Thursday, February 7, 2008

Establishing Myself As The Resident Puke Expert

Ah, yes.

We all gotta be good at something, right?

Late last night Jen called with a Puke-trastrophy. It seems two of her little darlings have come down with a violent case of the stomach crud. Tonight, while trying to make it to the bathroom, one of them let 'er rip all over the rug in award winning Rocket Launch fashion.

(Cue my phone ringing at 9:45ish...)

Jen: "Kristy!! You know about puke! What do I do? It's everywhere! EVER-Y-WHERE."

I told Jen the "fix-it", and it got me thinking. Everybody, whether they have a refluxer who barfs twelve times a day or not, can benefit from a good tried-and-true "How To Remove The Smell Of Vomit" remedy. Perhaps you have a kid like I was growing up - one who has to come to tell mom about the impending pukes, prior to heading to the toilet to take care of business. "Mom!! I'm gonna throw up!" Yep. My pre-vomit announcement always made it impossible for me to successfully get to the bathroom in time.

So, here you go. The solution. It's easy. And it WORKS. And, admittedly, it didn't come from me. The professional carpet cleaners at Chem-Dry, who pretty much set up residence at our house for the first three years of Sophie's life, finally took pity on our dwindling finances and shared a secret of the trade.

To remove the smell of puke from carpet, first, step away from the amonia and vinegar. Our good buddy Google will tell you it's the way to go.  But having tried it (and everything else), I'll tell you it doesn't solve the problem.  Amonia has its own characteristically pungent odor - which, in my opinion, is worse than barf. It'll clean your toilet and strip your sinuses of the will to live, but when it comes to removing the smell of vomit, it's pretty useless. And vinegar...well, vinegar is just dandy if you don't mind carpet that smells like pickle, with a side of puke. Instead, do this:

1.) Wipe up as much of the offending area as possible with a towel.

2.) Boil a teakettle of water. (It can't just be hot. It has to actually be boiling. Like hear-the-whistle boiling.)

3.) Put on an oven mitt and pour the water everywhere there is puke, soaking the area down through the carpet pad. (I know it sounds like common sense, but don't kneel down too close to the carpet. Steam - it'll fry your eyeballs right off!)

4.) Put on your tennis shoes or boots. (Just do it. You'll thank me.) Get another towel to place over the wet spot, and extract the water from the area by stepping on the towel in "blotting" fashion.

5.) Repeat with another towel if necessary. When most of the water is extracted, do a sniff test. If there is still an odor, even a slight one, repeat the process with another round of boiling water.

6.) Rub the area dry. (Really try to get it as dry as you can. Use a hairdryer if you need to, to prevent the carpet pad from mildewing.) Then spray the spot with Febreze. (We're partial to the Meadows and Rain scent around here.) Or you can sprinkle baking soda on the spot once it is totally dry. Let it sit for fifteen minutes and vaccuum the powder up.

Ta dah! Stain and smell...GONE. Basically, here's how it works: The boiling water kills the bacteria in the puke, which is apparently where the smell comes from. And the deodorizer helps neutralize any remaining odor and freshen the room.


a happier girl said...

My daughter threw up everywhere in her room one night and the smell just lingered despite our best efforts. My husband and I both nearly gagged. I'm totally trying this next time.

Bob said...

Nice recipe!

Anonymous said...

As a fellow puke-cleaner expert, I love this post. I have to add one more "trick" we use even before we soak the area...scrape the carpet with a knife to get out as many of the chunks (sorry!) first, it helps get them out of the fibers that are deeper than the surface!

Kristy said...

Happier Girl,

I know. Puke smell is the worst. And it's darn near impossible to get it out. That's why I made out with the carpet man a little bit after he told me the secret.


Yeah, write that one down for Wendy's recipe book. Hee.


Oh, man...chunks. Yeah. We haven't really dealt with a lot of chunks yet (due to the mostly liquid/syringed diet thing). I would imagine removing those bad boys first would be crutial. Gag.

Bob said...

Sounds funny when you type " made out with the carpet man". just kidding. :-)

Russ said...

Make sure you wear the shoes like she suggests. Steam burns on the bottom of your feet can be difficult to explain to your boss.

Kristy said...


Just wear flip-flops to work and kick them off when you're at your desk, right?

Yeah. I was going to spare everyone the details of how exactly we knew to put shoes on first. Whoops.

Not quite the Bradys said...

Thank you for this post. I am fortunate enough not to have had to deal with acid reflux. With six kids during flu season though, I'd say we've probably had at least that much puke though. I am almost excited for the next time it comes up (pun intended) to try this out. Is there something wrong with me?

Kristy said...

Oh, man, I forgot you had SIX kids! Wowie. You must be near nuts.

Yeah, you probably need a good Puke Getter-Outer Remedy.

And no, there's nothing wrong with you. (Okay, maybe just a little.) I always love trying out new stain fighting tricks. This is kind of like that.

sarah p said...

I'm going to be making this post my SCREEN SAVER for the next few days. You are a lifesaver! Already gone through two rounds of boiling really works! (although in my preggers state the "sniff test" is almost too much to stomach. ay yay yay)

Sarah said...

I used this recipe a year ago with my first son who has thrown up 3 times, once in our bedroom on our carpet and twice outside. I didn't know how lucky I was until our second son, Oliver, was born last month. The kid has reflux and pukes all the time and it shoots across the freakin' room! How is this possible? His nickname is now Oliver The Vomiter. Thanks for this lifesaving post - I now nurse him in the kitchen, where there's tile.

Erik said...

Hi there Krit! When my wife started working, I was left alone with our six year old daughter and a nice little pup. I was working in my room when I heard my daughter screaming. As I entered her room, the smell of puke is truly unbearable. It was such a mess. After I cleaned my daughter, I called my wife and she then contacted a professional who does carpet cleaning in Kansas City. I was able to fix some of it but the smell, I just couldn't remove it. Good thing they came and they did remove the awful odor.

How, I wish I could have seen your post earlier so that I would know exactly what to do. Well, hopefully next time I'll be a resident puke expert like you. Good job Krit!

Samuel said...

My sister also puked on our carpet yesterday. Fresh, yes, the story is just real fresh. So yesterday, she visited me and we had a drink. We drank some sort of lime Aussie wine with authentic Mexican seƱorita tequila. After hours of drink, here it comes, she just puked! Whew! I just had carpet cleaning! Naperville's store is just a drive away so I have to look for some detergent and cleaning aid available. I can't rely on her because she was already down and sleeping. So the reality is…..I have to do it all alone.

So to wrap it, she puked, gave me the call for carpet cleaning, Naperville Illinois store-drive thrued , and cleaned. How I wish I had already read this stuff so I did not have to drive for a store. Funny experience though!

Anonymous said...

Think I could use this on a couch?

Anonymous said...

Will this work after you have cleaned it up and tried everything and the spot is dry??

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