How to Clean Vomit off a Mattress

How to Clean Vomit off a Mattress

Facing the aftermath of a stomach bug or a little too much fun can leave your mattress in a bit of a sticky situation. Cleaning vomit off a mattress might seem like a challenging job, but don’t worry, it’s not as bad as it sounds. With the right approach, you can get your mattress looking and smelling fresh again in no time. If the task feels overwhelming, consider reaching out to a professional mattress cleaning service to ensure your mattress is handled with care and expertise. In the meantime, let’s jump into some DIY tips that’ll help you tackle the mess without losing your cool.


Key Takeaways

  • Act Quickly: Promptly addressing vomit on a mattress is crucial to prevent stain penetration, minimize odour, reduce bacterial growth, and simplify the cleaning process.
  • Initial Cleaning Steps: Begin by removing solid matter and blotting away liquids. Liberally apply baking soda to absorb moisture and odour, then vacuum the area.
  • Choose the Right Cleaning Solutions: Utilize enzymatic cleaners for stains, diluted dish soap for residue, white vinegar for odour, and hydrogen peroxide for tough stains. Finish with baking soda to deodorise.
  • Deep Cleaning: For thorough cleaning, strip and wash bedding, apply enzymatic cleaners, treat the mattress with baking soda overnight, and ensure proper ventilation and drying.
  • Deodorising and Disinfecting: Apply baking soda and use enzymatic cleaners to eliminate odour and bacteria. Freshen with essential oils and ensure the mattress is dry to prevent mould.
  • Drying and Final Touches: Accelerate drying with fans or open windows, check for complete dryness, and apply a final baking soda and essential oil treatment for freshness.

The Importance of Quick Action

When faced with the unfortunate task of cleaning vomit off a mattress, acting swiftly is paramount. The longer vomit sits on the mattress, the deeper it penetrates into the material, complicating the cleaning process and potentially causing permanent damage. Prompt action not only helps in preventing stains but also mitigates the risk of lingering odours that are harder to eliminate over time.

Prevents Stain Penetration

Vomit contains acidic substances that can quickly discolour fabric and materials. By cleaning it up immediately, you reduce the chance of permanent staining. Mattresses, with their porous nature, absorb liquids fast, making immediate cleaning vital.

Minimises Odour

The odour associated with vomit is particularly unpleasant and can become more difficult to remove if not addressed quickly. Immediate cleaning helps to ensure that the smell is neutralised before it can seep deeply into the mattress fibres.

Reduces Bacterial Growth

Vomit can be a breeding ground for bacteria if left unattended. Quick cleaning reduces the risk of bacteria spreading and multiplying, which not only poses a health risk but can also result in a longer-lasting odour.

Simplifies Cleaning Process

Cleaning vomit from a mattress is undoubtedly easier when the mess is fresh. Dried vomit not only becomes harder to remove but might also require more intensive cleaning methods, potentially involving harsh chemicals that could harm the mattress material.

By understanding the importance of quick action, you’re better equipped to tackle the challenge of cleaning vomit off a mattress effectively. Acting rapidly decreases the cleaning burden and helps preserve the longevity and hygiene of your mattress, ensuring a clean, comfortable sleeping environment.

Initial Cleaning Steps

After understanding the immediate necessity to clean vomit from your mattress to preserve its hygiene and longevity, follow these initial cleaning steps. These are designed to help you tackle the unpleasant task efficiently, ensuring a thorough clean that minimizes damage and odour.

Remove Solid Matter

First, don soft gloves to protect your hands from contamination. Carefully scoop up any solid portions of vomit with a spoon or a dustpan, trying not to press the substance further into the mattress. Dispose of it in a sealed plastic bag to contain the smell and prevent spreading germs.

Blot the Area

Next, grab a stack of paper towels or a clean, dry cloth. Gently blot the vomited area to absorb as much liquid as possible. It’s crucial to blot rather than rub to avoid spreading the vomit or pushing it deeper into the mattress fibres. Continue this process, using fresh towels or cloth sections, until no more liquid can be absorbed.

Apply Baking Soda

Once you’ve blotted up the excess liquid, liberally sprinkle baking soda over the affected area. Baking soda is highly effective at absorbing moisture and neutralizing odours. Cover the entire soiled area generously and let it sit for at least 10 to 15 minutes. If the vomit has penetrated deeply, you can let the baking soda remain for a few hours, enhancing its odour-absorbing and moisture-wicking properties.

Vacuum the Area

After allowing the baking soda to sit, use a handheld vacuum or the upholstery attachment of your vacuum cleaner to remove the baking soda from the mattress. Ensure the vacuumed area is completely free of baking soda particles. This step not only removes the baking soda but also any lingering dry particles of vomit.

