How to Get Vomit Stains & Smell Out of Perforated Leather Seats

Have you ever had to deal with cleaning up vomit on the floor or on your furniture? If so, you’re probably aware of how much of a hassle it is, not to mention that it’s also gross. When it comes to perforated seats, your trouble is much worse because you run the risk of it absorbing the vomit. In this article, we’ll be talking about how to clean vomit out of perforated leather seats and how you can minimize the damage to the material.

Are vomit stains permanent?

No, vomit stains aren’t permanent unless you leave them uncleaned for a very long time. If you accidentally get vomit on your leather car seats or furniture, you should clean it up immediately because gastric acids can cause some staining. Even worse, it will not only stain the seats but also your clothes if you come into contact with it.

Does vomit smell disappear?

Yes, the vomit smell usually disappears on surfaces when you clean them thoroughly. However, it will not go away on its own so you still need some elbow grease to remove that unpleasant smell. Don’t leave it untreated for long though because it will also stink up the room or the car’s interior after a while.

What is perforated leather?

Perforated leather is basically a type of leather that has thousands of punched small holes on them to improve its flexibility and breathability. You can commonly see perforated leather on car seats as they are made to reduce sweating and increase comfort. The small holes in perforated leather also help in cooling or heating systems in seating surfaces like leather car seats.

How to clean vomit out of perforated leather seats

As a general rule of thumb, if you spill anything on your perforated leather seats, you should wipe it off using a dry towel or leather wipes as quickly as you can. However, there are more thorough ways to clean vomit out of perforated leather seats. Below are some of them:

Use a bristled brush and leather cleaner

For this method, it’s important that you use a brush with stiff bristles instead of soft bristles so you can reach into the tiny holes and remove anything that’s stuck inside. For the cleaning solution, you can choose any commercial leather cleaner.

You can also make DIY cleaning solutions using one part vinegar and two parts water. If you don’t want to use vinegar, you can opt for the mild soap and water solution instead. Make sure to transfer it into a spray bottle for easier application. Here’s how to do it:

Things you will need:

  • Leather cleaner or DIY cleaning solution
  • Stiff-bristled brush
  • Warm water
  • Microfiber towels


  1. After removing as much of the vomit using dry towels, dampen a microfiber cloth with warm water and wipe the perforated seats.
  2. Spray the leather cleaner onto the surface where there was vomit and let it sit for about 5 minutes for maximum effect.
  3. Spray some more leather cleaner onto the brush and gently rub the surface. We recommend doing it in a circular motion to vary the direction and get as much gunk out of the perforations.
  4. Use the damp microfiber towel to wipe the surface and check if there is a residue left.
  5. If you’ve successfully gotten rid of the vomit, get another clean towel to wipe the excess cleaning solution on the surface.
  6. Apply leather conditioner and allow the seats to dry completely by opening the windows and letting fresh air go in.

Use a rubber-tipped gum stimulator

A rubber-tipped gum stimulator is a type of tool that can reach into the perforated holes and remove anything that is stuck in there that the towels can’t reach. You can buy this in your local retail store, but it’s better if you already have one in your home.

This will take you more time since you have to do it for each hole, but it guarantees that there is no stinky vomit residue on your prized leather seat. Here’s how to do it:

Things you will need:

  • Gum stimulator with a rubber tip
  • Microfiber cloth
  • Warm water


  1. After wiping the surface and removing as much vomit as you can, do the same method we mentioned above using the leather cleaner or DIY cleaning solution.
  2. Once you’re done, you can start going into the perforations one by one using the rubber-tipped tool and poke out the vomit residue that have settled in there.
  3. Just be careful when doing this method as you can accidentally poke a hole or rip through the leather seat.
  4. Wipe the surface using a damp towel every once in a while to get rid of the residue that you’ve removed from the holes.
  5. Once you’ve covered the surface that had vomit on it, wipe the surface of the perforated seats with a clean microfiber cloth for the last time before applying some leather conditioner.

Use a steam cleaner

This method is effective for both cleaning and removing the smell of vomit from your perforated leather seats. However, if the smell is really strong, you can check out our methods below on how to get rid of the vomit smell. Here’s how to get rid of vomit on your perforated leather using a steamer:

Things you will need:

  • Steam cleaner
  • Microfiber cloth
  • Distilled water


  1. Assuming that you’ve already removed as much of the vomit as you can, you may now proceed to prepare the steam cleaner.
  2. Fill up the water reservoir of the steam using distilled water only.
  3. It’s better if you wrap a soft cloth around the head of your steam cleaner using a rubber band to ensure that you don’t risk damaging the material from too much pressure.
  4. Set the temperature of the steam cleaner to its lowest heat setting. You may increase it a bit if needed.
  5. Hold the head of the steamer about 1 inch away from the surface and let the steamer do its magic. It will reach into the cracks and holes of the perforated leather, so there’s no need for you to use a lot of energy.
  6. Once the vomit residue on the surface has loosened up, go over it using a damp cloth.
  7. Once you’re done, wipe the surface with a dry microfiber towel and apply some leather conditioner.
  8. Allow the leather to breathe and dry by making sure there is proper ventilation in your car or in your room.

