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How to Get Gasoline Spills and Smell Out of Clothes

Gasoline is no fun outside of the vehicle tank. Not only because of the smell and stain but also because it’s a fire hazard. Anytime you get gasoline spills on your clothes, you should take off these clothes and treat the stain as quickly as possible.

To treat gasoline spills, you’ll need to hose them with water first, then air dry them for 24 hours in the open air. Then treat the clothes with a stain remover such as white vinegar or baking soda. After rinsing the stain thoroughly with water, you can put it to wash.

You can use a wide variety of stain removers, both commercial and homemade, to get gasoline spills and smell out of clothes. Read more to find out the best ways to treat these stains and how to get rid of both the stain and the smell effectively.

How to Get Gasoline Spills and Smell Out of Clothes

We’ll start with the steps needed to get gasoline spills and smell out of clothes. These steps will almost be the same regardless of which stain remover you choose to treat the stain. 

A warning, though. It takes a lot of work and time to get those tough gasoline stains out of clothes. And you might have to repeat a few steps over and over until both the stain and the smell are finally out. 

So let’s get to it.

Materials

  • Hose
  • Stain Remover
  • Paper towels
  • Soaking basin
  • Washing machine
  • Soft-bristle brush

How to Clean

In order to clean the gasoline spills and smell, you need to wash the stains under running water, preferably a hose, then let it dry in the sun for at least 24 hours. Then comes the treatment.

Sounds complicated? Let me simplify it for you in easy steps.

  1. Take the gasoline-stained out to the garden or balcony or wherever you have a hose and plenty of space. The shower area will do as well.
  2. Turn on the hose and train it on the stain. If the stain is large or there is more than one stain on the garment, douse it with plenty of water. You’re trying to flush the gasoline out of the garment.
  3. When you’re satisfied, put the garment out to dry under the sun and fresh air. It might still have the smell of gasoline in it, but that’s fine. You’ll deal with that later.
  4. Leave the garment to dry for 24 hours at least. The fresh air should take care of the smell.
  5. When the garment is dry, you’ll notice that the stain is still there and also the smell.
  6. Now treat the stain with any stain remover you have. For more information about the best stain remover to use for gasoline stains, scroll down to the next section.
  7. Apply the stain remover generously to the stain or stains. Allow it the right time for the stain remover to break down the stain. The exact time differs and is explained below.
  8. Rinse the stain under running water to remove all traces of the stain remover, as well as the stain and smell of gasoline.
  9. Repeat steps 7 and 8 as needed until you can no longer smell gasoline or see the stain itself. If your nose becomes desensitized from huffing the gasoline, get the help of a fresh nose.
  10. Now you need to wash the garment alone. Put it in a small pot or container, pour warm water on it, and use a heavy-duty detergent. Leave it for 5 minutes.
  11. Put on hand gloves to protect your hands against the abrasive chemicals in the detergent and give the stains a good scrub. If you don’t want to use your hands, you can scrub it with a soft-bristled brush.
  12. Throw away the water and fill the container with lukewarm water to rinse the garment. Keep it in the water for 5 minutes.
  13. Give the garment another rinse under the tap.
  14. Now you can wash it in the washer along with other clothes. Use the maximum water temperature available.
  15. Put the laundry out to dry in the sun. 

10 Best Treatments for Gasoline Spills and Smell

Now that you know how much work is involved in cleaning gasoline spills and smell from clothes, it’s time to take a deeper look at the kind of stain removers you can use. 

1. White Vinegar

White vinegar is touted as the silver bullet for all types of stains. I wouldn’t go so far as to claim that white vinegar can remove every type of stain you will encounter. But it does have many advantages over other commercial products and stain removers on the market.

One of those advantages is that it is a natural product with little abrasive impact on the clothes. The acidity of the vinegar breaks down the stains and neutralizes the odors. Commercial stain removers would only mask the gasoline odor with a fragrance.

Always mix vinegar with water, and don’t apply the vinegar directly to the clothes. This will limit the damage it can cause to sensitive fabrics.

2. Baking Soda

Baking soda is readily available in every home these days. It’s one of those items that you buy because you think you might need it one day, if not for baking, at least for cleaning. And when you have a gasoline stain on your clothes, baking soda shines.

Just like with white vinegar, you’ll need to mix the baking soda with water first. Add three tablespoons of baking soda to two cups of warm water, then apply the cleaning solution to the gasoline stain using a toothbrush. 

Leave the baking soda on the stain for at least an hour. It takes a longer time to get rid of the smell of gasoline than to actually remove the stain.

3. Hydrogen Peroxide

If you have lots of white clothes, then you’re most likely familiar with hydrogen peroxide. It’s a great alternative to bleach as it whitens clothes without impacting colors or damaging sensitive fabrics. 

