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Cleaning Diesel Fuel Odors From Inside a Car

Category Odors
Fuel odors can be difficult to remove from the inside of your car. This is a guide about cleaning diesel fuel odors from inside a car.


Ask a QuestionHere are the questions asked by community members. Read on to see the answers provided by the ThriftyFun community or ask a new question.

April 14, 20130 found this helpful

How do you remove diesel fuel smell from clothes and trunk of car?

By Sheila


April 22, 20130 found this helpful
Best Answer

As the wife of a trucker, I used to have this problem.
One way I use to remove that distinctive diesel odor is to lay a baby wipe in his drawer. Baby wipes tend to absorb diesel odors better than any other product I've found.

Another use for the baby wipes is to get 5th wheel grease off his hands and clothes. We discovered this not long after he started driving. Baby wipes are the ONLY thing that will remove that stubborn 5th wheel grease.

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January 23, 20050 found this helpful

My husband brought diesel home from the garage in a can and it spilt in the car. The result is the back seat is saturated and the car is absolutely stinking. Does anyone have any advice on how to get rid of odour and stain?



By vwguy (Guest Post)
January 23, 20050 found this helpful

This one is going to be painful, but GET RID OF THE SEAT. The fumes you are ingesting from the diesel into your lungs are petroleum distillates and are doing irrepairable damage. Especially if there are children that ride in the car.


You can always get another from a "pick-and-save" type of auto parts place/wrecker. It doesn't have to match, you can always put a seat cover over it.
Good Luck!

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By Brooxie (Guest Post)
January 24, 20050 found this helpful

Another reason to replace the seat.....the current one is now a big time fire hazard !!!!

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January 24, 20050 found this helpful

My first thought would be to put hubby in the car and send it over a cliff. love patsAZ

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By sharon (Guest Post)
January 24, 20051 found this helpful

My husband is a heavy equipment mechanic and his clothes always smelled like diesel no matter what I used to clean them. One day I was reading one of my online newsletters and someone had written in that an insurance adjuster had told her to clean her household items with Listerine after a fire, and the smell would be gone.


He said it would remove almost any odor. I tried it on my husband's clothes and it works great. Now I never wash them without it. I was thinking if your spill is a small one, saturating a paper towel or something like it with Listerine and leaving it in the car for a while might help. It's worth a try. Hope this helps, Sharon

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By (Guest Post)
January 25, 20050 found this helpful


I am an Independent Watkins Associate, and we carry two products that may really do the trick for you. I haven't had this problem and haven't tried this, but I do know of people who swear by these products. The first is Stain Pro Grease, Tar & Gum Remover, a high-powerd d-limonene that removes tar, grease, motor oil, and adhesives from clothing, upholstery, and hard surfaces like formica, linoleum, ceramics, and porcelain. The other product is our Odor Zap, a heavy-duty odor neutralizer formulated to permanently eliminate odors like smoke, mildew, paint fumes, or waste matter.


This product is biodegradable, non-toxic, non-corrosive, hypoallergenic and non-staining. It's 100% safe for people, pets, and the environment. I think I would use both - the first for the stain and the second to remove the odor.

If you would like me to send you a catalog so you could check this out, just e-mail me, and I'll get one in the mail to you.

trudypowell @ (remove spaces)

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By (Guest Post)
May 23, 20050 found this helpful

Zeolite is the safest odor eliminator known to man!
Natural volcanic zeolite mineral.

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By rob (Guest Post)
October 10, 20050 found this helpful

Diesel fuel spill in truck on cloth seat and plastic. What do I do?

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By Sailor Al (Guest Post)
August 22, 20060 found this helpful

I've heard that mothballs will neutralize (or mask?) the diesel smell. I've put mothballs in the bilge of my boat where there is always a little diesel fuel leakage and it does seem to help.


But if I was in your situation, I would definitely get rid of the seat.

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May 18, 20180 found this helpful


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By 0 found this helpful
December 17, 2011

We recently left for 6 weeks and put the car in the garage. Unfortunately, it picked up a strong odor of diesel (the lawn mower was in there as well). The car has leather upholstery and it seemed to absorb the odor. So far the only thing that helps is leaving the windows down overnight, but it is cold and we get lots of storms this time of year. The odor comes back after the car is closed up. I am quite sensitive to this odor and do not want to have to get rid of the car! Please help.

By Mary R


December 19, 20110 found this helpful

You can try a couple of things:

*small shallow bowls of straight vinegar set on the floorboards overnight (maybe for a few days if needed)


*cat litter (the absorbent kind) about three inches deep in a shoe box, again left overnight or even for a few days

I think, too, that there is a deodoriser wipe for leather, look in the car care section of a big-box store, or in an auto supply store.

Good luck, I hope if the thoughts I have don't work that you find something soon that will!

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February 4, 20160 found this helpful

Brilliant recommendation thank you.something I would never have thought of without previous experience! Bought cat litter highly absorbent crystals this morning. Things are already improving. Brilliant.

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