How to Clean Vomit from Mattress

how to clean vomit from mattress

One night, your gag reflex was thoroughly active, so you could not help throwing up on your mattress. It could have been caused by a night of excessive drinking or a disease. Whatever the reason is, we are not here to tell you it’s wrong to puke on your sleeping space. Rather, we’re here to nudge you to clean after yourself as soon as you can.

You will find some easy, simple, yet trusty methods on how to clean vomit from the mattress. You can then customize your cleaning approach based on what you’re dealing with. Is it fresh or dried vomit? Or is it human or animal vomit?

This article will also share with you some ways to protect your mattress. We have a lot to unpack here, so we better get started. Use our Table of Contents to get to your specific topic of choice. Or to jump from one section to another.

How to Clean Vomit from Mattress

Fresh Vomit

Clean Fresh Vomit Right Away

As soon as you see any sign of vomit on the mattress, make sure to wipe it off right away. It will be easier to clean it as long as it’s fresh. When it’s dried, it will be difficult to deal with. You have a higher chance of saving your mattress, too, if you act fast. But you can wash off dried vomit using the methods shared below.

As for cleaning immediately, you will need pieces of paper towel. You can remove the sticky and solid part first. We recommend the paper towel so you won’t have to wash any cloth afterward. With the former, you can throw it into the trash without fuss. With the latter, you can clean up in an environment-friendly way. Either option is okay. Just choose the one that works for you.

Add Detergent On the Affected Area

So far, we have been referring to human vomit in this section. You’ll need a different method for animal vomit. For now, let’s continue with human vomit. Liquid or powder, your household detergent should do. Use a cup of warm water to dilute a tablespoon of either form of the detergent. Coldwater is fine, but it can lower the effectiveness of the solution. 

Find a clean old towel or rag to continue. Dab it into the diluted dish soap and then apply it to the affected area. Let it sit for at least 10 minutes. Rinse it by wiping the same cloth, dipped into clean warm water, onto the mattress. Do this until the spot is no longer soapy. Again, warm water is preferred. Once you’re done rinsing, leave the area to dry completely. 

Use Vinegar Solution

We’re not yet done. 

If you proceed with this step, you don’t have to wait for the mattress to be fully dry. You can mix three parts vinegar with one part water to create a solution. White vinegar is known to disinfect, but it also acts as a deodorizer in this case. Using the cloth from earlier, put some vinegar solution onto the area with vomit.

Wait for another 10 minutes. When it’s dry, you can rinse the mattress with a damp cloth dipped into clean water. Once it’s cleaned, the vinegar smell also evaporates. You won’t have to worry about the acidic scent. Vinegar is a natural and safe ingredient you can use to wash off the vomit and the stains it has left on your sleeping space.

You can whiten sheets with vinegar, too.

Read: How to Make Sheets White Again

Sprinkle Baking Soda On The Bed

Aside from vinegar, baking soda is a common household ingredient that helps clean stains, like vomit. You can add it to the steps above or go directly to this part after wiping off the liquid vomit. Sprinkle a generous amount of baking soda on the bed. However, you’ll have to leave it overnight and let it dry. So make sure to have an alternate sleeping space while cleaning.

The next day, vacuum up the remnants of the baking soda. You can then use a dry towel to remove excess moisture. This ingredient is effective in drying out liquid or moisture. Just take out all the debris before using the mattress again.

Keep the Bed Fully Dry

After going through all the potent and helpful ingredients and methods to eliminate vomit, there’s only one thing left to do. This is to wrap things up by drying the bed completely. It’s the final step, no matter which mix of approaches you took to clean up.

Dry the mattress out in the sun and air. Do this during the daytime, possibly extending at night if there’s a safe and open area for you to leave it. This process will allow heat and air to dry the internal structure of the bed. Sunlight can also disinfect it, so you can say goodbye to the germs and bacteria that may be residing in it.

If it’s raining or outcast outside, you can use a hairdryer or a dehumidifier instead. The machine-based approach will take around two hours to complete. This means you’ll have to use up electricity that long to dry the bed thoroughly. No moisture must remain when you put it back in your bedroom. Moisture attracts mold and mildew, which you’ll hate to find in your mattress.

Pet Vomit

Pet Stain Remover

Return to the second step under the Fresh Vomit section. Remember that we said you need to do a special step if you’re dealing with animal vomit? So before you apply dish soap and water onto the stain, use a pet stain remover to treat the affected areas.

You can buy this specialized solution in pet stores. Your supermarket may also have it, but try the first option to be sure. Pour a reasonable amount onto the vomit stain and wait for around 10 minutes for it to work. Rinse the solution using a damp clean cloth. Repeat until you achieve the desired level of cleanliness. Then add vinegar and/or baking soda.

how to clean vomit from mattress

Dry Vomit

Mix Vinegar, Dish Soap, and Water

If the vomit is no longer fresh, you’ll need to rely on a solution with strong cleaning power. Mix one cup of white vinegar and one cup of warm water in a spray bottle. Add one teaspoon of liquid dish soap to strengthen the formula. Spray on the dried stain. 

