Can You Clean With Gasoline?

When you want to get rid of stubborn grease, oil, and grime off a surface, your best option is to use a strong solvent and degreaser. It may cross your mind to use gasoline to do the job as it is an effective solvent, but is this a good idea?

You can clean with gasoline as it is a strong solvent, especially when cleaning grime, grease, and oil off machine parts. However, it is highly flammable, and it is best to use an alternative that can do as good a job, such as kerosene. 

There are a lot of risks involved in using gasoline for cleaning. In the rest of the article, I’ll explain these risks and show why it’s prudent to shop for a safer alternative.

Can You Clean With Gasoline?

You can clean with gasoline, but the associated risks make it an imprudent choice. In industrial settings, with proper precautions in place, professionals have used gasoline to clean oil and grease off machine parts for decades.

The only reason you’d want to use gasoline to clean is that the substance you want to get rid of is a hydrocarbon that is insoluble in water. Gasoline, unlike water, will effectively dissolve other hydrocarbons such as grease and oil. 

Still, you can achieve the same goal with other solvents that can dissolve these hydrocarbons.

Some of the alternatives you should consider include the following:

  • Kerosene. 
  • Mineral spirits. 
  • Mass-market degreasers sold at your local store. 

You can find excellent degreasers produced for the mass market online or at your local store. These degreasers are non-toxic and generally safe to use around the home. 

Further, the manufacturers care about your safety and accompany the products with extensive user instructions and guides.

For quality mass-market degreasers at great prices, consider the following options (all are available on

Gasoline is highly flammable because its flashpoint is -23°C (-9°F), which is very low. A flash point, in this case, refers to the lowest gasoline temperature at which it vaporizes in quantities capable of creating an ignitable air mixture. 

Because gasoline is also highly volatile, it will evaporate and form a combustible air mixture in nearly all typical home and work conditions.

Can You Clean Metal With Gasoline?

You can clean metal with gasoline as it is a good degreaser and will effectively eliminate grease, oil, and other hydrocarbon films. While you can clean metal with gasoline, it is imprudent to use it as it is highly volatile and flammable.

I recommend you wipe the metal with kerosene, mineral spirits, or commercial degreasers sold to the mass market, as they’re effective and safe.

Some stores also carry specialty metal cleaning fluids designed for specific cleaning requirements. For instance, you can find spray-on electrical parts cleaning solutions when you want to clean electrical components. You should not use kerosene or general degreasing solutions to clean electrical parts.

Further, to eliminate rust from a metal surface before you repaint it, you can use rust converters to help eliminate every speck of rust on the metal surface and halt entirely any further rusting. To do this, take the following steps:

  1. Use a scraper or wire brush to scrape the rust off the metal.
  2. Use water and detergent or a degreasing solution to wash the metal surface thoroughly.
  3. Dry the metal surface.
  4. Apply the rust converter on the metal as directed by the manufacturer.
  5. Allow the applied film of the rust converter to dry for a day.
  6. Paint the metal surface as you normally would.

For greater protection, it is best to apply two thin coatings of the rust converter instead of one thick one. This two-layer recommendation is also valid for the paint, as two coatings are better than one thick one.

Is It Ok To Use Gasoline To Clean Bike Chains?

It’s okay to use gasoline to clean bike chains as it’s an effective solvent, but it’s not the best option for safety reasons. Kerosene is a better option, primarily because it’s safer. In the absence of kerosene, consider using acetone, mineral spirits, or branded bike chain solvents.

Cleaning your bike chain with a solvent should be an infrequent exercise. It is best to have such thorough cleanings every few months. 

For regular cleaning, all you have to do is brush out the links with a firm brush. Remember to adequately lubricate the chain after every cleaning session, especially after using a degreaser or solvent.

Is Diesel a Good Degreaser?

Diesel is a good degreaser and is suitable for cleaning when you don’t mind having oil residues, as is the case when cleaning a bike chain. It isn’t advisable to use diesel for cleaning at home as it doesn’t wash easily down the drain and will pollute the environment. 

You should only use diesel if you can dispose of the waste in an environmentally-friendly manner. Given the options available in the market, it would be wiser to use alternatives such as kerosene, acetone, and citrus-based products instead.

What Are the Uses of Gasoline?

Gasoline has uses in energy generation, transportation, and cleaning. It is one of the compounds a refinery collects after fractionally distilling petroleum. The gasoline available for the mass market has various additives to enhance its utility for multiple uses. 

Gasoline has several uses, including the four below.

  • Gasoline fuels transportation. Motor vehicles, aviation, and various means of transport rely heavily on gasoline as their main fuel.
  • Gasoline fuels industry. Various equipment runs on gasoline in construction, farming, manufacturing, and processing.
  • Gasoline is used in energy generation. Most energy generators and portable power generators/supplies run on gasoline.
  • Gasoline can be used for cleaning in controlled environments. Gasoline is an effective solvent for carbon deposits and works well as a degreaser. Nonetheless, because it is highly volatile and flammable, experts recommend alternatives such as kerosene, acetone, mineral spirits, and citrus-based solvents. Do not use gasoline as a degreaser without taking the necessary precautions.

Final Thoughts

Given its chemical structure, gasoline easily dissolves hydrocarbon deposits such as oil and grease, making it an effective degreaser. Nonetheless, it is not advisable to use gasoline for cleaning because of its high volatility and flammability. You can use safer alternatives at home and work, including kerosene, acetone, mineral spirits, and mass-produced commercial solvents sold online and at local stores.

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