What Does Kerosene Smell Like? How To Get Rid of Kerosene Smell?

What does kerosene smell like?

Kerosene is one of the many products of refined crude oil, obtained from Petroleum. It is typically colorless or may also have a pale yellow color.

It has many domestic and industrial uses, including as fuel for domestic heaters and furnaces, kerosene lamps and even a fuel component for many jet engines.

But beyond that, kerosene is also used in industrial environments as a solvent for insecticides and greases. Like most Petroleum products, kerosene has a smell, but what exactly does it smell like?

People have often posed many questions regarding the smell of kerosene; whether it is pungent and harmful, as well as ways to get rid of the smell. We’ll answer all of those questions in this post.

Does Kerosine Have a Smell?

Yes, kerosene has a smell. If you have a kerosene heater in your home or a lamp, or you’ve just recently painted your home, you’re likely to perceive the distinctively pungent smell, which is easy to notice.

There are also cases of kerosene (jet fuel) smell when a plane engine is turned on. Experts say as long as the wind is right, this is a normal occurrence. Although kerosene may appear colorless, it does have a noticeable smell.

While people may react differently to this smell (some like it and others find it unpleasant), it is largely not dangerous to your health.

To elaborate, it is unlikely that you’ll leave your lungs exposed to kerosene fume for a long time. One-off, short exposure to this fume is not likely to cause any harm or long-term effects.

However, if you directly inhale liquid kerosene into your lungs, like when you manually transfer the substance from one container to another or stay too long in the closed space where there’s been a spill, you may develop a severe lung injury like pneumonitis.

Burning kerosene fume can also be quite harmful if you’re exposed for too long.

In other cases, inhaling un-burnt kerosene may cause dizziness, headaches or drowsiness. And if exposed for too long, one can lose muscle control, fall into a coma, or develop some lung and heart problems.

What Does Kerosene Smell Like?

We can easily compare the smell of kerosene to that of diesel. The similarity is striking. It also smells like certain types of heating oil, but not really anywhere near the smell of gas. It is safe to say that kerosene smells like oil.

As mentioned earlier, kerosene smell can be likened to the smell of fresh, drying painted mixed with traces of airborne natural gas, either from a water boiler or a stove.

As a combination of hydrocarbons, it is normal for kerosene to have a strong smell, but it is mostly considered not unpleasant.

Does Gasoline and Kerosene Smell the Same?

The answer is a simple No. Basically, gasoline smells pretty much like gasoline. It is a strong, pungent and quite unpleasant smell. This is different from the relatively lighter, less unpleasant smell of kerosene which is more comparable to diesel.

So, the answer is No; kerosene and gasoline do not smell the same. In fact, the smell is one of the ways to distinguish kerosene from gasoline, apart from texture, rate of evaporation, inflammability, and color (in very rare cases).

How To Get Rid of Kerosene Smell?

Spilling un-burnt kerosene in your home, especially in a closed area can lead to a very strong odor. The good thing about kerosene smell is that they can be removed quite easily with simple household items.

Required Items

  • Baking soda or coffee grounds
  • White vinegar
  • Washing detergent/dishwashing liquid
  • Vacuum or a clean cloth.


  • Soak up the kerosene spill as soon as it happens using paper towels.
  • You can also get some cool water to flush the area thoroughly. This will help to dilute the kerosene and wash off as much as possible.
  • Add soap or grease-cutting detergent, such as a dishwashing liquid soap, to warm water and use it wash the area as thoroughly as possible. You should watch out for the kind of surface it is, whether it’s water sensitive or delicate.
  • Rinse with cool water to clear the area of soap.
  • Soak a clean cloth in undiluted white vinegar and wipe the area with it to remove whatever odors may be remaining. You can also mist the area with undiluted white vinegar using a spray bottle. Using a vacuum may also work.
  • If kerosene smell lingers on, you may need to fill some bowls with u diluted white vinegar and place them around the affected area.
  • Some people also use fresh coffee grounds by placing them in dishes around the affected area to remove the smell.

Final Words:

Here’s a recap; kerosene smells more like diesel and oil. The smell can be pungent, but not as unpleasant as the smell of gasoline. However, it can be very uncomfortable to stay in a room where there’s been a spillage.

Besides, it can be bad for your health. Using the tips provided in this post, you should be able to remove the kerosene smell from your room whenever the need arises. The materials needed are also pretty affordable, so it shouldn’t be any trouble.

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