to handle unexpected vomiting so you can get back to sleep immediately. Viable suggestions are the waterproof pads which can shield your mattress against any liquid. Nowadays, there are many high-performance waterproof mattress pads available in the market at relaxed price tags.

With such a pad, all you need to do is make a bedding sandwich. For instance, as you make your bed, place the mattress pad first, then follow it up with a sheet set. Add another pad and sheet set again. So, if you or your child accidentally puke on the mattress, remove the top pad and the sheets. Remember to place the pad and sheets in the washer immediately to prevent that smell of vomit from solidifying itself.

Using pads and protectors will not only prevent vomit from getting to your mattress, they prevent sweat and spills among other things. This in turn helps you extend the life of your mattress and get your money's worth.

Using a Mattress Protector

Mattress protectors work the same way as the bedding sandwich outlined above. When you vomit, your bed's first line of defense against vomit stains will be the mattress protector. Unlike the entire mattress, which you can't toss into a washer, mattress protectors are relatively easy to clean. You can clean it just like you do a normal bed sheet. Ensure you check cleaning instructions in case they warn against machine washing or drying.

Fortunately, the market is saturated with different options to pick from. For example, there's the fitted protector with pocketed corners you can easily tuck under your mattress's corners. The zippered or encasement mattress protectors typically behave like a cover, plus it encases the entire mattress. Aside from acting as a puke proof for your mattress, mattress protectors can also help you avoid the effects of a bad mattress, such as lung illness and allergies.

See also our post on signs your bed is causing back pain for more information on effects of a bad mattress and what to do if your mattress is causing back pain.

Finally, an easier way to handle any illness that causes vomiting is to have a bucket next to your bed so that whenever you want to throw up, you can do so inside the bucket, saving you lots of cleaning time.

Final Thoughts

Vomit odor emanating from a bed makes it difficult to sleep comfortably. But based on this review, it's relatively easy to clean the vomit smell and stains from a mattress. Remember that the recommended liquid solutions in this review are non-abrasive and won't compromise your mattress fabric's durability. Also, the above cleaning techniques should see your mattress clean and puke-odor-free in no time. If you become sick of the vomit smell, rub a strong-scented ointment under the nostrils. More importantly, remember to clean and thoroughly disinfect the tools you've used in the vomit cleaning.

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