Have you spilled gasoline in your car and the smell just won’t go away? The smell of gasoline is not only pungent and irritating, but it can also be dangerous if you're exposed to it for a long period of time. So how should you go about getting the gas smell out of your car?
Here are 4 steps you can take to get the smell of gas out of your car:
- Pinpoint the source of the gasoline smell.
- Soak up as much gasoline as possible with old towels.
- Apply a mixture of equal parts hot water, baking soda, and white vinegar to the affected area and scrub it with an upholstery brush. Repeat if necessary.
- Spray the area with Febreeze.
Do you still have some questions? Don't worry — just keep reading as we discuss this in more detail and answer some additional questions you may have.
How To Get The Gas Smell Out Of A Car
Here we’ll discuss the process in more detail so you can get your car smelling fresh again in no time.
1. Pinpoint The Source Of The Smell
The first step to rid your car of the smell of gasoline is to identify where the smell is coming from. Before you do anything else, be sure to smell your hands and your clothing. It's not uncommon for your hands to smell like gasoline right after leaving the pump. And even a few small drops on your clothing can create a pungent smell.
If your hands and clothing don't smell like gasoline, then smell all of the parts of your car’s interior like the seats, floorboards, and even the side panels — any surface that could be harboring spilled gasoline. When doing so, use your hand to waft. This will minimize the concentration of gasoline vapor that you inhale (more on the danger of gasoline fumes later).
If gasoline somehow came in contact with the interior, this will help you pinpoint exactly where the smell is coming from. There should be no mistaking the source(s) of the smell when you find it.
If your car smells like gasoline and you didn’t actually spill it inside, this means that there is likely a leak somewhere. Some of the other common causes of a gasoline smell inside a car are:
- Broken gas cap
- Leaking fuel injectors
- Leaking fuel lines
If you discover that the gasoline smell inside your car isn’t merely from spilled gasoline, we suggest taking your car to your local mechanic to be evaluated immediately. We'll talk more about the dangers of this situation later.
2. Soak Up The Gasoline
Using some old towels, soak up any visible gasoline as quickly as possible. The longer spilled gasoline sits in your car (especially if spilled on the seats or on a carpeted floor) the more the smell will permeate, and it’ll become much more difficult to remove it.
3. Apply The Mixture
Next, apply the mixture of equal parts hot water, baking soda, and white vinegar to the affected area. Use an upholstery brush to scrub the mixture in, and then use an old rag to dry it off.
Finally, let the mixture dry. Crack the windows of your car to expedite the drying process. If you accidentally get the carpet or seat too wet, don't worry — just check out our guide that'll walk you through How To Dry Wet Car Carpet Or Seats In 5 Easy Steps.
Once the affected area has completely dried, smell it again. If any odor remains, repeat this process again.
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4. Spray The Area With Febreeze
By now, your car is hopefully free of gasoline odor. But if there's still a lingering odor, it’s time to use some Febreeze. Febreeze is by far one of the best odor-eliminators out there. Spray a liberal amount on the affected area until it's damp, and your car should finally smell fresh once again.
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Curious about how you can keep your car smelling great once you get rid of the gas smell? Check out this guide: How Do I Keep My Car Smelling Good All The Time? (Inc. Best Car Air Fresheners!)
Is It Safe To Drive A Car That Smells Like Gas?
Whether it's safe to drive the car or not depends on the source of the smell (spilled gasoline or a leak in the fuel line) and how long you're exposed to the fumes. If the smell is a result of a spill inside the vehicle, the only risk is to your health. Gasoline is poisonous due to the chemicals in it, most notably methane and benzene. Being exposed to gasoline for too long (both the fumes and the liquid itself) can actually cause gasoline poisoning.
Inhaling gasoline fumes can be harmful to your lungs (and your overall health, for that matter). The health risk spilled gasoline poses increases with the amount of gasoline spilled and the duration of exposure. Thus, you should drastically limit the amount of time you spend inside a vehicle that has spilled gasoline in it.
Better yet, only drive in a car that contains spilled gasoline if you absolutely have to. If you do end up driving a car with spilled gasoline inside, roll the windows down to let the harmful fumes out.
If your car smells like gasoline due to one of the leaks we mentioned earlier, you should avoid driving altogether for a different reason entirely. Gasoline is extremely flammable, more so than diesel. Thus, a fuel leak is a fire hazard. So if your car smells like gas and you suspect that there's a leak somewhere in the fuel line, either have a mechanic come to you to check it out or have your car towed to a nearby shop.
Will The Gas Smell In My Car Go Away On Its Own?
You can rest assured that the smell of spilled gasoline will go away on its own, but it might take some time. In order for the smell to go away, the spilled gasoline must first evaporate. How quickly the gasoline evaporates depends on the amount spilled and the material it spilled on.
If a lot of gasoline spilled onto your cloth seats, the smell could last several months. But if a small amount of gasoline spilled on a hard plastic material, it will evaporate much faster. But with that said, it's important to point out that the gasoline smell can linger for some time even after the liquid itself has evaporated.
Regardless, we highly recommend cleaning up the spill and eliminating the odor as quickly as possible rather than waiting on it to go away on its own.
How To Clean The Gas Smell In The Trunk
Did you accidentally spill some gasoline in the trunk while transporting small gas cans? The good news is that the fumes will be somewhat contained in the trunk. The bad news is that, since most trunks have a cloth floor liner, it'll likely take some more elbow grease to get it out.
The process of cleaning spilled gasoline from the trunk is the same as the process we went over earlier. Simply scrub the area with a mixture of hot water, baking soda, and white vinegar, let it dry, and spray it with Febreeze if need be.
We hope this guide has proven beneficial in your efforts to cleanse your car of the smell of gasoline. Before you go, be sure to check out these other posts you might find useful -
Driving Without A Gas Cap — How Bad Is It?