How to clean yellow gas stains from vinyl?

Oh, the famous question no one has given a straight answer to. How to clean yellow gas stains from vinyl? We’ll embark on the quest of finding the right product to handle the issue.

While some folks might like the smell of gasoline, there are probably no fans of gasoline stains. It’s safe to assume this wasn’t a shot in the dark. Even the laziest of us will eventually want a stain-free kitchen. Unless, of course, there are underground stain-loving communities. Come to think of it, they probably have their own subreddit or something.

Anyway, let’s leave all that talk behind and focus on today’s topic. So, you’re wondering how to clean yellow gas stains from vinyl? Well, you’re at the right address. We’ll show you everything there’s to know about the subject. Stay tuned!

First of all, know that gas stains on vinyl are a tough nut to crack. First, try using regular dish soap (Dawn?) or hand cleaners. If the vinyl’s new, try rubbing alcohol on the spot. Also, marine vinyl cleaners might be your best bet. Some folks even suggest you leave the stain to bleach in the sun, although that can ruin the fabric.

That was way too quick for anyone to feel informed. If we’re not wrong about that, feel free to see what we’ve prepared below!

Table of Contents

A brief introduction to vinyl

Imagine this. You’ve got vinyl seats in your car, but you don’t know it. Nevertheless, you’ve felt that material before. Let’s say you thought it was something most people assume is leather, but it’s not real leather. That’s could be the most informal definition of the material called vinyl.

A more formal definition

Let’s see another (more formal) definition of this material. Vinyl is called the world’s most versatile plastic. It’s also known as polyvinyl chloride or popularly – PVC. We’re no chemistry experts, but we’ll try to tell this tale without stuttering.

The material in question is made out of two building blocks. They are chlorine (based on common salt) and ethylene (from crude oil). The two of them are merged to create ethylene dichloride. This compound is then transformed into vinyl chloride monomer (VCM) gas. During the polymerization stage, VCM becomes a chemically stable powder.

And that, folks, is how we get polyvinyl chloride (PVC) resin. Boy, are we’re glad that’s over. Now, let’s see something that won’t bore you to death.

Interesting vinyl trivia

Now that we’ve gone through the dropout’s chemistry 101 class, let’s see something cool. Here are the (most) interesting facts about the world’s most versatile plastic:

  • It’s also the world’s second best-selling plastic.
  • Vinyl is used to make hundreds (if not thousands) of consumer (or industrial) products.
  • North American companies produce more than 14 billion (!) pounds of viny each year.
  • The whole industry employs more than 100k people.
  • Vinyl production is regulated and very safe.
  • The chlorine in vinyl helps it stop burning (if on fire, of course).

Vinyl vs. leather – how to tell the difference?

This will be our last section before we cut to the chase. The info we’ll share now might help you in the long run. You’ll be totally safe against potential scams. That’s right, we’ll show you how to spot the difference between vinyl and leather. You’ll need to use all of your human powers here, but the senses of smell, sight, and touch are the most important.

We were only kidding about employing all of your human powers here. The part about the senses was correct, though. Vinyl doesn’t have the natural scent leather has. You’ll notice real-deal leather has little pores in the upholstery, while vinyl doesn’t. And that’s that.

Wait, what about the sense of touch?

Oh, we almost completely forgot. The leather feels warm, while vinyl is a bit cold to the touch. Also, if you can feel texture and grain, that’s a sign that you’re touching something made from leather.

Alright, so that’s settled. Now let’s take a look at the main dish on today’s menu.

An abstract picture representing a yellow gas stain on vinyl.

How to clean yellow gas stains from vinyl?

First things first, let’s clear something out. You might wonder where do gasoline and vinyl meet each other? In other words: how can a yellow gas stain end up on vinyl? Since we’re writing about it, it’s not something that happens once every two years. It occurs more often than one might assume.

Where can we find vinyl?

As we said, vinyl is being massively produced. That means you’ll find it just about anywhere. For example, some automobile seats are made out of vinyl. Anything else? Well, there’s vinyl to be found in many boats around the country. 


