Many people often fall into the trap of accidentally spilling gasoline onto their clothes. Of course, this usually happens when filling up your car with gas for a long journey or regular refills.
It’s obvious that the more often and the more frequently you fill up your car or your truck, the more chance you have at spilling the fuel onto your clothes.
Not only does the liquid smell strongly, but it can also be hazardous – especially for those who like to smoke, risking themselves due to the flammable nature of the excess gasoline stuck to their clothes.
These tough stains can be hard to remove but we’re here to ensure that your task is more of a molehill than a mountain.
Follow the rest of our guide to find out all things gasoline and how to remove it from your wardrobe.
What Is Gasoline?
Gasoline is a mixture of hydrocarbons and other organic compounds. When you spill gasoline on your clothing, it will form little droplets of oil on the fabric’s surface.
This oil is made up of various chemical compounds which are similar to the ones in diesel fuel. The main difference between these two types of fuels is that they do not burn as easily as diesel fuel.
The most common type of gasoline used today has an octane rating of 93. This means that it contains 8 percent sulfur and 92 percent benzene.
Benzene is the compound responsible for giving gasoline its characteristic odor and flavor.
Sulfur reacts with oxygen in the air, creating sulfurous fumes. In case of spills, the gasoline will quickly evaporate.
If you keep it outdoors, however, you should expect it to start smelling after about three days.
What Does Gasoline Smell Like?
When spilled, gasoline odor smells slightly addictive. Although some people might think that gasoline doesn’t smell too bad, if you try to light it on fire, then you would know just how toxic it is.
You can tell that it isn’t something you want to get near.
When burning, gasoline gives off a really strong smell with fumes that can cause a lot of damage to you and your health.
Is It Dangerous?
Even though gasoline seems harmless enough to some people, it is extremely hazardous. Spilling even small amounts of gasoline can cause severe burns and serious damage to your skin.
Even worse, if you inhale the fumes, it could lead to respiratory problems. There are many ways to prevent yourself from getting burned by gasoline.
The best way to avoid accidents is to use safety goggles and gloves while handling the material. Also, make sure to wear protective clothing such as aprons before working with gasoline.
Why Is Gasoline Bad For My Health?
If you breathe in gasoline vapors, you may suffer from headaches, dizziness, nausea, vomiting, shortness of breath, coughing, irritation of the eyes and throat, and even asthma attacks.
If you don’t take precautions, you may also develop cancer and other more serious illnesses like liver or kidney failure.
Fortunately, there are several home remedies you can employ to help remove gasoline from your clothes.
Is Gasoline An Oil-Based Product?
No, gasoline is a volatile petroleum product. Petroleum products contain both liquids and gasses.
Gasses include hydrogen, methane, ethylene, propane, and carbon dioxide. Liquids consist of kerosene, petroleum, mineral spirits, etc.
Kerosene is one of the most commonly used types of gasoline. When mixed together, these substances create a thick, oily substance called crude oil.
Crude oil usually consists of 50% water and 25% different chemicals.
How Flammable Is Gasoline?
Gasoline is flammable because it contains highly combustible components such as naphtha, aliphatic alcohols, aromatic ethers, esters, acids, etc.
These elements react with each other when exposed to heat. Because of this, gasoline is considered to be very dangerous.
However, since it is a relatively stable liquid at room temperature, it does not ignite spontaneously. Spillage of gasoline into a container will instantly ignite and explode.
Are Other Types Of Fuel Similar To Gasoline?
Yes, all types of fuels are composed of hydrocarbon molecules. Hydrocarbon molecules have the same basic structure regardless of what kind of fuel they belong to.
They can either be saturated (solid) or unsaturated (liquid).
In addition, they can be alkanes, cycloalkanes, aromatics, naphthenes, paraffins, olefins, and polycyclic compounds.
Since all these forms are made up of similar chemical structures, they tend to behave similarly. All of them are flammable and easily ignited.
What Are Some Common Ways That People Get Drenched By Gasoline?
One common way that people get drenched by gasoline is through spillage. This happens whenever someone accidentally puts gasoline on their hands, feet, or clothes.
Another way is when gasoline gets spilled onto a car’s engine block.
Yet another way is when a motorist drives over a puddle of gasoline or excess oil. Still another way is when gasoline gets splashed under a vehicle’s hood.
Why Is Having Gasoline On My Clothes Dangerous?
When gasoline comes in contact with your skin, it reacts with oxygen to form peroxides and free radicals.
Peroxides are unstable molecules that break down spontaneously into new free radical molecules.
Free radicals can easily penetrate cell membranes and destroy cellular proteins. They can also lead to the formation of DNA mutations.
As for why having gasoline on your clothes is so harmful, it’s because it stays on your body long after you’ve washed off the gasoline.
Once the gasoline dries out, its active ingredients become concentrated and remain active for a longer period of time.
One of the more frequent things that people will consider is that gasoline is particularly flammable and will burst into flames if it comes into contact with fire.
This can cause severe burns and will be extremely hard to put out with liquids like cold water and will produce elevated levels of strong smells and toxic fumes.
On top of this, gasoline also leaves oil stains and will leave a long-lasting smell of gasoline on your clothing.
These can be incredibly hard to remove and will often ruin many people’s clothes due to the way that it stays in clothes and other forms of fabrics.
What Temperatures Is Gasoline Dangerous At?
Gasoline is extremely dangerous even at room temperatures. It has been said that there is no safe level of exposure to gasoline and that people should avoid being around it entirely.
There have been cases where people died from inhaling gasoline vapors.
According to research conducted by the University of Minnesota, gasoline vapor concentrations greater than 10 parts per million can cause respiratory irritation in humans.
