How to Clean Vomit From Car? Very Easy Method

Nobody feels comfortable in a car that has a lingering, undesirable smell. Vomit is one of the many things that can cause a car’s interior to smell, so you need to know how to clean vomit from car to eliminate the foul odor and make your vehicle smell good.

Vomit in a car can happen at any time. It could be pets, kids, or even adults in some cases. It gives out an unpleasant smell that brings discomfort and requires you to quickly clean the car’s interior and make it comfortable again.

How to Clean Vomit from Car

Aside from cleaning vomit from the car, we’ll also show you how to clean the vomit smell from a car because even after cleaning off the vomit, its unpleasant smell usually lasts for a long time if you don’t take the proper steps when cleaning it off the car.

Cleaning your car of vomit may be stressful, as we admit that it’s not a simple job, but it pays off when done correctly. Cleaning it properly involves removing the vomit’s stain and odor and avoiding the damage it would have caused on your car seats and other interior parts.

Do car washes clean vomit from cars, you may ask. Yes, some car washes and detailers wash vomit from vehicles, but you don’t have to take your car to them as you can clean off vomit from your car by yourself using the steps below.

how to clean vomit from car exterior

Prepare yourself:

vomit can be very irritating and may make some people vomit too. Therefore, it is best to get yourself ready by wearing face masks and rubber gloves. You may wear a pair of sunglasses to blur out the view of the vomit while letting you have enough view to clean it.

You can also rub menthol or a mint extract on the inner part of your mask to help overcome the smell from the mess while you clear it up.

Remove solid matter:

remove solid matter with the help of a spatula and use a paper towel to take away the pieces. You can also remove the tiny pieces by scraping the surface. It is best to have some or all of your car doors open to provide sufficient ventilation while doing this.

Ensure to throw the solid matter you removed inside a plastic bag and avoid using a metal spatula because it will scratch the surface of the material. Use a plastic spatula or putty knife instead.

Remove moisture:

next is to remove extra moisture by blotting the vomit. A paper towel or an absorbent cloth will help you to achieve this. All you have to do is to place the absorbent cloth or paper towel over the moisture and press on it to absorb the liquid.

Note that you have to press hard enough to soak up the liquid. If you press so hard, you may push the liquid more into the surface.

Use baking soda on the stain:

place a generous quantity of baking soda on the affected area and leave it there for long hours. The baking soda will enable you to remove the remaining moisture from the surface and absorb the unpleasant odor. This is a necessary step on how to clean vomit from car seats and other surfaces.

You’ll have to watch it while the baking soda is on it and if you notice wet spots in the powder, add a little more baking soda to it. When a couple of hours have passed, scoop out the baking soda with a spatula and use a vacuum to remove the remaining powder.

Prepare a cleaning solution:

you can buy a commercial cleaner from the stores for this purpose or prepare one at home with few ingredients. However, be sure to prepare a cleaning solution that is right for the type of material you are about to clean.

The cleaner for leather car seats should contain baking soda and water. Measure a part of warm water and add three parts of the powder to it. Mix thoroughly, and you have a cleaning solution for your car’s leather interior.

To make a cleaning solution for carpet, cloth, or plastic, combine a part of vinegar, eight parts of lukewarm water, and 2.5ml of dishwashing soap. Transfer it into a spray bottle for easy control and application.

Clean the stain:

spray the right cleaner on the surface stained by the vomit and use a paper towel to give it a thorough scrubbing. Do you wonder how to clean vomit from carpet? Use a brush with stiff bristles to scrub hard, and you’ll see the tough stains come off the carpet.

Rinse and dry:

after scrubbing off the stains, you need to rinse off with clean water. To rinse a leather material, use a damp cloth or paper towel to remove the cleaner, while you’ll need a wet cloth to rinse the car carpet, vinyl, or plastic material.

Then, dry the area by blotting with paper towels. The best paper towels to use here are the white cotton types that help you see the stains coming off as you blot. Blot until the stains have come off completely. Leave the doors and windows open, and you may set a fan to help the interior dry faster.

Cleaning the Car Exterior

Now, what if someone vomits outside the car windows and stain the car’s exterior? Let’s look at how to clean vomit from the car exterior in simple steps.

