The Best Way To Remove Vomit Smells From A Mattress

vomiting unwell sick

Not the best aroma on the planet, now is it? We have all the steps you need to effectively remove vomit smells from your mattress.

The vomit must be removed quickly and the bedding thoroughly washed. The spot on the mattress should be treated with baking soda to get rid of the odour. The stain can be removed with a vinegar solution. The mattress must then be air-dried.

The smell of vomit is particularly cloying and unpleasant. Few people will be able to sleep while their mattress reeks of this sickness. Here’s how to get rid of the smell for good.


How To Remove The Odour Of Vomit From A Mattress

Adults throw up. Kids throw up. Even pets do it. Unfortunately, this sometimes happens on the bed. But there is no need to panic. Getting the smell of vomit out of a mattress is simple and you might already have everything you need in the pantry. The only reality you need to prepare for is the fact that it takes time. The cleaning is not difficult but neither is it quick. 

Let’s look at all the steps below.

  1. Quickly remove the vomit.
  2. Wash the bedding. 
  3. Gently clean the affected mattress area.
  4. Treat the area with baking soda.
  5. Treat the stain with a vinegar solution.
  6. Air-dry the mattress.

Move Fast And Remove The Vomit

This is perhaps the hardest part for most. Some of us cannot bear the sight of vomit, let alone handle the stuff with our hands. Don’t get us wrong – we are not telling you to stick your finger into anything. Nope. But it might help to wear a mask and gloves to make the task easier. 

Speed is essential when you notice the vomit. The longer it stays on the bedding or mattress the more time the throw-up has to soak deeper. The deeper it goes, the harder it will be to get rid of the smell completely. So brace yourself and quickly scoop up the vomit. To remove the bulk part of vomit, you can use newspaper, paper plates or anything that is disposable. You can also use something like a plastic plate that can be washed. 

Wash The Bedding

drying mattress protector

Once you have scraped off the bulk of the vomit, you can either put the stained bedding aside and first focus on dealing with the mattress or quickly pop the sheets into the wash. We would recommend that you focus on the mattress first but it is entirely up to you. 

Make sure that there are no bits and pieces left of the vomit when you place the bedding inside the washer. Run a cycle that sterilizes the sheets and removes all traces and smells of the throw-up. Air-drying your sheets afterwards for a day will also help enormously to freshen them up. 

Love a totally clean mattress? Grab our top tips on how to clean a mattress.

Gently Clean The Affected Mattress Area

This is your first real step in treating vomit smells on a mattress. At this point, all you need is a dose of courage and a damp cloth. 

Gently wipe the affected area to remove any vomit that might have leaked through the bedding. The key is to move slowly and never rub or scrub away at the spot. This can actually make things worse by pressing vomit deeper into the fibres of your bed. 

Once you have finished, it is best to discard the cloth because the smell will likely stick to the fabric as well. 

Treat The Area With Baking Soda

While the fabric of the mattress is still damp, take a box of baking soda and pour a good amount of the power over the area. You can use a finger or a spoon to smear a thick layer over the entire stain to make sure that you cover everything. 

The purpose of baking soda is two-fold. 

  1. Baking soda is great at absorbing moisture. It will literally extract moisture from the fabric and deeper inside the mattress. This is a fantastic way to remove remaining vomit liquids that are resting just below the surface.
  2. Baking soda is known as an effective deodorizer. Not even the pungent smell of vomit can escape baking soda’s ability to neutralize bad smells!

This is how you can clean urine from a memory foam mattress.

How Long Should I Leave The Baking Soda On The Mattress?

The longer the better. This is why we mentioned a little earlier that the process of getting rid of vomit smells is not something that you will see in the fast lane. Understandably, this might be a cause for concern. If you need to use the bed again tonight there is a solution for that too. 

Experts recommend that you leave the baking soda on the stain for at least 7 or 8 hours. So if you started cleaning the mattress in the morning, it might be ready for use at night (although you still need to air-dry it the next day). But if the throw-up happened later, it’s best to let the baking soda sit overnight. To use the bed, you can cover the area with a large towel or two and add a fitted sheet. This is not ideal and the towels and sheet might need cleaning afterwards but at least you can use the bed. 

Find out how to remove yellow stains from a mattress protector.

How Do I Remove The Baking Soda?

Use the upholstery nozzle of your vacuum cleaner to remove the baking soda from the mattress. If you do not have such a nozzle, you can manually remove the baking soda with a cloth or even a brush and dustpan. 

Treat The Stain With A Vinegar Solution

spray vinegar water solution

Choose a vinegar that is undiluted and real (do not use vinegar that says “imitation” on the label). Mix equal parts of vinegar with water and spray on the stain. Take a towel and blot the solution until the fabric seems dry. Once again, do not rub the area. Simply spray the solution on the stain, blot, and repeat the process until the stain is gone. 

This is how you can remove blood stains from a mattress protector.

Air-Dry The Mattress

This is the final step! Alas, it’s another lengthy process. One that cannot be rushed. How so? When moisture is allowed to remain on fabric or inside a mattress, that is an invitation for mould and mildew. Once those goobers move in, your mattress is on a slippery slope to destruction and your health might also suffer (especially when you have allergies and asthma). 

The recommended time to dry a mattress is up to 8 hours. Place a fan nearby and let it blow air directly on the affected area. If you have a ceiling fan above the bed, you can also switch that on to help with the drying process.


A Quick Summary On How To Remove Vomit Smells From A Mattress

  • Removing vomit smells from a bed is an easy but lengthy process.
  • All you need is some baking soda and vinegar.
  • Do not rush the process. Proper cleaning kills bacteria, removes the smell and prevents mould.

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About the Author Tom

My journey into the world of sleep came about through living in several properties over my lifetime and always seeming to have the worst luck with neighbors. All but one have been extremely noisy and very inconsiderate. What this made me realize early on, was that the little sleep my neighbors allowed me to get needed to be of great quality. So I started to learn all about sleep, and what helps people get the best quality sleep possible.