The researchers noted that the symptoms include coughing, wheezing, shortness of breath, headaches, nausea, vomiting, dizziness, and weakness.
In addition to this, gasoline vapors can also enter the bloodstream and travel to the brain causing damage. One study found that gasoline vapors could cause permanent brain damage.
While some people may experience minor effects from gasoline, it’s not worth taking the risk, with people better off avoiding the flammable liquid altogether.
What To Use On Gasoline Odors
There are a few ways that you can try removing gasoline odors from your clothes. You can use several different methods and products to do this but they all involve washing your clothes with hot water.
If you’re worried about damaging your clothes, then you’ll want to use an appropriate product that won’t harm your clothes.
There are two main types of products that you can buy: detergents and bleach. Each one has its benefits and disadvantages.
Detergents work well to clean up gasoline spills on your clothes as they contain surfactants. Surfactants are chemicals that lower surface tension and help water move across surfaces.
When applied to a stain, these detergents make the stain easier to wash away. However, most detergents don’t work very well against petroleum-based solvents such as gasoline or kerosene.
The best type of detergent to use depends on what kind of stain you’re trying to get rid of. For example, detergents made specifically for getting gasoline stains off clothes are available.
Some of them contain sodium carbonate which helps break down the chemical bonds between the solvent and the fabric.
Alternatively, there are other detergents designed for cleaning oil stains that contain enzymes that attack oils.
You can also use laundry products such as household bleach to remove gasoline smells.
This isn’t recommended if you’ve spilled any kind of liquid onto your clothes because the fumes produced when mixing bleaches could give you health problems.
Even though they can be used to neutralize liquids like gasoline, they aren’t effective enough to remove the odor completely. They might be able to reduce it somewhat but they won’t erase it.
On top of this, a lot of bleach products can also damage the integrity of your clothing, which will result in you having to purchase new items.
How To Remove The Gasoline Smell From Your Clothes
Blue-collar workers and mechanics who work with gasoline are at high risk for getting gasoline smells on them. For some, this may happen every day.
Others get gasoline smells on their clothes once a year.
These people should use laundry detergent specifically made for removing gasoline smells or they risk having to replace their clothes regularly, which can punch a huge hole in anyone’s wallet.
Steps To Removing Gasoline From Clothing
If you find yourself in need of how to remove the gasoline smell from clothes, here is a simple guide to follow.
1) Wash Your Clothes With Hot Water
Washing your clothes in hot water is the first step towards removing gasoline smells. It’s important to remember that while hot water can remove stains, it cannot eliminate gasoline smells.
So by washing your clothes in hot water, you’re just trying to break down the bonds within the gasoline.
If you don’t like to use hot water on your clothes, then you can instead use cold or warm water to wash them.
2) Use Detergent That Can Get Rid Of Petroleum Solvent Stains
To properly remove gasoline smells, you’ll need to use a detergent that was specially formulated to deal with petroleum-based solvents.
Most detergents have surfactants that help break down the chemical bonds that hold the gas to the fabric of your clothes.
Some detergents even include enzymes that attack the gas molecules themselves.
3) Wash Your Clothes As Soon As Possible After A Spill
When you spill gasoline, the gasoline will usually soak into the fibers of your clothes right away.
This means that you’ll want to wash your clothes as soon as possible after the spill so that you can fully remove the gasoline smell before it sets in permanently.
4) Let Your Clothes Dry Out Properly
Once you’ve washed your clothes, let them dry out naturally. Don’t put them in the dryer unless you have to.
By drying your clothes naturally, you can prevent the gasses from setting into the fibers of the cloth.
If you do dry your clothes in the dryer, make sure that you set the dryer temperature to low and turn off the heat immediately after the cycle is finished.
5) Repeat Steps 1 Through 4 Until The Smells Are Gone
After you’ve thoroughly cleaned your clothes, you’ll probably notice that the gasoline smell still lingers. In these cases, repeat steps 1 through 4 until you no longer see or feel the gasoline scent anymore.
6) Do Not Bleach Or Iron Your Clothes Unless Absolutely Necessary
Bleach and ironing can cause permanent damage to the material of your clothes. They can strip the color from your garments, which will only add to the appearance of the fuel smell.
And if you ever decide to wash your clothes again, you might end up having to buy new ones. So ensure that you monitor the quality of your clothes so that you don’t ruin the material too much.
If you’re dealing with a large amount of gasoline, then you may need professional help. But for small spills, you can handle this by yourself.
Just follow the instructions above and you shouldn’t have any trouble removing the gas smell.
Gasoline smells can be very difficult to deal with. It’s best to try and avoid getting gasoline on your clothes at all costs.
If you do happen to spill some on your clothing, remember to take proper care of the situation.
At the end of the day, your health is the most important thing and you should follow the right precautions to keep yourself safe.
Frequently Asked Questions
Get your last-minute questions answered here!
Do Home Remedies Work On Gasoline Smell?
There are many ways to remove gasoline odors from your house. Some of them include using white vinegar, lemon juice, baking soda, rubbing alcohol, etc.
These home remedies won’t permanently solve the problem, but they will mask the smell. A more thorough approach involves hiring professionals to clean up the mess.
How To Get Gasoline Smell Off Hands?
Removing gasoline odor from your hands can be tricky. You should wash your hands thoroughly before you go to work or school.
Don’t use soap because it could irritate your skin. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer instead. Wash your hands after you eat, drink, and use the bathroom.
When you wash your hands, scrub them well under running hot water.
How To Get An Oil Stain Out Of A Shirt?
The sooner you remove oil from your clothes, the better. This ensures that you don’t allow the oils to settle and become harder to get rid of.
Pre-treat your clothes before putting them in the wash so you can start to break down the oils before attempting to wash the stains out fully.