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There Is Vomit on My Black Jacket

And I would like for there to not be.

Photo: Artizia

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So, there is vomit on my black jacket.

Not chunks of vomit but, like, the vomit water (little splotches of it) around some parts of the front of the jacket. I didn't clean it off the jacket, as I thought I could just dry-clean it. The jacket is the Niseko Parka from Aritzia and it says not to dry-clean it. Now it's been maybe more than a year. How would I go about cleaning the mess?

This question took me on such a rollercoaster ride of emotions! I was all "Oh eww, you poor thing," then, like "Oh this isn't bad at all, no sweatski," and then I got to the part about the jacket hanging around in your closet with vomit water on it for over a year and I keeled over and died right there on the spot. I'm writing this from the great beyond. It's pretty nice here. I've got my own washer-dryer set-up and unlimited quarters.

Vomit as a Stain Type

Well, look, vomit will happen. And when it does, it will be helpful to know that vomit is a protein stain. We've talked about protein stains in this space before, most recently in last year's columns about those hideous yellow underarm stains that befoul our light-colored T-shirts and the rules of white bedding. Just like sweat and sexual fluids, vomit is a protein stain, and is therefore best treated using an enzymatic stain-removing product, like Zout.

What to Do When Vomit Gets on Washable Fabrics

Our Letter Writer's coat is machine washable. I know that in part because she mentioned that the care tag specifies that it shouldn't be dry-cleaned, and also because I went to the Aritzia website, where I found the following information listed in a section entitled “Materials & Care.” I mention that to demonstrate how much information you can find by looking up anything from the jackets to the sheets to, oh, I don't know, the feather boas you own.

Here's what I learned about this specific coat:

  • Content: Shell: 88 percent polyester, 12 percent nylon; Faux fur lining: 85 percent acrylic, 15 percent polyester; Sleeve lining: 100 percent polyester; Fill: 100 percent polyester; Detachable faux fur trim: 45 percent acrylic, 43 percent modacrylic, 12 percent polyester
  • Care: Machine wash
  • Imported

With that information in hand, I can tell you exactly what to do about the year-old vomit stains: Spray them liberally with Zout and then machine-wash the coat in cold water (detach the faux fur lining first) using your regular detergent. Hang it to air dry and, if there's any residual staining, simply repeat the process. That's all!

Those basic instructions will also cover any other machine-washable textiles.

A Tip for Dry-Cleaning Vomit-Covered Garments

In the event you've gotten barf on something like a wool overcoat, which should be dry-cleaned, you can certainly take it to the professionals. However, you should do your best to remove as much of the vomit as you can, either by scraping dried matter away using a butter knife or the side of a spoon, or by gently dabbing at the stain using a damp sponge or rag. While you should feel perfectly okay about bringing a garment to the dry cleaner that has something kinda gross on it, because truly, the dry cleaner has seen everything, you should also bear in mind that the dry cleaner is a real person. Therefore, it's a good idea, out of a sense of good citizenship, to not dump a heavily vomit-crusted item and just waltz away demanding that a stranger deal with it.

So look, yeah, vomit is a pretty gross stain. But the good news here is that it's not an especially bad stain, in terms of removal. And if all else fails, the Niseko Parka is currently being offered at a deep discount, so you could always just buy a replacement model and chalk it up to a lesson learned!