Hey all.   I have a couple of old tin gas cans that need to be played.  I can't explain why I drug them all over the country with me when I moved around, but I finally have a use for them.   Trouble is, they both had some gas in them from back when "gas was gas." 

One tin can has been airing out for 3 months and it still smells pretty grizzly.   If I can't get the smell out of the can, I'll have to build and play it outdoors - management has made this quite clear ;).

Any and all suggestions on how to eliminate or reduce the odor in the can is greatly appreciated! 

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Just spitballing here but what about filling it with odor absorbing cat litter for a while? Dave
One thing I use to defunk coolers that have had fish, deer, and other smelly stuff in them is vanilla flavoring. It masks other odors very well and is pleasant without a heavy chemical smell.

For coolers I put some on a paper towel, wipe it down good, then leave the paper towel in the cooler for a day or so and no more smell.
For a gas can you could put a couple of tablespoons in the can and swish it around and let it sit for a little while and that should take care of it.
Thanks Brian and Dave. I'm on it - vanilla and some oil absorbent (kinda like kitty litter). It HAS to make it better. After a couple weeks, I'll give it a look. Maybe baking soda if this doesn't work.
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Start with hot soap and water and wash it out good, rinse it a million times, wash it again, then try the other suggestions. you need to get all the gas residue out or it will never stop smelling.
Thanks Michael - (I should have read this 10 minutes sooner). I tried dish soap to start with; it helped and sounds like I should have done it longer and more vigorously. (I thought about mineral spirits to cut the residue, but never tried it). I've been wondering how long it would take to get all that speedy dry out of the can. Reckon I'll find out sooner then later and try some more soap.

MichaelS said:
Start with hot soap and water and wash it out good, rinse it a million times, wash it again, then try the other suggestions. you need to get all the gas residue out or it will never stop smelling.
Well, here's the results. First, it's probably cheaper to buy a new gas can. Having said that, here's what worked reasonably well for me.

Michael nailed the key point - there was still residue on the (inside) bottom of the can. I poured about a quart of lacquer thinner in the can with a handful of 1/4-20 nuts and shook the crap out of it. I let the thinner set overnight, then poured it out and rinsed with water and dish soap 4 or 5 times (I lost track). It might have been a good idea to leave the soapy water in the can overnight, but I was in a hurry and it smelled OK (trace lacquer thinner, but nothing like before).

My canjo is allowed in the house now - hey, the basement counts :)
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Hey good job, and I forgot about the nuts trick. I collect vintage outboard motors and have to clean the scuzzy gas out of those old tanks and 2 stroke mix can really stick up inside a tank! They never come in the house so the smell is ok. Sometimes we need to weld up an aluminum tank so it needs to be real clean and fume free, for obvious reasons.

Warren said:
Well, here's the results. First, it's probably cheaper to buy a new gas can. Having said that, here's what worked reasonably well for me.

Michael nailed the key point - there was still residue on the (inside) bottom of the can. I poured about a quart of lacquer thinner in the can with a handful of 1/4-20 nuts and shook the crap out of it. I let the thinner set overnight, then poured it out and rinsed with water and dish soap 4 or 5 times (I lost track). It might have been a good idea to leave the soapy water in the can overnight, but I was in a hurry and it smelled OK (trace lacquer thinner, but nothing like before).

My canjo is allowed in the house now - hey, the basement counts :)

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