You may not be afflicted with a bona fide phobia, but everyone has something that makes them uneasy, anxious, or uncomfortable. For some people, it’s spiders. Others are a little bit queasy when it comes to heights. A few even despise clowns for some reason.
Usually, these folks can make adjustments so they can avoid coming into contact with what disturbs them. Like staying out of cobweb-laden old houses. Or refusing to climb on roofs or ascend in skyscraper elevators. Or making other plans when the circus comes to town.
But if your taboo is regurgitated substances, you’re out of luck. Because for most people, it is impossible to completely avoid vomit, and failing to address this problem could actually endanger your life – as well as the health of others around you.
This is the least unsettling yet most topical picture that could be found.
Vomit and Ebola
You’ve undoubtedly heard about the Ebola outbreak in Africa which has made its way to the U.S. The mortality rate is somewhere around 70%, and thousands have already died from the disease worldwide. While Ebola isn’t spread through airborne particles or skin contact, it can be transmitted through an individual’s bodily fluids, such as blood, feces, urine – and vomit.
And while it’s true that the likelihood of any American coming into contact with Ebola is extremely low, any substance that has been vomited by a human (or even an animal) must be properly disposed of in a timely manner. Otherwise, customers, employees, or passersby in the area might get spooked and create a panic – which can have additional consequences of its own.
Tips on Cleaning up Vomit
With that in mind, here are some guidelines about how to clean up vomit in your home or business:
- Don’t wait. Clean up all regurgitated material as quickly as possible. Letting it sit not only creates a health hazard, but it also makes cleanup more difficult.
- Don’t begin without gloves. Find a pair of sturdy rubber gloves which do not have any holes in them. Latex gloves will work as well; just make sure that you cover your wrists as much as possible.
Gloves – the most important tool for this unseemly task.
- Start with the solid stuff. The non-liquid pieces should be swept up with a hand broom into a dustpan. It may be necessary to get a flat surface like a box top or a spatula to scrape them free from carpet.
- Remove the liquid matter. If the vomit is sitting on a flat surface like a tile, wood, or concrete floor, mopping or soaking up the liquid portion with a wet rag or sponge should remove most of it. Whatever you use, it must be washed and rinsed completely before being reused (or simply discarded).
- Soak it and blot it. If the vomited material is on a carpet, rug, or floor mat, you’ll need to liberally apply water to the stain. Then use a rag or towel to blot (not scrub) the stain out of the carpet fibers.
- Use cleaners if needed. There are several cleaning products on the market which claim to work on vomit. If you don’t have anything like this, get some warm water, white vinegar, laundry detergent, salt, and rubbing alcohol to make a homemade cleaner. Again, you should soak and blot the stained area before rinsing it thoroughly and drying it.
- Attack the smell. Corn starch, baking soda, or disinfectant spray (like Lysol) can be applied to the area in order to mask or absorb the stench. Let it sit as long as you can before vacuuming it up.
- Change your vacuum bag. Once you are finished cleaning up the vomit, discard the bag in your vacuum cleaner and put in a new one. Otherwise, bacteria could grow inside the bag and create more potential health problems.
Whatever you use, be sure that it gets the job done without harming your flooring.
There’s no denying that cleaning up vomit is an unpleasant experience, even for people who don’t have a weak stomach. But it’s important that this chore be completed in a timely and proper manner in order to alleviate health and hygiene-related concerns. Because no matter how much you try to avoid it, sick happens – so you’d better know how to deal with it properly and safely.
Written by Chris Martin