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Thread: How to get rid of the stink from spilled carb cleaner?

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    Jedi Knight
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    How to get rid of the stink from spilled carb cleaner?

    I spilled about 2 litres of carb cleaner last summer, onto the concrete floor in the garage. Some (significant?) portion seeped into the ground through a crack in the slab. There's still a faint odour around the garage, but last night I was changing wheels and was down on my knees adjacent to the crack, and it definitely still stinks there and I expect that the source of the remaining 'faint odour' is from the crack.
    I've used 'Febreeze' (a fairly magic product that combines with the particles in the air and they drop out) in the garage, but it has its own, rather unpalatable odour.
    Figure I'll vacuum out the top part of the crack and fill it with some sort of silicon caulk but I don't expect to be able to get an air/water tight bond, plus the crack goes under a heater so I won't be able to seal the entire length.
    Anyone have suggestions? Other than patience, and 'this, too, shall pass'? Doug
    1959 pristine 948 cc Bug-Eye; DCOE, 5 speed; bought 1971
    1960 BE bought 1971 & stored since; body tub restored and reassembling (1275; etc.)
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    Darth Vader steveg's Avatar
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    Re: How to get rid of the stink from spilled carb cleaner?

    Maybe dissolve baking soda in hot water and pour through the crack.
    Steve Gerow
    Altadena, CA, USA
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    Yoda dklawson's Avatar
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    Re: How to get rid of the stink from spilled carb cleaner?

    The Gunk brand carb cleaner "stinks less" than Berryman. I assume you must have spilled Berryman.

    As counter-intuitive as this may sound, try covering the crack and area of the spill with shop towels soaked with mineral spirits. Change the wet towels daily for several days. Then spray the crack with engine degreaser. Scrub that in and hose it off.

    The mineral spirits should help leach out the carb cleaner residue. Once you've gotten a lot out with the mineral spirits, the spray degreaser will let you wash off some of the residue left on the surface. You may be left with a bit of a kerosene smell from the degreaser but that should go away fairly quickly.
    Doug L.
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    Darth Vader John Turney's Avatar
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    Re: How to get rid of the stink from spilled carb cleaner?

    Vacuuming is a good idea. It is the best method of getting spilled volatile hydrocarbons out of the soil, although we normally vacuum for 6 - 12 months. There are concrete sealing caulks to fill the crack. This one, https://www.amazon.com/18370-Self-Le...concrete+caulk looks good because it's self-leveling. It may then flow under the heater somewhat. (Have the heater off when you do this; don't want to burn the garage down!) If you have a well for your household water supply, you may want to have it tested for carb cleaner.
    John, BN4

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    Re: How to get rid of the stink from spilled carb cleaner?

    Perhaps spreading kitty litter over the area could help draw up remaining carb cleaner. Keep changing it out until you could perceive something is actually working.

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    Jedi Knight Healey Nut's Avatar
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    Re: How to get rid of the stink from spilled carb cleaner?

    I sure hope no local environmental tree hugger types near you are reading this all they will be all over you like a bad suit .
    contaminated ground water etc etc etc .
    There was a story in the news years ago where an oil delivery company delivered to a house that had had the oil furnace and tank removed from the basement . They didnt cap the fill and vent lives to the tank . Basement got filled with a large quantity of heating oil . They ended up demolishing the house and carting away literally 100s of tons of dirt to the contaminated waste depot ....
    It cost the oil company a fortune in clean up costs as I think they were delivering to the wrong address .
    I know its a bit more extreme than your case but be very careful with what you spill particularly where ground water is involved .
    "If it aint broke ....dont fix it "
    " Thats not an oil leak ..........its a special automatic British rustproofing system "
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    Darth Vader John Turney's Avatar
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    Re: How to get rid of the stink from spilled carb cleaner?

    Quote Originally Posted by Healey Nut View Post
    ....
    I know its a bit more extreme than your case but be very careful with what you spill particularly where ground water is involved .
    Oh, I could tell plenty of stories!!
    John, BN4

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    Re: How to get rid of the stink from spilled carb cleaner?

    I would keep filling the crack with water until it diluted it enough to kill the smell.

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    Jedi Knight
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    Re: How to get rid of the stink from spilled carb cleaner?

    Status: I cleaned out the dirt etc from the crack (maximum width probably 3/4 inch) with a screw driver and vacuum, then a bucket of water and a tooth brush to try to clean some of the dust from the surface of the sides of the crack to allow a bond. I thought about using an expanding foam, but elected to just use up a collection of partially empty tubes of silicon etc. caulking material. Dunked my hand in the bucket of water to 'smooth' the top surface off, and 'sealed' it with a spray can of automobile paint (after leaving it a couple of days with the heat and fan on to dry). I guess the good news is that when I went into the garage last night I couldn't smell the carb clearner; bad news is that it sure smelled like the inside of a paint booth. And this summer, when the fleet is all running and I can move stuff around, I'll be hiring an outfit to come out and level the floor by drilling holes in the concrete and injecting some form of grout. Doug

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