How To Clean Up A Gasoline Spill
Petrol spills are common in your garage and shed areas. It could be a result of a mechanical issue with your vehicle, or it could have something to do with your lawnmower, weed trimmer, or other yard equipment.
A petrol spill can leave a stain on the pavement or floor of a garage or shed area. More importantly, petrol spills present a health risk. Petrol is toxic and dangerous, and the risk of explosion or fires is a real possibility with even a small spark. It can also present a slip-and-fall hazard.
So, there are many reasons why it’s essential to clean up a petrol spill. You need to determine the extent of the spill and then prevent it from getting worse or spreading. Now, you just need to know how to clean up a petrol spill.
Don’t Try To Wash It Away With Water
Your first impulse is probably to take a more direct and immediate approach to the cleanup by spraying it with a hose or using the workshop vacuum to suck up the sticky mess. Water alone is not the best way to clean up a petrol spill and think about what happens when it rains in areas like a petrol station or garage.
Water mixed with petrol turns into a gas slick. Instead of using water alone, you should combine it with detergent or soap. For more stubborn stains or spills, you can use an industrial-grade degreaser or solvent. Depending on the spill’s severity, you may need to use extreme caution and effort to clean up the petrol mess.
How To Clean Up a Petrol Spill
A petrol spill may seem like a basic problem; it happens every day, and you’ve probably seen and experienced it in various ways throughout your entire life. It may be an ever-present reality, but that doesn’t downplay how critical it is to resolve the cause of the spill and then take steps to mitigate the effects. Here’s a quick 4-step process that should help.
- Ascertain your safety during the cleanup. Your health and safety should always be your primary concern when you’re cleaning up a petrol spill. That means you should keep the area well-ventilated by opening the windows and doors to mitigate the effects of the fumes. You should clear the area of any other potential reactive or hazardous materials, including brooms and other flammable objects.
- Contain the spill. Fix the problem if possible. So, if the problem is your car’s leaky petrol tank, take it to the mechanic and get it fixed. If your gas can or containers in the garage are old and leaking, properly dispose of them. If the problem was carelessness in knocking over gas cans or other yard equipment, consider options for hanging the equipment on the wall or out of the way or even using shelving units to prevent careless accidents.
- Soak up the spill. You may have heard the advice that you should use clay-based cat litter to clean up a petrol spill. That is one option you can try, and it’s quick, easy, and relatively inexpensive. Other absorbent substances include cornstarch and sand. It’s a simple matter of sprinkling the substance on the spill and waiting around 30 minutes for the absorption to work.
- Observe proper disposal of the absorbed petrol. Once you’ve soaked up the spill with your preferred absorption material, take care to shovel it all up and put it in a heavy-duty trash bag for proper disposal. Be sure to wear protective gloves to protect your hands against the toxic substance when you’re loading it into the trash bag.
A petrol spill can easily happen every day. While it’s easy enough to mitigate the situation and clean it up, you should always ensure proper safety precautions are being followed. You should avoid breathing in the fumes, touching the toxic substance with your bare hands, or leaving easily flammable materials in easy range of the petrol spill.
The smell of petrol may alert you to the presence of a petrol spill. You should be fully aware of where petrol, oil, and other potentially hazardous materials are stored on your property. Periodically check to make sure there are no leaks or improper storage situations. Also, be sure to properly dispose of containers that are expired or appear to have outlived their usefulness.
Contact the fire department if you are ever uncertain about handling the safety situation related to petrol spills, flammable substances, or other “hot” and dangerous objects. They are experienced and trained to handle these situations. So, it is better to leave it to them, particularly when your health and safety are in question.