Hydrogen peroxide also doubles as an effective stain remover for gasoline stains. It’s also a disinfectant that kills germs and pathogens on top of having great properties for neutralizing offensive odors such as those of a gasoline spill.

Don’t forget to dilute it in water before using it on the stain. You’ll need to leave the hydrogen peroxide solution on the stain for up to 15 minutes before rinsing and trying again. Don’t leave the powerful liquid on the garment for more than 15 minutes at a time. 

4. Soap

The humble bar of soap doesn’t just wash the dainty stains off your hands. It’s a powerful product that is quite effective against gasoline stains.

The key to success when using soap as a stain remover is to soak the clothes in hot water for at least an hour. This might not work with all types of clothes. Sensitive and delicate fabrics, as well as nylons and silk, will damage easily if you soak them in hot water mixed with soap.

But other fabrics, such as cotton and linen, you can safely soak in soap and water. Another caveat to this method is that it only works with small stains with a light gasoline odor. If the gasoline spill covers a large part of the garment, then you should use vinegar or baking soda instead of soap.

5. Orange and Lemon

Citric acid has been a trusty cleaning agent for ages. But if you have no access to any commercial stain remover with citric acid in it, you can make one at home and save yourself some money.

You’ll need either orange or lemon fruits, preferably fresh. Remember, you won’t need the juice or flesh of the fruits, just the rind. The zest in the rind of either lemon or orange fruits is a potent chemical that can break down gasoline stains and eradicate the odors completely.

Use a cheese grater to grate the rind and collect the zest in a cup. One cup of zest mixed with 3 cups of warm water will give you a powerful cleaning solution. Apply the liquid to the stain and leave it for 30 minutes at least. The zest doesn’t damage most fabrics. Just don’t use it on silk or satin.

6. Mineral Oil

I know what you’re thinking. Mixing oil with stains, wouldn’t that create a more difficult stain? Not really. Mineral oil is both colorless and odorless. It will break down the gasoline stain, remove the odor, and it’s easy to remove with dish soap.

If you don’t like to use oil to fight stains, you can use the gel form of mineral oil. It also comes as a colorless liquid. Once you apply any form of mineral oil you like, leave it until the stain dries. Don’t rinse it when it’s still moist.

Rinse it under hot running water and put the garment out to dry. Inspect the stain and check if there’s still any smell. Repeat the mineral oil treatment until the stain is gone.

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7. Heavy-Duty Detergent

Many heavy-duty laundry detergents can be effective against gasoline stains. However, the gasoline smell is a different matter. Commercial detergents often have a fragrance that hides the gasoline smell but does not remove it totally.

The problem with that approach is that you might get a hint of gasoline when you least expect it. Especially when you’re wearing the garment. I recommend using the heavy-duty laundry detergent with another stain remover, such as orange zest or white vinegar.

Apply the concentrated detergent to the gasoline stain and rub it in with your fingers. Allow it no more than 5 minutes, then rinse the stain and repeat. Don’t keep the detergent for more than 5 minutes on the stain, or it might damage the fabric.

Here is a list of my favorites.

8. Coffee Grounds

The main advantage of using coffee grounds to treat gasoline stains is its ability to remove odors from clothes. As we all know, coffee grounds have a strong odor, and when mixed with water, it will neutralize the smell of gasoline.

Of course, coffee grounds will stain the fabric. But it’s easier to remove the coffee stain than the gasoline stain. 

Mix two tablespoons of coffee grounds in a cup of hot water. Apply the powerful brew to the stain and leave it for an hour. Rinse under hot water and sniff the stain. Both the gasoline stain and the smell will be gone. Now treat the coffee stain with either dish soap or white vinegar.

9. Ammonia

Ammonia has been a housewife’s best cleaning agent long before commercial stain removers were a thing. It’s very powerful, and its smell is overwhelming.

You need to wear gloves and try not to inhale the fumes of the ammonia. A face mask would protect your nose. Apply a few drops of ammonia to the stain and ensure the whole stain is covered with the chemical.

Wait for about 15 minutes and rinse the stain under hot water. Again, keep your hands and nose covered while rinsing. If you only have a faint smell of the gasoline left on the garment, put it out to dry.

But if the gasoline smell is still strong, repeat the ammonia treatment. After the garment dries, all traces of the gasoline and smell will be gone. Wash normally in the washer.

10. Professional Cleaning

When none of the above methods work against the gasoline stain or you are worried that the treatment might damage the fabrics, then send the garment to a dry cleaner. 

Professional cleaners have more experience with these types of stains and will be able to remove the stain and the smell without damaging the fabric. 

Conclusion

Gasoline has a repulsive smell that will make eyes water. It’s also a fire hazard, so you should treat the gasoline stains as soon as possible. The treatment involves dousing the stain with running water, then applying a stain remover such as lemon zest or white vinegar. 

I also wrote guides on how to remove engine grease stains and hydraulic oil stains that may interest you to check out next.

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