This article will show you the best way to get the gas smell out of your clothes. I have to do this from time to time when working on cars or gas-powered lawn equipment.
Not too long ago, I was organizing my garage and had temporarily set my gas can on a bar stool. I was moving some shelving from one side of the garage to the other and caught the side of the stool, knocking the gas can over spilling gas down the side of my leg and onto the floor. I should have but did not have one of those protective spouts on this particular can.
Previously, I would have rinsed the pants with soapy water in the sink and throw them in the washing machine. I learned over the years that my clothes would still come out with an odor of gas. I did not care in some cases, but if it were a good pair of jeans, my wife would get annoyed at me. Plus, if I did not tell her, her clothes would come out with that gasoline smell.
Besides the odor, gasoline can stain your clothes if not cleaned immediately. This is due to the petroleum, which leaves an oily residue in the fabric of your clothes.
- 5 steps to get gasoline and gasoline stains out of your clothes
- Frequently asked questions (FAQ)
5 steps to get gasoline and gasoline stains out of your clothes
If you follow these tips, you will remove the smell and stains from most clothing.
Step 1: Get rid of excess gasoline.
The first step is to remove excess gasoline and ensure spilled gasoline is cleaned up. Since gasoline is highly flammable, drying and sweeping it up with kitty litter, baking soda, or commercial absorbent. Make sure you are wearing goggles and protective gloves. Then scrub the floor with a mixture of dish soap and water. Soap helps break down the oil residue.
If your clothing is soaked and penetrated to your skin, remove your clothing, shower, and put on clean clothes.
Step 2: Soak your clothing.
Before throwing your clothes in the washer, soak them for 30 to 60 minutes in equal parts of vinegar and hot water. The vinegar and water mixture will break down any oil and fuel residue from the gas and remove the gasoline smell. Thoroughly rinse your clothing and if necessary, repeat the process to soak and rinse your clothes until any lingering odor has been eliminated.
Caution: If you have clothing that requires dry cleaning, do not follow this advice. Take your garment to get it dry cleaned immediately or as soon as you can. Let them know you spilled gasoline on it. In this case, it is best to have it professionally cleaned.
Step 3: Remove stains if applicable.
If your clothes still have a gasoline smell, repeat step 2 by continuing to soak your clothing in hot water and vinegar.
Once the vinegar and water have removed the smell, grab some baking soda or cornstarch and lightly rub it into the stain with a brush or small rag. If the clothing is dry, you can mix equal parts baking soda and water to turn it into a paste. Let the baking soda sit for about 30 minutes. Then use a dry rag to brush off any excess.
Next, pretreat the stain with a prewash stain remover. Spray ‘n Wash or Shout are two great household prewash stain remover products you can try. Both are designed to help lift and remove stains prior to machine or hand washing. Be sure to follow the instructions found on the bottle. Thoroughly rinse with water before moving to the next step.
Before using any prewash stain remover, test it in an inconspicuous area to ensure that it does not cause discoloration in the fabric.
Step 4: Wash your clothes.
Now that the gasoline smell and any gasoline stains have been removed, you can safely wash your clothes using your washing machine and laundry detergent. Use the hottest water that your clothing would normally otherwise tolerate. Do not wash your clothes until all gasoline smells are gone. Otherwise, future use of the washing machine will cause smells to get onto other clothing items.
Important: Do not wash your clothing with the rest of your laundry. Always keep your load separate just in case there is a residual odor. Otherwise, the odor and gasoline smell will permeate the rest of the items.
Step 5: Hang garments to air dry.
Once you have run your washer through a full cycle, you should let your clothes air dry. Simply hang up over a door or chair, or on a clothesline. If possible, hang your clothes outdoors to air out and dry faster.
Frequently asked questions (FAQ)
Here is a list of frequently asked questions:
Can I use Dawn dish soap to remove gas smells and stains?
Dawn dish soap was designed to cut through grease and oils, typically found in food. You can safely use Dawn dish soap in Step 3 above in lieu of baking soda or cornstarch.
Will the gasoline smell on my clothes go away on its own over time?
With frequent washing, the gasoline smell will go away with time. However, gasoline contains oily substances that resist normal laundry detergent and water. Most likely, you will need to use white vinegar and water to help break down the petroleum inside the gasoline. White vinegar is great at doing so.
If you do decide to wash your laundry, make sure you use detergent and repeat the process until all smells are gone. Do not put clothing in the dryer that still has a gas smell.
Is it safe to wash clothes with gasoline on them?
No. You will want to dilute and dissolve the gasoline using the steps above before throwing them in a washing machine.
Can I use gasoline to get stains out of my clothing?
My grandfather was a mechanic and used gasoline as a solvent to degrease and remove oil from auto parts. He often would use gasoline to remove oil from his work pants and shirts. In fact, gasoline was used during the early days of dry-cleaning in the 1900s.
You should never use gasoline to remove stains from your clothing. There are many products on the market now that can remove stains from clothing without the need for gasoline. Gasoline will stain most clothing so you are essentially swapping one stain for another.