How to Eliminate Odor of Gasoline Spilled Inside Family Vehicle

A message showed up in my inbox that made my heart sink. I couldn’t help imagine what it would be like to lend my car to someone, only to have it come back to me with a little something I’d not counted on—that noxious odor of gasoline!

Worse, what if that condition were permanent?! Thankfully, I have good news for at least one desperate reader.

Portable generator in back of car


I have a problem that I can’t solve and was wondering if you would be able to help. Someone borrowed my car recently and transported a small generator in it. Somehow, the gasoline spilled out inside my Explorer and left a very intense gasoline smell.

“I have tried everything I can think of and nothing has removed the smell. I steamed cleaned it with carpet shampoo, sprinkled it with baking soda and vacuum it up, saturated it with Nok-Out at least three times but to no avail. Can you help? Lisa

My first reaction to Lisa’s dilemma was to wonder if this “someone” was at one time on her list of friends (relatives?) but I won’t go there. Instead, I do have a solution and one that does not involve pushing that SUV off a cliff. It’s long, so bear with me.

This is definitely a job for Nok-Out—an odor-eliminating product that is non-toxic, fragrance-free and absolutely works wonders to eliminate the strong odor of gasoline providing it is used specifically and scientifically

Stubborn odor

Gasoline presents a particular challenge even for Nok-Out because while Nok-Out requires direct contact with the odor source, gasoline and water don’t mix. They repel one another making it a challenge for them to come into direct contact with each other. Therefore it is a bit difficult to achieve direct contact that is required for Nok-Out to do its job.

However, there is something in Nok-Out called a “surfactant” (you could think of it as a kind of soap) that allows water and oil (gasoline is petroleum oil) to attract, which makes it possible for Nok-Out to eliminate this powerful odor.

Air it out

First Lisa needs to thoroughly air out the vehicle. Then she needs to get into the car—back where the generator did the deed. Get your nose down into the area and try to pinpoint exactly where the odor is coming from and then Mark those areas with chalk or tape.

Neutralize acid

Next, if she has by chance previously treated this area with vinegar, she needs to re-treat with a mixture of baking soda and water to neutralize the acidic nature of vinegar—very, very important!

Soak it well

Once dry, Spray Nok-Out heavily into those areas and the surrounding areas as well—enough so that it penetrates deeply into the surface material where the odor was detected to originate. This means it will be very wet. Wear rubber gloves and “massage” Nok-Out all the way down through the layers, should that area be covered with carpet or other material. Allow to air dry naturally with the windows open. Do not be deterred if more than one application is required to get it all. This is an extremely tough this issue.

Lisa must keep in mind that Nok-Out needs to come into direct contact with ALL the smelly stuff—all it takes is one missed spot to allow the odor to remain. There may be spots one wouldn’t think of that got a douse of that gasoline. It may have dripped a path on its way in and out!

Allow to dry fully

Last, wait for it to dry fully before giving it the smell test. (During this time the oxidation process is going to give off its own odor—much like a stinky swimming pool gives off the smell of chlorine. That’s Nok-Out doing its work. Open all of the windows and let fresh air fill the car.

RELATED: The Simple Science of Eliminating Bad Odors

Repeat performance

Do you still detect that awful odor? Do not give up—do not get discouraged. You will need to repeat starting with the sniff test, and perhaps in areas not treated the first time around.

Be sure to check by pulling back the floor cover (carpet or rubber) that was under the generator. It may be that there is a space under this floor that got doused as well. Maybe there’s a spare tire or something else under there that’s hiding a bit of raw gas.

Think of this process as getting rid of a little bit more every time she does it. Each time, it’s as if she will have scraped away another thin layer and with persistence,  eventually will eliminate every hint the problem ever happened.

Gasoline is highly volatile and some of the loose molecules that evaporated into the air may have been re-absorbed by other materials in the car as well—the headliner and seat cushions, for example.


It may also be a good idea to use a household humidifier to get to those out-of-the-contaminated-zone areas: Pour 4 to 6 oz. Nok-Out full strength into the reservoir of the humidifier and turn it on. Allow the car to remain closed up overnight with the humidifier running and all windows closed, then open the windows and allow it to air out thoroughly in the morning.

The Best Inexpensive humidifier for this purpose is Honeywell Germ-Free Cool Mist Humidifier HCM-350, as Nok-Out should not be heated. And this particular humidifier has a large capacity allows it to run for many hours between fill-ups.

Eliminating gasoline odor really is a tough assignment, even for Nok-Out. But don’t give up. I’m confident that if you are persistent you will eventually get it all. Need more help? You can call Ted, Nok-Out HQ, 1-866-551-1927.

