How to clean gas spill in car trunk

Whether you need fuel for the lawnmower or your four-wheeler back at home, you stand the risk of the gas spilling and messing up your trunk. 

It is pretty common to find people carrying gas cans in the trunk of their car. Spilled gasoline emits fumes that have various undesirable effects on people when inhaled. From light-headedness to dizziness and even nausea, this is not the experience you want your passengers to have when hitching a ride. 

The oily nature of gasoline also makes it pretty difficult to get rid of when spilled. As such, you need a multi-dimensional approach to successfully remove the gas spill. In this post, we consider how to clean gas spill in your car trunk.  

Cleaning Spilled Gasoline from your Car Trunk

If you happen to accidentally spill a can of gas inside your trunk, follow the guide below to get rid of the devastating smell and fumes permanently:

Step 1: Take Safety Measures

You always want to watch out for your well-being when dealing with something that could potentially pose a health risk. This is what happens when you’re exposed to gasoline fumes for an extended period. As such, you need to make sure the area is well-ventilated before starting the cleaning process. 

Instead of doing it from the garage, park your vehicle on the side of the street where there is an uninterrupted flow of air. If you are sensitive to the gasoline fumes, find a clean piece of cloth to wrap around your mouth and nose or use a protective mask. 

Opened car trunk

Step 2: Locate the Spillage

Once you feel you’re sufficiently protected from the fumes, it’s time to locate the origin of the gasoline stench. Naturally, your nose will guide you to where the spillage happened. Just focus on where the smell is the strongest. 

However, if you don’t have a sharp sense of smell, you might have to remember the last place you placed the tank after buying gas. Alternatively, you can use your sense of touch to feel around the trunk for any wet spots to locate the spillage.

Step 3: Soak Up the Gasoline

If there are any visible wet spots in the trunk, get a dry rug and press it against the area to soak in as much gasoline as possible. Newspapers are also quite absorbent and can be used instead of the dry rug if you don’t have any around. 

You must also draw out the soaked-in gas once you’re done with the wet spots. To do this, spray the spillage area with clean water to make it slightly damp. Remember that water and gasoline do not mix, so this serves to loosen the gasoline molecules on the trunk floor.

After you have spayed the water, take a bowl of salt or cornmeal then spread a thin layer over the stain. Let it soak for around half an hour so that the gas is completely sucked out. Remember to clean out the salt or cornmeal after giving it a few minutes to absorb the spillage. 

Step 4: Clean the Spill

Start by making a cleaning solution to effectively get rid of the gas stain. Luckily, there are many ways to do this using everyday household products. For instance, you can add half a cup of shampoo to three cups of tap water to make a cleaning solution. 

Alternatively, you can use a mixture of water, vinegar, and baking soda or dishwashing solution as the applicable cleaning agent. Pour the mixture on to the spill and scrub it by using a dry rag or nylon brush. 

Continue doing this until you notice that the stain is disappearing then dab the solution with unused rags. Remember to use different rags in each step for maximum absorption. 

Step 5: Allow the Trunk to Dry

After you have cleaned the stains, give the trunk enough time to dry before you start dealing with the smell. Open the trunk door and expose it to the sun for expedited drying. You can even use a small fan if you have one in the house to speed up the process.

Inspect the trunk to ensure that there are no more wet spots on the trunk floor. If the spill was severe, you might have to repeat the previous step to take care of it completely.

Step 6: Eliminate the Odor

There are various ways you can get rid of the unwanted gasoline smell that continues to linger even after a thorough cleaning. Some people use coffee grounds to do this, thanks to their sweet aroma. Rub the coffee grounds around the area in question and leave it for a week before you vacuum the trunk. This should get rid of the gasoline stench!

Another way to do this is by applying baking soda, which is commonly used to get rid of all kinds of smells. Pour dry baking soda on the smelly areas in your car trunk and leave it for around a week or two. Vacuum the baking soda and replace it with another layer until the smell is gone. (You can also use baby powder in place of the baking soda).

Finally, you can also use kitty litter to eliminate the odor. This has wonderful absorbent properties and will get rid of the smell. Just pour some kitty litter on the spillage and give it one or two days before vacuuming. If the smell is persistent, repeat the process until it's no longer there.

Step 7: Replace the Carpet in Your Car Trunk

If the damage was too serious that the smell of gasoline persists even after multiple cycles of cleaning, then it might be time to replace the carpet altogether. There is also another option to consider to protect your car against such spillage.

You can install a waterproof trunk liner made of rubber instead of the commonly used fabric ones. This way, your work will be cut out in the event of any future gasoline spills. 

Woman in the van

Final Thought

Cleaning spilled gasoline may consume a lot of your time! Luckily, the right products and methods, as explained above , will assist you to restore your car trunk after such a spillage. The above guide provides a step-by-step approach on how you can finally get rid of that gasoline spill that has been troubling you for weeks.

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