How to get rid of the smell from a fuel oil spill

Updated February 21, 2017

Fuel oil is liquid oil of any kind, including kerosene, gasoline and diesel fuel. Each of these fuels has a very strong smell. A spill of any of these fuels will create a powerful odour that can be hard to handle for long periods of time. Getting rid of this smell can be a do-it-yourself project that takes a few hours of preparing, cleaning and ventilating an area. However, extreme fuel spills and outside spills should only be handled by professional cleaning crews. Only attempt clean a fuel spill if its small and easily manageable.

Immediately shut down any furnace fans to avoid spreading the smell throughout the house. Skip this step if your fuel oil spill does not occur near a furnace.

Open up all sources to the outside, such as windows or doors. Place fans blowing outwards at each exit to blow out as much of the odour as possible to avoid having the smell absorb into carpet, fabrics or furniture.

Place kitty litter or a similarly absorbent material on the spill to soak up as much of it as possible. Start on the outside of the spill and work your way to the centre of the spill.

Scoop up the fuel-soaked kitty litter and dump it into a doubled garbage bag. Seal the inner bag separately from the outer bag to avoid spilling.

Scrub the floor with a mop, sponges or clothes and cleaning agent to remove any residual oil. Spray a deodorising agent on the floor and let it soak.

Repeat the process until all the fuel oil has been removed from the floor. Let the room air out during this process. Apply another coat of the deodorising agent if odour persists.

Continue airing out the room and applying the deodoriser regularly until the room no longer smells.


Wear gloves and overshoes when working with fuel oil spills.

Things You'll Need

  • Fans
  • Rubber gloves
  • Overshoes
  • Kitty litter
  • Garbage bags
  • Washing powder
  • Wet vac
  • Floor cleaner
  • Mop and bucket
  • Sponges or cleaning cloths
  • Deodoriser
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About the Author

Eric Benac began writing professionally in 2001. After working as an editor at Alpena Community College in Michigan and receiving his Associate of Journalism, he received a Bachelor of Science in English and a Master of Arts in writing from Northern Michigan University in Marquette.