Hand pumping gasoline into a portable gas tank with text how to neutralize gasoline odorsHand pumping gasoline into a portable gas tank with text how to neutralize gasoline odors

How to Neutralize Gasoline Odors from Hard Surfaces

Gasoline or diesel fuel that has leaked or spilled onto a hard surface can be a serious problem. Gas spillage produces harmful vapors that can cause a lingering, unpleasant smell. Fuel spills are also a safety concern if not cleaned quickly and properly. 

Spilled gas will also leave a stain on paved surfaces and garage floors that’s recognizable by its rainbow color. If a gasoline stain isn’t properly absorbed and cleaned, it will leave behind an oil slick that may lead to a slip-and-fall injury. 

The Dangers of Spilled Gasoline 

Gasoline creates a hazardous vapor that’s unhealthy to breathe in, highly flammable, and explosive. Over an extended period of time, fumes from fuel can cause headaches, nausea, and dizziness. Severe gas spills and prolonged exposure to vapors may even cause fainting and, in a worst-case scenario, even death. 

As gasoline fumes saturate the air, a small spark can cause the vapors to ignite. To avoid the potentially catastrophic effects of ignited gasoline, we recommend cleaning spilled gas as soon as possible. 

What to Avoid When Cleaning Gasoline 

As a precaution, avoid the following when cleaning a gasoline spill: 

  1. Using water and nothing else: Water and gas don’t naturally mix. Attempting to wash away gasoline with water alone isn’t effective and may create a larger mess.
  2. Using anything electrical: Gasoline is highly flammable and shouldn’t be cleaned using something with electric components, such as a wet vacuum. A small spark can cause the gasoline to ignite.
  3. Disposing of gasoline anywhere that’s exposed to heat: If you’re unsure of how to properly dispose of gasoline, get in touch with the nearby governmental authority or a specialized facility for hazardous waste disposal to inquire about the most secure method of handling and disposing of gasoline. 

Here’s how to properly clean spilled gasoline and remove its smell by neutralizing the odor.

How to Remove Gasoline Odor From Floors and Other Hard Surfaces 

The first step in cleaning a gasoline spill is to absorb as much as possible using clean rags or sawdust. The more you can initially sponge up, the better. To help dissipate the odor further, increase ventilation by opening any doors and windows and use fans to circulate air

Basic Method: Option 1 

  1. Thoroughly clean the surface with Unsmoke Degrease-All diluted per label instructions. 
  2. Rinse the area well with water. 
  3. If the odor is on a cement floor, acid etch the surface with muriatic acid at a 10:1 ratio, then rinse with water. 
  4. Fog the surface using ODORx Thermo‑55 Neutral Scent
  5. Seal the surface with Unitex® Basis Acrylic Floor Sealer

Basic Method: Option 2 

  1. Clean the floor with Unitex® Anvil Natural Citrus Cleaner/Degreaser
  2. Rinse the area well with water. 
  3. Saturate the area with Rochester Midland Fuel Oil Cleaner, ensuring the area stays wet for at least one hour. 
  4. If needed, seal the floor with Unitex® Basis Acrylic Floor Sealer

Concrete is a porous material. Sealing it using an acrylic floor sealer can help repel moisture, making spillages easier to clean. Be sure to use a sealer designed for use on concrete floors.

Can Household Products Neutralize Gasoline Smell? 

In less severe cases of gasoline spillage, household products may help to minimize the gas smell until a professional cleaner can neutralize and remove it properly. 

For example, gasoline may be tracked into the car on clothes or shoes while at the gas pump, which can cause the odors to seep into car mats and seats. Here are a few things to try in mild situations like this: 

Coffee Grounds 

Coffee grounds are absorbent and can be particularly useful for absorbing hydrogen sulfide, which is a chemical in gasoline that contributes to its unpleasant smell. To remove gasoline odors in a car, simply leaving an open can of coffee grounds in the vehicle overnight will eliminate most or even all of the lingering odors.

Here’s how to use coffee grounds for a minor spill: 

  1. Dampen the coffee grounds with warm water. 
  2. Using a clean cloth or rag, scrub them into the affected area. 
  3. Let dwell for 30 minutes. 
  4. Dampen a clean rag in water with a couple of drops of white vinegar and wipe the grounds away. 

NOTE: Coffee grounds contain added dyes and natural tannins that can stain fabric. Do not scrubber coffee grounds onto light-colored upholstery or fabric. 

Cat Litter 

For minor spills on hard surfaces, cat litter can help absorb excess gasoline and its odor before cleaning. When choosing this method, make sure to spread the litter over the spilled fuel before it completely evaporates, otherwise, the odor will linger and professional cleaning will be necessary. 

  1. Disperse cat litter over the affected area. 
  2. Let it sit for a couple of hours before sweeping it up and disposing properly. 

While these methods can help reduce lingering odor, they may not be effective for complete gas odor removal or cleaning. For a severe gas spill or fuel odor problem, Jon-Don recommends professional cleaning services to remove the gasoline smell. 

The Best Cleaners for Removing Spilled Gasoline Odor 

Try these Jon-Don recommended products for neutralizing and removing gasoline odor from hard surfaces: 

Never mix products unless specified in the label directions. Each situation reacts differently and results may vary. 

Want to learn more about odor removal? Jon-Don offers a one-day IICRC Odor Control Technician (OCT) seminar where professionals can learn the principles of deodorization and the chemicals, equipment and procedures used to permanently remove odors, starting with identifying the source. Visit our online training and education page for upcoming classes and schedules, as well as other classes on carpet cleaning, water or fire restoration, and even concrete polishing or epoxy. 

For more odor removal advice, check out our tip library for help neutralizing common and not-so-common odor problems. 

Unsmoke Degrease‑All Degreaser
UnSmoke SKU# US-DA...

Starting at $41.20

In stock
Unitex® Basis Acrylic Floor Sealer
Unitex SKU# UN-BAFS...

Starting at $29.73

In stock
Unitex® Anvil Natural Citrus Cleaner/Degreaser
Unitex SKU# UN-ADC...

Starting at $19.94

In stock
PRS Fuel Oil Cleaner
Rochester Midland-PRS SKU# RM-BFOC...

Starting at $518.50

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