Gasoline’s pervasive smell can make your garage reek and induce nausea, headaches, vomiting, and other nasty side effects. To forestall all these adverse effects, you must find the source of the smell immediately, deal with and work to eliminate the odor.
Keep reading for a comprehensive guide on how to get rid of gasoline smell in garage.
Why do you need to get rid of the gasoline smell in the garage?
Spilled gasoline in your garage poses two significant hazards: the risk of fire and adverse effects on your health. Therefore, it is crucial to deal with the source immediately.
As long as you smell the gasoline in your garage, it remains flammable. Gasoline and gasoline vapors can catch fire when they come into contact with an ignition source, such as an open flame or electric sparks. Because of this, you mustn’t ignore a gas spill in the hopes that it will evaporate. Always clean it up properly as soon as you can.
The other hazard of a gasoline smell in your garage is to your health. Most of the adverse health effects from gasoline are due to the individual chemicals that are there in small amounts. Inhaling small amounts of gasoline vapors can irritate your nose and throat, breathing difficulties, and can induce headaches, nausea, and vomiting.
How to get rid of gasoline smell in garage
Ridding your garage of the smell of gasoline is a straightforward, three-step process. First, identify and deal with the source of the fumes, ventilate the room, and eliminate the odor.
A full breakdown of this process is as follows.
Step 1: Locate and deal with the source of the odor
While this can seem relatively simple, it is sometimes the most challenging step. Most times, the culprit is gasoline you have dragged in on your shoes, a spill from a can, motorized lawn equipment, or a gas tank in the garage. As you try to locate the source, remember that your safety is paramount. Hold a rag soaked in cool water over your nose and mouth, and do not use any lighters or light any matches.
If the odor is from a new spill, start by using an old rag to soak up as much gasoline as possible. Repeat this process as many times as needed to ensure no gasoline residue. Afterward, you can clean up the area of the spill with a simple cleaning solution of water and simple detergent. Use a brush or a rag to scrub in the solution, and then rinse the spot with a dry rag.
Step 2: Ventilate the garage
Once you clean up the spilt gasoline, you need to allow any gasoline vapor to escape. Start by properly ventilating your garage. Open all the windows and doors to allow air to move through the room. Openings on opposite sides of the room would be ideal as they would create a cross breeze.
You can also turn on anything else that will help get the air circulating and moving out of the garage, including fans and the central air conditioning unit.
Step 3: Eliminate the smell
You will probably have a few odor-neutralizing substances lying around your house. Some great examples of essential household items you can use include oats, coffee grounds, kitty litter, and charcoal. You can use these household items to remove the odor as follows.
- Raid your pantry to mix up a homemade odor eater.
You can quickly and easily mix up an effective odor-neutralizer from your pantry staples. Mix a solution of equal parts water, baking soda, and vinegar/lime juice in a bowl. Dip an old cloth in the solution and dab it at the source of the spill. Rub the mixture and let it sit for approximately thirty minutes before rinsing. Repeat the process as many times as needed to remove the stain and odor.
- Set out some cat litter
Yes, kitty litter. Just as it is designed to clean up after your cat, it also excels at absorbing and neutralizing the gasoline odor. If you are using this approach, you will need to work fast; do not wait for the gasoline to evaporate before trying it.
Spread a generous portion of the cat litter over the wet gasoline pool and allow it to soak in the spill over the next couple of hours. Afterward, sweep the gasoline-soaked litter, and transfer them into a sealed bag to contain the smell. Before disposing of them, check your local laws on the recommended way to dispose of contaminated cat litter. Leave the garage door and windows open to air out any lingering odor.
- Lay out some charcoal.
Besides cat litter, charcoal briquettes are also great for removing gasoline. If you have charcoal from your last barbecue, put it in aluminum pans and leave it in the odorous room to remove the smell. Once the gasoline smell is gone, you can discard the charcoal appropriately. If you do not have charcoal briquettes, you can substitute them with activated charcoal.
You can also use oats, coffee grounds, or your preferred odor eater to eliminate the gasoline smell in your garage.
Does vinegar neutralize gasoline smell?
Vinegar is an excellent choice for eliminating the gasoline smell from your garage. Not only does it neutralize the odor, but it also breaks down the gasoline residue, making it easier to clean up. All you need to do is mix some vinegar with hot water and spray the solution over the area where the spill occurred. Then use a rag to wipe off and clean the spot. Repeat this as many times as needed to eliminate the odor.
If you want even better results, combine vinegar with baking soda to create a paste. Set the paste over the location of the spill and gently rub it over it. This will effectively remove the odor and any stain caused by the gasoline.
Will Febreze remove the gasoline smell?
Febreze is an odor eliminator that you can use to remove the smell of gasoline. Although initially designed for fabrics, Febreze can make a difference in eliminating the odor of gasoline in your garage. Spray the Febreze out generously in the affected location, allowing it to air dry.
