Step by Step Guide on How To Clean Vomit From a Mattress

We may earn a small commission if you buy something via a link on this page. This doesn't impact our rankings or cost you extra. See our advertising disclosure for details.

Of all bedroom furniture, your mattress is the most important as it’s the one that offers the final support when you’re resting on the bed. For this reason, investing in the right memory foam mattress is very important as it offers the right support and level of comfort you’re looking for.

But, no matter how supportive your memory foam mattress can be, one thing that can ruin your sleep is lying on a mattress soaked with smelly vomit. You see, there are times when things do get out of hand. For instance, you may throw up on the bed due to stomach upset, food poisoning, a fever or drinking too much alcohol.

1 2

Sometimes it may be your kid or if you’re a pet parent, your pet may puke on the mattress due to a stomach upset. Animal vomit is also full of bacteria so make sure to clean vomit that comes from animals as thoroughly as possible.

For those with a mattress protector or memory foam mattress covers, machine washing the beddings can be an easy affair. But, what if you don’t have a waterproof mattress cover with you? One, it’s impossible to machine wash your mattress and second, washing it manually means that a hair dryer won’t do the trick anymore and it will take a decade to dry up especially if you’re in the cold months.

So, if you feel you’re the one we’re talking to, then you don’t have to worry as this short guide has offered a step-by-step procedure on how to clean vomit from your mattress.

But First, What are Some Benefits of Having a Clean Mattress?

Even if your mattress is covered by a mattress cover, mattress pad or a mattress protector, vomit can still leak through to the mattress causing it to smell and stain. Remember, the dampness on the mattress is what attracts mold and bacteria causing severe health consequences if you’re not careful.

So, before we get to our main topic of the day, let’s first discuss some benefits of having a clean mattress.

  • Peace of mind:

Sleeping on a clean mattress free from any dust, dampness, and bacteria is one way of reducing the risk of sleep disorder.

2 2

  • Reduced allergies:

A dirty mattress is usually less hygienic. So, if it’s soaked in vomit, it automatically becomes a breeding ground for common insects such as dust mites and bed bugs. Lying on a mattress infested with these insects can put you at a high risk of getting infected with major allergy-related illnesses such as asthma, eczema, sinusitis, and rhinitis.

  • A healthier air quality:

An average adult requires about 8 hours of sleep daily. If you’re sleeping on a dirty mattress, this simply means that you’ll be breathing dusty air which can cause allergy in the long last. So, cleaning your mattress means that you’ll be breathing fresh air which is good for your health.

So, What are Some Supplies You’ll Need to Clean Your Mattress?

To clean vomit from a mattress isn’t a walk in the park. It’s a difficult endeavor that requires you to have the right tools to accomplish it with ease. Apart from just scraping the vomit from the mattress, you also have to think of how you can remove the stain and the odor to give your mattress a fresh smell. So, with that said, here are some supplies you need to get ready.

  • Old towels and rags
  • Paper towel or rag
  • Pet stain remover
  • Rubbing alcohol
  • Baking soda
  • Dehumidifier
  • White vinegar
  • Measuring cup
  • Rubber gloves

Easy Steps to Follow

  • Step 1: Start by Wiping Off the Vomit

To successfully remove vomit from a mattress, you first need to identify the problem then clean it as soon as possible. At least by doing this, the vomit will not have time to dry up which can cause a tough stain that will be hard to clean afterward.

To clean vomit from a mattress, you’ll need to use a paper plate or a bowl to scoop the vomit liquid from the surface of the mattress. Place the vomit in a plastic bag then dispose of it by flushing it in the toilet. Before you commence, it’s a good practice that you first wear your gloves to protect your hands from germs. We also suggest to put an old rag on the floor just in case some of the animal or human vomit spills to the floor.

Also, remember to wash the dustpan, bowl, or paper plate that you used when scooping the vomit and all the other things you probably used like a towel or rag. You should also throw used paper towels immediately.

  • Step 2: Remove the Bed Sheets and Clean Them Thoroughly

When you’re done with the first step, then you can move on with the second one which includes removing all the bed sheets from the mattress to machine wash them. There are two reasons why it’s good to use a washing machine when cleaning all your beddings. First, you’ll manage to kill all the lingering sick germs with the washing powder and second, you’ll successfully manage to remove any smell that might be present in the rest of your beddings. After all the cleaning, always make sure to let it dry afterwards. You can use a dry towel or a hair dryer to dry it all up.