Vinyl is a fantastic material for boating adventures. It can withstand extreme weather conditions, so the previous statement shouldn’t surprise anyone. We’re guessing boat owners already know these facts, but still… There might be some future boating aficionados reading this. They’re definitely in need of some quality boating info.

Of course, we’re talking about the furniture in boats. Wait, what was the question again? Where do vinyl and gasoline come together? Well, it’s not so hard to imagine a boat owner pumping gas, when suddenly… Yeah, you go ahead and finish the sentence.

Anyway, boat owners are also familiar with the gasoline’s own trademark yellowish stains. There’s no doubt about that one.

So, how do you clean yellow gas stains on vinyl?

There’s a couple of ways you can clean yellow gas stains on vinyl.

Try using regular dish soap

You might want to use the easiest solution available. Still, it’s far from the best solution you’ve got there. Anyway, it can’t hurt to try. If you don’t have it on yourself, you’ll find it in every marina (if the stain’s on your boat’s furniture).

What about hand cleaners?

Hand cleaners are known to work wonders cleaning vinyl. You might wanna give that a try, also. Use a non-abrasive hand cleaner, just so you don’t damage the material. 

New vinyl? Try rubbing alcohol

If it’s a new vinyl seating that got stained, you’ll want to try rubbing alcohol on it. It’s almost as easy as the dish soap solution, so don’t expect much of it. Also, we’ll try to keep this pessimistic outlook down to a bare minimum. Anyway, we planned to talk about the negative side of this near the end of the article.

Marine vinyl cleaners?

This also goes out for boat owners. Marine vinyl cleaners are fantastic when it comes to all sorts of stains on your boat’s furniture. That’s why we suggest you also give these cleaners a shot. We don’t guarantee you’ll be able to clean it, but they’re your best bet.

Some other methods

So, we’ve written down other methods folks use to battle gasoline stains on vinyl:

  • Wait for the sun to bleach the stain. Unfortunately, this will also ruin the vinyl.
  • If it’s old vinyl, you might want to try Malco Cleaner.
  • Or maybe you could try MaryKate On/Off?
  • Some folks also recommend you try Cleaner Wax.

Why’s there not a single proven method here?

Here’s the negative side we’ve mentioned. The thing here is: you’re dealing with a chemical reaction of gasoline on the surface of the fabric. It’s really a tough nut to crack, almost an impossible one. But, there might be something you could try out as a last resort.

Cleaning diesel fuel stains off vinyl

First, let’s see what you’re going to need:

  • Corn starch
  • Vinyl cleaner
  • Dish detergent (Dawn, maybe?)
  • Water
  • Cotton balls
  • Bucket
  • Soft clothes and/or sponges
  • Dry cleaning fluid

Okay, once you’ve obtained the materials, let’s get to work. We’ll show you this in a step-by-step narration:

  • If the stain’s fresh, you’ll need to cover it with corn starch.
  • Make it stay like that overnight.
  • Brush or wipe the powder away with a moistured cloth or a sponge.
  • Repeat the process until the stain’s gone.

If the stain’s still after you’ve done this a couple of times, try this method:

  • Mix hot water and dish soap in a bucket. Make sure you’re using the hottest water the vinyl can tolerate.
  • Use a sponge or a soft cloth dipped in the mixture and gently try to rub the stain away.
  • Additionally, put some dry cleaning fluid on a soft cloth and rub it on the stained area.
  • Rinse the fabric thoroughly with a soft cloth and clean water.

A quick walkthrough

We’re nearly there. Before we say goodbye to our readers, it’s time for a quick checkup. Let’s see how does one clean yellow gas stains from vinyl:

  • Try using regular dish soap. 
  • Maybe hand cleaners will handle the issue?
  • Is the vinyl new? Try rubbing alcohol on the stain.
  • Try using marine vinyl cleaners. They might be your best bet.
  • Wait for the sun to bleach the stain (it will most likely ruin the fabric).
  • Try the method we’ve shown you above this paragraph.

Final words

Alright, folks. That was that concerning the treatment of yellow gas stains on vinyl. We hope you’ll handle the issue like a total pro! See you soon! To find out how to remove gasoline from clothes, feel free to click here.