As a car owner, the last thing you want in your car is the sight and smell of dog vomit.

Dogs are great travel buddies, no doubt!

But all that motion often makes them sick. The result? A pool of vomit right in your car!

If you encounter this situation often, we are here for you! This post will discuss how to clean dog vomit in the car with some simple steps.

We don’t want you guys to compromise on quality time with your dog, so let’s get to it!

How to Clean Dog Vomit in Car in 6 Easy Steps!

dog vomit

Part 1: Immediately Clean Whatever You Can

If your dog vomits in the car, you must try to clean it right away.

We know this is not always possible especially while driving but try to make a stop and clean whatever you can.

You will need the following:

  • Resealable plastic bags
  • Paper towels
  • Water
  • Disinfectant wipes

We recommend that you keep these items in your vehicle for such emergencies.

The key here is not to let the vomit soak and dry up on the car’s interior. The more you can clean, the better!

Here is how you can quickly clean the mess to continue driving:

1. Pick the Solid Contents

Yep, gross! But this is essential if you want to save your car’s interior.

Use a paper towel to pick the solid content from the vomit and put it in a resealable bag.

Try not to smear the vomit while doing it. Use a blotting motion and clean the maximum amount you can.

Seal the bag to avoid the smell spreading while on the road.

2. Use Water to Clean the Residue

Next, use water to spray the area and use a paper towel to clean any residual liquid vomit.

Keep doing this until most of the visible vomit is removed.

Instead of directly throwing water, wet the paper towel to clean hard-to-reach surfaces.

Do not use water if you have leather seats. Water will destroy the leather.

You should use a leather cleaner instead and keep it available in the car.

3. Wipe it With Disinfectant Wipes

It is best if you have disinfectant wipes available.

Use them to wipe the surface and kill any germs left by vomit. You can use the wipes on plastic, leather, or vinyl.

how to clean dog vomit in car cleaning supplies

Part 2: Gear Up for Thorough Cleaning at Home

Once you get home, put on the rubber gloves, gather your supplies, and gear up for some thorough cleaning!

You will need the following cleaning supplies:

  • Baking soda
  • White vinegar
  • Dishwashing liquid
  • Leather Cleaner
  • Soft cloth
  • Paper towel
  • Soft-bristled brush
  • Hard bristled brush
  • Resealable bags
  • Vacuum cleaner
  • Water
  • Bowl

Now that you’re ready to clean up the mess, here are the steps to do it efficiently:

1. Remove the Rest of the Vomit

The first job is to make the scene less messy. So, you need to clean any vomit left in your car.

Use gloves and resealable bags to do this. Put the bag inside out on your hand, pick up the contents and close the bag.

Next, remove any liquid substance left in the car. Use simple paper towels to clean the surface.

You can also use water to spray the area before using a paper towel to dry it.

If you have a leather interior, use a leather cleaner instead of water.

2. Form a Layer of Baking Soda

Take baking soda and sprinkle it on the affected area. Make sure you form an even, thin layer and let it sit for at least 30 minutes.

Baking soda helps to absorb the odor of vomit from the seats and mats.

After 30 minutes, vacuum up the layer and move to the next step.

3. Make a Home-made Cleaning Solution

Depending on the surface you must clean, you can make a homemade cleaning solution to scrub out the heavy stains.

Here are your options:

Option 1: Dishwashing soap + Warm water

This is an excellent place to start when cleaning vomit stains. The mixture acts as a solvent that dissolves the stains.

Option 2: 50% Water + 50% White vinegar

This is a more robust mixture and can help if you have a lot of dried stains.

Use it if the pigments are embedded in the seats even after vacuuming.

Option 3: Water + White Vinegar + 1 tablespoon baking soda

Mix the three ingredients thoroughly until the baking soda is completely dissolved. Use this to combat tough stains.

You can watch the following YouTube video to learn more about natural car cleaning solutions:

4. Lots of Scrubbing

After applying the cleaning mixture, you must prepare for intense scrubbing. Take a brush and start scrubbing the stains.

For leather, you can use a soft-bristled brush. For stubborn stains, you will have to use a hard-bristled brush.

You can also use a leather cleaner with a lint-free cloth if you don’t want a brush touching your delicate leather.

5. Rinse with Water

Once the stains are removed, rinse the area with water.

It is better if you use a spray bottle. Do not overdo this step as a thin layer of water is more than enough.

6. Blot and Dry the Area

To remove the moisture, use a soft cloth with a blotting motion. Once the excess water is removed, let the area dry.

Let it air-dry by opening the car’s doors and windows. Or you can use a fan to make the drying process quicker.

You can also use car seat covers to protect your seats from dog vomit. Check out this blog on the best car seat covers for dogs!

How to Clean Dog Vomit from Perforated Leather Seats

How to Clean Dog Vomit from Perforated Leather Seats?

Cleaning the dog vomit stains might be tricky if you have a perforated leather interior.

The vomit can get deep into the small holes, leaving a challenging stain and foul odor.

Using water or home remedies on perforated leather can make it worse.

The better solution is to use a steamer. A steam cleaner is effective as the steam can get inside the perforations.

