View Full Version : Gasoline soaked sneakers - what to do

09-28-2004, 08:44 AM
Well, not completely soaked, but the soles have gasoline on them.

Last night I was at a gas station filling up my car. I was watching the numbers tick up on the gas pump and waiting for the pump to stop (indicating that my tank was full). Well, the pump didn't stop and I actually pumped a fair amount of gas onto the ground before I realized what happened.

Well, I didn't want to start the car over the gas on the ground, so I put the car in neutral, pushed it away from the gas and went on my way. I complained to the guy at the station, but he was simply some low-wage hire who wouldn't/couldn't do anything about it.

Anyway, since I'd been stepping in the gas, it was all over the bottoms of my sneakers. When I got home, I ran them under the faucet outside my house for a few minutes before going into the house. Yet, the stink and fumes from the gasoline are still on them. I certainly wouldn't step on a lit cigarette to put it out now! However, the fumes are no doubt no good for me.

Short of buying a new pair of sneakers, what can I do to save this pair? Any and all real suggestions welcome.

Thank you.

Zev Steinhardt

09-28-2004, 08:49 AM
Gasoline's quite volatile and evaporates fast: I would think that if you left them soles-up in a place with good ventilation for a couple of days, the problem would solve itself. Never tried it, though.

09-28-2004, 09:49 AM
I'd walk around in dirt for a few minutes. The dirt will soak up whatever gasoline is on the surface or in any crevices and then fall off. After that, I'd knock off the dirt and wash the shoes in a toploading washing machine (I assume that the shoes are nylon and not leather), then stuff them with newspaper to dry them.

09-28-2004, 11:37 AM
Have your friend get his video camera, wait until nightfall, put on the shoes and light them, have your friend film you running down the street.
It would make a cool video.

09-28-2004, 11:45 AM
Um, thanks for the "suggestion" Hampshire, but the idea is to *save* the sneakers (and not get burned myself either).

Zev Steinhardt

09-28-2004, 11:49 AM
I second Kimstu's suggestion. Leave them a day or two to allow the bulk of the gasoline to evaporate away, then run them through the dryer on a low to medium heat setting to drive off any residual odor.

09-28-2004, 12:05 PM
I second Kimstu's suggestion. Leave them a day or two to allow the bulk of the gasoline to evaporate away, then run them through the dryer on a low to medium heat setting to drive off any residual odor.

Thanks for the suggetions, everyone.

However, won't running them through the dryer expose me to the risk of having them flame up?

Zev Steinhardt

09-28-2004, 12:15 PM
I've had gasoline on my sneakers after stopping to help at an auto accident. After airing out the sneakers for a week (I put them outside under an awning) the smell subsided enough to wear them. A few weeks later, no smell.

09-28-2004, 12:20 PM
However, won't running them through the dryer expose me to the risk of having them flame up?
That's why you let them air dry for a couple days first. As pointed out earlier, gasoline is highly volatile. Any residual amount left after airdrying won't be enough to present a hazard of fire or explosion, even if you can still smell it.

09-28-2004, 01:03 PM
You are vastly overestimating the volatility of the residual gasoline scent on the soles of your sneakers. You are in no danger. Let them dry for few days and the scent will be gone. I you really want it gone sooner do this -

1: Get some dishwashing liquid detergent (not soap) and a large scrub brush.

2:Run about 1/2 inch of hot water in the bottom of the tub

3:Put a squirt of dish washing liquid in the water and swirl it around

4:Plunk the sneakers in and let them sit for a minute

5:Take the brush and give the soles a goos scrubbing

6:Drain the water then throughly rinse the entire sneaker with warm water

7:Put the sneakers int he washer with the sole side facing to the center hub of the washer

8:Manually advance it to the spin dry cycle and let the sneakers spin dry

9: Get small fan and place the sneakers on the floor with the fan blowing inside the sneakers.

They will be dry by morning and the gas scent should be virtually gone.

09-28-2004, 01:12 PM
Gasoline is so volatile I'm not really sure that there is a need to do anything other than let it evaporate off. I've gotten gas on my shoes a whole lot of times (filling the lawnmower, filling the car--though I've only ever overfilled it once, putting down cat litter when customers have spilled gasoline) and I've never noticed a need to do anything with them.

09-28-2004, 01:14 PM
Sneakers that have become contaminated automatically are 'cutting the grass' sneakers. They live in the garage and do not see feet except while performing lawn duty. Sneakers with sidewall blowouts and other defects including that mentioned by the OP are retired to live out their sneaker service lives thusly.

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