How to Clean Gas From Carpet

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Both gasoline and diesel fuel have an unmistakable smell when spilled and absorbed on carpet that is difficult to remediate. The floor mats and carpeting in a car are most likely to have spilled gasoline or diesel fuel; however, removing the floor mats and cleaning them is easier than attacking the stain and odor on fixed flooring. Also note that gasoline is flammable — it goes up in flames — while diesel is combustible, which means it has a flash point, but it's higher than that of gas. What this means to you is that your car engine should be turned off and the cigarettes put away when cleaning gasoline and diesel from carpeting.

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Find the Source

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The first step in getting rid of odors is to find the source. There's no point in using an air freshener or driving with the windows down to disperse gasoline fumes if the gas spill is still present and has been absorbed into the carpet. Feel for moisture on the removable floor pads, the carpeting underneath, and the carpet in your trunk. Once you've found the source, you can go to work to get rid of the stain and smell.

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If the stain has originated with diesel fuel, know that diesel is denser than gasoline and requires a liquid solution that deeply penetrates oil-based stains. Gasoline vaporizes quicker than diesel, which is why its odor lingers, while un-burnt diesel leaves behind an oily smell.

Things You'll Need

How to Clean Gas From Carpet

Step 1: Soak Up the Gas

Absorb as much of the gas as possible with old rags if the spill is fresh. Some of it will likely soak into the carpet, but you can remove some of it with the rags.

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Step 2: Apply the Cat Litter

Scatter the cat litter over the spill to absorb the gas; leave it for several hours or overnight.

Step 3: Clean Up the Litter

If the carpet is removable, take it out and shake off the litter. If it's permanent, vacuum off the litter or scoop it up.

Step 4: Use a Cleaning Solution

Mix a small amount of the dishwashing liquid with water in the spray bottle and soak the stain on both sides, if possible.

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Step 5: Scrub the Carpet

Scrub with the brush and hose clean. Dry in the sun.

Step 6: Clean With Carpet Cleaner

If the carpet is fixed, treat it with conventional carpet cleaner after removing the kitty litter.

Remove the Lingering Odor

Once the stain of the gasoline is gone, it may leave a lingering odor. Start by sprinkling some inexpensive coffee grounds over the smelly area. Leave it there for at least a day, if not several days. The coffee is oil-based and absorbs the leftover odors.

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Another tactic is to sprinkle dry baking soda over the spot and work it in with a hard bristle brush. Baking soda is an odor neutralizer and absorbs the smell. Let it sit for at least an hour, but preferably overnight, before vacuuming it.

A final option is white vinegar. Put white distilled vinegar in a spray bottle and spritz it over the spot that smells. While the vinegar leaves an odor of its own, it'll dissipate in a short time.

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Dispose of Gas

If the gas got onto your carpet from a gas container in your car, deal with the container properly. You can dispose of gas that's old if necessary. If the gas is still good, you might need a new gas container to prevent it from leaking in your car again.

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