Initiating the cleaning process with these steps lays a solid foundation for a comprehensive clean-up. The actions taken here prevent the vomit from setting deeply into the mattress, making the subsequent cleaning stages more straightforward and effective.

Choosing the Right Cleaning Solutions

After addressing the immediate mess using DIY tips, selecting the appropriate cleaning solutions is critical. These will ensure a deep clean without damaging your mattress. Here’s a guide on which solutions work best for different aspects of the clean-up.

Enzymatic Cleaners

Enzymatic cleaners are a top choice for vomit stains. They break down proteins found in vomit, effectively removing stains and odour. Brands like Nature’s Miracle or Krud Kutter offer options specifically designed for challenging organic stains. Use these by:

  • Applying directly to the stained area,
  • Letting it sit as per the product’s instructions, usually a few minutes,
  • Then, gently blotting away.

Diluted Dish Soap

For a milder approach, diluted dish soap works wonders. Mix one part dish soap with two parts warm water. This solution helps in removing any leftover residue and light stains. To use it:

  • Dip a clean cloth into the solution,
  • Dab gently on the affected area,
  • Rinse the cloth with clean water and dab again to remove soap residue.

White Vinegar and Water

White vinegar is effective for odour removal. Combine equal parts of white vinegar and water in a spray bottle. The acidity neutralises odour-causing bacteria. Here’s how to apply it:

  • Spray the solution lightly on the cleaned area,
  • Let it air dry for a few minutes,
  • If the smell persists, repeat the process.

Hydrogen Peroxide

For tough stains, a 3% solution of hydrogen peroxide can be used. Be cautious, as it may bleach some fabrics. Test on a small, inconspicuous area first. Apply by:

  • Pouring a small amount onto the stain,
  • Letting it sit for no more than a minute,
  • Blot away with a clean cloth.

Baking Soda for Final Touch

After using liquid solutions, sprinkle baking soda over the affected area to remove any lingering smells or moisture. Allow it to sit overnight, then vacuum it up. Baking soda absorbs any residual odour and moisture, leaving your mattress fresh.

Choosing the right cleaning solution depends on the severity of the stain and the sensitivity of your mattress material. Always test a small area first to ensure there’s no damage or discolouration. By carefully selecting and applying these solutions, you can effectively clean vomit off your mattress, restoring it to its original condition.

Deep Cleaning the Mattress

Following immediate clean-up and choosing the right cleaning solutions, deep cleaning your mattress becomes essential to thoroughly remove vomit stains and odours. This detailed process ensures your mattress returns to a clean, fresh state, preventing any lasting damage or scent retention.

Stripping and Airing Out

First, strip your mattress of all bedding, including sheets, mattress protectors, and any toppers, and wash these items in hot water. This step is vital for eliminating any residues or smells that might have penetrated the bedding. While your bedding is washing, allow your mattress to air out by opening windows or using a fan, which aids in evaporating any lingering moisture.

Applying Enzymatic Cleaners

Enzymatic cleaners play a crucial role in breaking down vomit particles that cause stains and odours. Apply the enzymatic cleaner to the affected area, following the product’s instructions. Typically, you’ll need to leave it to sit for 15 to 20 minutes before blotting away the excess with a damp cloth. Enzymatic cleaners are particularly effective because they target the proteins in vomit, ensuring a deeper clean.

Baking Soda Treatment

After using enzymatic cleaners, sprinkle baking soda generously over the entire mattress surface. Baking soda is excellent for absorbing any moisture and odours that remain. Leave the baking soda on for at least 8 hours, or ideally, overnight. This prolonged contact time allows it to absorb deeply embedded smells and moisture. Afterward, vacuum the mattress thoroughly to remove all baking soda residue.

Final Airing and Drying

Once you’ve vacuumed away the baking soda, let your mattress air out further. Ideally, if you can place the mattress in direct sunlight, UV rays will help disinfect the surface and eliminate any remaining dampness or bacteria. Ensure the mattress is completely dry before remaking your bed.

Preventive Measures

To safeguard against future incidents, consider investing in a waterproof mattress protector. These protectors are not only effective in preventing liquid damage but also ensure easier clean-up if accidents.

Engaging in deep cleaning after vomit incidents ensures your mattress remains in optimal condition, free from stains or unpleasant odours. By following these steps, you provide a clean, hygienic sleeping environment for yourself and your family.

Deodorising and Disinfecting

After managing the immediate mess, deodorising and disinfecting your mattress becomes the next crucial step in eliminating all traces of vomit. This process ensures your mattress is not only clean but also hygienic and pleasant-smelling.

Apply a Baking Soda Layer

Start by generously sprinkling baking soda over the entire affected area. Baking soda is a natural deodoriser and will help absorb any remaining moisture and odour. Let it sit for at least 8 hours, or overnight if possible, to give it ample time to work its magic. Vacuum it off thoroughly the next day, removing all residue.

