How to Clean Gas Spill in Car Trunk in 8 Simple & Easy Steps

Written by

Bruce Sonnier


Marcus Dutton

how to clean gas spill in car trunk

Gasoline is the last thing you want to be accidentally spilled in your car trunk. It would be a smelly, disgusting mess that can pose risks such as dizziness, headache, carbon monoxide poisoning, and lung damage.

However, it can happen when your car’s trunk is carrying a gas tank for a road trip or just for your lawnmower.

If that happened to you, you should immediately do the steps on how to clean gas spill in car trunk. The process involves absorbing the spill, scrubbing the stains with a solution, drying the trunk, and getting rid of the lingering odor.


What You Will Need to Follow This Tutorial


Before we answer your question, “how do I clean up a gas spill in my car?”, let us first delve into the cleaning products and tools you need for the cleaning process.

1. Face Mask or Any Piece of Cloth for Covering the Nose and Mouth

You would need to protect yourself from gasoline’s harmful fumes when you clean up gas spill on your car’s trunk. You should wear a face mask or any piece of cloth you can use to cover your nose and mouth.

2. Rags, Paper Towels, or Newspapers

The gasoline spill must first be dabbed out before cleaning with a solution. So you would need some rags, towels, or newspapers.

3. Spray Bottle With Water

A spray bottle filled with water would be needed for initially spraying water on the gasoline to repel and loosen it from the surface. It would also be needed if you’re going to clean the trunk with baking soda.

4. Any Moisture-Absorbing Material Like Salt, Cornmeal, or Kitty Litter

Salt, cornmeal, and kitty litter are absorbent materials that can help draw out the gasoline spill from the trunk.

5. Cleaning Solution

You can either go for a commercial cleaner or a homemade cleaning solution. Below are different options for cleaning solutions and how to prepare them:

  • Carpet shampoo – Dilute the carpet shampoo with warm water as per product instructions.
  • Water, baking soda, and vinegar – Fill a spray bottle with water for spraying on the affected areas. The baking soda and vinegar, you can simply apply on the spot.
  • Vinegar, club soda, and dishwashing liquid – Combine equal amounts of vinegar and club soda along with a half measure of dishwashing liquid.
  • Dishwashing liquid, borax, and boiling water – Combine a few drops of dishwashing liquid, a few spoons of Borax, and boiling water.

6. Nylon Brush, Towel, or Sponge

You can use either a nylon brush, towel, or sponge for agitating the gasoline stains from the trunk.

7. Fan

A fan can be used to help make drying the trunk quicker after cleaning it.

8. Any Odor-Neutralizer Like Baking Soda, Coffee Grounds, or Kitty Litter

Either baking soda, coffee grounds, or kitty litter can be used for getting rid of the gasoline’s lingering smell.]

9. Vacuum cleaner

10. Waterproof Rubber Trunk Liner

You can buy a waterproof rubber trunk liner for your trunk to protect it from future spills.

Step by Step Instructions


Cleaning a gasoline spill requires caution and patience. It is important to follow these steps on how to clean gasoline spill in car carefully and thoroughly. You may have to do a lot of work and endure its repulsive smell, but it’s something you have to take care of immediately for a clean and safe ride.

1. Practice Safety Precautions Before Cleaning

You must be careful when dealing with spilled gas in trunk to avoid its harmful effects. The first safety precaution you should do is to park your car in an open area like a driveway or street so that you’ll do the cleaning in a well-ventilated area.

Another way to avoid its harmful effects is by covering your nose and mouth with a face mask or any piece of cloth you can use for coverage.

2. Locate the Gasoline Spill

You can find the gasoline spill by smelling around your car trunk. It would also help to recall where you placed the tank of gas after you bought it. Another way to detect gasoline is by feeling around the trunk for any wet areas, but make sure to wash your hands after touching gasoline.

3. Absorb the Gasoline

You should first try to get rid of as much gasoline as you possibly can before cleaning the car trunk. You can take some rags or anything else absorbent like paper towels and newspapers and press them on the gasoline spill.

Afterward, you’re going to get rid of the remaining gasoline that got in your car’s trunk. To deal with it, you would first slightly dampen the affected areas by spraying some water. This will cause the gasoline to loosen since water repels oil.

The next thing you will do is to apply a thin layer of either salt, cornmeal, or kitty litter over it. Let it sit on the affected areas for 30 minutes, and it will draw out the gasoline from the trunk. Then wipe everything away afterward.

4. Cleaning the Gasoline Spill With Preferred Cleaning Solution

As mentioned earlier, there are various cleaning solution options for cleaning a gasoline spill.

For most cleaning solution options, the application and process of usage are the same, particularly for the carpet shampoo, vinegar/club soda/dishwashing liquid solution, and the dishwashing liquid/borax/boiling water solution. All you have to do is apply and work the solution onto the affected areas using a nylon brush.

But if you’re going with the water, baking soda, and vinegar solution, you would spray some water on the affected areas first. Then sprinkle on them some baking soda & vinegar, which you would thereafter rub over the areas using a towel or sponge. This would cause a foaming reaction that would get rid of deep-seated odors.

5. Dab Out the Moisture and Stains and Let the Trunk Air Dry

Once you’re done scrubbing out the stains, dab out the moisture and stains with clean, unused rags. Then let the trunk air dry by leaving its door open.

If possible, have it exposed to the sun’s heat or direct a fan at it to quicken the drying. When the trunk has completely dried, inspect to see if there is still gas left on your car’s trunk. If there is, you would have to redo the cleaning.

6. Eliminate Lingering Odor

A lingering odor may remain after you cleaned your car’s trunk. One way to resolve it is by applying baking soda to the trunk and just let it sit for a few hours to absorb the odor and vacuum it up afterward. If the smell persists, redo the application until it is gone.

Another option for neutralizing the odor in the trunk is to leave some coffee grounds to sit on it. However, you’d need to leave them in the trunk for a week or so before vacuuming.

An alternative that can work relatively faster is kitty litter, which can eliminate the odor in one to two days. You can vacuum it up by then. But if you still find the trunk smelly afterward, apply some kitty litter once again.

7. If the Gas Smell Persists, Replace the Trunk’s Carpeting

You wouldn’t want to be driving around a car with a gasoline smell that could harm you or any of the passengers in your car, especially when your car doesn’t have a separate trunk from its body but more of a rear cargo area.

If the smell in your car persists even after all the cleaning, deodorizing, and repeating, the last resort would be to replace the trunk’s carpeting.

8. Protect the Trunk’s Carpeting With a Waterproof Rubber Trunk Liner

Moreover, if your car’s trunk is prone to spills, it would be a good idea to protect its carpeting with a waterproof rubber trunk liner. It would help make cleaning up in the future much easier.


A gasoline spill on the car trunk not only leaves stains but also a smell that’s repulsive and harmful. You wouldn’t want to be inhaling too much of it for too long. The steps on how to clean gas spill in car trunk must be done immediately and cautiously when your car’s trunk gets soiled with gasoline.

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