If you work at a hotel, a pub or a nightclub, dealing with vomit is pretty much an occupational hazard. Even in the most laid-back or proper establishment, sooner or later someone is going to vomit on the floor. When this happens, you should be prepared. At The SCS Group, one of our specialist areas is hotel cleaning, so our professional cleaners deal with vomit all the time, and have effective procedures for cleaning vomit from both hard floors and carpeted floors.
But sometimes bad things happen at the worst of times, so it is good to be prepared in case you or your staff need to clean up vomit if it happens in your hotel, pub or nightclub.
Beware – Vomit is a Bio Hazard!!
Vomit is a bio-hazardous material so it can contain causal agents of contagious diseases, so when handling vomit, caution should be taken. Protective gear such as gloves should be worn at all times.
Cleaning vomit from hard floors
Naturally, it’s easier to clean vomit from a hard floor than a carpeted one. Professional cleaners will usually start off by removing the bulk of the vomit. If the vomit is fresh, an absorbent powder is sprinkled over it to make it easier for the vomit to be scooped into a garbage bag. Dried vomit has to be scraped from the floor using a plastic scooper or other tools that are unlikely to cause damage to the floor. The area will then be soaked to loosen the remaining vomit particles, scrubbed to remove all the vomit, rinsed thoroughly, then dried off and deodoriser. Professional cleaners usually sprinkle or spray vinegar solutions, commercial disinfectants or deodorising detergents on the floor to kill off the odor. This process works for concrete, tile and wooden floors alike. However, with wooden floor, extra caution has to be taken to prevent staining or discoloration.
Cleaning vomit from carpets
Just like with hard floors, the first course of action when cleaning vomit off a carpet is to remove the bulk of the vomit. Professional cleaners will often use scrapers or dustpans to remove most of the food chunks in the vomit. You can also use paper towels or old disposable pieces of cloth to remove the remainder of the surface vomit.
Absorbent substances such as cornstarch, sand, and baking powder are then sprinkled over the affected area. These substances can absorb the vomit and the moisture that has entered into the carpet fibres, bringing them back to the surface. Baking powder tends to draw vomit from the carpet and deposit it on the surface. Cornstarch pretty much works the same way. For optimal effect, the absorbent substances are usually left on the carpet for over ten minutes to half an hour.
The absorbent material will form clumps on the carpet, these are vacuumed off using a vacuum tube rather than a regular vacuum head. The affected area is then treated with a stain remover. Professional cleaners use a wide variety of stain removers, including dry cleaning solvent, vinegar solution, club soda, hydrogen peroxide, ammonia, and special detergents. Different stain removers are effective for different types of carpets, and professional cleaners will be able to determine which one works best for the carpet in your hotel, pub or nightclub floor.
After cleaning the carpet, it must be deodorised and professional cleaners will often use baking powder, vinegar, disinfectants, or deodoriser sprays to get rid of any remaining odour. Deodorisers that work by neutralising the odour are much better than those that work by masking it. The deodoriser is usually left on the carpet for a few hours before the carpet is vacuumed again one last time.
It’s important to remember that in hotels, pubs or nightclubs, any surfaces with carpets should be steam cleaned at least once or twice a month with hot water extraction carpet cleaning. Carpets in such places tend to get very dirty because of the high foot traffic, and regular hot water extraction cleaning is necessary to keep them clean.