Dealing With The Aftermath: How To Clean Vomit From Car Seats

Let’s face it, no matter how adorable children are, there are still stressful things that are part of parenting responsibilities. Ever remember those fun-filled rides with your babies? Those memories must have a special place on your heart. How about those times when they vomited on the car seat because of motion sickness? Not that fun, right? It has been so commonplace that learning how to clean vomit from car seat is now a must for many parents.

Traveling is inevitable for some children. May it be for a family bonding or for a necessity, traveling will be part of the lives of many children.

But the thing with children is they tend to get car sick, especially if it is their first time riding a car for more than an hour. And car sickness can cause more havoc than one might thought. But don’t worry because here’s a guide that would help you manage the aftermath.

What to do immediately after

Whatever happens, remember one thing: Do not panic! If you were shocked or disgusted, then your child is definitely ten times more scared than you.

  • Console your child. Assure him that what happened is normal and everything will be alright. The smell might be worse than your used socks placed on the corner for a week but you don’t have much of a choice but to deal with it.
  • Turn off the air conditioner of the car and open the windows. Let your child feel some fresh air. It is best to go home immediately after your child has calmed down.

Why do kids vomit during long drives?

The most common cause of children vomiting during traveling would be dizziness. The trip might have caused an upset stomach, fatigue, and loss of appetite. This may result to vomiting.

Car sickness is the most common reason though. It is a kind of motion sickness and is common among children ages 2 to 12. The conflicting information that the brain receives from the ears, eyes, and nerves will lead to motion sickness.

What You Need

The things you need to clean up the mess in your car seat can be found in your kitchen.

You would need baking soda, vinegar, a used toothbrush, sponge, and a damp rag. After gathering these things, you’re good to go!

How To Clean Vomit From Car Seats

How to clean vomit in car seats

The first thing that you need to do is read the manual of your car. Different cars may have different dos and don’ts when it comes to cleaning.

Let’s start!

  • Disassemble your car seats. Strip it to make sure that no vomit remains in the tiny compartments of your seat. You will need your car manual to reassemble the seat properly.
  • Loosen the harness until you can remove it. Pull the yoke that holds the straps together. Make sure to take off the crotch strap, hugs, and chest clip.
  • ​After removing those parts, wash them. You can use the damp towel and toothbrush to clean the crotch strap. The chest clips and hugs can be washed with warm water.
  • ​The remaining straps come next. Use another damp towel or wash the damp rag you just used to clean the crotch strap. Wash the straps vertically on both sides then wash it again horizontally. Wash the damp rag every after wiping the straps. You can also clean the crotch buckles this way.
  • ​It is advisable to clean the cover pieces in the sink with hot water.
  • ​Next, you would need to do this in your bath tub or in any large container. Pour ¼ cup baking soda and ¼ cup vinegar in warm water. Put all the parts of the car seat and clean it thoroughly in the bath tub or in the large container.
  • ​Use the sponge for the spots that needs more attention. Rinse it out and put it in the dryer. Use a No Heat setting.
  • ​While you are drying the other parts, get the shell and start cleaning it with the q-tips. You can also place the q-tip in a dry towel to reach the areas that are too deep.
  • After drying all the parts, you are ready to reassemble your car seat!

How to prevent your child from vomiting again

Cleaning the car seat is a tedious job. You would be better off with preventing the incident rather than spending a huge time fussing over how to clean vomit from car seat.

It is better for a child to sleep while traveling to prevent him from getting car sick. If that is not possible then do not let him read or play with any gadgets while riding the car. Let him appreciate the things outside.

Be careful in feeding your child when you are about to go on a trip. Spicy and greasy foods are a big no. Letting him eat a large meal is also not advisable may it be before or after traveling. Dry crackers and a little water will be enough.

Music can also be a way to distract your child from getting dizzy. Talking to your child during travel time is also a good distraction for him not to get sick.

Another way of preventing your child to vomit would be using medications. Dimenhydrinate (Dramamine) can be used for children ages two years or above. Diphenhydramine (Benadryl) can be used for kids six or above.

If these do not work, then it is better to consult a doctor. Prevention is still better than spending hours of cleaning the car seat.


Stay calm. Do not show your child that you are disgusted or annoyed that you have to clean up.

In cleaning the car seat, just make sure that it is properly disassembled and reassembled. In cases when the manual is nowhere to be found, use Google to look it up.

Dealing With The Aftermath: How To Clean Vomit From Car Seats