Transporting gasoline is often part of the camping routine. Whether you need it for your RV generator, boat, or other gas-powered accessories, gas is crucial for camping. And if you’re moving gas containers, you’ll probably deal with a little gas spill now and then.
You can clean the initial spill with old towels or rags, but that won’t take care of the scent.
Here’s how to get gas smell out of your car. Baking soda, coffee grounds, laundry powder, vinegar, and cat litter are effective for gas odor removal. Don’t mix cleaners. And if all else fails, try a commercial odor removal product. Don’t forget to ventilate your car until the gas smell is gone.
If you spill some gas in your car, try to clean it up right away. Use rags or towels that can be thrown out.
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8 Ways To Eliminate the Gas Smell in Your Car
Figuring out how to get gas smell out of your car is tough. Though some people claim to love the smell of gasoline, no one wants their car to reek of it.
So, if you’ve spilled a little gas, it’s time to try one of these odor-busting solutions so you know how to get gas smell out of your car.
First, remove as much gas as possible with old towels or rags. Then, safely dispose of them. After that, you can deal with the smell using one of these simple solutions.
1. Baking Soda
Baking soda is ideal for soaking up foul scents. As an alkaline salt, it’s very good at dissolving organic compounds from dirt, grease, and, of course, gasoline. That means it can absorb the scent and neutralize it.
To use baking soda on a gas spill, simply sprinkle it over the spill area. Leave it for at least thirty minutes. Then, scoop it up or vacuum it up and dispose of it.
Plus, baking soda crystals are abrasive. So, they can help you scrub out any remaining gas stains from your vehicle’s carpet.
Because of their abrasive nature, you’ll want to be careful not to damage the fabric – especially in visible areas.
Alternatively, you can make a paste of baking soda and warm water. Apply it to the spill area and let it dry. When it does, vacuum or scoop it up. The area should now be smell free!
2. White Vinegar
White vinegar is another common household ingredient that’s great at removing gasoline smells.
To use it:
- Add one cup of vinegar to half a cup of warm water.
- Spray the mixture over the spill area.
- Let it sit for about twenty minutes.
- Use rags to soak up any excess liquid.
Unfortunately, using white vinegar will leave behind a vinegar smell. Some people find the scent of vinegar to be overpowering. If that’s you, try using a few drops of your favorite essential oil in the water and vinegar mixture. It can help cover the strong smell of vinegar.
Rather than add more smells, I recommend putting the windows down, if possible. Nothing beats good old-fashioned ventilation.
A word of caution: be careful with vinegar. Check your owner’s manual to see if the fabric in your seats and carpet can safely handle vinegar. Some materials may be damaged by vinegar.
3. Cat Litter
Cat litter is a great way to get rid of yucky smells while absorbing the liquid from the gasoline spill.
Just cover the spill area with cat litter before the gasoline completely evaporates. The cat litter will absorb the excess liquid and scent within hours.
If your gasoline spill is already completely dry, cat litter won’t work as well. So, only use this solution if you’re dealing with a fresh spill.
4. Laundry Powder
Laundry powders contain everything you need to get rid of both gasoline smells and stains.
- Start by mixing one tablespoon of laundry powder with two cups of hot water.
- Dip a rag in the solution and then scrub in a circular motion over the spill area.
- You’ll need to repeat the dip and scrub several times.
After scrubbing the area, use clean water and a clean rag to remove the laundry powder. Then, let your vehicle air dry.
5. Coffee Grounds
The strong smell of coffee grounds will also mask other foul scents found in gasoline.
- To use coffee grounds on a gasoline spill, dampen them. Then, use a rag to scrub them into the spill area.
- Leave the grounds for at least a half-hour.
- Then, use water with a few drops of white vinegar and a clean rag to wipe the grounds away.
Much like baking soda, cornstarch is a great substance to get rid of gasoline scents.
Simply sprinkle it over the dried spill area and let it sit for twenty minutes.
Then you can scoop or vacuum up the starch.
7. Commercial Odor Removers
If all else fails, there are several commercial-grade odor removers you can use to get the gas smell out of your car. These should be a last resort, though, as they sometimes cause problems. They might stain upholstery or leave behind a chemical scent.
If you want to try one, you could give Zero Odor a shot. It bonds with foul scents to neutralize them and is very effective with gas smells.
Another option is Meguiar’s Air Re-Fresher. Meguiar’s is a well-known car care brand. Their odor-removing product promises to leave behind a refreshing scent.
However, some find the smell it leaves behind to be too strong. So, again, commercial odor removers should be your last-ditch solution.
8. Air it Out
Remember to keep your windows (and moonroof) open for ventilation. This is especially important before cleaning the spill. But it’s a good idea to continue to ventilate for a few days.
Inhaling fumes is dangerous and can lead to gasoline poisoning.
As you clean up the gas, you’ll probably get some on your hands. Here’s how to get the gas smell off your hands (and clothes).
Several camping accessories run on gasoline. That means you’re probably going to have to transport gas now and then. Unfortunately, moving gasoline leaves you susceptible to spills. And the smell of gasoline is tough to eliminate!
So, if a spill happens, try to clean it up right away. Use rags or towels that you’re willing to throw out.
Then, use the tips above now that you know how to get the gas smell out of your car. Baking soda, vinegar, and coffee grounds can be effective for taking care of odors. If all else fails, reach for a commercial product.
What worked for you? I would love to hear your tips!
- About the Author
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Bryan Haines is a co-founder and blogger on GudGear – and is working to make it the best resource for outdoor gear and guides.
He loves the outdoors and has hiked the Andes, kayaked the Galapagos, and biked and camped around Nova Scotia, Canada.
He is a travel blogger at Storyteller Travel and blogs about photography at Storyteller Tech. He is also co-founder of Storyteller Media, a company he started with his wife, Dena.