Can You Put Vomit In The Washing Machine?

You shouldn’t put vomit-stained clothes directly into the washing machine without cleaning it off first. It can clog the drain and leave a nasty smell. 

Make sure to scrape off as much as you can and pre-treat the clothing or item to cut down the smell.

But that’s not all you need to know about dealing with vomit-stained clothes. What about the best way to pre-treat these stains? Or how to tackle vomit on non-washable fabrics? 

Read on to learn these tips and more, including why high heat is crucial and how to keep your washing machine fresh afterwards.

How To Clean Vomit Stains Before Washing

laundry room with pile of clothes

Vomit can be infectious, so wear rubber gloves while cleaning.  Here’s a step-by-step guide:

  • Remove any solid parts from the clothes. If the vomit has dried, gently scrape it off with the back of a spoon. If it’s still wet, get rid of as much as possible by throwing it in the bin. Use paper kitchen towels to absorb some of the moisture.
  • Give the fabric a rinse under cold water to stop stains from setting in, as vomit contains protein. Let the water pressure help you wash away the vomit stain.
  • Apply enzymatic stain remover directly onto the stain, leaving it on for the time suggested on the package, or sprinkle bicarbonate of soda to also help remove odour, making sure to brush it off before washing.

How To Machine Wash Vomit-Stained Clothes

60 Degree Wash Cycle

Now that you’ve pre-treated the stain, you can wash the clothes by selecting the hottest water temperature the fabric can handle (ideally 60°C or higher). 

Use a strong detergent and consider adding half a cup of white vinegar to the wash. The vinegar will help remove the lingering smell of vomit.

Check after washing; if odours remain or any part of the stain or its smell persists, run it again with about 100 ml of white vinegar or more stain remover and strong detergent. 

Do not put the clothes in the dryer until you’re sure both the stain and smell are fully gone, because the heat can make the stain set for good. Let it air dry after.

Why Is High Heat Important When Washing Vomit-Stained Clothes?

Vomit can be very risky if the person is ill with a stomach bug, making it infectious. It’s important to be cautious while cleaning this up. 

This is the reason you should select the highest heat setting on your washer for the materials that can handle it. High heat is effective in killing the harmful organisms and usually works well against vomit stains.

How To Clean Vomit on Non-Washable Clothes

If you’re cleaning vomit from a wool coat or suit, first remove any solid bits. Treat the stains with a little laundry detergent but remember to use the detergent sparingly and add very little water. 

You should only use a small amount of water and detergent on non-washable fabrics like wool suits to stop them from getting damaged. If you use too much, it could shrink, change colour, or keep a bad smell. 

The goal is to keep the suds and moisture low to prevent damage to delicate fabrics.

How To Keep Your Washing Machine Fresh After Cleaning Vomit

open washing machine door

Here’s how to prevent your washing machine from harbouring lingering odours:

  • After washing vomit-stained clothes, run an empty hot water cycle at 90 degrees Celsius with a cup of white vinegar to thoroughly disinfect the machine.
  • While not necessary, a washing machine-safe disinfectant is fine to use.
  • Regularly clean your washing machine with a washing machine cleaner designed to remove built-up residue and prevent odours.

SEE ALSO: How To Pre-Treat Stains Before You Wash Them

Frequently Asked Questions

Can you put clothes with vomit in the washer?

You shouldn’t put clothes with vomit directly in the washer without first removing as much of the vomit as possible and pre-treating the stained area to avoid clogging the drain and creating unpleasant odours.

How to wash vomit out of clothes?

To wash vomit out of clothes, first remove any solid particles and pre-treat the stains using cold water and an enzymatic stain remover or bicarbonate of soda. Then, wash the clothes at a high temperature with a strong detergent and white vinegar to ensure all residues and smells are eliminated.

Should you wash vomit in hot or cold water?

Initially, you should rinse vomit stains under cold water to prevent the protein in the vomit from setting into the fabric. However, for the main wash, use the hottest water the fabric can tolerate to effectively remove the stain and disinfect the garment.

How do I get the vomit smell out of laundry?

To get the vomit smell out of laundry, use a combination of strong detergent and white vinegar in the wash cycle. Check the laundry after washing, and if the smell persists, run another cycle with additional vinegar and detergent.

What is the safest way to clean up vomit?

The safest way to clean up vomit is by wearing rubber gloves to protect yourself from potential infection, carefully removing solid parts, rinsing the area with cold water, and then cleaning with an enzymatic cleaner or bicarbonate of soda before washing at a high temperature.

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