Both kids and fur-kids are likely to have an occasional bout of vomiting. Most of the time, it's normal, but knowing that doesn't make cleanup any more pleasant. Mitigating a dog vomit incident involves addressing both the stains and the smells.
Remove the Vomit
For the vomit cleanup task, fast hands are key. Though the attendant smells and textures are more repulsive, fresh vomit is much easier to clean, less likely to stain, and has less of a chance for the odor to permeate the area.
Use the spatula or spoon to scrape away any solids or chunks of fresh or dried vomit into the dustpan. For easy disposal, use a sandwich baggie instead of a pan.
Sprinkle cornstarch, baking soda or sawdust over the top of any residual liquid to muffle smells and create removable clumps. Wait a few minutes, and the cornstarch will absorb the liquid into removable clumps. Scoop up the clumps or use your vacuum's wet/dry function to vacuum them up.
Fight Vomit Stains
On hardwood or tile floor, treat the affected area with a mixture of warm water and dish soap with a generous splash of vinegar. This will help neutralize any bacteria and remove the last traces of vomit and its smell. Wipe clean.
If you're dealing with a vomit stain on carpet or fabric, use the same mixture of mild soapy water to wash by hand or in the gentle cycle of the washing machine.
In situations where the fabric cannot be washed -- such as non-removable slipcovers or carpeting -- use a mild liquid cleanser on the area and flush with plenty of warm water so the digestive acids don't work their way into the fabric. Use a gentle blotting motion to avoid damage to the fabric fibers.
Dog vomit smells are a byproduct of the chemical reactions caused by digestive juices. An enzyme-based cleaner will help with any pungent aromas. These cleaners contain enzymes, a protein, that help speed up reactions and eliminate smells more quickly. Some cleaners are even targeted toward specific odors, like pet smells or bodily fluids.
For the lingering smells left by natural cleaners, like the vinegar solution, add essential oils or citrus peels to the cleaner itself. Run a desktop or box fan during and after cleaning to help dissipate unwelcome odors.
If your dog is vomiting more than usual or her vomit smells especially bad, take her to the vet. It may be a sign of a bowl obstruction or something even more serious.
Tips to Get Rid of Dog Vomit Smell
- Clean it up right away - the longer it sits, the more the smell can spread and set in. Use paper towels or an old towel to absorb as much as possible.
- Use an enzymatic cleaner or pet odor eliminator spray made specifically for vomit and solid wastes. The enzymes help break down the organic matter. Let it sit for 5-10 minutes before wiping.
- Baking soda and vinegar can help absorb and neutralize odors. Sprinkle baking soda liberally on the area, let sit for 15-20 minutes, then vacuum up. Follow with white vinegar wipedown.
- Steam clean carpets and upholstery where the vomit was. The heat will help release stuck-on residue and bacteria. Use pet odor neutralizer in the solution.
- Open windows or turn on fans to help air circulate and dissipate the smell. Plugging in an air purifier can also help filter the air.
- Wash any bedding, towels or clothes that were soiled in vinegar first, then laundry detergent with enzymatic ingredients.
- Replace any thick cushions or pillows that absorbed the smell. Odors can get trapped in the stuffing.
- Use a blacklight to spot invisible residue. Re-clean any areas that glow under the light.
- Be patient. It may take multiple cleanings and airing out to fully get rid of the odor. But staying on top of it quickly can help prevent lingering smells.
Items You Will Need
- Rubber gloves
- Paper towels
- Baking soda
- Vacuum cleaner
- Club soda
- Nontoxic pet cleaner
Kat Stromquist received a master's in creative writing from the University of New Orleans. She writes about interior design and lifestyle issues for a variety of print and web outlets.