How to Remove Kerosene from the Washing Machine


Lainie asked: How can I remove kerosene from a washing machine? I washed a blanket with kerosene on it in my washer, and now it smells like kerosene. I have run one wash cycle with detergent and fabric softener, a second cycle with vinegar and a third cycle with Odorban in it. Please help.

Kerosene, and all other gasolines, are oil based. In order to remove the remaining oil from the washing machine, it will require a degreaser that can break down the oil molecules. Here are several options that can be used to rid your machine of the kerosene smell for good.

You Will Need:

  • Degreaser such as:
    • Citrus Degreaser
    • Automotive degreaser
    • Dish detergents (ex: Dawn)
    • Borax
  • Hot water
  • Laundry Detergent
  • Vinegar or baking soda

Steps to Remove the Smell:

  1. Select a degreaser from the list above. Citrus degreasers are readily available at automotive and home improvement stores. Read the label to ensure it is appropriate to use for a laundry booster.
  2. Pour the recommended amount of degreaser into the washing machine.
  3. Fill the machine with HOT water.
  4. If possible, add some old towels to the mix. As the washer agitates, the towels will “scrub” the sides of the washing machine.
  5. Allow the washer to run through a normal cycle.
  6. If the smell is strong, or difficult to remove, it may be helpful to stop the washing machine after it has filled and agitated enough to disperse the soap. Allow the degreaser to “soak” on the walls of the washing machine for an hour or two and restart to finish the cycle.
  7. Remove any towels or laundry that were placed inside of the machine and set them aside.
  8. Smell around the washing machine to see if the odor remains.
  9. If it does, repeat the steps above again to ensure all of the kerosene was removed.
  10. If the clothing holds an odor, sprinkle with baking soda or add one cup of vinegar to the water during the laundry cycle.
  11. Allow clothing to air dry until all traces of the kerosene are removed.
  12. Repeat the washing steps until the odor is removed. It is not uncommon to take several attempts to completely remove the smell.

Additional Tips and Advice

  • Since the metal walls will not hold only the smell, if you can still smell kerosene, it is still present.
  • Avoid drying any clothing that smells like kerosene in the dryer as it can spark and start a fire. It is important to remove all traces of the kerosene before resuming normal laundry use.
  • If the kerosene cannot be removed by running washing cycles, it may be necessary to scrub the inside by hand. This can be done with any of the above degreasers as well as grease-fighting shampoo or facial cleansers. Again, it may take several cleaning attempts to completely remove the odor.



  1. Sierra says:

    I recently had an accident and a whole bowl of kerosene was sitting above my washer from bleeding our furnace and last night it spilled in side my washer and all over my clothes and I have to work everyday and my work clothes are covered in the kerosene!!! HELP ME PLEASE?????

  2. Melanie says:

    Once you have removed the kerosene from the washer, here is the article for removing kerosene from your clothes: How to Remove Kerosene from Fabric.

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