One of the hardest stains to manage is a gasoline spill. Not only do you need to remove the stains, but you also have to get rid of the smell.
In this article, we’ll teach you how to get gasoline out of clothes so you won’t have to worry when it happens to you.
A Background on Gasoline
What is gasoline?
Gasoline, a derivative product of petroleum, is the most widely used fuel worldwide. The crude oil passes through a fractional distillation process where additives, like ethanol, are also incorporated.
The resulting product is a liquid used to run a vehicle’s engine via internal combustion.
What are the types of gasoline?
You may have seen the different types of gasoline advertised in service stations. They are usually grouped into three major classes according to their octane rating.
An octane rating refers to the measurement of a gasoline’s performance or quality. A high rating means that the fuel burns efficiently within the vehicle’s engine. The higher the number, the longer the time gas can withstand compression before combustion.
The following are the types of gasoline ranked highest to lowest:
- Premium – 90+ octane rating
- Midgrade – 89 octane rating
- Regular – 87 octane rating
Why does gasoline have different colors?
Gasoline is originally a clear, transparent liquid. If it remained colorless, it would have been easier to manage stains. However, oil refineries had to add color for safety purposes.
The addition of dyes to the fuel helps buyers and sellers differentiate the different types of gasoline. This method allows consumers to use the right kind of gasoline for their vehicles to prevent any mishaps.
Adding color also makes gasoline stand out from other liquids such as water, preventing contamination.
Manufacturers use different dye colors in each one of the gasoline types. The following color variations make it easier to differentiate them. It can help prevent vehicle owners from filling their tanks with the wrong type of gas.
- Premium – pinkish
- Midgrade – yellowish
- Regular – greenish or bluish
Fresh gasoline stays true to its color. On the other hand, gasoline that has been stored for a long time will turn into a brownish liquid.
Where does gasoline come from?
Gasoline is produced from crude oil, an organic compound of hydrogen and carbon atoms. Crude oil comes from vertical wells drilled into undersea or underground reservoirs.
How did gasoline get its distinct smell?
Gasoline has an unmistakably unique smell. This scent comes from Benzene, a gasoline additive meant to increase octane levels. Benzene has a very pungent and naturally sweet smell that humans can detect even in minimal amounts.
This scent, however, is challenging to remove from clothes.
The Pre-treatment Process
Is it safe to wash gasoline-stained clothes?
It’s common knowledge that gasoline is highly flammable, so clothes stained with this fuel are considered a safety risk. Handwashing gasoline-stained garments are safer than tossing them in the washing machine.
The flammability of gasoline depends mainly on its odor. There is a risk of the fumes catching fire when washing gasoline-stained clothes in the washing machine since it runs on electricity.
The risk increases when you’re running a dryer simultaneously or using hot water to wash the clothes.
How can you safely remove gasoline from clothes?
To safely wash your gasoline-stained clothes, it would be best to do the following:
- Avoid washing the stained clothes with other garments to prevent the smell from spreading—the less contamination, the lesser the risk of fire.
- Apply pre-treatment methods to eliminate odors. Even if you couldn’t remove the stain through handwashing, you could safely wash them in the washing machine. You just have to make sure that there are no traces of the smell.
- Avoid running any electrical appliances during the pre-treatment process.
- Deal with gasoline-stained clothes as soon as possible since they are fire hazards. Letting it sit on a hamper may contaminate other garments.
What is the pre-treatment process?
As we’ve mentioned, pre-treatment is an essential part of gasoline stain removal. Not only will it make washing safe, but it will also make the whole process easier.
Here are the steps of the pre-treatment process
- Blot the excess gasoline from the garment with a paper towel.
- You may want to speed up the process by sprinkling some baking soda on the stain.
- Remember not to throw the used-up paper towels in the trash bin since they have absorbed flammable gasoline fumes. Please leave it in the open air for 24 hours to ensure that the fumes have evaporated. You may use a rock as a paperweight to keep it secured outdoors.
- Use a stain remover to pretreat the fabric. Later in this article, we will discuss various stain removers, both natural and synthetic.
