My jacket stinks of puke
November 7, 2006 12:38 PM   Subscribe

How do I get the vomit out of a wool jacket?

My friend had a little too much to drink one night and threw up all over my wool jacket. I tried to rinse it out with water in the sink but I didn't want to soak it because it's supposed to be dry cleaned. So a few days later I took it to the dry cleaners and they did everything they could, but when I got it back it still reeked and there's an oily feel to the wool where the vomit is. So. Did I do something wrong? Did the cleaners do something wrong? Is there anything else I can do? Or is the jacket ruined? (Yes, the smell still bothers me and I'll bet everyone can smell it too.)
posted by lou to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (5 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Vomit is not a homogenous substance, but simply a mixture of the stomach contents of one person, expelled. If that person had something greasy or oily to eat shortly before they puked, particularly if it also contained garlic/onions/spices mixed in [as many people like to eat when drinking], then a simple, single pass dry cleaning is unlikely to remove all traces of the vomit.

At this point, about all you can do is return it to the drycleaners, and discuss the problem with them. They can do some heavy duty pre-spotting of the area, use a leaching agent like dry talc to absorb as much oil and odor as possible, re-spot the garment, and then dry clean and deodorize it again. With enough cleaning, the vomit will eventually be diluted as much as possible, but it is probable that some slight staining and trace material are permanent.

A real friend would offer to replace the garment.
posted by paulsc at 1:58 PM on November 7, 2006 [2 favorites]

If the dry cleaners can't fix it for some reason, I would give it a good soak and wash at home before deciding to throw it out. What do you have to lose?

In fact, I have washed a number of `dry clean only' garments at home on the regular wash cycle, and all that happened to them was they became clean.

You could also get some sort of deodorant powder and sprinkle it liberally on the affected area, then let it sit for a while.
posted by tomble at 5:36 PM on November 7, 2006

If it's 100% wool, it will shrink considerably if you wash it in a machine. If you decide to wash it by hand (and it seems to me that wool should be able to deal with it) make sure to use Woolite or something similar.

Also, how recently did you buy the jacket? If you bought it using a credit card it may be covered for damage for a limited time. Or the store may be very generous with returns. Worth a shot, at least.
posted by Deathalicious at 7:14 PM on November 7, 2006

Try Natures Miracle Stain & Odor Remover:'s-Miracle-Stain-&/dp/B00008437W

It works on our carpets when one of the dog's barfs. U should be able to get at any Pet Supply Shop. Make sure U test it on a small area to make sure it doesn't harm the wool.
posted by zaphod at 7:17 PM on November 7, 2006

Soaking in a solution of cold water and vinegar works to remove many odours. Not sure about vomit, but if all else fails...
posted by sarahw at 11:26 PM on November 7, 2006

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