How to Get Rid of a Kerosene Smell

Updated February 21, 2017

Kerosene is a petroleum product. It is most well known for its use in lanterns and other types of camping equipment. In its most common form, kerosene is a colourless liquid that gives off a strong odour similar to other types of fuels. The smell given off by kerosene is actually useful because it lets you know that there may be exposed fuel in the area, and that you should avoid any sparks. However, the smell is unpleasant and can remain even after you have cleaned something. Luckily, there are a couple ways to get rid of a kerosene smell.

Store the kerosene that you have not used in a tightly sealed container.

Sop up any kerosene that may be spilt on the floor, on yourself, or on other surface, using a towel. Use paper towel or a rag that you won't mind discarding after you are finished.

Wash your clothes, skin, carpet or whatever has kerosene on it with strong detergent. This may not completely get rid of the kerosene smell, but it will remove the oil that gives off the foul odour.

Neutralise the smell by using rubbing alcohol. The alcohol will break down the carbon bonds in kerosene and help to get rid of the smell.

Apply vinegar to the smelly area if you can still smell kerosene. Let it sit while it absorbs the kerosene. Wash out the vinegar with detergent or other cleaner.


Store kerosene in a safe place, away from children. A professional cleaner may have more success cleaning your floors if you cannot get rid of the smell yourself.


Be cautious when trying to remove kerosene from your skin. Rubbing alcohol and other cleaning products may cause your skin to break out.

Things You'll Need

  • Towels
  • Detergent
  • Vinegar
  • Rubbing alcohol
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About the Author

Bill Varoskovic has been writing professionally since 2010. His areas of academic expertise include world religions, American Sign Language, psychology, personality and community building. Other areas of experience include sports, travel and lifestyle. Varoskovic received his Bachelor of Science in psychology from Central Michigan University in 2010.