How to Clean up a Gas Spill in your Garage or Driveway

Whether it leaked out from your car, or spilled while refueling your lawn mower, we’ve all had to clean up gas spills in our garages.

Sometimes our first instinct isn’t the right way to handle a problem, though.

Usually, when you see a fresh puddle of oil or grease, we reach for the closest rag to clean it up. Unfortunately, you’ve probably rubbed the stain in even deeper than it was before.

In this article, I’m going to cover some best practices to clean up gas spills from concrete and asphalt, including some safety tips along the way.


A Word About Gasoline Safety

We’re always told to think safety first, but it’s really important with gasoline spills. Remember, if you can smell gasoline, that means there’s enough in the air to be concerned about.  

Once you’ve figured out where the spill is coming from, want to take care of it quickly. Keep in mind, though, if the problem is a leak under the car, be sure you get it fixed.

That way, you don’t have to keep cleaning up the same spill, over and over.

Any time you’re dealing with a chemical spill, gasoline included, you need to take safety precautions. That means having good ventilation, like a garage fan or exhaust fan. If it’s a fresh spill, open the garage door and get some outside air circulating through your garage.

Gas fumes can be a risk to your health, causing vomiting, dizziness, or even making you pass out. Prolonged exposure can even lead to permanent lung damage.

That means, as much as we’re tired of hearing about them, you need to wear a mask or ventilator. Be sure it’s an N-95 mask, which offers higher particle filtration than cloth masks.

Finally, protect your eyes and skin by wearing rubber (not latex) gloves and eye protection.

It goes without saying, but remove anything that makes a spark. A gas spill isn’t just an unpleasant sight or smell, it could be a serious fire hazard.


How to Clean Up Gasoline Spills in Your Garage

Gas and oil spills are some of the more difficult stains to remove from your concrete garage floor. Especially on an epoxy floor, the quicker you act, the less it’s likely to leave a permanent stain.

Gasoline doesn’t bind with water. That means normal cleaning, rubbing, scrubbing that might work on other spills won’t cut it with gas.

The first step is to try to soak up any excess gasoline.

Soak Up Excess Gasoline

Lay down paper towels or rags to soak up some of the spill. Let the towels do the work and then discard them.

Don’t try to scrub the stain away. It causes the gas to seep even deeper into the surface and spread the stain wider, making things worse.

Another option is to use clay-based cat litter, sand, or even baking soda to help soak up the pooled liquid.

Another option is to use a mix of paint thinner and sawdust, instead of cat litter. With this mixture, let it absorb the stain for at least 20 minutes before sweeping it away and discarding it.

The concept is the same, and both products are known to yield good results. Make sure that you use enough to absorb the whole spill. Let it sit for about an hour before sweeping it up.


Environmentally Friendly Options

For those who are just as conscientious about the environment as they are about the appearance of their driveway or garage, there are other options. Products like SpillFix, made from coconut husks, may be worth giving a try.

This environmentally friendly product reduces some of the waste that comes from using sawdust or cat litter. The coconut-based cleanup solution acts very similarly to those products, soaking up the excess gasoline.

Removing the Gasoline Stain from Concrete

Once you clean up the remaining liquid gasoline, there’s still going to be a visible stain on your garage floor. Now we need to focus on some deep cleaning methods to get rid of that stain.

Some people have had success using undiluted bleach to clean a deep, dried gas or oil stain off concrete. However, bleach is toxic to the environment, and harmful to your skin, so we won’t focus on that product here. Depending on your floor’s finish, it could also damage it.

Now, let’s move on to phase two. After our cleanup, we’re dealing with a dry gas stain. Now it’s time to give this a bit of a workout.

The cheapest solution is either a paste with a mixture of water and baking soda. After applying the paste, let it sit for about ten minutes, then scour it with a stiff brush. Pure white or cleaning vinegar has been known to get some stubborn stains off concrete as well.

However, I’ve had the best luck with commercial stain removers, testing quite a few of them. I’ll highlight some of my favorites here, but you can check out my entire concrete cleaner roundup here.

My favorite product was Oil Eater cleaner and degreaser, followed by GP66 Miracle Cleaner. Both were very effective at getting rid of stubborn stains on my garage floor. However, Oil Eater was much cheaper than the GP66.

Another option is a microbial oil stain remover. While it didn’t perform especially well in my roundup review, some people swear by them. One example is the biodegradable ACT Concrete Cleaner.

The micro-organisms eat gas, oil, and grease until they’re gone. After covering the stain with the ACT powder, spray it with water and let it sit for a few hours. Then, clean off the residue with soap and water.

Top Pick
Oil Eater Cleaner/Degreaser (1 Gallon)
$14.94

Oil Eater CleanerDegreaser removed a two--year old stain on my concrete garage floor that nothing else could. I highly recommend this, even for stubborn stains.

Buy Now
We earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase at no additional cost to you.
05/20/2022 12:06 am GMT

Final Thoughts

We’ve covered staying safe during the cleanup job, and looked at several different ways to removing gas stains from your garage floor. However, it’s not just the stain we need to deal with.

Gasoline can leave behind a strong lasting smell even if the stain is looking almost as good as new. This can be a little bit of a damper on your newly cleaned garage.

You can use baking soda and vinegar to help eliminate the strong gas odor. This should help to alleviate some of the smell, so you can get back to enjoying time in your garage.