4 Best Pre-treatment Products to Use to Get Gasoline Off Clothes
Removing gasoline smells and stains from clothes can be challenging. Fortunately, there are effective products you can use to deal with gasoline spills on clothes.
What are products can you use to manage gasoline stains?
White vinegar is an effective and safe stain remover widely available in many households. Its acidic properties break down a wide array of stains, gasoline included.
Pre-treatment Steps Using Vinegar
- Make a soaking mixture of one cup vinegar with one cup of water.
- Soak the garment in the vinegar solution for 30 minutes.
- Rinse with cold water.
- If the stain and scent are still present, repeat the process.
Baking soda is a versatile product that every home needs. Its exceptional stain and odor removing properties apply to almost any kind of stain.
Pre-treatment Steps Using Baking Soda
- Create a pre-treatment paste by mixing one part water and two parts baking soda in a clean bowl.
- Apply the paste onto the fabric.
- Use a soft-bristled brush to scrub the affected area with the paste.
- Air-dry the clothing outdoors, if possible. Allow the baking soda paste to be absorbed by the fabric.
- When the cloth is dry, remove excess baking soda with a brush.
- If you can still see or smell gasoline traces, repeat steps one to four.
Ammonium hydroxide or ammonia is appropriate for clothes with exceptionally heavy gasoline stains. Remember not to mix ammonia with chlorine products since it may create toxic fumes.
Pre-treatment Steps Using Ammonia
- Fill your washer with warm water. Remember not to use hot water.
- Add one cup of non-sudsing household ammonia.
- Shut the lid to prevent the pungent smell from escaping.
- Place your gasoline-stained clothes in the washer and soak for several hours. It would be best to soak the clothes overnight.
Liquid Soap or Liquid Laundry Detergent
If you have none of the ingredients mentioned above, you could use the ever-reliable heavy-duty liquid detergent or dish soap. These products are specifically created to remove stains and odors.
Pre-treatment Steps Using Liquid Soap or Laundry Detergent
- Apply about two tablespoons of the liquid soap or detergent on the affected area.
- Use a soft-bristled brush to rub the products on the fabric.
- Leave the soap for five minutes.
Washing and Drying after Pre-treatment
How do you wash clothes with gasoline stains in the washing machine?
It would be best to handwash clothes with gasoline stains. However, since everyone is busy nowadays, tossing the clothes in the washer is also a viable option.
Steps in Washing Gasoline-Staine Clothes in the Washing Machine
- Ensure that you have gone through the pre-treatment process. There should be no odor left so that you can wash in the washer safely.
- Wash the gasoline-stained clothes separately to prevent contamination.
- Pour mild liquid detergent into the washing machine filled with cold water.
- Set your washer to a delicate cycle.
- If you notice remaining stains after the wash cycle, repeat the process.
Is it safe to use a dryer?
Placing gasoline-stained clothes in the dryer is not a good idea, even if it seems that you have thoroughly washed them. There might still be stains that you can’t see, which can settle on the fabric if you run them on a dryer.
Clothes with gasoline residue are also flammable, and a fire may start due to the heat and electricity of the machine.
Air-drying or line-drying clothes that have been stained with gasoline is the safest way to dry them. Allowing them to dry outdoors will help evaporate the fumes and prevent potential fires.
It would be best to leave the stained clothes outside for at least 24 hours. If you can still see any gasoline residue, it would help to repeat the methods we mentioned until you get the best results.
Here is a video on how to set up a clothesline to help get you started:
Once you’re sure that the clothes are gasoline-free, you can toss them in the dryer.
Spilling gasoline on your clothes, especially your favorite ones, can be very frustrating. Not only do you have to manage the stain, but you also have to deal with the smell.
However, it is easy to learn how to get gasoline out of clothes. Several effective products are readily available at home, and a few simple steps can bring your clothes back to life.
Just remember to proceed with caution since you’re dealing with a flammable stain.
Jessica Oliver is a fashion enthusiast with more than ten years of experience in the industry. She previously managed her own clothing store in New York before becoming a mother of three. With a passion for sustainability and a desire to share clothing care and recycling tips.