The 5 Best Cleaning Products For Tackling Poop And Vomit Messes

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It's the kind of accident you hope will never happen, but you need to be prepared for when it does. Whether a terrible stomach flu strikes your household, you're potty training a new furry friend, or you just happen to have had a bad oyster, you need cleaning products ready to clean up the mess from vomit and feces. The right product will vary from mess to mess, surface to surface, and depend on which types of cleaning products you prefer to use. 

Poop and vomit are what are called organic or biological stains which means they are produced by living bodies, just like blood and urine. In a conversation with AJS Carpet Cleaning, chemist and stain removal expert Dr. Martha Rogers said, "Each stain has its own molecular structure, and like a puzzle, requires its own unique solution for removal." That's why it's key to know which products to use when and where a vomit or poop incident occurs. Here's our lineup of the five best products to pull out when the worst happens. 

Best overall cleaning product

Though it markets itself as a pet stain cleaner, Bissell Professional Pet Stain and Odor Removing Formula spray is suitable for both pet and human messes, including feces and vomit, as well as blood and urine. That's because it's a bio-enzymatic cleaner, which is uniquely suited to organic stains. In cleaning products, enzymes are proteins that, when combined with certain bacteria, break down biological waste. Regular, non-bio dish soap and multipurpose cleaners simply help to dislodge fecal and vomit particles. That's why when you use them to clean bio stains, you may notice that a foul odor remains even when the stain is gone. Enzymatic cleansers, like Bissell Professional, actually break the particles down. This effect is very similar to the active cultures found in yogurt that can help break down solids in your gut, which eventually breaks down to be waste, a polite term we're using here for poop and vomit. That's why enzymes are vital in cleaning biological organic stains. 

Bissel Professional spray can be used safely on carpets, fabrics, and upholstery at just $8 per bottle; this is a great deal and a must-have for your cleaning kit. After you've removed the excess of the mess, spray the area down with Bissel and blot, adding more product to keep the area moist until the stain fully releases, then let fully dry. Snag a bottle from Bissell for $7.99. 

Best DIY cleaning solution

Some folks prefer to keep things au natural or simply don't have the right products on hand when a poop or vomit emergency strikes. There's still a way to clean up these situations with a few on-hand household staples. You can't do much better than the 1-2 baking soda-hydrogen peroxide punch. Baking soda neutralizes odors, which can be the greatest offender when it comes to vomit and poop cleanup, but it's also a mildly alkaline and gently abrasive powder that can remove the soiled particles from carpet and upholstery. Hydrogen peroxide is used to remove the actual pigment found in the stain, acting as a lightening agent like bleach, making it ideal for getting rid of saturated organic stains. 

To use this solution, mix hydrogen peroxide with cold water in a spray bottle. Saturate the area after the bulk of the vomit or poop has been removed and blot. Then, sprinkle a few tablespoons of baking soda over the affected, still-damp area and allow the solution to sit for a few minutes before blotting up the mess again. Repeat as necessary until the stain is fully lifted and there's no noticeable odor. Once fully dry, vacuum the area to remove any excess baking soda. If you are cleaning poop or vomit from a hardwood floor, hydrogen peroxide and water can generally be safe to use to sanitize and clean the area. You can find these products in most pharmacies and grocery stores. 

Best non-enzymatic cleaner

If you prefer not to use enzymatic cleaners for whatever reason, be it sensitivity or otherwise, OxiClean stain removal spray is another solid choice for cleaning poop and vomit stains from carpets, upholstery, and fabric. It also doesn't contain bleach, so it can be used on most fabric types and colors. OxiClean is actually formulated with one of our go-to products mentioned above, hydrogen peroxide, as well as sodium lauryl sulfate and sodium hydroxide. On Amazon, countless reviews note that this product has worked beautifully on all manner of pet stains, such as poop and vomit, which is remarkably similar to other species poop and vomit — enough said on that. 

According to OxiClean's official website, its instructions for use are pretty simple. As always, take care to remove excess vomit or poop before cleaning. Then, just spray the area with OxiClean, blot at the stain, and repeat until the stain is fully lifted. Finally, vacuum over the area to remove excess product and solid particles. Buy a two-pack from Amazon for $17.59. 

Best for wet messes

Some messes will be more liquid than others, making cleanup a nightmare, whether it's on a carpet, couch, countertop, or hardwood floor. That's when it's good to have an absorbent powder on hand, and our top pick is the Zorbent clay powder cleaner. Originally invented to clean and remove waste from the Rocky Flats Nuclear Power Plant, Zorbent is all-natural, non-toxic, and super easy to use. Instead of using a towel to sop up a mess and dousing the area in liquid to get a proper clean, this cleansing powder absorbs the mess in one step. You simply sprinkle plenty of powder around the mess, then comb it over and through it, until it's fully absorbed in the powder. It works a bit like baking soda, which can also absorb both liquid and odors. 

The thing that really sets Zorbent apart from other clay cleaners is its promise that the powder is actually reusable, meaning you can use it until the powder becomes fully saturated. So, if you have multiple spills, you can collect the excess powder from one spot to another, which is great for reducing product waste. Get your bottle from Amazon for $24.99. 

Best laundry detergent

Whether your baby has had a spectacular blowout, the stomach flu hit you in the dark of the night, or you just needed to use a towel to clean up a mess, you need the proper laundry detergent for cleaning poop and vomit. Luckily, plenty of gentle detergents will do an excellent job at this. Our top pick is Dreft Newborn Hypoallergenic Baby Laundry Detergent. Though it is a biological enzymatic detergent — often known for being a bit harsh — this product is specifically designed to be gentle enough on newborn skin, making it perfect for bed linens, towels, rags, and clothes that have poop and vomit residue. As a bonus, this product is compatible with both front-loading and top-loading washing machines, too. 

To clean poop or vomit from the clothing item or linen, remove as much of the waste as possible before popping it in your washing machine — remember that you have to clean the machines that clean for you, too. Then, add Dreft as you would your usual detergent. Colder wash cycles are gentler on fabrics, but hot washer cycles sanitize as well as clean, which is essential after someone has been sick on them. Dreft Newborn Detergent is available on Amazon for $23.74.