What to Do If You Spill Gasoline on the Engine of the Lawnmower

Small spills of gasoline are common when filling lawnmowers and other small engine yard and garden machines. Spills on lawnmower engines can be a safety issue. The spills also can create an environmental hazard.

Lawnmower Gasoline Spills

There two primary concerns if a gasoline spill occurs when fueling a lawnmower. Prevention of fire should be the primary concern if gasoline spills on a lawnmower engine. If the lawnmower engine is hot, make sure the gas does not come in contact with the muffler or any other hot parts of the engine. If the engine is running it should be shut off immediately. Walk behind lawnmowers can be tipped to clear the gas from the vicinity of the engine. The gas would then need to be cleared from the ground. If the spill occurs on a large lawnmower that can't be tipped, the owner should carefully absorb the gas as quickly as possible if it can be done safely. Move the lawnmower clear of any buildings or other flammable items. The lawnmower operator should also exercise extreme caution around the mower and stay clear. Children, pets and other people should be asked to stay away from the lawnmower until the spill is cleared or until the engine has cooled. Wipe up any small spills with a rag when the engine has cooled. Make sure the engine is dry before it is restarted. At this point the rag is a flammable material and should be handled accordingly. Contact the local sanitation department for appropriate disposal methods. Larger spills may require the use of an absorbent material such as cat litter. This material also becomes flammable and should be disposed of properly. Flammable materials should not be stored in the house or garage and should be transported to the appropriate disposal site as soon as possible. Containing and collecting the spill to prevent environmental damage is also a consideration. Make sure the gas spill does not reach the storm sewer system. These systems are designed to carry rain water runoff away from the residential areas and usually transfer the water to area streams that would be polluted by the gasoline.