We got our sweet puppy Bruno from friends/coworkers, and they had purchased a non-transferable immunization package for him before we decided to adopt the little woofer. Whenever he needs his shots, these friends have to take him to the vet, otherwise we would have to pay for the same immunization package again (thus, non-transferable). They didn’t do this purposefully, of course, but it is a bit of a hassle.
Bruno can tolerate a short car ride fairly well, but he has his limit. I’m not sure exactly what that limit is, but I know it is definitely less than the time it takes to drive from the nearest city to our home, which is about 30 minutes. I picked up Bruno in town this week after his latest round of shots and brought him home. He usually sits up front with me, but this time he hung out in the back seat. I didn’t hear him whimper or cry at all, so I thought he had been asleep. I was very wrong.
Apparently he had gotten into the bag of dog food that I had put in the back seat (it was opened, but folded closed) and had gotten car sick. And I didn’t hear anything. No gagging, no heaving. Nothing. Needless to say I was surprised by the dog vomit that had managed to cover not only a third of my backseat but my work bag as well. Being the wimpy girl I am, I quickly ran inside to grab Beard (affectionate term for my husband) and ask him to clean the chunky stuff out. I really don’t have the stomach for that.
For those of you that have ever had a child or animal vomit in your car or on any upholstered piece of furniture, you know that the smell is very difficult to get rid of. I searched “get vomit smell out of car” on Google and found some pretty interesting ideas. I found very simple ideas like opening your windows to air the smell out (which I personally don’t think would do much for lingering stenches) and some complicated and strange ones like cutting a dozen onions in half and laying them on paper towels in your car while leaving the heat running for an hour. I decided to a go a more moderate (and easily homemade) route.
Here are my tools of attack for the bit of remaining stain and stench:
I’ve got distilled white vinegar, Woolite Urine Eliminator, club soda, orange cleaner (more for dust on the dashboard) and, of course, a roll of paper towels. I set to work by spraying the affected areas with LOTS of Woolite first. The directions say to let it sit for 5-10 minutes, so I sprayed each seat before returning to the first to blot. I wadded paper towels and blotted up the Woolite, which picked up most, if not all of the stains, including some stains that were probably left from the previous owner. (This particular vehicle has quite a history to it, and I’ll write a post about it in the future, but for the meantime, please just glaze over the fact that we purchased a car with stained seat upholstery. Your non-judgmentalism is appreciated.) I did this particular sequence twice. Then I took the time to wipe down the dashboard, doors, and center console with the orange cleaner; that is a basic degreasing cleaner, and works well on everything except for glass.
My final step in the de-vomiting of our car was to make a mixture of the vinegar and club soda and pour it on the affected seats. When I had read this online, it made the most sense to me. Vinegar can be used to kill bacteria, molds, etc., and it’s strong smell can overpower and eliminate other odors. Club soda is a housewife’s best friend; it can remove almost any stain as long as it’s fairly fresh. And fortunately, this one was.
I mixed my vinegar and club soda in a kitchen glass and poured about half to 3/4 of a glass on each seat (I also cleaned the front seats just to see what I’d get up). If you clicked on the link to these instructions, you’ll notice that it instructs you to leave the mixture for 1-3 hours. Honestly, this made me nervous, but this is what the inside of our car looks like:
So I’m not totally concerned with messing up the upholstery here.
I dutifully returned 3 hours later (assuming the longer you leave the mixture the better it removes stains and odors). I blotted this up with some ratty towels, and, to my surprise, some more stain came up, leaving almost nothing behind. This method really worked! And best of all, my car didn’t smell of vomit at all. It did, of course smell a bit like vinegar, but thanks to the fact that vinegar is more volatile than water (meaning it evaporates more quickly) I should be able to leave my windows open to simply let the vinegar dry up. (I honestly forgot to take my after picture, but I promise to follow up with one tomorrow.) Speaking of tomorrow…
Tomorrow’s adventure: A Grocery Staple that I Bet You Didn’t Think You Could Easily Make at Home.