4 1

Note: Always use the highest temperature setting in your washing machine when cleaning the beddings as this will help to kill all germs.

  • Step 3: Soak up Any Remaining Liquids From Your Mattress

Once you’ve removed the sheets from the bed, you’ll most likely discover that some vomit stain had already penetrated to the mattress. If that’s the case, don’t panic. Instead, use a dry cloth, a paper towel or an old rag to soak up the remaining vomit from the mattress. This process can help the mattress dry completely. It is also best to let the mattress air dry.

Caution: Avoid rubbing the stained area as this can cause the vomit to penetrate deeper making things even worse.

  • Step 4: Time to Get Rid of the Odor

When you’re through with blotting the remaining vomit, it’s now time to get rid of the vomit smell. This step is usually bypassed by most people yet it’s equally important as the rest of the steps. If the vomit is from your pet, don’t forget to add this step in your cleaning process because animal vomit or dog vomit has more bacteria.

Here, pour a pet stain remover over the affected area then wait for around 10 minutes for the stain remover to entirely penetrate before you can soak it thoroughly using another dry rag or paper towel. There are pet stain removers available in pet stores. If the vomit is not from your pet but rather a human vomit, then you can go straight to the next step. 

  • Step 5: Clean the Mattress Using Warm Water and Vinegar

Since there must be some vomit stain left in the mattress, a more targeted cleaner is required to remove the stains and clean vomit entirely. Here, you’ll need to mix one cup of warm water with one cup of vinegar then shake them thoroughly in a spray bottle.

5 2

Why use a vinegar solution? Well, the reason why vinegar is the perfect option for removing stains is due to its disinfecting and deodorizing characteristics.

Now, after you’ve applied the white vinegar mixture, wait for approximately ten minutes before using a damp cloth to clean it. Though vinegar smell sour, you shouldn’t worry about it as it tends to fade away as the solution dries.

If you’re looking for more cleaning power, you can opt to add one teaspoon of liquid dish soap to the solution. However, ensure the dish soap solution doesn’t have a moisturizing formula or else you’ll end up voiding your mattress’s warranty.

Depending on the severity of the vomit stains, you may need to apply the vinegar solution a few more times just to be sure the stains are removed entirely. Make sure you have several clean towels as you’ll need to use a clean one in every clean up cycle.

If all the stain has totally been removed, wipe them with dry paper towels and leave the mattress to self dry for 6 to 8 hours. You can either use an overhead or a freestanding fan or you can simply open the windows to speed up the drying process.

Caution: Do not use too much vinegar solution or else you’ll end up damaging the foam material in your mattress.

  • Step 6: Apply Rubbing Alcohol to Disinfect the Mattress

Even after cleaning the mattress thoroughly, some germs will still be present in the area where the vomit was. So, to get rid of these germs entirely (especially if the vomit was from your pet), you need to spray rubbing alcohol in the affected areas.

7 2

If you’re worried about the strong smell of the alcohol, you can alternatively mix the rubbing alcohol with some essential oils or you can simply use an unscented hand sanitizer to kill the germs. Again allow the rubbing alcohol to self dry for about 6 to 8 hours.

  • Step 7: Apply Baking Soda to the Stained Area

Baking soda is very effective in cleaning stains because baking soda dissolves dirt in warm water. 

So when you’re done with all the above steps, the final process is to sprinkle baking soda on the affected area to absorb any remaining liquid inside the mattress. You can spray a high amount of baking soda if you wish. However, you have to leave the baking soda to stay overnight onto the area to do its job effectively.

When everything is done, you can now vacuum your mattress thoroughly or you can simply use a broom to clean the surface of the mattress.


If you’ve followed these steps carefully, then congratulations. You’ve successfully cleaned vomit from your mattress. Although this process might seem to be a challenging chore, provided you have the right piece of information at hand, then there’s nothing to worry about.

Finally, if you’re prone to vomiting, then its best that you invest in a high-quality waterproof mattress cover, topper and pad as it will do a decent job of protecting your mattress from getting excess vomits.

Henry Carlson
Henry Carlson

Henry’s first job was in the furniture and mattress industry as a sales associate. From there, he moved up to merchandising specialist for several years and then became an assistant manager. Working in the industry gave him access to a lot of products and also helped him gain in-depth knowledge.

Sleep Report