When it comes to cleaning porous surfaces, call a professional

Most of us have had a child get sick on the carpet. He or she was too ill to react and make it to the bathroom. You want to thoroughly clean up the mess and prevent any staining, but are unsure of how to go about it.

The sad truth is you can never truly disinfect a porous surface without removing it — especially if you suspect a highly infectious disease like the norovirus is to blame for the illness going around the house. But as an industry leader in biohazard remediation, we have recommendations for how to clean the mess and when you should reach out for professional help.

If you believe the mess is manageable

You need to protect yourself anytime you try to clean up a potentially dangerous mess. Get some gloves, wear face protection, and try to avoid making contact with the substance. Definitely avoid touching your face, eyes, or mouth until you have had the chance to clean your hands. If you pick up an illness cleaning up after a sick child, you won’t be able to help anyone — you’ll be in bed yourself. Next, you want to follow these few steps to remove a small amount of vomit off your carpet.

1. Clean up what you can

You want to remove as much of the vomit as possible. Use a dustpan or old towel to remove any solids from the floor or fabric. Keep a trash bag handy to dispose of any waste.

2. Blot up any liquid

Using another old towel, paper towels, or disposable rag, draw liquid from the surface. Go over the spot a few times to make sure you have removed as much as possible.

3. Use baking soda or cornstarch

Liberally coat the affected area with powder and let it set. This will soak up more of the moisture. After 15 minutes, vacuum the powder.

4. Treat for stains and odor

Treat the area for stains with a registered disinfectant product with a broad spectrum kill claim. This is also when you can deodorize. We recommend an enzyme-based cleaner. Enzymatic cleaners have fewer chemicals, but still break down stains and odors.

5. Dispose of biohazard materials properly

Take care when disposing of the rags or towels you used to clean up the stain, or launder them immediately. You do not want to spread the contamination.

Always remember: Removing waste and disinfecting are not the same thing

The spot on the carpet is still not disinfected, even if you remove the bulk of the physical mess. A porous surface can never be truly cleared of potential contamination. To get a porous surface truly disinfected, you need to call a professional to remove the affected area. Also, it’s important to point out that in the steps above we’re assuming a manageable spot. Often, if a sickness takes over multiple people in the home, the volume of vomit or other bodily fluids to clean up is absolutely beyond the scope of household cleaners.

If the mess is too large to handle with household measures or you suspect the vomit is caused by a more serious virus, call Aftermath. Only a company who removes the entire affected area can guarantee that no dangerous biological material is left behind. You’re welcome to get the process started, but you should leave true disinfection to the professionals. Only Aftermath can assure you the potential contamination is completely removed, as we can run tests to make sure no biological material is left behind. Then, after remediating the situation, we will dispose of all biohazard materials in a proper fashion and return your home to normal.

It’s better to be safe than sorry with porous surfaces

Aftermath is a trusted partner for the safe cleanup of potentially hazardous biological materials. Our proprietary cleaning chemicals are designed to treat every specific potential contamination, while a 28-point checklist ensures the effective removal of biohazard materials. This leaves your home clean, comfortable, and most importantly — safe. Trying to disinfect a porous surface on your own may leave behind potential pathogens or contagious materials. Even the norovirus, which affects your body for only a couple days, can survive on some surfaces for multiple days and even a week. Remember, no porous surface can ever be truly disinfected.

Don’t hesitate to call Aftermath to clean up a mess when the household comes down with a contagious illness. In the biohazard cleaning and remediation business, we often enter the lives of our customers at vulnerable times. It’s what makes our compassionate approach so important. We’re here to help, so let the Aftermath Way help you remove any affected porous surfaces to ensure your family’s safety.