How to Remove Vomit Smell from Microfiber Upholstery


Jeanie asked: How do I remove vomit smell from my microfiber sofa? My son was sick and vomited over a large section of my microfiber sofa. We cleaned it the best we could. It doesn’t look stained, however, it stinks! What can I do?

The make-up of vomit makes it difficult to remove completely, leaving an unpleasant odor behind. Once the initial clean-up is completed, the fear of a stain should be gone. The odor that remains can be another story. Here are a few steps that should rid your couch of the smell for good. Work through them until the smell is gone.

You Will Need:

  • Rubber gloves
  • Paper towels
  • Plastic bags
  • Vinegar
  • Baking soda
  • Kids ‘n Pets
  • Soft cloths
  • Soft scrub brush
  • Spray bottle
  • Water
  • Vacuum

Steps to Remove the Vomit and Smell:

  1. If it’s a fresh accident, begin by wiping away as much of the vomit as possible. Rubber gloves make the job a little more manageable. Place all soiled towels directly into a plastic bag.
  2. Mix one part vinegar with one part hot water in a spray bottle. If the vomit has left a stubborn stain, add a small amount of detergent.
  3. Spray the surface liberally with the mixture.
  4. Use a soft scrub brush or soft cloth to scrub the surface clean.
  5. Rinse by spraying with plain water and blotting with a clean cloth. If a wet vacuum or carpet cleaner with an upholstery attachment is available, it will make the cleaning process easier, faster and more effective.
  6. Remove as much of the moisture as possible and allow the surface to air dry.
  7. To continue to treat the smell, cover the area with baking soda.
  8. Allow it to sit on the area overnight
  9. Vacuum away the next day. Repeat as needed.
  10. If the smell remains, a commercial cleaner may be necessary. Kids ‘n Pets is designed to remove organic stains and odors. Simply spray the cleaner onto the surface and work it into the fabric. This is a great way to tackle odors that have soaked into the cushions.
  11. Allow it to air dry. As the cleaner dries, it will remove the smell. Ensure even wetness and drying to avoid rings on the microfiber surface.
  12. Once the smell is gone and the stain is removed, you can restore the surface texture with a quick vacuuming and/or brushing with a clean, soft brush to soften any stiff fibers.

Additional Tips and Advice

  • There are many types of microfiber upholstery, each with their own cleaning method. Check the care tags and/or test a small, hidden area first to ensure that the cleaning products do not have any unwanted effects. Once the test area is cleaned and dried with no adverse effects, it’s safe to move onto the stain.
  • If you are unable to remove the stain and/or smell with the above methods, consider having the sofa professionally cleaned.
  • Baking soda is an excellent odor absorber, but may take several applications to completely remove the smell.



  1. Here are a couple of ideas: Nature’s Miracle available at most pet and discount stores will remove the odor because it has enzymes that break down biological waste. However, it is a wet application and may leave a wet circle stain around it. Borax mixed into a paste with water, agitated into the stain can be left to dry and vacuumed up and may not leave a ring. If you want to remove the wet ring stain, sponge on white vinegar at the edges of the stain and hit it with a blow dryer. Vinegar usually breaks down the minerals in water (a component in many cleaners) and other liquids that cause the ring.

    Source(s): Mary Ellen’s Complete Home Reference Book

  2. Heather says:

    My son just LOVES to aim for my microfiber couch every time he has to vomit. I used the vinegar/warm water, and it totally got the odor out. I have baking soda sitting on it now. I will keep you all posted, but so far so good! To help me out, I did use my Bissel steam/carpet/upholstery machine, and used to hand held tool – helped a LOT!

  3. I tried this last night; just vacuumed it and it appears to have worked beautifully! I can’t believe I just googled, “how do I get the vomit smell out of my couch?” and found this page, with a great answer, that worked! I will definitely bookmark this one!

  4. This was very helpful. I am so happy that when I googled this, I actually got an answer. Thank you!

  5. Do I apply baking soda after it’s completely air dried, or while it’s still wet?

  6. Lina,
    Apply the baking soda (if needed) after the vinegar has fully dried.

  7. One part water to one part vinegar? Does that mean ounce for ounce ratio? What type of vinegar? This vomit is alcohol induced so extra smelly. It’s all cleaned off, but the odor is killing me.

  8. David,
    Yes, equal parts vinegar and water. (So one ounce vinegar with one ounce water.) Use white vinegar; other kinds of vinegar can have some side effects.

    Source: The New Homemaker – Vinegar: (Almost) the Only Cleaner You’ll Ever Need

  9. Many thanks for such help. My 10-year-old grandson vomited all over & down the sides of my beloved armchair this afternoon…huge amount. I looked up this site; thanks to you all I have so far done the white vinegar thing. Looks great so far. Will get the baking soda tomorrow. Will give this method a fair go before I call in the professionals, to try to avoid the expense.
    Will let you know final results.

  10. Thank God for Google; I too just googled how to clean dog vomit from couch and voila! So grateful for these answers right now! Using the vinegar and water immediately.

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