Amazing Nok-Out

For my readers not yet familiar with Nok-Out it is a clear, odorless liquid; a safe and amazing odor destroyer for use in any area where odors occur. It is non-toxic, water-based, mild enough to wash your hands in; is non-allergenic, non-staining, and antimicrobial. As safe in the kitchen as it is around pets and kids.

Nok-Out destroys odors caused by pets, organic decay, tobacco smoke, fires, sweat, mold, bacteria, and fungi. Nok-Out leaves carpet, upholstery, cars, trucks, shoes, gym lockers, the air you breathe—you name it, smelling fresh!


This post originally appeared on the pages of Everyday Cheapskate on 6-7-16 and has been updated with additional information and more detailed information.

PREVIOUSLY: In a Pinch You Can Use This for That

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35 replies
  1. Brenda says:

    I would love to try this product. With our busy household of teens, pets, and farm animals, I’m sure we could put it to good use.

  2. kimbo9999 says:

    I’d like to try Sniper b/c if it’s safe for kids then it’s safe for pets! And if you recommend it, then I know it’s good!

  3. Corinne D says:

    We’ve bought a home and the prior owners had kids and big dogs. I’d love to try Nok-Out/Sniper on all the residual odors. Nothing else I’ve tried has worked. Thanks for this opportunity.

  4. Kathryne Strickland Knight says:

    Would love to try Nok-Out for musty, stale odors. We close the camper up for the winter, and also the house. Then we close up the place in FL for the summer. Lots of mustiness!!

  5. Brenda says:

    I would love to have this on hand for any nasty viruses and for mold problems! Thanks for offering this giveaway!

  6. Shari W says:

    Would love to win this! Trying to get rid of some pet smells that are very persistent in a leather couch. I trust Mary & I’m sure this would do the job!

  7. Barb Dawson says:

    I want to try any product Mary recommends! I LOVE Nok Out–it killed urine odors of my wolf hybrid (more musky & stronger smelling that the other dogs) I have a dog that can’t wait all day for me to come home, & she goes where previous dogs have gone on the carpet…

  8. vtstevens says:

    I’ve used NOK OUT for several years and it is the BEST!!! We live in the Pac NW where everything stays damp, and mold, mildew and musty smells are everywhere all the time. Nok Out takes care of EVERY odor problem you might have: mildewed laundry, smelly gym clothes, pet odors, carpet odors, etc etc. It’s also a very good surface disinfectant.

  9. Gia says:

    I moved a few months ago and I am still trying to eliminate offensive scents throughout the house (I have carpet). I have always wanted to try Sniper/NokOut, but its so pricey. Would soooo love to win this.

  10. Dotty Strickland says:

    OH thanks for the chance to win this. I have always wanted to try NokOut, especially when all my husband’s hiking items make the area around them smell like a teenager’s locker full of dirty, sweaty stuff !!!

  11. lizanne says:

    I’m very sensitive to odors… I would love to win Sniper/Nok-Out so I can see how it works with the pet smells in the house &/or basement odor (I’ve never used this product before). I’ve heard this also works on dogs that have been “skunked.”

  12. Julie Faughnan says:

    I would love to win the Nok Out because we are heading to our Florida condo where I use gallons of Nokia Out to freshen everything when I open it up after it has been closed up for months at a time! Nok Out is great and works so well on the musty closed up odor you get.

  13. Markie says:

    I use it and it does work. I tend to be stingy with it when I use it since it is expensive and I could run through it pretty quickly with its many uses. An extra bottle would be great.

  14. Dana says:

    We have three dogs, two cats, a fish, a ball Python, and two teenage softball players, one of which just rescued a kitten from my sister’s dog and is fostering it. We have smells…. could use Sniper! 🙂

  15. Cat Nap says:

    I’m not facing gasoline odors specifically, but I am facing cleaning out my parents’ home, getting it ready to sell. Shall we say, it hasn’t seen much cleaning in the past couple of decades. Lots of odor issues to tackle. Sniper would be a big help.

  16. Stephanie Hansen says:

    I love Nok-Out!!! We’ve got two older dogs and this is the only thing I’ve found that take out the urine smell in carpet when they have accidents!

  17. Leslie says:

    Nok-Out is fantastic and I have used it for years. I first learned about it here at EDC. I have cats and use it for things like cleaning litter boxes. Also, I volunteer at an animal shelter and use it on my “shelter shoes” after each visit. I’d like to win to use it for these things, but also for daily use in my house. Thanks for the opportunity!

  18. kcjmc says:

    Just spent the good part of an hour cleaning up rotten potatoes in my potato bin. Ugh, what a smelly mess! Would love to have had this to help get rid of that nasty odor!

  19. cbrady says:

    I take care of my elderly father, and I love that Nok-out is also a sanitizer as well as an odor eliminator!

  20. Betty says:

    Would love to win this product to share with my children who are in the throws of potty training their own.


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