How to get a gasoline smell out of my sneakers?
October 29, 2006 7:37 PM   Subscribe

How do I get the smell of gasoline out of my shoes?

Basically, some twit left a giant puddle of gas in front of a pump at a gas station two nights ago. It was night, didn't see it, stepped right out of the car into it.

Tried soaking them in a sink full of soapy water, and just leaving them there. Twice. They still reek. So does the floormat on the car, but whatever. Ordinarily I'm not the type to get upset about this sort of thing, but my feet are incredibly finicky and these are brand new. Suggestions?
posted by Ryvar to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (13 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
A lit match?

Seriously, is it just on the outside of the shoes? The sole? Try scuffing the bottoms with fine grit sandpaper.

Dusting talc on them and then brushing off/vacuuming? The talc is absorbent and perfumed. This might work even if they got gasoline in them, although the tradeoff is having your sneaks smell like a freshly-changed baby's butt.
posted by exlotuseater at 7:45 PM on October 29, 2006

Try holding a match near the shoes to see if you can speed the evaporation of the gas vapours.
posted by Dasein at 7:45 PM on October 29, 2006

It takes time, but just leave them outside for a couple of weeks. Might as well put the car mat out there next to them, too.
posted by Quietgal at 7:54 PM on October 29, 2006

Place them outside near a fan. The constant breeze will aid the evaporation of vapors.
posted by perelman at 8:10 PM on October 29, 2006

wrap them in newspaper, sometimes it works to obsorb odors but I do not know how it will stand up to such an aggresive reak as gasoline
posted by Iron Rat at 8:11 PM on October 29, 2006

Febreze? Personally, I hate the smell, but I have friends that swear by it.
posted by LuckySeven~ at 8:12 PM on October 29, 2006

Gasoline is both volatile and flammable. If you can put the shoes somewhere outdoors where they would get very warm, and be free to vent vapors to atmosphere, in a day or so above 105° F, your shoes would be substantially free of gasoline odors, at the cost of the volatile hydrocarbons you'll be emitting to the air the rest of us have to breathe. But, you've no practical choice.

Don't put them in the oven, or any interior heat source. Gasoline vapors, well mixed with air, raised in temperature a few degrees, are just waiting for the slightest spark to ignite. If that also happens in a confined space, they achieve pressure compression rapidly, and make an impressive "Boom!" No kidding, at the turn of the century, gasoline was a dry cleaning solvent, and dry cleaning was an extremely hazardous business. Laws were passed banning the use of gasoline for dry cleaning, and in some jurisdictions for any indoor use, simply because so many fires and explosions resulted from its use in confined spaces.

Another reason not to keep the shoes indoors, if you can smell gasoline vapors, is that gasoline can anethisize the olfactory nerve, and you won't smell the full concentration of vapors a short time after entering from fresh air.
posted by paulsc at 8:17 PM on October 29, 2006

Also, don't even think about putting them in the washing machine. This goes for gasoline soaked clothing, as well. Unless, that is, you want to see what an exploding washing machine looks like.
posted by ryanhealy at 8:32 PM on October 29, 2006

Previously asked here and here
posted by catburger at 9:33 PM on October 29, 2006

Soak in a bucket of hot water and lots of dish detergent -- use the grease cutting formula. Do this outdoors, of course.
posted by randomstriker at 9:45 PM on October 29, 2006

Almost the same thing happened to me a couple months ago when I was filling a gas can and spilled some on my new athletic shoes. I didn't want to soak them for fear of ruining the leather part of the uppers and the fabric inside. I sprayed the exterior with a mild all-purpose cleaner (in this case, Lysol all-purpose with lots of water) then wiped immediately. Then I left them outside on a sunny porch for several days. After that, good as new.
posted by Robert Angelo at 6:39 AM on October 30, 2006

I have had good results with Petroleum Jelly... Rub it in, let it sit for some hours, then clean it out with some kind of degreaser (dish soap will do).

I first tried it because I thought somehow the molecules would stick together as they are both petroleum based.

Seemed to work.
posted by Monkey0nCrack at 10:55 AM on October 30, 2006

I get oil on my clothes a lot, hazard of the job.

Quck fix:
Dry cleaning will get rid of most solvents. If you can find a coin-op drycleaner, usually 4-5$, that's a good option. May destroy shoes, however.

Not-quite as quick:
Another excellent way of getting rid of odors is activated charcoal. Buy some at a pet store, aquarium isle, and sacrafice a cheap pair of tube socks as charcoal holders.

Glacially-slow fix:
Leave them outside in a dry, sunny place. Works fine for gasoline as noted above in a few days. Will not work nearly as well if it's a diesel or lube oil.
posted by bonehead at 2:23 PM on October 30, 2006

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