by Joshua Thomas
Almost every driver will have to deal with a gasoline spill at some point, whether it is on the trunk or even on the inside of the vehicle. And no matter how thorough you might be when cleaning up, gas will often still live a lingering odor.
Besides simply being annoying and making the vehicle uncomfortable to drive, the gas smell also comes with some significant health concerns such as breathing difficulties and severe headaches.
But, the good news is that like most other odors, gas smells are quite easy to remove if you know what to do. In this piece, we provide a step by step guide on how to remove gas smells.
Step 1: Locate the Smell Source
When trying to remove the gas smell from your car the first step is to locate the source of the smell, which in many instances is often a gas spill. And while this might seem simple, sometimes this can be the hardest step as there are countless places where you can spill gas accidentally.
The best way to locate the source of the gas smell will be to use your nose to pinpoint where the smell is coming from. Alternatively, you should check the places where you keep gas cans if you tend to carry them a lot in your vehicle.
Step 2: Blot Out the Gasoline
Once you locate the smell source, in many instances there will be often a gas spill. Before you even start dealing with the smell, you need to take care of the spill. Here, the most important thing is to blot out as much of it as possible.
It is always a great idea to use old rags to soak up the gas spill as you are less likely to want to use them for anything else, and will hence not mind throwing them out to eliminate the need to wash them.
Step 3: Air out the Vehicle
Next, you should air out your vehicle by placing it under direct sunlight and leaving all the doors and the trunk open.
This step is vital as it will ensure any excess gas evaporates, and by airing the car most of the smell should also escape. But, this is the longest step as you will need to leave the car to air out for up to 5 hours.
Step 4: Clean the Vehicle’s Interior Thoroughly
After airing the vehicle, you now need to give it a thorough cleanup to get rid of any gas residue, which will then remove the lingering smell.
You can make a simple cleaning solution using laundry detergent or liquid dish soap. And once the solution is ready, you will need to work it into the gas spill with a soft bristle brush and then scrub it thoroughly.
Allow the cleaning agent to sit in the gas spill for a few minutes before cleaning it out with some hot water. But, make sure you do not use to much water as you do not want to dampen your vehicle.
Step 5: Treat with Baking Soda
If you do not have a potent cleaning agent, you can skip step 4 above and go straight to step 5, which is treating the gas spill with a baking soda paste, and you can easily make some with water and baking soda.
Dab in the baking soda paste into the spill and then leave it to sit for a while. Baking soda is not only an effective cleaning agent but is also perfect for absorbing smells. And after a few minutes, you should soak up as much of it as possible using old rags.
Step 6: Apply Odor Remover
With a little shopping around, you should be able to find a good commercial odor remover for masking the gas smell. The last step in dealing with the gas odor will be to apply the odor remover.
These odor removers will often come in the form of a spray, and so after cleaning up the gas spill, you will only need to spray them generously on the stain and throughout the vehicle.
If you are dealing with gas smells where there are no spills involved, an odor remover will also be very useful for masking the odor, and the good thing is that they do not cost much.
Sometimes you might not have money for buying commercial odor removers and might also not have the time to look for one. However, the good news is that there are still many other things that you already have at home that can help you deal with gas smells.
Chances are you already have some coffee in the house, and if so, then you have a very useful solution for removing the gas smell from your car.
Coffee is an excellent smell absorber and neutralizer, and hence rubbing a few spoons of coffee ground on a gas spill or even just placing them strategically in the vehicle or trunk will reduce the gas smell significantly.
But coffee grounds might not be that instant solution that you are looking for as you will often have to leave then in the car for up to one week to see significant changes. However, because coffee grounds are dry, you can use them countless times.
A vinegar solution, which you can easily make with equal parts of water and white vinegar is also a highly effective home remedy for removing gas smells. If cleaning up the vehicle is not effective enough, a vinegar solution soak of the source of the smell should be enough.
For the best results, you should dub the solution on the source of the smell and then leave it for at least 30 minutes before cleaning it out. Repeat this a couple of times and the gas smell should be gone.
But, you have to be careful when using vinegar to ensure you do not use too much of it. Otherwise, you will end up just replacing the gas smell with an equally annoying vinegar smell.
Any pet owner will tell you that a cat litter does an amazing job when it comes to managing smells from the cat's excrement, and it will ensure that your house maintains a good smell. Cat litter can also be very useful for eliminating the gas smell from a car as it will absorb excess moisture and odor.
However, to get the most out of cat litter, you need to make sure that you use it immediately after cleaning up the vehicle so that you do not give the gas time to evaporate.
When using cat litter you should spread large amounts of it around the vehicle and give 2 to 3 hours to work. Afterward, you should sweep up the cat litter and keep it in a plastic bag far away from the vehicle to prevent the smell from escaping back to the car.
And if after a couple of hours the cat litter does not work well enough, you can repeat a few more times or until you get the desired results.
Essential oils might not be the first option that will come to your mind when you are trying to get rid of the gas smell. But, the fact that they have a strong scent should be a good indication that they can be very useful in masking the gas smell in your vehicle.
Besides neutralizing the smell, essential oils can also help disinfect your car. And the good news is that they are available in various types from eucalyptus to lavender essential oil, and so you can easily get a scent that you like.
This homemade remedy is also quite straightforward to use as you will only need to mix your preferred essential oil with water, add the mixture to a spray bottle and spread it generously in your vehicle.
If you are dealing with exceptionally heavy gas odors that will not just go away no matter what you do, an ammonia solution will be a very useful option.
With ammonia, the process is the same as using white vinegar and baking powder as you will need to mix it with water and use it to soak the area with the gas spill. Also, you can use the ammonia solution to give the car a thorough wipe down.
While leaving the ammonia on your car for a few hours is often good enough, overnight will work even better. But, when using ammonia it is important to make sure that you do not mix it with chlorine-based cleaners as combining the two can produce some toxic fumes.
Note: Even as you work hard to remove the gas smells from your vehicle, you will also need to think about the garage as any gas smell in there can be easily transferred to your vehicle.
Hence as a long term solution for removing gas smells, you will also need to clean up your garage. And most of the solutions above for removing the gas smell from the car can also be effective enough for the garage.
Besides being highly annoying and unpleasant, gas smells can also come with serious health implications as they often result in severe headaches and breathing difficulties. Hence, it is important to deal with them the soonest possible.
The good news is that removing gas smells from your vehicle is quite easy. You will only need to identify the source of the smell, which in many instances is often a gas spill, clean it up and then apply a smell neutralizer or absorber.
Lastly, you will not always need to invest in expensive cleaning agents or smell neutralizers as there are several things already available at home that will be very helpful from coffee grounds to cat litter and essential oils.
About Joshua Thomas
Joshua Thomas just simply loves cars and willing to work on them whenever there's chance... sometimes for free.
He started CarCareTotal back in 2017 from the advices of total strangers who witnessed his amazing skills in car repairs here and there.
His goal with this creation is to help car owners better learn how to maintain and repair their cars; as such, the site would cover alot of areas: troubleshooting, product recommendations, tips & tricks.
Joshua received Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering at San Diego State University.