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How to Clean Cat Vomit from Carpet (Step-By-Step Guide)

Chelsie Fraser

By Chelsie Fraser

cat vomit on the carpet

If your cat vomits on the carpet, it can be tempting to clean up right away. But before you get started, put your cat’s safety first. Make sure that your cat is breathing normally and has no other signs of sickness. Vomiting can have many causes1, and while most are minor, it can be a sign of something more serious. If there is blood in the vomit, contact a vet immediately.

Once your cat is safe, you can prepare for cleanup by gathering all the materials you need and clearing the space of anything that might get in your way (including the cat!) so that your work is easier and so that the mess doesn’t get tracked beyond its original spot. It’s advisable to wear rubber gloves and clothes that can get dirty.

The 6 Steps For How to Clean Cat Vomit from Carpet

Materials Needed

  • Trash bag
  • Rubber gloves
  • Vinegar
  • Water
  • Laundry detergent (optional)
  • Spray bottle
  • Cleaning rags
  • Baking soda
  • Vacuum

1. Clean up Chunks

The first step when cleaning up vomit is to get any loose vomit off the carpet. Peel the chunks of vomit or thicker standing liquid that hasn’t soaked into the carpet and throw it away. Be careful not to press the vomit further into the carpet; it’s better to leave something behind than to saturate your carpet more than it already is!

cleaning cat vomit in carpet
Image Credit: Kristi Blokhin, Shutterstock

2. Soak with Vinegar Solution

After you remove what you can, create a solution of vinegar and water in a spray bottle. We recommend 50% vinegar and 50% water. If your stain is partially dried, adding a small amount of laundry detergent to the bottle can help loosen it. Spray the stain liberally with the solution.

3. Wait, Blot, Repeat

Wait 2–3 minutes for it to soak in. Blot it with a cleaning rag, removing the vinegar and vomit. Hard scrubbing will push the stain deeper into the carpet; instead, use your rag to lift as much liquid as possible. You may need to do this several times to remove the stain as thoroughly as possible. Repeat as needed.

cleaning carpet with sponge
Image Credit: Stephen VanHorn, Shutterstock

4. Add Baking Soda

Once you’ve removed as much of the stain as possible with vinegar, you can use baking soda to break down any remaining acid and get rid of lingering odors. Sprinkle the area with baking soda, creating an even layer across the stained area.

5. Come Back for Vacuuming

The baking soda needs some time to do its magic. Wait at least 15 minutes, although an hour or two is even better. Then, return to the scene of the mess with a vacuum and vacuum up the baking soda. Any lingering odors should go with it.

adorable cat walks beside vacuum
Image credit: Mr_Mrs_Marcha, Shutterstock

6. Know When to Use a Stronger Cleaner

Harsh chemicals usually aren’t necessary for carpet stains from cat vomit, but old, caked-on stains might not go away with just vinegar, soap, and baking soda. If you’ve tried all the steps above and the stain persists, consider switching to something formulated for carpet stains, like an enzymatic cleaner.

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Cleaning up cat vomit is never a fun task, but it’s necessary to maintain a sanitary environment and home. And, naturally, you feel bad that your cat vomited in the first place! However, we hope these steps get you started on cleaning up the unpleasant mess. Remember to tell your cat that it is not their fault they vomited on the carpet. Accidents happen!

Featured Image Credit: Kristi Blokhin, Shutterstock

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