How to Clean a Gas Spill in the Car Trunk And Get Rid of the Smell

gasoline can open trunk and cleaning supplies

Spilled gasoline in your car trunk? Not only can gasoline create an unsightly stain, but it also can leave fumes wafting around your vehicle.

Gasoline fumes don’t just smell—they also pose a health hazard. There are a number of problems the fumes can cause. Breathing in just a small amount of gasoline vapors can cause:

  • Headaches
  • Dizziness and confusions
  • Nausea or Vomiting
  • Breathing difficulties

If the gasoline comes into contact with your skin, it may also cause redness and swelling of the area or you may develop a rash. And the longer you are exposed to direct contact with gasoline, the more severe your reaction may be.

So, it isn’t a good idea to leave even a small amount of gasoline on your upholstery in your vehicle.

Thankfully, cleaning up spilled gasoline doesn’t have to be as challenging as you might think. Let’s go over how to clean a gas spill in your car trunk.

How to Clean a Gas Spill from Your Car Trunk Step-by-Step

open car trunk interior

1. Put on a mask or wear a scarf over your nose to protect yourself from the fumes as you work on cleaning the gas spill.

2. Find the gas spill. In some cases, its location might be obvious. In others, it might take you a while to find it. If it blends in visually, a tactile exploration of the vehicle trunk should help you locate the damp area.

3. Wash your hands with soap and water.

4. Soak up the gas spill. There are a number of different absorbent materials you can use to help you do this. You can try rags or towels, paper towels or newspapers, diapers, or a mixture of cornmeal and salt.

Another idea is to try using kitty litter. This works well because the entire job of kitty litter is to be absorbent.

Tip: Did the spill already dry? Just spray some water on it, and you should have another opportunity to soak it up.

5. Open up the trunk and go do something else for a few hours. Air out the odor as best you can.

6. Scrub down the carpeting. Options for cleaning agents include commercial carpet cleaner with water, dish soap, and hot water, vinegar and club soda with soap, and vinegar with baking soda. You can also combine the ingredients in different ways if you want, i.e. vinegar, club soda, soap, and baking soda.

scrubbing carpet with gloves on

Make sure to put some serious elbow grease into your scrubbing. It takes effort to get rid of both the appearance and the smell of the gas spill.

7. Wait ten minutes.

8. Rinse away the soap with water.

9. Once more, open up the trunk and go do something else a couple of hours later, come back, and check if it is all dried out.

10. Think it needs another round of scrubbing? Go ahead and do that, and then wait for it to dry again.

If you are lucky, at this point, the stain will be gone and the odor as well. But sometimes, the smell of gasoline can still linger. If that is the case, proceed to the next step.

white vinegar baking soda sponges and soap

11. Now, you will need to figure out how to get rid of the gasoline smell. Try using baking soda, kitty litter, or coffee grounds. Just pile them on top of where the gas spill was located, and go do something else for several hours.

12. When you come back, hopefully, the smell will be gone. Clean up the substance you used. Still having trouble? Consider trying a gasoline odor neutralizer manufactured for this express purpose.

Phew! That was a lot of work. But now your trunk is clean, and you don’t have to worry about noxious fumes.

Prevention is the Best Remedy for Gas Spills in Your Car Trunk

Now you know step-by-step how to clean a gas spill in your car trunk.

Cleaning up a gas spill in your trunk is not particularly technical or complicated, but it is an annoying multi-step process.

If you want to avoid having to repeat that process in the future, the best thing you can do is focus on prevention.

A good first step is to invest in a cargo liner to protect your trunk. Look for one which has a raised perimeter to prevent fluids from leaking around the edges.

The other supply which can come in handy is a trunk organizer. You can use this to keep the contents of your trunk neat and organized, reducing the likelihood of fluids tipping over and spilling.

Good luck cleaning the gas spill in your trunk. Hopefully, you will never need to do it again!