Make sure the mattress will only be damp from your spraying. Don’t let it go wet. You’re just spot-cleaning at this point, so no need to saturate the layers. Plus, too much moisture can damage the materials inside your bed. Just concentrate your cleaning on the affected areas.

Then, get an old towel and use it to blot out excess moisture. Choose a towel with an absorbent fabric. 

Repeat applying the vinegar solution until you’ve cleaned out the spot. You’ll need more towels to cover each round, as you don’t want one towel transferring the stain to other parts of the bed.

Dry the Mattress

You can do the same methods shared earlier. Try sunlight and air, but no hairdryer or dehumidifier. You can settle with an overhead fan or air coming from the window to allow the mattress to dry overnight.

Rubbing Alcohol

You can spray rubbing alcohol or dab a small amount of sanitizer to disinfect the areas after cleaning and drying. There might be germs and bacteria left after everything you’ve done. This the final step, done for good measure.

Additional Tips

Clear Out the Bed

When the puke lands on the mattress, it’s crucial to act on it immediately. One of the first things you must do is to remove all unaffected bedding items. These are still clean. Sheets that are affected can also be spot-treated, better if separately. Do not throw them into the washing machine right away. Check every nook and cranny to ensure no vomit stain escapes your eyes.

Boric Acid

Here is an alternative if you don’t want to use vinegar and baking soda: boric acid. What is it? This is a powder you can find in the household supplies store. But it’s mostly available in specialty stores. It’s also called hydrogen borate, which you should get in powder form.

You can sprinkle it on a sponge and then rub the sponge on the affected areas in a circular motion. This should help remove the stain and odor fast.

Hydrogen Peroxide

Another effective alternative is hydrogen peroxide. You can pour a small amount on the stain or dilute it in water to spray on the stain. The first option is more potent, of course. Like with the rest of the ingredients, leave the solution to dry. And then rinse it with a damp clean cloth. Repeat the rinsing process if you wish to remove all traces of hydrogen peroxide.

You can buy hydrogen peroxide in the supermarket or pharmacy.

Note: Do not use bleach. Bleach may be fast-acting and whiten some fabrics, but it may damage the materials of your mattress. 

Protecting Your Mattress

Make Sure It’s Dry

We cannot overemphasize the importance of drying your mattress completely. You have several options on how to get vomit out of a mattress. But you also have a few choices for drying, such as laying the mattress out in the sun. This will promote even heat distribution and proper airflow, ensuring all layers are dry.

You can also try using a hairdryer, an electric fan, or a dehumidifier. It may take longer, but you can open your window overnight and let the air dry your bed. Whatever method you apply, the important thing is to keep moisture out. Otherwise, mold and mildew would cause new problems.

Use A Mattress Cover

A mattress cover or a mattress protector is used to protect the mattress. It can also cover the mattress pad on top. This sleep accessory serves as the first line of defense against disgusting spills and stains, like puke. You can get a fitted or a zip-off one. Take note that a mattress protector is different from a bedsheet. You can purchase them separately and use them together.

Mattress covers don’t cost a fortune. You can stock up on two or more, depending on how often you replace your sheets. It’s a worthwhile purchase because of how it protects your mattress from various threats.

Read: Do You Need A Mattress Pad or A Mattress Protector?

Drink Moderately

While we don’t want to judge or dictate your drinking habit, we’re just putting out this gentle reminder here. Excessive drinking can be one of the causes of people throwing up in bed. This is because you could feel too fatigued to project your vomit onto the toilet bowl. Indeed, puking in bed is often accidental.

But if you can hold your alcohol, you might not be bogged down by this effect. You can drift off to sleep, probably with a headache. But you won’t wake up in a pool of vomit beside you. The situation is avoidable if you drink alcohol in moderation.

Practice Using the Toilet When You Have the Urge to Puke

Whatever is causing you to throw up while lying down, you may already feel your gag reflex activating prior to puking. If you can tell it, then you can possibly run to the bathroom and finish your business there. Of course, this is more probable for adults than it is for kids. But you can train your kids or yourself anyway.

Clean Regularly

Having a regular schedule for mattress cleaning helps keep your bedroom fresh and healthy. Checking out your sheets and mattress for missed stains is essential. You can set a sustainable routine, say, every three months regarding this. You can align it with the changing of the seasons for easy remembrance.

During this regular, major cleaning session, you might discover stubborn stains or dirt on your bed. Dried vomit can be one of them. In this case, refer to the section discussing how to remove dried vomit from your mattress. Of course, cleaning fresh vomit is crucial. But if you find one that’s dried up and all, acting on it soon is the best thing you can do.


Whether it’s fresh or dried vomit, this guide has provided you with potent solutions to deal with it. You can use common household items to clean vomit out of a mattress. How to get vomit smell out of a mattress, though? That’s also answered in this article. So there’s nothing left to do but to wipe off that disgusting puke on your bed.

The methods shared here are simple and easy. But some of them may take time, particularly the final step: drying. Make sure to follow the instructions on drying. This is important if you don’t want mold and mildew to reside inside your mattress.

These organisms love to stay in moist environments. And vinegar, hydrogen peroxide, and other mixtures can leave moisture in the affected areas.

That said, which methods are you planning to use on treating vomit stains and smells? Come back here to share with us the results, will you?