How to get vomit smell out of car leather seats

Vomit smells are probably right next to poop smells when it comes to the gag factor. Vomit smells make you want to vomit yourself and they don’t necessarily disappear when you remove the vomit itself. Here’s how you can remove vomit smells from your car’s leather upholstery.

Baking soda

Baking soda will always be an effective odor-removal method. What’s great about this is that you can use it completely dry and it won’t stain or affect your leather seats as long as the surface is completely dry.

Things you will need:


  1. If you’ve already cleaned the vomit off with the methods above, make sure that the surface is dry so that the baking soda will not absorb any moisture.
  2. Pour baking soda all over the affected areas. Do not be afraid to pour very generously to absorb as much of the smells as possible. Close your car’s doors and leave it to absorb the smells for 6 hours.
  3. Vacuum up the powder when you’re done and check if it still smells.

Tips and extra information:

  • Make sure to get the baking soda into any crevices and stitching as well. Those spots can still absorb the vomit and emit the smell.
  • You may leave the baking soda for much longer if the smell is really offensive and does not go away. Others have experienced needing to leave it for a few days to be completely effective, but your experience may vary.

Lemon or vinegar spray

If the vomit smell has traveled far into your perforated leather seats and the baking soda can’t get to it, you can try using a wet method instead. Lemon is very effective at removing all sorts of smells caused by organic matter, and vomit is one of those smells.

Things you will need:


  1. Mix equal parts lemon juice or white vinegar and water into a spray bottle.
  2. Spray the mixture into the affected areas. You can go heavy with the spray and make sure that it absorbs into the holes. Make sure to spray the stitches as well.
  3. Leave it for a few minutes to let it efficiently kill the smell.
  4. Damp the clean cloth with water and wipe the sprayed area in case the vinegar or lemon gets sticky.
  5. Apply leather conditioner as the spray mixture will dry out the leather as you left it there for a while.

How do you get dried vomit out of leather?

If the vomit has dried up on your perforated leather seats, the best thing you can do is use a combination of the cleaning methods we mentioned above– use a leather cleaner (or DIY cleaning solution) and then the rubber-tipped gum stimulator. Just make sure to let the cleaning solution sit for at least 5 minutes as the dried vomit can be harder to remove.

You also have to consider that once the vomit has dried up on the leather surface, it might have caused some staining. You’ll need to do more than cleaning because you will also need to restore the color and condition of the leather. To do this, you can check out our article on how to restore a leather jacket at home.

Professional cleaning services

If you’re having a really hard time removing the smells or the vomit yourself, you should try out a local detailing service. There are many car enthusiasts out there and there are services catered towards people who are particular about all the details of their car, including leather seats.

Going to a reputable detailer will ensure that they know how to take care of leather car seats and will effectively clean and remove the vomit along with its smells. Some may be expensive, but they will clean your car really well and your leather seats will also look very fresh again.

They usually also include thorough leather care after the cleaning services like conditioning and leather protection so your leather seats can last long.


Perforated leather is great for making comfortable seats and sofas since it doesn’t get hot or moist even if you sit on them for a long time. This is all thanks to the tiny perforated holes that make it more breathable. However, this means that there is a huge risk of you ruining the seat if you spill any liquid on it, including vomit. We hope that the methods we mentioned above will help in dealing with any vomit-related problems on your leather seats.


Is perforated leather waterproof?

No, perforated leather is definitely not waterproof. Because of the thousands of holes on the surface of this material, water can easily penetrate into the foam that gives it structure inside. However, most foams used in perforated leather seats are water-resistant so you still have some time to wipe away anything spilled on it before it gets fully absorbed.


  • Luke

    With a 14-year journey dedicated to preserving and enhancing leather goods, his unwavering passion continues to fuel his expertise. When he's not immersed in the world of leather, you can find Luke enjoying exhilarating bicycle rides or exploring nature through invigorating hikes.

  • Ralf

    Ralf is a multifaceted creative enthusiast with a deep passion for various crafting hobbies, including sewing, pottery, and the captivating world of leathercraft.