Operations

How To Clean Up After A Sick Client

Posted on March 5, 2013 by

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If you do regular retail-related limo runs involving bachelor/bachelorette parties, birthday parties, couples going out on the town, wine tasting trips, or just groups of friends gadding about, sooner or later you will deal with a vomit situation.
If you do regular retail-related limo runs involving bachelor/bachelorette parties, birthday parties, couples going out on the town, wine tasting trips, or just groups of friends gadding about, sooner or later you will deal with a vomit situation.

SOUTHAMPTON, Penn. — Puke. Yak. Vomit. Throw up. It doesn’t matter what you call it. Just hearing the words conjures up a horrible vision and a smell even when they don’t exist. But vomit in a car or limousine really stinks in more ways than one. Aside from an accident, it is the worst service incident an operator has to deal with.
We have gone years without having anyone get sick in our vehicles. Our lucky streak ended in January. We had three that month — one car sick, one drunk sick, and one a combination of both in a stretch limousine. All incidents share the same issue — they stink all the way to Hades and back again. Getting rid of that odor fast is critical as that vehicle needs to get back on the road and make money for your company. The longer it sits, the worse it gets in odor and in money lost.

If you do regular retail-related limo runs involving bachelor/bachelorette parties, birthday parties, couples going out on the town, wine tasting trips, or just groups of friends gadding about, sooner or later you will deal with a vomit situation.

Preparing for the Worst
The trick to mitigating the problem quickly is to be timely. Unfortunately, after a chauffeur does an eight- to 10-hour run around town which ends with the clients in the back vomiting, your chauffeur will probably not do that great a job cleaning it up. Let’s face it. He had to deal with these folks and I am sure that was not pleasant. You took the job and now you need to deal with the aftermath.

Make sure to keep a box of rubber gloves in the glove box of your vehicles should this occur. You don’t want to cause further problems because the chauffeur touched something he shouldn’t have. Also keep trash bags handy.  
In our worst case, the client threw up all over himself, down the seats, out the window, in the door jams and in the coolers. The next day our entire garage stunk from it. Our car washer scrubbed for over a week. He removed the seats in the vehicle to find pools of vomit that he didn’t realize had been there. He took the car to our body shop and they removed the door panel only to find more puddled in there. The incident was like a surreal Seinfeld episode where the smell from hell would just not go away. Unlike Seinfeld, selling the car was not an option. The vomit/alcohol odor just lingered and festered.  

We used vinegar and Dawn detergent on the rugs, which helped but not enough. We spent hours on the Internet researching solutions. We spoke to other operators to see what they recommended. Sam Amato of Gateway Limousine said that they use sawdust to sop up the mess and eliminate a lot of the odor. We didn’t have any sawdust laying around and we had already gotten the wet stuff out. Our research did net us success, but it was truly a painful process.

We learned these key steps to stamping out the smell:

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