How to remove gasoline smell from your boat?

Did you ever set foot in your boat only to sense a familiar smell? A smell so distinctive it doesn’t leave you wondering about its origins. Oh, you know what we’re talking about? Alright, we’ll take a guess and say you’re the ideal reader of this article.

As some of you might already know, many people actually like the smell of gasoline (check out why). Still, that doesn’t mean being constantly exposed to that smell is something they wish for. For all we know, you might be one of those gas-loving folks. Since you’re reading this article, there’s a far better chance you own a boat. A boat that smells of gasoline, that is.

Wondering how to remove the gasoline smell from your boat? Feel free to check out the text below.

First of all, check your boat for leaks. Sensing the smell of gasoline is a cause for alarm. If everything’s alright or if you’ve spilled some gas, try the detergent or Simple Green & hot water mix. Soak the bilge in it and ventilate later. Also, you can use vinegar or open cans of ground coffee for minor spills.

Table of Contents

What’s so wrong with the smell of gasoline?

Whether you like the smell of gas or not, inhaling it won’t do you any good. Although gasoline smell can get you high and provoke nostalgia – avoid breathing in the air mixed with it. Why? Because it can cause some serious health issues. Anything from mild headaches to lung cancer fits in the range of the consequences.

Sorry if the last sentence sounded a bit harsh. You probably won’t get cancer from smelling gasoline every now and then. Being constantly exposed to the smell is the thing you should worry about. Not to mention the other dangers of sensing gasoline fumes.

Is smelling gasoline in your boat a cause for alarm?

Well, it’s something that should definitely make you want to check your boat. In other words: it is a cause for alarm. Among other things, senses are there for a reason: to warn us. As we’re sure you know, gasoline vapors are extremely flammable. Even the tiniest spark could ignite them. That’s also why gasoline needs to be safely stored.

Gasoline in the air that you breathe isn’t something you want to play around with. Below we’ll show you what could be causing your boat to smell like gasoline and wheat to check.

There’s a leak somewhere

The reason why your boat smells like gas could be a fuel leak. First things first, you’ll need to shut off the fuel and locate the leaking spot. Here we’ll show what kind of leak can cause the smell of gasoline on your boat:

  • A fuel filter might’ve rusted through.
  • Your boat’s fuel tank could have a hole in it.
  • Also, the fuel line could have a hole in it.
  • The fill hose attached to the fuel tank might be leaking.
  • Your boat’s tank could be full and leaking through fuel senders or pick-ups.

Your boat might need some renovations and it’s very important you locate the issue. Who knows? You might need to replace your fuel tank or other parts of your boat. But, as the age-old saying goes: better safe than sorry.

Another (less dangerous) reason why your boat smells like gasoline

If you were to check out some topics on fishing forums concerning gasoline smell, you’d have fun. Really, some stories you’ll find out there sound pretty hilarious. Even though they’re a tiny bit dangerous. Luckily, the person is alive and well to tell ’em, so it’s alright.

Of course, we’re talking about sipping & spilling mishaps. There was this one person who had a problem with the filler neck of his fuel tank coming off. It all happened while he was sipping gas. Instead of pumping 20 gallons of gas into the tank… Well, it’s not hard to predict what happened next: he pumped 20 gallons of gas into his boat.

In the article below, we’ll help you deal with the consequences of the (less dangerous) mishaps. In other words: you’ll learn how to remove the gasoline smell from your boat. Also, this might concern folks that repaired their boats, but the smell’s still there. There’s something for every boat and fishing enthusiast reading this text!

Spilling some fuel while at the gas station isn't something unusal.

How to remove the smell of gasoline from your boat?

Okay, let’s see what do we have here. We’ve prepared a couple (or more) ways you can remove the gasoline smell from your boat. Whether you’ve had a gas-sipping accident, or something similar – you’ll find them useful. Also, you’ll find all these solutions somehow related to cleaning the bilge. That’s because gas vapors are harder than air and they travel along the bottom.

Detergent & water solution

Imagine you’ve had a spill like the fellow we’ve mentioned below. Even after cleaning the whole place, you can be sure the smell’s still there. It’s like it put up a sign that says: Well, I might as well stay here. Corny humor aside, let’s see what can you do about it.

Okay, here’s a suggestion. You might want to flood the bilge with plenty of detergent & water combo. Next up, you’ll want to rinse the whole place thoroughly. Also, make sure you leave all the hatches wide open to let the air circulate. It will dissolve any leftover fumes that have become trapped.

You’ll probably have to repeat the process over and over again until you can’t smell the fumes. Also, don’t forget to turn off any electronics on your boat while clean.

Boost the ventilation by adding an outside fan

If you’ve got the opportunity – grab a fan and point in the direction of the hatch. Make sure the fan is positioned outside the boat (no electronics allowed). That will enhance the circulation of air. Subsequently, your boat’s bilge (if that’s where the spill is) will be free from gas fumes in a quicker manner. Make sure it’s a good distance away from the boat.

And don’t forget to…

Deactivate the automatic bilge pump switch. Skip cleaning when there’s no wind (as you need constant airflow). Turn your boat against or into the wind.

Vinegar solution

Vinegar does a wonderful job when it comes to removing the smell of gasoline. Folks that have experience in removing gasoline out of clothes know this. What about boats? Can vinegar be a good solution for removing the smell of gasoline there? Let’s take a closer look.

This solution is great for minor spills. Make a mixture of 1/2 water and 1/2 vinegar and spray around the area where the spill once stood. Let it soak for a while and rinse it afterward.

As you might know, vinegar can corrode metal. That’s a bit of a downer. So, you might want to skip this one.

Simple Green solution

Oh, a familiar name occurs. We guess you’ve all heard of Simple Green. It’s an essential household product all around the US. Anyway, you might be wondering if this all-purpose cleaner might do the trick? As far as some folks with experience say, it will take care of the gasoline smell. 

So, how do you do it?

First of all, sip the whole bottle of Simple Green into the bilge. Add enough hot water for it to flow around in. Take the boat out and enjoy yourself while your vehicle gets refreshed. Some folks note that they do it a couple of times a season.

The coffee solution

This sounds like fun, doesn’t it? Anyway, place open cups of ground coffee around your cabin to absorb the gasoline smell. Now your cabin will smell like a coffee shop. Air it out and see if it worked out.

Do nothing?

Last but not least, we could suggest you do nothing. The airflow will take care of everything. Still, it might be best to try something we mentioned above and then let the airflow work.

Let’s do a quick walkthrough

Okay, so we’re near the end. It’s time, as usual, to do a bit of a walkthrough.

First things first, it’s best you check out if there’s a leak somewhere on your boat. This is essential! As you’ve had the opportunity to find out, gasoline is extremely flammable. It’s definitely something you wouldn’t want to mess around with.

Once you’ve checked your boat for potential leaks, it’s time to do something about the smell. There’s a couple of ways of cleaning it:

  • Soak the bilge in a mix of detergent and hot water. Repeat this until you no longer smell gas.
  • Use vinegar to clean minor spills. Be careful because it might corrode the metal.
  • Try the Simple Green solution. This household product is known to work wonders.
  • Place open cans of ground coffee to absorb the smell. Your cabin will smell like a coffee shop.
  • Do nothing. Open the hatches and let the air do the job. Still, we recommended choosing something from above.

Of course, you’ll need to air the bilge out whatever option you choose. Make sure no electronic devices are present anywhere near the boat while you work. The fan we’ve mentioned should be a good distance away from the boat. Safety comes first!

Final words

That’s about it, dear people! Hopefully, this article will help you handle issues related to the smell of gasoline in your boat. See you soon!