Remove Vomit & Odor from Your Car

Cleaning Vomit From Car

Ah, St. Patty’s day! It’s coming quickly, and if you’re someone in a relatively populous area that has even a wee bit of Irish heritage, you know what kind of party March 17th is. So what’s this have to do with car care? Designated drivers + packed cars + notorious drinking holiday = vomit. If you’ve never been fortunate enough to drive drunk people home from a party, I guarantee someone you know has experienced the horror of such an occasion. Believe me, it happens – if our detail shop is any indication, it’s actually fairly common. So the big question is, how can you remove the mess (and the smell!) from you car? Simple…

In 3 easy steps you can have vomit out of your car, the smell neutralized at the source, and you might just forget that you drove your drunk friends home in the first place. Ok, so maybe that image will stick in your mind pretty vividly, but you catch my drift. Here goes.

Step One: Clean
Yeah, it’s gross. But unless you want to pay a detailer a cool $150 I suggest you throw on some rubber gloves, grab a shop vac (or borrow one from the friend who yacked), and get your cleaning supplies ready. For products, all you’ll need is a leather/carpet/upholstery cleaner (or all three if he/she was particularly volatile) and a soft horsehair brush for the respective surfaces.

Now, after you’ve vacuumed up the “big stuff,” spray and brush, then vacuum. Spray and brush… vacuum. Spray and brush… vacuum. Spray and brush… vacuum. Okay, that should be enough. Next, dab with a microfiber towel (paper towels will work well on carpet) to remove any heavy moisture. Repeat as necessary until any staining or visible residue is removed. And now you’re ready to remove to odor and neutralize.

Step Two: Prep
Time to rid the surface of any odor using a no-scent odor eliminator. Spray the area completely and allow the product to work. In this case, if you’re using Neutra-Scent, the spray traps the odor at a molecular level and encapsulates it – removing the scent from the air. Do not use a scented product, these tend to simply “cover up” the smell.

With the odor removed, quickly cover the effected areas with an interior pH neutralizer to bring each surface as close as possible to a pH of 7. This will allow the next step, protect, to work properly and effectively.

Step Three: Protect
Woo! You’ve made it. Starting to forget about last night, eh? Sorry for reminding you – the protect step should make up for it. With a clean, odorless, neutralized surface… it’s time to protect against future messes. Why protect, you ask? Because as car owners (and car cleaners) we’re supposed to learn from our mistakes and mishaps, of course. So how do you do it? Easy. If its carpet or upholstery, just grab a carpet protectant and lightly spray it evenly on the surface. If you need leather treatment, a leather cream will do just fine! Next, all you’ve got to do is let it dry. If you’ve got a fan handy, point it toward the carpets – you’ll save loads of time.

And there you have it. No amount of green beer or beef barley soup can beat a solid detailing procedure; and if you follow Clean, Prep, Protect… you’ll be back to normal (if not better) in no time at all!

Gave this process a try? Let us know how it went in the comments? Got your own problem that you want answer by our experts? Ask us below!

  • dude

    puked in my passenger seat floor after drinking to much at the pub. have worked 2 75 hour weeks and haven’t cleaned it up yet. do i have any hope? its been pretty cold since then..

    • You should be able to remove the mess just fine after following the steps outlined above. The fact that it hasn’t been warm out helps. But still, your best bet in this case is probably going to be the Carpet & Upholstery Cleanser and a little elbow grease. Let me know if you have any other questions. I’m happy to help.

      -Andrew @ Dr. Beasley’s

  • AJ

    Does the product, “capture” help? I did this sad sad thing to my bf’s car last weekend and have tried baking soda, vinegar and resolve and none of that stuff has helped so far. I’m going to try this method. I’m crossing my fingers it works because the car smells god awful nasty and I feel terrible! ugh! Thank you!!!!! 🙂

    • Unfortunately I can’t speak on behalf of “Capture” but I can say that Neutra-Scent works great for eliminating odors. Let us know how it goes!


  • Bob

    Doesn’t even work

  • Courtney

    Husband puked all over the passenger seat, center console, and stick… how do you get under the plastic to get all the ‘stuff’ in hard to reach areas?!

    I’ve cleaned all the ‘big stuff’ and used a bristle scrub brush all over the carpet but the middle console, on the ground, is so narrow and small that even a paint stick couldn’t get everything out from under the plastic.

    Also, what about for USB ports and car charger ports? He managed to get ‘stuff’ inside the cigarette/car charger port thing and all around the USB port, and using liquid around tech stuff is clearly not a good idea


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