How to Remove Heating Oil Smell

Hunker may earn compensation through affiliate links in this story.

Things You'll Need

  • Rubber gloves

  • Overshoes

  • Garbage bags

  • Fans

  • White vinegar

  • Pure vanilla extract

  • Baking soda

  • Powdered detergent

Keep saturated materials double-bagged in plastic and ready for pickup and disposal.

When you have a heating oil spill in your home, the odor can last for a long time. It may even cause severe allergic reactions in some people, including rashes and breathing problems. The smell caused by sulfur-containing compounds can also cause headaches and nausea. Call 911 immediately if you notice oil flowing from your lines or tank, then call your oil supplier. The fire department will respond and help contain the heating oil spill, making the cleanup easier. Move everyone in your household to a hotel for a few days until the odor dissipates. Save all receipts for your insurance company. There are several steps to removing the smell of heating oil from your home.

Step 1

Remove all material in and around your home saturated with heating oil. This includes paneling, carpeting, rags and patches of soil outside. Place them in doubled plastic bags and call the solid waste facility in your area as soon as possible to arrange for a pickup and disposal of all contaminated materials.

Step 2

Open as many windows and doors as possible to let fresh air in the house. Leave the doors and windows open for several days.

Step 3

Place fans around the house and in the basement and crawl space area to help draw the odors out of the house.

Step 4

Mix a solution of half white vinegar and half hot, steaming water together. Add 4 oz. of pure vanilla extract to the solution.

Step 5

Wash down all areas affected by the heating oil with the vinegar solution. Rinse the area well with fresh water, making sure you catch and remove the soiled water away from the house. Repeat and wash and rinse the areas several times. The odors will decrease after each wash-and-rinse session.

Step 6

Combine one part baking soda with 10 parts powdered laundry detergent.

Step 7

Apply the dry baking soda detergent powder directly to the areas stained from the heating oil and leave it there for several days. As the mixture sits, it breaks down and absorbs any remaining heating oil odor. Reapply a fresh mixture if you can still detect a smell after a few days.


Do not ignite any flames until the heating oil spill removal has completed.

references & resources

Chyrene Pendleton

Chyrene Pendleton has been a business owner and newsletter editor for more than seven years. She is a freelance writer with over 25 years experience and teaches a variety of topics, including alternative health, hair care and metaphysics. Pendleton is a certified television show producer, radio talk-show host and producer, and a computer programmer with a bachelor's degree in computer science.