How Do I Clean Vomit From Car Seat: A Step-by-step Guide

Written by

Bruce Sonnier


Marcus Dutton

how do i clean vomit from car seat

We’ve all been there – the dreaded moment when you realize your car seats are covered in vomit. Whether your child got carsick from a long drive or your dog decided to leave a special surprise behind during an evening walk, the horror of it all is real.

But don’t panic! Sure, it may seem like a daunting task to get puke out of car seat fabric, but there are simple steps you can take to make the process easier.

How do I clean vomit from car seat? In this article, we’ll give you the lowdown to get rid of the smell and stains in no time!

A Step-by-step Guide for Normal Car Seats


Unless you’re super lucky, chances are, you need to deal with the terrible task that is to get vomit out of your car seat. But don’t worry – we’ve got your back on this one.

What to prepare?

First things first: Preparation. You’ll want to make sure that you have all the supplies necessary for the job.


  • Rubber gloves
  • A spatula
  • Disposable bags
  • Brush
  • Paper towels
  • Clean water
  • Baking soda
  • Vinegar, preferably white vinegar
  • Enzyme cleaner
  • Vacuum cleaner

Step 1: Remove excess vomit


Use a disposable bag and a spatula to remove any excess vomit from the car seat. Then, clean the seats again with a vacuum cleaner and some paper towels.

Be careful not to press the vomit further into the fabric, which will only make the stain worse.

Step 2: Use baking soda


After the vomit is scooped out of the seat, pour some baking soda to cover the stains entirely. It is the best way to absorb the moisture and neutralize the odor.

Step 3: Clean with vinegar solution


Mix one part vinegar with two parts water and use a clean cloth to apply the solution to the vomit stain. Vinegar is a natural disinfectant and helps to break down the proteins in the vomit.

Better yet, you can scrub it into fabric using a stiff brush until it forms a soapy lather.

Step 4: Use enzyme cleaner


From experience, Enzyme cleaner is best used to get throw up out of car seat. It can help break down organic stains such as urine and vomit 

Apply the enzyme cleaner to the vomit stain and let it sit for at least 20 minutes. Finally, use paper towels to absorb as much of the excess liquid as you can.

Step 5: Rinse with clean water


Rinse the car seat with clean water to remove any remaining vomit and cleaning solution. Then, make sure to use a clean cloth to blot the area until it is dry.

Step 6: Let it dry


Let the seats dry in daylight. The sun can really do magic to the smells!

Steps to Clean Vomit on Baby Car Seats

Before you start cleaning, it is essential to prepare the necessary tools to avoid making the situation worse. Here are the things you should have:


  • Rubber gloves
  • Disposable bags
  • Brush
  • Paper towels
  • Clean water
  • Laundry detergent

Cleaning vomit from a child car seat requires extra care and attention. Here are the steps to follow:

Step 1: Remove and prepare


First, remove the car seat from the car and place it on a clean and flat surface. Make sure that the car seat is completely disconnected from the car and that all the straps and buckles are undone. 

If you want to lift a baby Graco car seat, just press its release handle at the base. Many models work the same, you can just check the manual.

Then, use a damp cloth to clean the car seat straps and frame. Wipe away any dirt, debris, or crumbs that may have accumulated on the car seat. Blot up any excess liquid from the surface with paper towels.

Step 2: Soak and rinse


Soak the car seat cover in warm water for at least 30 minutes. This will help to loosen any dirt or stains on the cover.

After soaking, rinse the car seat cover with clean water. Make sure to rinse thoroughly to remove all the soap and detergent.

If there are any stubborn stains on the cover, rub gently at the stain with the cloth and then rinse off with warm water before allowing it to air dry.

Step 3: Dry the car seat


Once you have cleaned the car seat straps, frame, and cover, let them air dry completely before putting the cover back on the car seat. Do not use a dryer or any other heating device to dry the car seat cover, as this may damage the fabric.

Once the cover is completely dry, put it back on the car seat. Refer to the car seat manual to ensure that you are putting the cover on correctly.

Tips for Cleaning Vomit From Car Seat


  • Act fast

The longer vomit sits on the car seat, the harder it is to remove. The longer you wait, the more the vomit will soak into the seat, making it harder to clean and increasing the chances of permanent stains and odors.

Keep a towel or a cloth in the car to immediately wipe up any spills or stains.  

  • Use a vacuum cleaner

A vacuum cleaner can help to remove any excess vomit and baking soda from the car seat quickly and effectively.

  • Wear gloves

Protect your hands from bacteria and germs by wearing rubber gloves while cleaning vomit from a car seat.

  • Test cleaning solutions

Before using any cleaning solution, test it on a small, inconspicuous area of the car seat to ensure it does not cause discoloration or damage.

Some cleaning solutions can damage the car seat’s fabric or cause discoloration, so it is essential to test them first.

  • Let the car seat dry

After cleaning the car seat, let it air dry before using it again. It works best if you leave the seat under the sun.

Preventive Measures to Avoid Future Stains


  • Use a car seat cover

A car seat cover can protect the car seat from spills and stains. A car seat cover can also protect the car seat from wear and tear, extending its lifespan.

  • Use a plastic bag

Keep a plastic bag in the car to dispose of any vomit or other waste. This will prevent the waste from spilling on the car seat and making a mess. You can also use the plastic bag to store wet or dirty clothes or towels.

  • Avoid eating in the car

Eating in the car increases the risk of spills and stains. Food and drinks can spill on the car seat and leave stubborn stains. If you must eat in the car, use a tray or a container to prevent spills. Avoid eating messy foods like burgers, pizzas, or tacos.

  • Clean the car seat regularly

Regular cleaning can prevent stains and keep the car seat looking new. Vacuum the car seat regularly to remove any dirt or debris.

By following these preventive measures, you can avoid future stains and spills in your car seat.

How to Remove Vomit Smell


To get rid of vomit smell, use a stain remover containing enzymes to break down organic matter and neutralize unpleasant odors.

Also, many get vomit smell out of car seat by adding baking soda on the affected area for at least 30 minutes. Vacuum the baking soda and repeat the process if necessary.

You can also use an air freshener to mask the odor.



How long does it take for the vomit to stop smelling?

Depending on the quantity of vomit involved, you may have to allow 12-24 hours for the smell to disappear.

Will cleaning vomit from my car seat damage the upholstery?

Generally, no. Cleaning vomit from your car seat will not damage the upholstery, specifically leather car seat, if done correctly.

Thus, it’s best to test any cleaning solution on a small area before using it on an entire spot. Also, make sure not to scrub too hard at the stained area to prevent further damage.

How long will it take for my car seat to dry after cleaning?

Depending on the type of cleaner you use plus other factors such as how wet or dry your car interior is during this time of year, expect it could take anywhere from an hour or two up to 24 hours for your car seat to fully dry post-cleaning.

To speed up the process, use a fan or open the car windows to allow air circulation.

How much does it cost to clean vomit in the car?

The cost will vary depending on how extensive the stain is and whether or not professional help is needed. Car vomit cleaning service often varies from $80 to $150.


Many car users ask, how do I clean vomit from car seat? It’s true that cleaning vomit from a car seat is easy, but avoiding lasting stains and odors is necessary. Following the steps outlined in this article, you can effectively clean throw up from your car seat and prevent future stains.

With the right tools and techniques, you can have your car seat looking and smelling like new again.

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