How to Remove Kerosene Odor

Written by jennifer habersham | 13/05/2017
How to Remove Kerosene Odor
Kerosene oil, or paraffin oil, is usually stored in a blue container to keep it from being confused with gasoline, which is stored in red. (kerosene lamps image by Yali Shi from

According to the United Kingdom Health Protection Agency, "Kerosene is a liquid mixture of chemicals produced from the distillation of crude oil." In the United States, kerosene is most commonly used in kerosene lamps and heaters, as well as air plane fuel. Kerosene is flammable and should not be ingested. It also has a distinct odour that can be difficult to remove. However, with a little bit of patience and elbow grease, you can get rid of the unpleasant chemical smell.

Wet the area of skin that smells like kerosene. Apply a nickel-sized amount of shampoo to the area and scrub vigorously. Rinse the shampoo with water and immediately add a few squirts of hand sanitiser to the wet area. Rub the hand sanitiser into the skin to get rid of the remaining kerosene smell. Repeat as necessary until the odour is gone.

Blot any spilt kerosene with paper towels as soon as you notice the stain. The longer the kerosene sits, the harder it will be to remove the odour.

Apply shampoo directly to any fabric with kerosene spills. Rub the shampoo in using a firm, circular motion. Wash away the shampoo with water. This will remove the kerosene oil, but not the odour. If you don't remove the oil, you won't be able to remove the smell.

Wash the fabric in a washing machine as you normally would. Once the washing cycle reaches the rinse cycle, stop it and add 2 cups of vinegar to the washing machine. Let the fabric stand for about 2 hours before completing the wash cycle.

Pull the fabric from the washer and smell it. If the odour is still present, repeat the process. If the kerosene odour is gone, dry the fabric as you normally would. If the fabric item cannot be cleaned in a washing machine, have it dry cleaned.

Blot the kerosene oil from items such as countertops, floors and bathtubs with paper towels. Open all the doors and turn on fans to remove the kerosene odour from a room.

Sprinkle baking soda over the entire area and let it sit for 30 minutes. Wipe the baking soda away. Wash the area as you normally would. Repeat as necessary. The baking soda will help absorb the oil, making removing the smell easier. If you do not have baking soda, clean kitty litter also will work.


If you do not have any vinegar, mineral oil will do.

Tips and warnings

  • If you do not have any vinegar, mineral oil will do.

Things you need

  • Shampoo
  • Hand sanitiser
  • Paper towel
  • Washing machine
  • Vinegar
  • Wash cloth
  • Baking soda

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