Skip to Content

How to Get Gas Smell Off of You and Your Clothes

As careful as you may be, spilling a drop of gas on your clothes often seems inevitable. Blame it on your gas can, the lawnmower tank, or your own clumsiness; the fact is, the smell lasts for hours.

No one wants to spend the day smelling of fumes. But what are your options?

Today, we take a look at some immediate ways to get gasoline odor off your skin, as well as several suggestions for removing the smell from clothing and fabrics.

Let’s jump in!

Is the Smell of Gas Harmful?

The odor that gasoline exudes is a combination of all the chemical compounds that make up this fuel.

In fact, there are more than 150 different compounds found in gasoline.

Many of these vapors can be harmful to the human body. One extremely potent fume comes from a mixture of benzene. It has a sweet fragrance, but behind that alluring smell is a chemical that causes suppression of the nervous system, inducing dizziness, hallucinations, and even unconsciousness if inhaled in excess.

Several other compounds cause headaches, loss of coordination, nausea, skin irritation, and redness, as well as blurred vision.

In fact, if the smell of gas is prevalent over longer periods, seizures, kidney disease, and neurological disorders can occur.

Obviously, it’s in your best interest to limit your exposure to gasoline vapors whenever possible. That’s why we’re offering the following suggestions to rid your hands and clothing of this dangerous odor.

5 Ways to Get the Smell of Gas off Your Hands

There are several ways to get rid of that pungent gasoline smell. Here are just a few:

White Vinegar

The cleaning abilities of vinegar have been touted for years, as this acidic liquid is very effective in cutting through many substances.

The chemical properties of any type of white vinegar, whether distilled or plain white, break the bonds between the compounds in gasoline. So rinsing your hands in the substance can disperse any gas residue left on your skin.

Distilled white vinegar might take care of the smell quicker because, unlike plain white vinegar, it has no ethanol (another form of gasoline with less energy) in its makeup.

Cover your affected skin in the vinegar, then rinse with water and dry. 

Salt and Dish Detergent

By mixing table salt with some dish detergent, you have created a great gasoline odor-busting combination.

The dish soap will break the chemical bonds of the gas, while salt absorbs the potent smell of the fuel. Place two tablespoons of salt in a dish, then squirt some dish detergent on your hands.

Coat your skin with the salt, then rub it into the detergent. Not only will you notice the gasoline smell dissipating, but you’ll have a gritty skin exfoliant on your hands.

Once the smell is gone, rinse your hands thoroughly, washing away dirt, chemical compounds, soap suds, and dry skin.

Lemon Juice

Washing your hands in full-strength lemon juice should eliminate most gasoline smells from your skin because of the lemon’s powerful oil-cutting ability as citric acid.

The juice should cleanse any layers of petroleum residue. With the strong scent that lemons emit, it’ll be difficult to pinpoint any more gas odors.

Complete the process by rinsing off the lemon juice and drying your hands thoroughly.

Mechanic’s Soap

Special soaps made for mechanics are sometimes created with pumice, a byproduct of lava rock. Working much like an exfoliant, these soaps quickly remove grease, dirt, and oily products from your hands. They’ll scrub your skin while washing that gasoline smell away.

Another version of mechanic’s soap uses charcoal. It’s a great odor eliminator used in water filters, so utilizing its capabilities to rid your hands of gas fumes makes good sense.

Baking Soda

Baking soda is a base and a good absorber of odors.

Make a paste by mixing one part baking soda with two parts water, then coating your hands completely with the mixture. Continue rubbing the concoction in for a minute or two, then rinse your hands completely.

You may need to reapply the paste a couple of times, but because baking soda is gentle, it won’t harm your skin. You should notice an absence of any gasoline smell when the process is complete.

How to Get the Smell of Gas out of Your Clothing

If you have accidentally gotten gasoline on clothing or fabrics, we have a several-step process that will make them smell like new. Let’s get started.

Air Dry Your Clothes

The easiest way to get rid of a gas odor in any fabric material is to start by hanging your clothes out to air dry. The gasoline stain should dry out even with a modest breeze, and some of the smell will dissipate with it.

Leave the clothing outdoors for at least 24 hours.

Soak Them in Vinegar

If there’s any hint of gasoline odor still in the clothing, you can soak it in white vinegar, just as suggested for cleaning your hands. The acids in the vinegar will start to break down the chemical compounds found in gas, lifting the odors and their sources out of the fabric.

Once complete, thoroughly rinse the vinegar from your clothing.

Wash Your Clothes in Hot Water

If, by chance, there’s still a subtle smell of gas present, wash the clothing in hot water in a washing machine.

You may even combat the odor by adding a liquid softener to the rinse cycle, but DO NOT put the cleaned clothing in a dryer, as it will set any offensive odors left in the clothing.

Air Dry Your Clothes Again

A final step, if needed, is to air dry your clothing again for 24 hours. Hanging it on the line and especially in the sun will help any gasoline left to evaporate.

Will Clothing Be Flammable After a Small Spill?

If the clothing is still wet with fuel, it can be flammable.

But once the liquid evaporates, the material is no longer susceptible to flames. That’s why it’s so important to accelerate the evaporation process or spot treat the gas stain by cleaning the materials in vinegar and washing them in hot water.

Follow the steps listed above to save gasoline-stained clothing.

Is Gas Still Flammable After It Dries?

Gasoline in its liquid form can ignite easily. But once that liquid evaporates, its tendency to go up in flames lowers a great deal.

There are, however, more than 150 chemical compounds in gasoline, so some oily residue may remain, and that can be slightly flammable.

Get Rid of the Gas Smell Sooner than Later

If you find a gasoline stain on your hands or clothing, don’t carry the odor around with you indefinitely.

There are several easy remedies to rid yourself of the foul smell and save your clothing from the rubbish bin.

Do you have any tricks of your own?

Discover the Best Free Camping Across the USA

To be honest with you, we hate paying for camping. There are so many free campsites in America (with complete privacy).

You should give it a try!

As a matter of fact, these free campsites are yours. Every time you pay federal taxes, you’re contributing to these lands.

Become a FREE CAMPING INSIDER and join the 100,000 campers who love to score the best site! 

We’ll send you the 50 Best Free Campsites in the USA (one per state). Access the list by submitting your email below:

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *