It’s not nice watching our pets vomit.  And then we have to clean it up.  Still, as long as our pets are okay and only have an upset tummy, we can deal with the vomit.  But what’s the best way to do that?  We asked Simple Solution’s stain and odor expert Scott Plasek a LOT of questions about how to clean up pet vomit.  It’s a long read, but we think you’ll find it interesting:

Are there different types of pet vomit?

Pet vomit can come in many forms.  It depends on what’s been eaten, the amount of time since the meal, and your pet’s water intake.  For cleaning, it’s very important to follow some simple rules with pet vomit: get to it as fast as is possible, remove as much of the “chunky” solids as you can, and if needed, do multiple applications using some sort of agitation – for instance, with a brush – to loosen the vomit from carpet fibers.

Any differences between cat and dog vomit?

Cat and dog digestive systems are very different.  Cats digest much better than dogs and so the cat vomit, while usually less in quantity, is much more concentrated.  This means it may need more cleanings to remove from the carpet. Dogs digest fast but will vomit quicker.  Dog vomit usually contains more food particles and less acid.

What’s the science behind vomit?

Like humans, pet vomit contains food, water, acid, saliva and sometimes other materials such as mucus. Usually, the first episode of vomiting is loose material that is easier to clean.  As the episodes increase in frequency, the material becomes much more concentrated, with less food and water and more acid, with a sticky, gooey concentration which is harder to clean.

How is cleaning vomit different to cleaning pet urine stains?

Pet urine stains contain proteins and materials that will appear yellow in color.  This yellow color is related to the hydration level of your pet.  These proteins are easily removed with general cleaning. Also, it’s all liquid, so it sinks to the lowest level of the surface, i.e., the padding beneath the carpet. Pet vomit, however, can contain so many different materials that it will need special attention to make sure the area is clean.  Since pet vomit is a composition of solids and liquids, it may need more than one type of pet cleaner to remove all the vomit from the surface and down in the padding.

What damage can vomit do to carpets and floors if left untreated?

In general, if you get to the spot fast, the stain can be removed easily.  If left untreated, depending upon the concentration level of the vomit, it could discolor the carpet fibers.  

What type of stain & odor cleaner is best for pet vomit?

In general, an OXY-type cleaner is best.  It works to remove the material from the carpet by using hydrogen peroxide.  But, due to pet vomit potentially getting to the padding underneath, I would also suggest a Pro-enzyme formula to remove the material you cannot see.

What’s the best way to clean/treat pet vomit?  

I always suggest a three-step approach to cleaning pet vomit for the best results:

  1. Remove as much of the solid material as is possible with a cloth or paper towels.  A typical kitchen spatula can also help scoop up the solid material. I wouldn’t suggest using a vacuum cleaner, but a wet/dry vacuum may help.
  2. Start with an OXY stain and odor remover.  The OXY will help break down the thick bonding action of the pet vomit.  Spray liberally, work into the carpet and blot to remove the vomit.  (NOTE: Always test your carpet for colorfastness before using an OXY cleaner on your carpet. See the instructions on the bottle.)
  3. Allow the area to dry for 2 -3 hours and then follow up with a generous application of a Pro-enzyme Stain and Odor formulation.  This will soak into the carpet down into the padding and work to remove any watery residue that is below the carpet that you cannot see.  This material, if left untreated, may cause very unpleasant odors later.

Which Simple Solution cleaners work best on vomit?

For OXY, I would suggest the Simple Solution OXY and the Simple Solution triple OXY formulations.  For the Pro-enzyme formulation, the Simple Solution Extreme Stain and Odor will be the best.

What about yellow bile?  

It depends on the concentration level, but in general terms, a good OXY formulation will remove the stain from the carpet.  It may need multiple applications.  

What about old vomit stains?  

A stain and odor remover cannot fix carpet fibers that have been re-colored or bleached with the pet vomit.  If the pet vomit has been on the carpet for some time, it may be best to call a carpet cleaning expert.  Simple Solution cleaners are specifically formulated and tested continually on all types of carpet to make sure that they do not affect the color or typical carpet fibers.  

Some pets have nervous stomachs and throw up a lot.  Will a stain & odor remover stop them from doing it in the same place?

That’s usually the good news about pets that vomit a lot, especially cats: they don’t usually seek out the same place to vomit.  Some may, however, if they want to hide or find a “safe” spot.  While this may seem like the same spot, in general, it’s the same spot for other reasons.  Along with urine stains, a good, thorough cleaning will remove all material from the surface.

What else is it important to know about cleaning up pet vomit?

Below are some good tips for all types of pets:

  1. Pets, like people, will vomit.  Their digestive systems will run across things that they don’t like and their bodies, like ours, will trigger the “ejection” button.  So, BE PREPARED!  Buy the Simple Solution stain and odor formulas and be ready.  It’s not “if” it will happen, it’s “when.”
  2. Be prepared to do the “dirty work”.  To get the area clean, it takes work.  Simply standing upright over the spot and spraying (and spraying) stain and odor remover, hoping that it will go away, will not work with pet vomit.  Look for tools around the house like kitchen spatulas to help you.
  3. For best results, treat with both types of stain and odor removers: Oxy and Pro-enzyme.  This way you’ll cover all the bases.  You can’t see what’s under the carpet, so it’s better to be safe than sorry.  Besides, you don’t want to be looking for the exact spot that’s causing the odor in the following days or weeks, and potentially have to treat the entire room of carpet.  Treat it now when you know where the spot is.
  4. Finally, if your pet continues to vomit on the floor, we suggest taking your cat or dog to your veterinarian to get them checked out.  There are many health issues that can cause pets to vomit.  

We think Scott has covered everything there is to know about pet vomit!  But if you have any more questions, please let us know in the comments section below.