You can increase the pressure and temperature on the steamer to remove any hidden traces of vomit in the cracks.

If you don’t have a steamer, you can buy one.

It will be a worthwhile investment if you want to protect your expensive leather seats.

Here is how you can use a steamer to remove dog vomit from the car:

Step 1: Use a Paper Towel

As mentioned above, the first step is always to remove any solid particles with a paper towel.

Remove as much vomit as you can. Put it in a resealable bag to throw away.

Step 2: Fill Steam Cleaner

Take out your steam cleaner and fill its water reservoir. Make sure that you are using distilled water in it.

More mineral-rich water can leave stains and ruin the perforated seats.

Step 3: Replace the Plastic Head

If your steam cleaner has a plastic head, it can hurt the delicate leather.

You can take a microfiber cloth and wrap it around the head. Secure it with a rubber band.

The cloth will not hurt the leather and will wipe away all the dog vomit.

Step 4: Start Cleaning

Turn on the steam cleaner. Keep the machine's nozzle almost an inch away from the affected area and start cleaning.

You can adjust the temperature and pressure on the machine.

It is better to start from the lowest heat setting and go higher from there if needed.

Check what works best for the stains, as extremely high temperatures can damage the perforation.

Take your time cleaning and let the steam go inside the nooks and cracks of your car seats.

The moisture from the machine should sit there for a while, loosening all the vomit particles.

Step 5: Wipe with Cloth

Once you have steamed the car seats, take a soft microfiber cloth.

Gently wipe off any extra particles and residue. This will also soak up all the excess moisture from the seats.

You can also apply a leather conditioner for extra shine and smoothness at this stage.

Step 6: Let it Dry

Open the windows and doors of the car to let it air-dry.

The steamer will remove all the dog vomit and will also get rid of the smell.

If you are not steam cleaning your car, there are other ways to remove the awful vomit smell.

how to clean dog vomit odor

How to Remove Dog Vomit Odor from Your Car?

Sometimes, cleaning is not enough to remove all that nasty smell. And it can become a nuisance while driving.

Here are some ways you can eliminate the smell of dog vomit from your car:

1. Ground Coffee

Coffee granules can work wonders when removing foul odors.

You only need to take some coffee in a bowl and crush it with a spoon or a blunt object.

If you have instant coffee available, that’ll work too!

Sprinkle the coffee evenly on the smelly area and let it sit for almost 15 minutes. After that, rinse the area with water and let it dry.

The oils in the coffee will cover up the dog vomit smell and leave behind a pleasant odor.

2. Enzyme Cleaner

If the smell is lingering in your car, you can try using an enzyme cleaner.

An enzyme cleaner breaks down the proteins in the vomit, removing the foul odor.

You can buy a strong enzyme cleaner and apply it to the surface for 15 minutes. Rinse the area with water and dry it with a soft towel.

3. Deodorizing Sprays

Deodorizing sprays can also work to remove the smell in your car.

Take any strong deodorizer and spray it for a few minutes before wiping it away.

You can also use air fresheners for this purpose.

Make sure you open the windows before spraying to prevent an overwhelming odor.

4. White Vinegar

White vinegar is a natural smell neutralizer.

It acts by breaking down the acids in the dog vomit which causes the unpleasant smell.

Make a mixture of water and vinegar in a spray bottle and use it over the affected area.

Let it rest for 30 minutes before wiping it off with a cloth.

how to clean dog vomit and avoid vomiting

How to Avoid Your Dog Vomiting in the Car?

Seeing your dog vomit in the car is not pleasant.

When I first had to clean up the vomit, I thought to myself that I would do everything in my power to make sure this does not happen again.

Here are some ways to prevent your dog from vomiting in the car.

  • The inner ear development of some dogs (especially small puppies) is not complete, which is why they get extreme motion sickness. Try taking short trips and gradually increase the distance traveled.
  • Find out if your dog likes to sit higher or lower in the car. What position makes them less dizzy?
  • Don’t feed or give water to your dog before the journey. This can make your dog nauseous. Providing water to your dog at regular intervals is good if you plan an extended trip. This will keep them hydrated, so they feel less nauseous.
  • Ensure you give your dog proper time to adjust to the car ride. Anything out of the ordinary can make your dog stressed and anxious, which leads to nausea. It is better to go step by step and take shorter rides in the beginning.

How to Clean Dog Vomit in Car: Final Words

Car owners usually shudder at the thought of cleaning dog vomit in their car.

But leaving it for several days can ruin the interior, and the foul smell keeps lingering. Cleaning it as soon as possible is the way to go.

Pick up most of it on the road using a paper towel and a resealable bag.

Once you get home, make a homemade cleaning solution and scrub away the dog vomit thoroughly.

You can use coffee, vinegar, or an enzyme cleaner to combat the unpleasant smell.

Make sure you use specialized leather products or a steam cleaner for leather seats.

At the end of the day, precaution is always better than cleaning up the vomit later.

Try to ease the ride for your dog, so they do not become nauseous.

READ NEXT: Home Remedies for Dog Vomiting: 5 Easy Options

Chin has been working as a writer for more than a decade in various niches and now she's finally living the dream of writing something she's passionate about—dogs!