I need an old 100# LP bottle for use in my shop. I took the valve off three
hours ago and have an air hose line inside the bottle blowing air in for
over an hour now. No sign of the smell abating. SWMBO will cause me serious
bodily harm if I make the house smell like that. Any good ideas to rid an
old bottle of propane smell? Don't say light a match.
To quote "Neutralize by adding household bleach (Clorox, Purex)
to the spill area."
Sounds like a quick rinse with dilute laundry bleach would help a
bunch. Don't think I'd try it at full strength though, since there might
be a reaction of some sort. Anyone know the chemistry?
You could blow air in there for a long long time and it wouldn't kill that
smell, Karl. But if you dump in a cup of bleach and toss it around and then
flush with hot water (it will probably be orange, don't worry) it won't
stink anymore. See:
Karl, years ago I made a welding table using old black gas pipe that
had not been used in years. Never a hint of smell until I started
welding the joints. Then the smell came out pretty strong. So, it was
somehow in the little bit of rust in the pipes, or in the steel
If you can get the tank pretty hot while blowing in the air, you may
be able to clear 99% of the stuff. A 100 lb tank is pretty big to be
putting in the oven. Can you direct some heat from a salamander or
something like that onto the tank?
The advice others are giving about bleach alone is ineffective. Typically
the stinkum is bound up in greasy petroleum goo stuck inside the tank.
You'll need a non-polar solvent to get that out with rinsing and, if you
can get inside, mechanical scrubbing. Then you oxidize any residue, such
as with heat/air or pH-lowered bulk dilute chlorine bleach. Tough to reach
everywhere to get the last detectible odor out.
As others have stated household bleach is an effective method of killing
the smell. Although it might not be practical for you the best way to
clean it out is to steam it with live steam, rinse with full strength
household bleach, and then give it another steaming. Remove the valve,
set it upside down and leave a steam lance in it for an hour or so. You
could mess with solvents but then you have to get rid of them, I'd check
into renting a steam generator, or if you know somebody in the tank
truck cleaning business get them to do it.
At the day job dimethyl sulfide is used as a process additive (it is
also used as a fuel gas oderant) and bleach is used to kill the stuff
off. Steam is also used to clear lines and equipment, but there it's
piped around like plant air. It's quite effective and leaves the pipe
or tank in question hot enough that it dries very fast, avoiding rusting
Ah yes, Richard, but you will notice that the page you cite says the
deodorizing agent of choice is - household bleach!
I have destinked several propane bottles with bleach. You aren't going to
get very far telling me it doesn't work, because it does. Maybe it doesn't
get out every last molecule, but bleach/hot water makes it usable again.
I have had good luck with odors using ozone. I bought a cheap one on E
bay and bought one from a pool supply made by prozone. Anyway I
originally used it to remove natural gas and other hydrocarbons from
water. It oxidizes them out of the water. In your situation I would
use ozone and strong surfactant to remove the smell and do just like
you read on a shampoo bottle, lather rinse and repeat. Do a little
homework on ozone it is good stuff and more powerful than chlorine as
Scott in Texas
Looks like Richard has a point on this job. I soaked the tank in a strong
shot of bleach full of water overnight. Its no better this A.M. Looks like
my plans to use this tank in the house are off till spring. I'll leave it
outside all winter. Maybe time is the cure.
It isn't bleach diluted by water, Karl. It's a strong shot of bleach by itself,
swirled around to coat the whole inside (for a big tank like that maybe 3-4
cups) followed by a hot water rinse (not cold). Worked for me, anyway.
But I agree, Richard may have something there.
I've had an idea for a long time about the inside of propane cylinders. If
you filled the cylinder with an ionic solution (e.g. water & washing soda or
lye) and suspended a cylindrical electrode (sheet lead rolled around a dowel?)
straight down from the valve opening so it didn't touch the cylinder anywhere,
then put DC voltage between the tank and the electrode, I wonder if you could
derust the inside. Or blow off most of that black crud anyway.
Worth a try, anyway. You'd need quite a bit of amperage, probably have to use a
MIG welder for the power source. Tank would be negative, electrode positive.