Diesel smell

Submitted: Thursday, May 12, 2005 at 23:37
ThreadID: 22948 Views:7654 Replies:7 FollowUps:12
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Why does Diesel have such a strong smell, and how do you get rid of it from clothes?

Is the smell added during the refining process as part of the identification, like colour, or is it a natural part of the product?

Is the only solution to have a set of Diesel work gear and wedding suits (cos gradually everything gets the stuff on it)?

Hot wash/Cold Wash?

And what are effective hand washes forumites have found?

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Reply By: Truckster (Vic) - Thursday, May 12, 2005 at 23:48

Thursday, May 12, 2005 at 23:48
Wear rubber gloves when filling car. thought everyone knew that.. ;)
AnswerID: 111115

Follow Up By: hoyks - Friday, May 13, 2005 at 16:03

Friday, May 13, 2005 at 16:03
Yep, a box of disposable rubber gloves under the drivers seat is a great way to stop your hands stinking of diesel. Also are handy for if you are unlucky enough to be first at an accident.
FollowupID: 367590

Reply By: Muddy 'doe (SA) - Thursday, May 12, 2005 at 23:54

Thursday, May 12, 2005 at 23:54
Diesel is much less refined product and is closer to OIL.

Petrol smells a lot but is more volatile and evaporates quick. Diesel is much more oily and hangs around.

That's my theory anyway

AnswerID: 111117

Reply By: Tim HJ61 (WA) - Friday, May 13, 2005 at 00:04

Friday, May 13, 2005 at 00:04
Na Truckster, not rubber ones.
Sahara owners use nice leather ones. (at 95c a pair from Bunnings)
RR owners chuck them away after each fill :-)

The filling is not so much of a problem, but I've just put in an aux fuel tank, and now have to remove it to get the clutch replaced -so I've been laying in the stuff. And it doesn't take much to stink out even a set of normal workshop clothes.

I found the following tips on a US site when I went searching for answers to my own post.
Still doesn't tell me why the stuff stinks so much in the first place. Previous post might be right about the volatility being the key factor.

Coke Classic
When washing these clothes pour a can of Coca-Cola Classic in the machine with your detergent. This will remove the petroleum products completely, which I suspect is the problem. You must use Coke!
-- W.

Baking Soda
I have found that adding 1/2 to 1 cup of baking soda when I add detergent helps remove the odours and stains from his work clothes. If the baking soda doesn't help try pre-washing in Pine-Sol or Mr.Clean, either one removes the stains and oily residue from the clothes.
-- Denise G.

To get odours out of you clothes, add some plain ammonia to the water while washing them. Gets rid of musty smells. Put it in the water with your soap and other things, not on top of the clothes. Use 1/2 cup. I used it in washing old "down" quilts that had been in an attic for a long time. Washed them and set them outside in the air. Were good as new.
-- Nancy

Special Pre-Wash
Try rubbing mechanic's hand soap (GoJo Creme is a common brand name) on the oily spots, then wash as normal. The best type is the kind that doesn't need water, contains lanolin and is commonly found in a plastic tub (for about $.99). I got this trick from a woman who always wore white and worked with me in a machine shop(!), at the end of the day she would put some hand soap on any (the many) spots and they always came out. I've since found out it will remove almost any stain.
-- Eric W

My late husband used to drive a fuel truck, and the diesel fuel was the worst smell to get out, what I put in the laundry to help clean better and get rid of the odours was 1 to 2 cups of white vinegar, it also helped get the grease and oil out of his clothes. The vinegar is good to use just to get better smelling clothes.
-- Vivian O.

Good Quality Detergent
My husband is a diesel mechanic and I have had to wash his uniform for over ten years. I find that washing them in hot water with Tide with Bleach and drying them with a fabric softener sheet works fine. (I learned long ago that using a "bargain brand" detergent in not worth it, I only use Tide with Bleach alternative. You may also try adding 1/2 cup of white vinegar to the rinse water. I just put it in my fabric softener dispenser. If you don't have this feature on your machine try one of those "Downy Balls"
-- Patricia R

Oil to Remove Oil
Try adding a drop or two of eucalyptus oil to the wash after filled with water.
-- Andy P.

I found after years of greasy clothes leaving gunk in my washer that, heavy duty (industrial) pinesol (approx. 3/4 cup in full load) along with the soap does a GREAT job.
-- M.

Dishwashing Pre-Treat
My fiancée drives a semi-truck and always seems to be getting either diesel fuel or axle grease on his clothing. The best thing I've found to remove the stains and smell is to pre-treat the clothing with Dawn dishwashing detergent, and then wash them as usual. I have even added some to the whole load to get rid of the fuel smell.
--Sherry W.
AnswerID: 111118

Follow Up By: Tim HJ61 (WA) - Friday, May 13, 2005 at 00:07

Friday, May 13, 2005 at 00:07
That site
FollowupID: 367541

Follow Up By: Truckster (Vic) - Friday, May 13, 2005 at 00:10

Friday, May 13, 2005 at 00:10
The reason it smells, its hardly refined and its a crude oil smell... its much less refined than petrol.. thats why people are asking why it costs more.
FollowupID: 367543

Follow Up By: Waynepd (NSW) - Friday, May 13, 2005 at 09:51

Friday, May 13, 2005 at 09:51
I asked at work (Caltex) about the pricing and can't get a reasonable answer.
I know it costs less to produce as it's a straight cut off the the crude oil.
All we do is distill it, clean it up and dry it out (remove water content) then send it off to tankage and then to market. No dyes or odourant added.