The most effective way of using Febreze is combined with other natural remedies. Start by cleaning up the spill and using other remedies like charcoal, litter, and baking soda to get the bulk of the litter out. Then go in with some Febreze to eliminate any lingering odor.
Frequently Asked Questions-FAQs
Q1. How long does it take for gasoline smell to go away?
Depending on several factors, it can take anywhere from a few days to several weeks for the smell of gasoline to disappear completely.
The smell will remain until the gasoline completely dissipates, and this is influenced by several factors, including:
- The surface on which it spilled.
Absorbent surfaces such as cloth and wood can hold gasoline for extended periods. The more volatile substances will evaporate first and leave behind the longer-chain hydrocarbons, which have an odor that can persist for a long time. On the other hand, gasoline will evaporate quite quickly on non-absorbent surfaces like metal, leaving no noticeable odor.
You will find that the smell of gasoline will be more pronounced and prolonged in rooms with poor ventilation and air circulation. In a well-ventilated space with a high rate of air circulation, the gasoline will dissipate faster, and the intensity of the odor will reduce quicker.
Q2. Is gasoline still flammable after it dries?
Gasoline will usually remain flammable for approximately fifteen minutes after it spills, although this is subject to vary depending on several factors, such as the amount and surface of spillage. The gasoline and gasoline vapors can easily catch fire if you let them come in contact with an ignition source.
Dried-out gasoline is still flammable but has a slower heating process. Due to the fewer molecules per volume of gas, you will need a large amount of heat to ignite it. If you can still smell the dried gasoline, you can still ignite it.
Q3. Can the smell of gasoline catch fire?
As long as you can smell gasoline in the air, it remains a fire hazard. Gasoline fumes are usually more combustible than gasoline itself. Due to their highly volatile nature, unvented gasoline fumes can ignite even when up to 12 feet away from a pooled source. A nearby spark, static electricity, or open flame can ignite gasoline fumes.
Two physical properties of gasoline explain why it is so dangerous, especially when vaporized.
- Vapor density
Gasoline’s vapor density is the density of gasoline vapor in relation to the density of an equal air volume. Substances whose vapor density is higher than one are heavier than air and can accumulate in enclosed or low spaces. Gasoline’s vapor density ranges between three and four. The ignitable vapors are 3 to 4 times heavier than air, allowing them to travel longer distances along the ground. They are then easily ignited by sparks or flames.
- Flash point
The flash point is the lowest temperature at which a liquid gives off vapor that can form an ignitable mixture under standardized conditions. The lower the flashpoint, the more easily you can ignite the material. Gasoline has a low flashpoint at -45 F.
Its high vapor density and low flash point make gasoline highly flammable. If there is a gasoline smell in your garage, ensure that you identify the source and deal with it expeditiously.
Q4. Can breathing gasoline fumes be harmful?
Most people usually come into contact with gasoline and gasoline vapors only when using motorized lawn equipment or at the gas station. And while this limited contact may not have long-term health effects, there are some immediate risks to your health. Breathing in small amounts of gasoline can cause throat and nose irritation, breathing difficulties, dizziness, vomiting, nausea, and confusion.
If you have more prolonged exposure to gasoline, the consequences are more severe. Examples of people with daily exposure to gasoline include gas station attendants, lawn care providers, workers who clean up gas spills and leaks, and garage workers and mechanics. Some of the adverse effects of such high exposure may include reduced muscle function and memory loss. Inhalation at very high levels may even cause permanent organ damage.
Note: It is crucial to realize that children may suffer more severe side effects, even from limited gasoline exposure. This is because:
- They may not recognize the smells and other signs of exposure as quickly as an adult.
- They are more likely to inhale the toxins accidentally.
- Since they are shorter than adults, they usually inhale more concentrated gasoline vapor, which is closer to the ground.
Therefore, it is vital to ensure that you urgently handle any gasoline spill or the source of gasoline smell in your garage.
Q5. Does baking soda absorb gasoline?
Baking soda is highly effective at cleaning up gasoline spills. You can use it to kill two birds with one stone in that it absorbs the gasoline spill and neutralizes the odor. Using it to clean up gasoline is also quite simple.
You can clean up a gasoline spill using baking soda in two main ways. First, you can use baking soda as it is. Just douse the gas spill in baking soda and leave it overnight. Then, use a broom or vacuum to sweep out the resulting residue.
Second, mix baking soda and a little water in a bowl to create a paste. Apply the paste on the affected area and leave it there for approximately two hours or until dry. Scrub the area of the spill with a brush and rinse it out with running water. Then use a dry and clean cloth to wipe everything down.
The video below illustrates the process of getting rid of gasoline spills from your living space
Accidents happen, and sooner or later, you will have a gasoline spill in your garage from your car, storage cans, or motorized equipment. However, with fast and decisive action, you can eliminate the smell with just a little effort and a few household staples.
We hope the 3-step process elaborated above will help you eliminate the gasoline in your garage and protects you from fire and health risks. Regards!