Gasoline Smell Removal

by Charles Green

A strong smell of gasoline inside of your car could point to a serious problem. Perhaps the gas tank is leaking or maybe the fuel filter is clogged. In these situations, take the car to a mechanic for diagnosis. Fortunately, in most other cases a strong gasoline smell can be attributed to one thing: A spill. If that is the case, then there are a number of different options for you to try to eradicate the powerful odor.


Once you have determined that a mechanical problem isn't contributing the smell of gasoline, look for other causes. If you spilled gasoline while at the gas pump, then that could be one reason why your car smells. If that is the case, then wash down the spill with soapy water and the smell should quickly disappear. If the spill comes from a gas can you are carrying in the car, then remove the can and check the interior for any surfaces that were impacted. A spill on a rubber service such as a mat is easily cleaned up. Remove the mat from the car, clean it, and allow it to dry outside until the smell dissipates. Reinsert mat once the odor has vanished. A spill on carpeting can be harder to neutralize. If a minor spill, do what you can to clean it up. Air out the car by rolling down windows and popping the trunk lid if the spill was in that area. If the spill is on plastic, wipe the gasoline away before it discolors the surface. Hard plastics should resist gasoline penetration, while softer plastics may absorb the liquid, making it difficult to remove. Leather and cloth spills should be cleaned up quickly too, for the same reasons.

DIY Solutions

Some people claim success with removing gasoline smells by applying kitty litter or baking soda directly to the spill and vacuuming that up. Purchase five pounds of charcoal based kitty litter and pour a good amount on top of the spill. Allow the kitty litter to absorb the gasoline, vacuuming everything up once done. Alternatively, wash down the spill with a 50-50 solution of clear vinegar and water. When dry, apply baking soda to the spill, letting it sit overnight. Return the next day and vacuum.

Professional Solutions

Heavier spills mean more work for the owner of the car, particularly if several gallons of gasoline have invaded the cabin area. Expect to remove seating, floor mats, and carpeting. Use a special odor cleansing agent to remove odors. Consider hiring a detailing professional who already has the equipment, chemicals and experience to fix your problem. In worst case scenarios you may have to replace seating, carpeting and other surfaces in order to completely eradicate the smell.

About the Author

Charles Green is a freelance writer in North Carolina who has been writing since 1992 and freelancing since 2002. His work appears in "435 South Magazine," "Wisconsin Golfer" and for various websites. Green earned a Bacheler of Science in business administration from Ramapo College of New Jersey.

More Articles