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Ask Dr. Laundry

Ask Dr. Laundry

Gasoline Smell on Clothing

By Dr. Laundry January 4, 2012

Q:  How do I get gasoline smell out of clothing?

A:  This is such an interesting question, and the answer needs to address more than just cleaning – there’s a safety issue too.  If the clothes have a lingering gasoline smell, that means they probably have residual gasoline on them.  Clothes washer and dryer manufacturers don’t want oil or gasoline soaked items going into their appliances for cleaning because of the risk of spontaneous combustion, and they put a warning on the appliances and in the user’s guide to that effect.  Throwing away oil-saturated clothes is the safest course of action—check with your garbage service provider to see what they recommend for safe disposal before tossing any items away.

This isn’t very helpful, I realize, and that frustrates me—I also know that presoaking or pre-treating with a stronger de-greaser like Goo Gone® or De-Solve-it® should be effective at removing any residual gasoline, and consequently the smell.  You would need to test a hidden part of the items for colorfastness first, and then follow the manufacturer’s directions.  If you know how the gasoline got onto the clothes, and how much of it there was originally, that would also be helpful to you in deciding how to proceed.

I wish I could be more encouraging, but not knowing enough about your specific situation I really can only recommend discarding the items from a safety standpoint. 

Has anyone had any luck removing gasoline smells?