Utilise Enzymatic Cleaners

For deep disinfection, apply an enzymatic cleaner suited for use on mattresses. These cleaners break down organic matter (such as vomit) at the molecular level, eliminating both stains and odours. Follow the product’s instructions carefully, usually involving spraying the affected area and letting it sit for a specified period.

Refresh with Essential Oils

Once the mattress is dry, consider adding a few drops of essential oils like lavender or eucalyptus to a spray bottle filled with water. Mist over the mattress to introduce a fresh, pleasant scent. These oils not only smell great but possess natural antibacterial properties, adding an extra layer of disinfection.

Ventilate and Dry

Finally, ensure the mattress is completely dry and well-ventilated before remaking your bed. Prop up the mattress against a wall near an open window if possible or use fans to circulate air around it. Drying prevents mould and mildew growth, ensuring the cleanliness and longevity of your mattress.

By following these steps, you will have effectively deodorised and disinfected your mattress, restoring it to a clean, fresh state. Regular maintenance, including prompt action when accidents occur and periodic deep cleaning, will help maintain a clean, hygienic sleeping environment.

Drying and Final Touches

After thoroughly cleaning and deodorising your mattress, ensuring it’s fully dry is crucial to prevent mould and mildew growth. Here’s how to finish the cleaning process with drying and final touches for a clean, fresh mattress.

Accelerate the Drying Process

  • Use a Fan: Place a standing fan or a desk fan close to the mattress, directing airflow over the damp area. This increases air circulation, speeding up the drying time.
  • Open Windows: If the weather permits, open windows in the room. Fresh air not only helps dry the mattress faster but also eliminates any lingering odours.
  • Apply Dry Towels: Press dry towels into the mattress to soak up excess moisture. Replace the towels as they become damp to ensure maximum absorbency.

Check for Complete Dryness

  • Inspect by Touch: After a few hours, check the mattress by pressing down with your hand. If any moisture is detected, continue drying.
  • Leave for 24 Hours: Depending on the extent of dampness, it might take up to 24 hours for the mattress to dry completely. Patience ensures that the mattress is thoroughly dry, safeguarding against mould.
  • Sprinkle Baking Soda: Once the mattress is dry, consider a light sprinkle of baking soda over the surface. Leave it for an hour, then vacuum it up. This absorbs any residual odours and leaves the mattress smelling fresh.
  • Use Essential Oils: For a refreshing scent, add a few drops of your favourite essential oil to the baking soda before sprinkling it on the mattress. Lavender, chamomile, or eucalyptus not only impart a pleasant aroma but also possess natural antibacterial properties.

By following these steps, you ensure that your mattress is not only clean but also completely dry and fresh. Regular maintenance, combined with immediate action when spills or accidents occur, maintains a hygienic, comfortable sleeping environment.


Tackling vomit on your mattress might seem daunting at first but with the right approach it’s entirely manageable. Remember the key is to act fast to avoid any lasting damage. By using the DIY cleaning solutions and techniques you’ve learned you’ll not only get rid of the mess but also any lingering smells. Don’t forget the importance of drying and regular maintenance to keep your mattress fresh and extend its life. With these tips you’re well-equipped to handle any future accidents ensuring a clean and comfortable sleeping environment. Happy cleaning!

Frequently Asked Questions

What should I do immediately after vomit incident on a mattress?

Immediately after a vomit incident, remove any solids and blot up as much liquid as possible. Rinse the area with cool water, and apply a cleaning solution such as enzymatic cleaner, dish soap, or vinegar mixed with water. Blot the area to remove the cleaning solution.

Can I use baking soda for cleaning vomit off a mattress?

Yes, baking soda is effective for removing odours after cleaning vomit from a mattress. After the mattress is dry, sprinkle a generous amount of baking soda over the affected area, let it sit for several hours or overnight, then vacuum it up.

How can I deodorise and disinfect a mattress after cleaning vomit?

To deodorise and disinfect, after the mattress is clean and dry, sprinkle baking soda over the area, and consider applying a mist of a diluted essential oil solution or an enzymatic cleaner. Let it sit for a few hours before vacuuming up the baking soda.

Is it important to dry a mattress thoroughly after cleaning vomit? Why?

Yes, it’s crucial to dry the mattress thoroughly to prevent mould and mildew growth, which can cause health issues and emit unpleasant smells. Use fans, open windows, or dry towels to accelerate the drying process and ensure the mattress is completely dry.

What regular maintenance advice is given for keeping a mattress clean and hygienic?

Regular maintenance involves immediate action in cleaning spills or accidents, ensuring good ventilation, and using protective covers to prevent staining and moisture absorption. Periodic deep cleaning and vacuuming are also recommended to maintain a clean and hygienic sleeping environment.