  • Use paper towels to clean the solid matter. Also, use paper towels to soak up leftover liquids, if any.
  • Spray WD-40 or bug remover on the affected car exterior and leave it for some time to dissolve any vomit stuck to the car paint.
  • Wash the vomit by rinsing with a water hose.
  • Now, wash the whole car thoroughly.
  • Polish your car again and wax it.

How to Eliminate Odor and Make Your Car Smell Fresh

Having cleaned the vomit stains after removing them from the surfaces and allowed the car to dry, the next thing you have to do is to get rid of any remaining odor and refresh the smell of your vehicle.

Some of the materials you’ll need include:

  • Baking soda
  • Essential oil
  • Activated carbon
  • Vinegar
  • Coffee grounds
  • Air freshener

Tips to refreshing your car’s smell.

Place materials that can absorb the unpleasant smell: you can combine baking soda and some drops of lemon essential oil to eliminate the foul smell of vomit from your car.

Sprinkle the mixture where the vomit was, leave it for about ten minutes, and vacuum it with a vacuum that has a hose.

You can also choose to place some bowls of activated carbon in the car when it is not in motion. Pour a small quantity of activated carbon into two to three bowls and place them in the car each time you park the car, and the smell will dispel after some time.

Give the car a new scent: make the car smell nice by placing a bowl of vinegar or coffee grounds inside the vehicle when you are not driving it. You can also use place car air fresheners. The vinegar smell and the pleasant scents from others will mask the smell of the vomit and make the car smell good.

how to clean vomit smell from car


How much does it cost to clean vomit from the car?

The cost of cleaning vomit from a car varies according to the cleaning service you wish to use their services. For some of them, their charges are fixed, while others have different prices based on hours. The first hour may be 100$ and the other hours can be 80$.

How do I get rid of the vomit smell?

You can eliminate the vomit smell by pouring some baking soda in two or three bowls and placing them in the vehicle whenever it is not in motion. The powder will absorb the foul smell from the vomit after some time.

You can also spray a mixture of vinegar and water in the affected area to remove the odor or place an air freshener in the area to cover the vomit’s smell and make it smell fresh again.

Does the vomit smell disappear?

Yes, the vomit smell goes away over time. You should clean the surface where the vomit was using the right cleaner, let it dry out, and apply materials that’ll help eliminate the unpleasant smell. The vomit smell may linger for a while, but it’ll eventually disappear before you know it.

Does vinegar clean vomit?

Yes, vinegar helps to clean vomit and reduce its smell. Vinegar is known to naturally remove nasty odors such as the vomit smell and leave the area smelling fresh. To make a vinegar cleaner for vomit smell, combine vinegar and warm water in a 2:1 ratio respectively, and add few drops of dishwashing liquid.

How long does vomit smell last in a car?

The vomit smell may linger for some time, even with a prompt response in cleaning it up. It can last for two days or more and can also remain for weeks before it finally goes away. However, using some products after washing the car and leaving it to dry can help to reduce how long it smells.

Such products include car air fresheners, baking soda and water, baking soda and essential oil, coffee grounds, activated carbon, and some others. You can get most of them at home or a nearby store.

Will a car wash clean vomit?

Some car wash and detailers clean vomit while others don’t clean it for health reasons. You can take your car to your regular car wash first, and they may clean it up for you.

However, it is best first to try to clean off most of the vomit by yourself before taking it to a car wash, and they’ll do the detailing.

Final Words

Motion sickness can happen and cause people to vomit when traveling. Knowing how to clean vomit from car will make it easy for you to handle the unpleasant task of cleaning your vehicle when it happens and also restore your car’s fresh smell.


Hi there, I am R. Hasan Tito, a mechanic, and owner of this website. My friend and I created this website to share our knowledge, expertise, and experience with our fellow mechanics' community and car users. I am a specialist and certified automotive mechanic (Both Heavy Commercial and Private Cars). I worked as a Mechanic and Mechanic Supervisor for over fifteen years at Global Rebound Automotive companies - Toyota, TATA, BMW, Nissan, TVs, and Others. Now, I enjoy my new role of leading a team of automotive experts (in their respective fields) and publish new content on a regular basis on my website and social media.

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