There is less yield of diesel per barrel than the yield of petrol producing components....
could be the answer but that would mean the previous scenario of the price of diesel being lower than petrol was wrong....can't imagine oil companies getting it that wrong for so many years....

As for the smell....what smell...LOL

I would rather be behind a diesel than those rotten egg gas producing unleaded vehicles....YUK
FollowupID: 367565

Follow Up By: rob1 - Friday, May 13, 2005 at 11:00

Friday, May 13, 2005 at 11:00
Don't know why it smells, but I just wanted to comment on the pricing.
According to the latest NRMA Open Road magazine, the reason diesel is now more expensive, is due to the Federal Government's fuel standards for lower sulphur diesel, which requires a more complex refining process, which means it's no longer cheaper to produce.

FollowupID: 367569

Follow Up By: fisho64 - Saturday, May 14, 2005 at 00:35

Saturday, May 14, 2005 at 00:35
Here in WA we havent had low sulfur for very long, and I am pretty sure it isnt every where yet outside perth. Certainly wasnt 12 months back when I spoke to Peak. Certainly made no difference to price either way.
FollowupID: 367625

Follow Up By: Truckster (Vic) - Monday, May 16, 2005 at 00:14

Monday, May 16, 2005 at 00:14
Rob, if that were true, then why is it that its only last 6 mths become so expensive, not 12+ mths ago when the low sulphur crap started?
FollowupID: 367735

Follow Up By: Truckster (Vic) - Monday, May 16, 2005 at 00:14

Monday, May 16, 2005 at 00:14
Hey wayne, say hi to wayne and neil eh!
FollowupID: 367736

Follow Up By: Waynepd (NSW) - Monday, May 16, 2005 at 07:49

Monday, May 16, 2005 at 07:49
LOL Truckster I Always Do......
FollowupID: 367743

Reply By: Member - Jeff M (WA) - Friday, May 13, 2005 at 11:19

Friday, May 13, 2005 at 11:19
As for washing your hands, none of the normal soaps seem to get rid of the smell, however my mates "work sponsered" hand cleaner I have in a large nescafae cup on my outside basin is fantastic. Who knows what the hell it is, but it's very corse and when you wet it it dilutes to a soft soapy stuff. It's magic sht hey! Get's EVERYTHING off, even that nasty toxic model car fuel I use.
AnswerID: 111157

Reply By: hoyks - Friday, May 13, 2005 at 16:07

Friday, May 13, 2005 at 16:07
A double dose of washing detergent and hang them in the sun to let the smell evaporate out of the clothes. I often get soaked with kero (AVTUR) and this is the easiest way to get the smell out.

Or maybe the sensory nerves in my nose are burnt out so I don't smell it anymore.
AnswerID: 111195

Reply By: Member - Davoe (WA) - Saturday, May 14, 2005 at 07:17

Saturday, May 14, 2005 at 07:17
youse all a mob of girls blouses smell what smell? if anything it makes me think of the start of a big trip filling both tanks and 2 jerries or of adventure stuck under the work vehicle with a leatherman and a bit of adapter hose trying to fix a ripped fuel line while taking a diesal bath. Excellent cotraceptive as well as chix wont go near you after you have siphoned all the diesal out of the back tank an into the main via jerry cans coz you knocked off the return pipe off the top of your tank -- yea Diesal - love it!!
AnswerID: 111252

Follow Up By: fisho64 - Monday, May 16, 2005 at 01:46

Monday, May 16, 2005 at 01:46
Yeah go Davoe!
Maybe you girls could empty a bit of brut 33 or lynx or some other gay fragrance into your tanks to cover the smell. Wouldnt want you'se to smell like men who have dirt under your manicured nails!!!
FollowupID: 367739

Follow Up By: bundyman - Monday, May 16, 2005 at 08:04

Monday, May 16, 2005 at 08:04
Yep I'm with you Davoe, just love the smell of Diesel on the hands and work clothes covered in it. And yes chicks hate the smell. My missus hates me coming home smelling like it, but would hose me in the stuff if I went out with the boys.

FollowupID: 367744

Reply By: Michael ( Moss Vale NSW) - Wednesday, May 18, 2005 at 22:40

Wednesday, May 18, 2005 at 22:40
Im not concerned about the smell at the moment,, just the price!!!! I keep a pack of wet baby wipes in the patrol, gets rid of the smell off your hands after fillup...
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AnswerID: 111872

Follow Up By: Johnty - Wednesday, May 18, 2005 at 23:02

Wednesday, May 18, 2005 at 23:02
Yeh I agree! On the Gold Coast petrol has been declining over the last 2 weeks down to 90.9 cents a litre today. Diesel at my servo still remains unchanged at 109.9, thats 19c a litre difference or abourt $14 a tank.

But would we have it any other way!
FollowupID: 368222

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