Every dog owner can hear the awful sound from anywhere in their home: the retching, ragged sound of a dog about to vomit. Immediately, you spring into action, trying to usher your dog into a safe area before they finally unload the contents of their stomach.
Most dog owners will have to put up with dog vomit occasionally, and it’s not rare for that vomit to get hurled on the couch. If you’ve got a mess on your hands that you’re struggling to clean up, these tips will help you get both the stains and smell out of your sofa.
1. First, Prevent It From Happening (If You Can)
When dogs need to puke, it overrules everything else in their minds, including any training that you’ve given them. As a result, you can’t expect to train them not to puke on your couch.
However, that doesn’t mean that you can’t prevent it all the same. One surefire way to do this is to not let them on the couch in the first place. While this will deprive you of a cuddle buddy during a Netflix marathon, it will also save you from scrubbing dog puke out of your upholstery.
If you don’t want to kick your pup off the furniture, then you can try covering it with a washable couch cover. A couch cover will suffer the brunt of the assault, keeping your couch pristine underneath (assuming that you clean the mess up quickly).
2. Remove All the Vomit You Can
Your first step should be to clean up as much of the vomit as you can. Scoop up all the chunks, and sop up all the liquid as quickly as possible.
This part is gross, no doubt, but it’s also crucial for a variety of reasons. One is that the quicker you get that puke off your couch, the less chance it has to create a stain or another problem.
More importantly, though, it gives you the opportunity to inspect your dog’s vomit. You need to see if you can figure out why your dog was puking, so look for blood, foreign objects, grass, or anything else that could have caused the problem. Your dog is more important than your couch, so take all the time you need.
You can scoop up the chunks with a paper towel, a spatula, or anything else that you have handy, and use paper towels to blot up the liquid. If the vomit has been there for a while, there won’t be any liquid to soak up, so you can just scrape the vomit off or use a vacuum to suck it up.
If there is liquid, though, be sure to blot it rather than scrub it. Scrubbing will likely just cause the mess to spread while also potentially damaging your couch. Use an old rag or a paper towel, and dab at the affected area until you’ve gotten all the juice up that you can.
3. Treat the Affected Area
Once you’ve gotten all the chunks and liquid picked up, it’s time to do damage control.
Sprinkle your cleaner of choice all over the affected area, and let it soak in. Some people use seltzer or club soda for this, while others prefer enzymatic cleaners like Nature’s Miracle. It’s largely a matter of personal preference, but keep in mind that dog-specific solutions are more likely to take care of odors that only your pup can smell, making it less likely that they’ll revisit that same spot in the future.
Apply your cleaner of choice, and let it sit for about 10 minutes or so. This gives it a chance to soak up odors and absorb any liquid that you missed the first time around.
Once the 10 minutes have passed, you can lightly blot the area again to pull out any remaining liquid. You’ll likely see dried chunks start to crop up here again — you can simply vacuum them up
4. Apply Stain Remover
The previous step is largely for damage control and odor removal, but it may not do much for stains. That means you’ll want to use a dedicated stain removal product as well.
Before you spray it on your couch, though, apply a little bit to a discreet part of the furniture. This lets you make sure it won’t discolor the fabric before you go dousing the upholstery with it.
Assuming that it’s safe, go ahead and apply it all over the affected area. Follow the directions on the label — some need to sit for a few minutes, while others can work almost immediately.
5. If That Doesn’t Work, Apply Clean Water and Start Again
While the above steps should take care of most vomit stains, occasionally, you’ll get a stubborn one. If you don’t notice the stain going away after you’re done with the stain remover, don’t assume that it will fade over time. It’s likely that you’ll need to repeat all the steps over again.
Before you do that, though, you need to start with a blank canvas. Apply a little bit of clean water to the area, then blot it up with a clean rag. This should bring up all the products that you applied, as well as some of the lingering vomit, ensuring that the next applications will be able to penetrate even deeper into the fabric.
Repeating your steps should work, but if it doesn’t, it may be time to call in the big guns.
6. Call a Professional
Sometimes, despite your best efforts, you just can’t undo what your dog did to your furniture. That doesn’t mean you have to live with a stained couch, though.
A qualified carpet and upholstery cleaning professional should be able to get any lingering stains out (while also making the rest of the fabric look brand new). They have a variety of methods, including steam cleaning, that could potentially succeed where you’ve failed.
This will cost money, but it isn’t as pricey as you might suspect, and many cleaners will offer a money-back guarantee if they’re not successful at removing the offending spot. That’s a win-win right there.
Dog Vomit Doesn’t Have to Be a Lifetime Sentence
If your dog has yakked all over your couch, there’s no reason to live with the evidence for the life of the couch. Following this guide’s steps should allow you to completely remove the stain, as well as eliminate any lingering odor.
Featured Image: YanGoPo, Shutterstock