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Removing Gasoline from Car Carpet

I spilled gasoline from a 5 gallon container in the back of my mini-van on the carpet and now cannot remove the smell. I tried suctioning it out with a steam cleaner and then cleaning it with steam cleaner odor remover and cleanser, but the smell is still so strong it's nauseating. Please help.

Dot DiGirolamo

Answers:
Removing Gasoline from Car Carpet 08/26/2003
The first thing to do when gas is spilled is to try to wick out all of the gasoline with paper towels. Then soak the area thoroughly with a mixture of 1-2 cups of white vinegar mixed with 1 gallon hot tap water. Pour this on the area and use clean white rags and a brick to take the water back up. Rinse with hot water mixed with 1 1/2 cups of baking soda. Then take the water back up. If you have a wet/dry shop vac, that might work as well as the rags and brick but keep vacuuming until no more water comes up.
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For more general ways to get rid of the lingering smell, put a tray or box full of kitty litter in the back of the van. It will help to absorb the odor. Putting baking soda down on a dry rug will also help. Let it sit over night then brush it up.

By Anna
Removing Gasoline from Car Carpet 05/19/2005
Well, I have to admit this didn't work for me. It just spread the mess around even further. My husband had a better solution - isopropyl alcohol. I also used it on the plastic where the gasoline has leaked through the carpet, then a little soap and water. It's been about 6 days and the smell is nearly gone. The carpet is doing much better as well.

1. If you can, remove the carpet from the car.
2. Air dry for a couple days
3. Douse with isopropyl alcohol (I soaked the area)
4. Air dry
5. Wash with soap and water, rinse and air dry again for a couple days

By Karen
Removing Gasoline from Car Carpet 08/14/2005
My mother-in-law spilled kerosene in her SUV and she had to have all new carpet installed but her insurance company paid for it. I can't remember if it was her car insurance or homeowners' insurance. It doesn't hurt to find out.

By mkymlp
Removing Gasoline from Car Carpet 09/02/2005
Gasoline is hard to clean because it's an oily solvent. Soap and water only spreads it around. There are a couple of tricks to try.
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Call places that do auto detailing (cleaning) and ask them if they have specialized procedure for just this problem. Careful, though, if they don't give you specifics, they'll probably just vacuum the car and give you one of those little cardboard deoderant trees that smell like crap.

Check your local automotive supply, even the commercial public places like Pep Boys, AutoZone, etc. They often have specialized cleaners that are made just for this purpose.

Next trick you can try is to use dry-cleaning solvent. This may be tough to get depending on the laws of your state, province or country. It works like a charm, but be sure to test it on an inconspicous part of the carpet first. Be sure to have plenty of ventilation, or take the carpet right out of the car.

You may be able to buy some from your dry cleaner on the sly, particularly if you regualrly bring in clothes and you explain what the problem is.

You can also try other solvents that will dissolve the gasoline and then evaporate themselves, like acetone. Acetone is the main ingredient in nail polish remover. Acetone is a pretty nasty solvent on its own, so make sure the carpet is colorfast and make sure to have plenty of ventilation.

A final note: make sure that the area under the carpet isn't soaked, too, or this will all be for nothing. The smell will come right back.

By Zildjean
Removing Gasoline from Car Carpet 10/10/2005
I have been detailing autos for 5 years now, and I've ran across this problem more than most. To completely remove this odor you must raise the carpet in the areas of spill. remove the padded backing from the carpet, then have the carpet steam cleaned. replace new backing pad to the carpet. Now the smell will not be gone yet, because the rest of the interior has absorbed the smell. So i recommend a spray bomb or a febreeze. It may work. Do this with windows up, for an hour or 2, then let vehicle air out. The last step may need repeated... seems like a lot to do but trust me its cheaper than buying a new car... good luck!
By chuck d
Removing Gasoline from Car Carpet 03/08/2006
I spilled a little bit of gas in the back of my Jeep Cherokee and it has seemed impossible to get rid of the smell and fumes. I have tried everything and nothing has worked. EXCEPT, I took someone's advice about ground coffee. So far, So good. I will update the site in a few days to let everyone know if it REALLY works!
By Chris Cherokee
Removing Gasoline from Car Carpet 03/12/2006
I tried all the tricks too but could never get the smell out. It was really bad on very hot days where had to run AC. I replaced my carpet with a $150.00 aftermarket carpet kit. It took some work to install but solved the problem. I probably should have done this first instead of last.
By JamesLane
Removing Gasoline from Car Carpet 04/29/2006
I tried the acetone first and then the alcohol. Seemed to significatly help, after it was sun dried, and completely dry.
By Lamedwufnik

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