Whether pumping gas or mowing the lawn, a run-in with gasoline can leave fumes and stains on clothes that linger for awhile. Here are four tips to purging them from your clothes for good.
Gasoline is highly flammable, so handle garments soaked in it carefully. As with other types of stains, you may need to wash the item several times, or use multiple methods to get rid of the smell depending on the type of fabric used in the affected clothing. Furthermore, a small stain can be manageable, but if the clothing has been doused with gas, you’re better off tossing it away.
1. Air it out
Hang the garment outside for 12–24 hours until the smell dissipates. It will be easier to wash out if you can lessen the intensity of the odour.
- If you don’t have time to let it air out, soak the garment in distilled white vinegar for at least an hour. This should neutralize the smell enough for machine washing.
If you’re trying to remove a gasoline stain, sprinkle baking soda or coffee grounds to help neutralize the smell – both eco-friendly ways to avoid harsh chemicals when doing laundry!
- Let the powder or grounds sit for a few hours (or overnight) before washing. This method works well on gasoline spills in cars or on carpets.
- Once the smell has faded, vacuum the spot then clean with a wet rag and liquid dishwashing detergent.
2. Fight stains with baby oil
Since gasoline is a petroleum product, it will leave an oily residue. Water alone will do little to remove the stain, and unfortunately the smell won’t go away until the stain is gone.
- Use a solvent-based pre-treatment spray or liquid dishwashing detergent suited for extra greasy dishes, gently rubbing it into the fabric before washing.
- If you’re extra particular about the garment in question, you could always try hand washing it to get rid of the offending stain and odour. Tedious, yes, but sometimes the mechanical washing process can be rough on clothes.
You can also combat gasoline stains with another petroleum-based product…baby oil!
- Pour baby oil directly on the stain or, for larger issues, toss rags soaked with baby oil into the same load of wash.
3. Wash stinky garments alone
Wash smelly garments solo! Why? You do not want the rest of your family’s laundry tainted with the smell of gasoline.
- Use regular detergent, plus two cups of vinegar or one cup of baking soda, in the hottest water allowed according to the garment’s care label. You can also add essential oil to the detergent.
- Do not use bleach under any circumstances. This can create noxious and dangerous fumes.
- Once the gasoline smell is gone from the clothing, check the inside of the washer for any lingering smell. To eliminate remaining odours, just run an empty load with a cup of vinegar or ammonia.
4. Hang to dry
Always hang garments to dry after washing.
*IMPORTANT* Gasoline is combustible. Do not put anything that has had gasoline spilled on it in the dryer!
If the smell of gasoline still lingers, follow the above instructions to wash again. Then, hang to dry and repeat as necessary.
Above all, take extra care when getting rid of gasoline smells and stains on clothing.