A Guide to Remove Vomit from Car Interior

Updated Aug 17, 2022 | Same topic: Handy Maintenance Tips

How can you deal with vomit in the cars? Don't worry because Philkotse will bring you a handy guide and step by step process of removing vomit on the car interior.

Vomit stain and odor in the car is one of the most difficult things to remove. Time is very important when removing vomit in the car. The longer the vomit the harder for the stains and odor to be removed.

In addition, if you fail to properly clean the vomit in the area will surely result to stain and vomit odor through the whole cabin of the car. Aside from the stain, vomit is also acidic which can potentially damage the interior if it's not removed immediately.

Aside from the annoying stain and smell it can also have an adverse effect on the trade-in or resale value of the vehicle. Good thing there are household products that can be used to effectively remove the vomit.

Follow these steps from Philkotse.com to know how to use the household product and how to remove vomit from the interior of the car.

1. Prepare needed materials

Before we head over to the procedure, you should first prepare the following materials:

  • Absorbent paper towels or cloths
  • Baking soda
  • Container for the cleaning solution
  • Vacuum cleaner
  • Dishwashing liquid
  • Warm water
  • White vinegar
  • Lint-free cloths
  • Hard bristle brush for carpet cleaning

interior cleaning

You need to have a checklist for car interior cleaning


  • Squirt bottle
  • Fan or hairdryer
  • Spatula
  • Rubber gloves

>>> Read more: Helpful checklist for car interior cleaning.

2. How to clean fresh vomit

Step #1

When cleaning fresh vomit, the first thing you have to do is to pick up chunks or any solid matter using a scraper or spatula. You can also use a thick paper towel or a cloth to get rid of the solid pieces and to blot the vomit to eliminate excess moisture. You can also use absorbent paper towels to better absorb the liquid.

Using spatula when removing vomit chunks

Pick up chunks or any solid matter using a scraper or spatula

Step #2

When you’re done cleaning the area, dazzle a generous amount of baking soda over it and leave for thirty minutes. The baking soda help in absorbing the vomit’s odor. After 30 minutes, vacuum it.

baking soda

Dazzle a generous amount of baking soda over it and leave for thirty minutes

Step #3

The next step is to make a liquid cleaning solution. While you can always buy a cleaning solution, you can also create your own cleaning solution. You should also take into consideration the type of material you’ll work on.

For leather upholstery – Use 3 parts of baking soda and 1-part warm water to make a paste of baking soda.

For cloth, plastic, vinyl, and carpeting – Mix 1 part of white vinegar with 8 parts of warm water, then 2.5 mL or half teaspoon of dishwashing liquid. Stir thoroughly.

>>> Also check: Must-know steps on how to clean different types of car seats.

Step #4

Use the cleaning solution and a lint-free cloth to apply and scrub the stain in the vomit area. Check if the stain already penetrated on the carpeting of your car you will be needing a hard-bristle brush.

Step #5

When rinsing and removing the cleaning solution, use clean water and a lint-free cloth. For leather upholstery, only use a damp and not wet cloth. Use wet cloth only when rinsing cloth upholstery, carpeting, and vinyl.

man wiping car seat

Use clean water and a lint-free cloth

Step #6 

Leave the doors of your vehicle open, allowing the area to dry completely. If the weather is rainy, then you might want to use a hairdryer or set up a fan to speed up the drying process.

3. How to remove dried vomit

Step #1

Wipe or scrub off any crust or dried pieces. You can use a soft-bristled brush or stiff-bristled depending on the surface you are cleaning. Loosen the dried crust and brush it off with a vacuum cleaner or small brush.

Step #2

Use the cleaning solution to moisten the area. Always take into consideration the type of material you are working on. Use only a cleaning solution that is safe for the material. You can buy a leather cleaner, commercial carpet cleaner, or upholstery cleaner. You can even utilize the laundry stain remover for carpet surfaces, or make your own cleaning solution using the following:

For leather upholstery – Mix 1-part warm water with 3 parts baking soda to create a paste.

For cloth, vinyl, carpeting or plastic – Combine 8 parts of warm water, 2.5 mL or half teaspoon dishwashing liquid and 1-part white vinegar then stir well.

cleaning solution

Use the cleaning solution to moisten the area

>>> You might want to read: 8 useful things for your DIY car wash

Step #3 

Let the solution set in the stain until it dries, then re-wet it using the same solution but now, let it sit in for a few minutes only then scrub the stain. Doing so will make sure the solution has penetrated through the stain. This will make the stain easy to remove when you scrub it.

Man spraying the car floor

Let the solution set in the stain until it dries

Step #4

Scrub the solution into the stain using the brush, always taking into account the material you’re cleaning. Surfaces like leather and vinyl shouldn’t be brushed with a hard-bristled brush, so you should use a soft-bristled brush or sponge instead. 

For cloth upholstery and carpeting, you can use the firmest brush as long as it will not damage the material.

Step #5

Blot the area with water until you removed the cleaning solution, but make sure you don’t saturate the carpet or car seat surfaces. Only use enough water to get rid of the solution. 

You can try to drip a wash rag in the clean water, blot it on the cleaning solution then wring it out. Continue doing this process until all the solution have been soaked up, together with the stain.

Auto Detailing: How to Get Rid of Vomit Smell in a Car

Step #6

For stubborn stains, you can rent a steam cleaner. But you should only resort to this when all the procedure didn’t work. If the stain and odor are still there, you will need to a professional-grade steam cleaning.

Try renting a carpet cleaner to clean and remove vomit stains from cloth upholstery and carpet of your vehicle. Take note that you cannot use it for leather, vinyl and plastic stains.

4. Removing vomit odor

To prevent any bad smells in the car interiors, in this case, is the smell of vomit. Make sure you remove it as soon as possible. Use baking soda to cover the area of the vomit. Baking soda is an effective way to get rid of any bad odors, including the smell of vomit. 

You can also use essential oils to eliminate the odor. You can mix the baking soda and your favorite essential oil to eliminate the smell of vomit and replace it with a nice odor. For better result, try using an air freshener in your vehicle.

Hanna Sanchez

Hanna Sanchez


Hanna is one of the most competitive swimmers in the country during her day. It was not long before she discovered her passion for the automotive industry as well. Nowadays, she balances her passion through writing as well as coaching.

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