How to Clean Up a Gas Spill Safely

The key to cleaning up a gas spill is to limit the spill area, absorb as much gas as possible, then dispose of it safely. Learn more here.
Written by Melanie Krieps Mergen
Reviewed by Melanie Reiff
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All kinds of tools can help you clean up a gas spill, from kitty litter to boom socks. The key to cleaning up a gas spill is to limit the spill area if you can, absorb as much gas as possible, then dispose of it safely. 
Accidents happen—and some, like spilling gas, are more hazardous than others. If you’ve been working on a vehicle in your garage and you’ve accidentally spilled some gasoline, you’ll want to contain and clean up the spill as soon as you can. 
If you haven’t planned for how to clean up a gas spill until it actually happens, you might end up making some impulsive decisions resulting in serious safety hazards. To help you better prepare for that situation,
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Cleaning up a gas spill: what to avoid

Just as important as how to clean up a gas spill is how not to clean up a gas spill, so let’s go over this first. These are some actions you’ll want to avoid when you clean up a gas spill:
  • Never rinse spilled gas down the drain. Gasoline doesn’t mix well with water, anyway, and gas is also a hazardous material. This could just end up spreading the gasoline over a wider area.
  • Never use a wet-dry vacuum. Gasoline is highly flammable, so this would be extremely dangerous.
  • Never dispose of your gas in a receptacle that will be exposed to heat or sparks. This would constitute a fire hazard. 
MORE: How to clean your car's dashboard 

How to clean up a gas spill safely

Now that you’ve avoided some seriously hazardous mistakes, let’s get to cleaning up that spill!
If you have a boom sock on standby (you can buy one on
Amazon
), you can deploy it as the spill occurs to absorb most of the gas and reduce the spillage area you’ll have to clean up. 
Remember to ventilate the space by opening doors and windows as soon as possible—gas vapors are toxic to inhale. 
MORE: 5 ways to remove the smell of gas from your hands

How to clean up a gas spill on concrete with kitty litter

One way to clean up a gas spill on a concrete floor is by using kitty litter. Clay-based kitty litter can help absorb excess gas as well as some of the odor. 
If you don’t have litter, you can use another absorbent material or spill mats.
Here are the steps to clean up a gas spill with kitty litter:
  • Pour a modest amount of kitty litter and then wait as it absorbs the gas. This could take somewhere between twenty minutes to an hour, depending on the severity of your spill. You could start with a layer about half an inch thick, see how much it absorbs, and then add more as needed.
  • After the gasoline has been absorbed, sweep the litter into a dustpan and dispose of it in a waste container. Make sure there’s nothing in or near the container that could ignite the gas. 
  • Reapply the litter as needed and repeat these steps if there’s lingering gas to clean up. 

How to clean up a gas spill in your car trunk

When transporting a gas container in a vehicle, it’s always a good idea to lay down a tarp first to make cleanup easier in the case of a spill.
If a spill does happen in your car, start the cleanup process in a well-ventilated area and wear a mask to help protect yourself from the fumes. Then:
  • Use old rags or paper towels to absorb as much gasoline as you can. 
  • Spray some water over the area—since gasoline and water don’t mix well, this can help make removing the gas from your carpet a little easier.
  • Spread a thin layer of kitty litter or another absorbent material over the area and let it sit for a while (about 30 minutes or so) while it absorbs.
  • Use a cleaning solution of your choice and scrub the area thoroughly with a brush.
  • Dab the area dry with clean rags and check to make sure you’ve removed the stain.
  • Let your trunk air dry.
  • Sprinkle some baking soda over the area to help neutralize the gas odor. 
If the gasoline smell still lingers after you’ve cleaned your trunk, you might need to consider replacing the carpet. 

How to dispose of gas safely 

Because gas is a hazardous chemical, you don’t want to simply throw it away in the trash. How you should properly dispose of materials after a gas cleanup depends on where you live. 
Your local sanitation department may have certain procedures you’ll need to follow or a drop-off site you’ll need to visit.

How to save on car insurance

Cleaning up a gas spill can be time-consuming work that requires a lot of elbow grease. Luckily, finding savings on your
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FAQ

When transporting a gas container in a vehicle, it’s always a good idea to lay down a tarp first to make cleanup easier in the case of a spill. 
If a spill does occur, you’ll want to scrub out the spill area as soon as possible with a cleaning product of your choice. If a gas odor lingers, you may need to replace the carpet in your trunk.
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