3 Steps To Remove The Smell Of Gas From Your Car

Uh oh, you spilled some gasoline in your car. The odor of gasoline is very… noticeable. How do you get rid of the smell of gasoline in a vehicle? Gasoline isn’t an especially healthy or fun scent to have in your vehicle, especially on a hot day. Let’s help you get the smell of petrol out of your car so it can smell like a car again.

Steps To Remove The Smell Of Gas From Your Car 1 3 Steps To Remove The Smell Of Gas From Your Car

How do you get rid of the smell of gasoline from your car?

The leading ways to get the smell of gasoline out of your car include the use of baking soda, cat litter, white vinegar, and towels. You’ll want to soak up gasoline with disposable items like baking soda, then eventually spray and wipe to get rid of the odor.

We’ll walk you through step by step what to do with the above items. The end result will hopefully be throwing neutralized gasoline into something disposable. We’ll also make suggestions to avoid the issue in the future.

We’ve cleaned up gasoline before, in the car and in the backyard. We’ve also consulted with recent, safe methods of making your car smell good again.

What you’ll need to get rid of the smell of gasoline in your car

  • Old towels
  • White vinegar
  • Baking Soda
  • Hot water
  • Cat litter
  • Face mask

The ingredients list is fairly simple, and you probably have this in your house or garage. Start by soaking up as much of the gasoline as possible with towels. 

This will get rid of the worst of it. The face mask is to ensure you don’t breathe in too much gasoline scent while working on your vehicle. You can slip the face mask down if you need to take a sniff and see if the odor has improved.

Next, get a bucket and make an equal mixture of your baking soda, white vinegar, and water. This literally means that if you use one cup of white vinegar, you should also add one cup of baking soda and one cup of hot water. Make as much as you think you need to get on a rag and rub over the gasoline spot. Be mindful of your mixture too, and be sure to use hot water.

These mixtures are most commonly used to eliminate odors and keep your fridge or pantry smelling normal, if not good. They are a good weapon to use in the fight against a gasoline odor and deep clean your car seats. Your nose might notice the difference right away, especially if it was previously full of gasoline stench.

Steps To Remove The Smell Of Gas From Your Car 1 1 3 Steps To Remove The Smell Of Gas From Your Car

Dry it

Using a clean rag, you’ll want to wipe as much of the previous mixture away as possible. Cleaning this up will help you evaluate how bad of a smell remains and what you should do next.

Soap and water

Use dish soap, like the ever-known Dawn, to lift out potential stains. Dish soap is very good at getting out the texture and smell of gasoline, as well as being very spreadable and potentially bubbly.

Cat litter

Cat litter does a very good job of absorbing odors. Just be sure to purchase a kind that either offers you a smell you like or only says that it absorbs odors instead of providing its own. While some people might like the idea of an ocean breeze or fresh scent in their vehicle, others might not!

Spread cat litter around the gasoline-affected area and let it sit for a while. Cat litter is very granular and is able to get into places between seats, or in the case of your trunk, within mats or the edges of your trunk.

You can remove wet cat litter by either using a brush or a good shop vac. Honestly, we recommend the shop vac because brushes will take more time, and shop vacs are very quick. Remember to empty the canister because the canister itself will begin to stink of gasoline.

What if the gasoline got into the foam?

If the gasoline is in your back or front seat, and your vehicle has cloth seats or leather seats with cracks, the gas might seep through and get into the foam that supports your seat. The best way to get the gasoline smell out of foam is simple: Apply pressure. Adding some weight will squeeze the gasoline out and up. Keep pushing until the rag or towel stops absorbing more gasoline.

Should I remove the carpet first before drying up gasoline?

If you have carpet mats in your trunk or on the floor, you should pick up the carpet mat first and remove it from the car when possible. Apply the same principles of washing and drying the carpet mat when outside of your vehicle.

Removing the carpet mat helps you access gasoline directly underneath the mat more easily, and can give you more space to maneuver to absorb the rest.

Should I open my windows?

Yes! Along with using kitty litter, vinegar, and soap, leave your windows open to circulate fresh air into your vehicle. You may want to drive around a bit to get more solid airflow too.

Can I let gas smells evaporate?

Evaporation takes time. Unfortunately, the gasoline will probably cause lasting damage to your carpet or mats – and the smell will remain with you for a while.

How can I prevent gas spills or make them easier to clean up?

We suggest doing two things to reduce the potential of a spill. First, make sure your gas can lid is on very tight regardless of where it is. You can also put the gas can next to something that will stabilize it and make it less likely to tip over and spill.

We also strongly suggest keeping your gas can in the trunk. Your trunk tends to be easier to clean because it usually has, at the most, carpet. It is also easier to pin your gas can against something in the trunk.

The one downside to putting your gas can in the trunk is that you might not know you spilled it right away and could be greeted with an unpleasant odor when opening the trunk. For SUVs without a closed-off trunk, like a Suburban, this is still the best place because of the easy-to-clean space.

What should I avoid doing while cleaning up gasoline?

It might go without saying, but just like when you are filling up at the gas pump – don’t smoke while attempting to clean up a gas spill. You could create a spark with a cigarette or cigar and cause a fire to break out.

Is gasoline a harmful scent?

Yes! Smelling gasoline could create many short-term symptoms, including a headache, throat pain, stomach pain, nausea, and blurred vision. Inhaling gasoline can eventually kill you with its toxic smells and effects. That’s why removing it quickly is essential.

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  1. This past Saturday morning I spilled about a gallon of gasoline in the truck of my passenger car. Did not notice it until 8-9 hours later. The gasoline has soaked into the truck carpeting and the carpeting is basically dry, but the scent of the gasoline is horrible. I have sprayed and tried Turtle Wax interior carpet spray and have left all of my car windows open for ventilation and airflow in the garage at night, and moved the vehicle outside during the day with the windows open. Three days later I’m still having a gas smell inside the vehicle especially when the heater is on and the windows are closed. Will the gas smell evaporate into the atmosphere ???

    1. John, I hate to hear this… gas spills are a pain. In time it will improve but you really need to help get the gas out of the interior. I would go buy a bag of non-lighter fluid infused charcoal at the store. Open the bag and secure it where it will not spill out. The charcoal will help absorb the smell over time, especially parked in the sun. Then really cover the spill area with a lot of baking soda. Don’t be shy with the baking soda and let it sit there for a day or two if possible. It is really going to help absorb the gas and moisture. Then vacuum it up. If it were me (and unfortunately it is winter), I would pull the interior our, remove the carpets and power wash them. I had to do that to get a mold smell out of an old vehicle I was restoring. Knowing it is winter, it may be worth finding a detailer who has a hot water carpet extractor. They can deep clean the carpet and then extract (suck) out the water and gas. Even after doing this, another round of baking soda isn’t a bad idea. The final step I would use once I knew I had everything super clean would be to use an ozone generator and do two to three maximum time treatments on the vehicle. This said OZONE GENERATORS ARE DANGEROUS TO YOUR LUNGS!!! Do not take any chances and do not be around it while it is running. It will neutralize the odors and your truck will smell like a rain forest. The rain forest smell goes away in a week or two. I usually use one of the chemical guys air scent sprays after the ozone treatment to help balance things out.