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The Question:

My husband spilled gas out of a spare gas tank into the back of my car. I have tried shampoo, baking soda, ventilation, carpet powders, Febreeze . . . all with no luck. I need to transport three young children around, any suggestions?

The Answer:

It sounds like you have tried almost everything. All of those approaches should help. The most important thing is ventilation. You should leave the vehicle open in the outdoors for as long as 24 hours. Make sure you remove all valuables from the car.

If this still does not remedy the problem, gasoline may have soaked into the carpet padding or the sound deadening material, or even pooled in the spare tire well or where the jack is stowed. The only solution is to remove the carpeting, open up the spare tire well and jack stowage, or any under floor compartment. Some vehicles do not have an under floor compartment. Soak up any remaining gasoline (if any), and wash the rear floor, spare tire, jack, etc., with dishwashing detergent and warm water. Allow these areas to air dry fully. The carpet can then be shampooed separately from the vehicle, and allowed to dry.

If this doesn't get rid of the gasoline odor, only time and ventilation will. Eventually all of the volatile chemicals in the gasoline will evaporate and so will the smell.

—The Editors

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