7 Easy Steps to Clean Pet Stains & Odors in Your Car

You’re driving to the dog park, hoping to start a fun adventure with your new puppy. Spot is seemingly thrilled in the back seat, his tongue dripping drool down the car window. Before you know it, he’s upchucked his breakfast, leaving your CR-V smelling like a Wild West saloon. Looks like your adventure has taken a turn for the worse.

Cleaning up dog vomit and deodorizing your car wasn’t on your list of things to do today, but c’est la vie. Read on to learn how to clean up dog throw-up, “messes,” and other icky stains from your vehicle’s upholstery.  

Baking Soda & Vinegar

Although it’s best to clean up dog throw-up pronto, baking soda and vinegar — with an optional drop of dish soap — can help get old vomit stains out of the car and prevent pet stains from being permanent. Here’s what to do:

Step 1 – Wipe Away

After wiping away all liquid and solid chunks – blegh! – with paper towels, saturate the area with warm water to help loosen vomit from the seat fibers. Blot the area with more paper towels.

Step 2 – Apply Baking Soda

Put a very liberal amount of baking soda on the stain, covering it entirely. Let this sit for 10-15 minutes or longer.

Step 3 – Mix Vinegar

While the baking soda rests, mix one-part white vinegar with three-parts warm water in a spray bottle. (Note: It’s important you add enough water to the cleaning solution, as vinegar can be too acidic for some carpets and seat upholstery.)

Optional: Add a drop of dish soap for deep-penetrating pet stains.

Step 4 – Apply Vinegar

Wipe away any excess baking soda from the stained area, leaving just a thin layer. Spritz the baking soda with your vinegar solution until it foams slightly. This chemical reaction lifts those loosened vomit particles up and out of the seat cushions and carpet fibers. (Yeah, science!)

Step 5 – Brush

Use a toothbrush or small bristled brush to gently scrub the vomit out of the fabric. Lightly spray the stain with water if needed.  

Step 6 – Blot Dry

Once cleaned, blot dry with paper towels or a clean cloth. You may need to repeat the whole process, especially for larger or dried dog barf stains – double blegh! – until a blotted paper towel shows no visible evidence of doggie puke.

Step 7 – Air Out

Pour more baking soda on the area, letting it sit overnight with the windows open. Vacuum it up.

Cleaning up dog vomit as soon as possible will prevent odors from lingering or stains from becoming permanent. If the mess is left to sit for too long, you may need to try harsher chemicals and enzymatic cleaning products from companies like Anti-Icky-Poo or Nature’s Miracle. If all else fails, seek out professional auto detailing.

Prevent Dog Vomit Stains with Car Accessories

Honda Pilot Seat Covers

The best way to clean your vehicle is by preventing dog vomit from landing on your car’s upholstery in the first place. Waterproof car seat covers, all-weather cargo liners or floor mats, and seat protectors are excellent, affordable options that can be ordered and installed by virtually any car dealer near you.

Need to order an official Honda CR-V cargo mat or seat cover for your Honda Accord in Jacksonville? Let us help. Contact any of our auto parts stores to speak with a member of our First Coast Honda Dealers team. We have Honda stores across northern Florida and the southern Georgia coastline.