How to remove vomit from car seat


In this article you will learn:

  • How to clean up vomit with a wet-dry vac or paper towels

  • The best cleaners to use to remove vomit stains

  • How to get rid of that lingering vomit smell

You or a loved one got sick in the car. The stain has set in, and now you’re left with the daunting task of cleaning it up. First of all, don’t panic. While it’s always better to clean vomit from your car seats sooner rather than later, with the right tools and cleaning supplies, these stains and odors can still be removed!

What You Need to Know

If your car seats are made of leather or vinyl material, removing vomit stains is much simpler than it is with cloth upholstery. Just spray and wipe up the mess with an interior stain remover, followed by a quick spritz of odor elimination spray. You can also use a leather cleaner and conditioner to deep clean and soften your leather upholstery.

Unfortunately, most car seats are made of an inexpensive, nylon or polyester fabric that quickly absorbs spills and moisture. The longer vomit soaks into the porous material, the more difficult those stains and odors are to remove. That’s why it’s important to address the mess as soon as possible to get your car seats clean and stain-free.

You may be tempted to scrub at the vomit stain with a damp cloth or paper towel. Don’t do this! Unless your car seats are made of leather or vinyl material, this vigorous wiping will only push the vomit further into your car seat, making these contaminants and odors even more difficult to remove.

There are two ways to remove vomit from fabric car seats: using a wet-dry vac, or blotting with paper towels.

Remove as Much Vomit as You Can

Start by scooping up and disposing of any leftover solids with some fresh paper towels. If you have a portable wet-dry vac available to you, wet the area with a cloth and a bucket of warm water and use a portable wet-dry vac to suck up as much vomit as you can. Use the handheld upholstery attachment to spot clean the area.

Pro tip: Vomit is full of germs and harmful bacteria, so we recommend wearing rubber gloves and a face mask to protect yourself while cleaning the mess!

remove as much vomit as you can

Use a Heavy-duty Upholstery Cleaner

You’ll need a powerful stain remover like POWER OUT! Fresh Clean to remove the vomit stains completely. These types of interior cleaners are specially designed to break down stains and soils embedded in the fabric of your car seats and get rid of any pungent odors.

You can also use a multipurpose cleaner and disinfectant like the Multipurpose Cleaner & Disinfectant to kill over 99.9% of germs that have been introduced to the surfaces inside your car.

Apply one of these cleaning solutions to the area until each vomit stain is fully saturated. Be sure to allow the cleaner to sit for the amount of time specified on the bottle.

use a heavy-duty upholstery cleaner

Vacuum or Blot up The Mess

Use the upholstery attachment of your wet-dry vac to pull the vomit from the surface of your car seat. Continue to wet the area with warm water and cleaning solution and repeat this process until your vacuum is sucking up only clean water.

Alternatively, you can wet the area with warm water and begin blotting each vomit stain with a fresh paper towel to lift these stomach contents from the fabric of your car seats. As you continue blotting, you’ll notice the stain start to fade and become discolored. That means the blotting technique is working, and the vomit stain is starting to come clean.

You'll need repeat this process about four to five times to remove the vomit completely, so we recommend having a roll of paper towels on hand or about four to five fresh, cotton towels.

Rinse and Repeat

Don’t panic if vomit stains don't come out at first. You may need to use a combination of different cleaners to lift these stains from the fabric of your car seats. Keep repeating these steps, soaking the area in warm water and cleaning solution each time, until the vomit stains are no longer visible on the surface of your car seats. Be patient and persistent!

If you’re using the blotting technique, use some leftover paper towels a little bit of product to do a final wipe down of the entire seat once you’ve blotted away the mess. This will prevent cleaning residue from forming a ring around the stained area you spot-cleaned for an even, spotless finish.

rinse and repeat

Eliminate any Remaining Odors

You've done the hard part and removed the vomit stains. Give yourself a pat on the back! The last step is to use an odor elimination spray to get rid of any nasty odors lingering inside your car. Unlike air fresheners, odor eliminators seek and destroy unpleasant odors at their source to help your car smell as clean as it looks, while preventing new odors from taking hold inside your car. We recommend using Odor-X Fresh Blast to ensure that the rancid vomit smell doesn’t return. Or, you can deodorize your entire car with our Odor-X Whole Car Blast diffuser.

eliminate any remaining odors


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