How to clean up kerosene spill on subfloor?

arlenebJanuary 22, 2009

HELP!! Our drywall mudders have a Salamander heater going to heat and dry their work. It leaked on our plywood subfloor. The shape of the stain makes it hard to cut that section out and replace it, but that's what I think would be the best solution.

Any suggestions? Is there any way to clean it up? I read somewhere not to even vaccuum over it because of possible sparks igniting the wood.



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Kerosene is very volatile and the defining aroma will dissipate when exposed to fresh air. Mostly. It's an oil, and as such surface spills can be cleaned with techniques for removing oil; there are products made for driveway/concrete cleaning which do work fairly well (basically they are a powder which absorbs the oil; some contain a strong detergent for lifting the oily particles away).

IMO, no matter how awkward, I'd get rid of the oil soaked wood, because it IS oil soaked and there's no way to get all the residue out. Again my opinion, but there isn't a product made that truly gets rid of the smell... there is a small oil-soaked spot on my toolshed's workbench which has been powdered, cleaned, scrubbed, sanded and painted over several times; and -after 8 years- one can still smell the kerosene. Bleh! That's also a warning to be careful when filling oil lamps, lol.

    Bookmark   January 23, 2009 at 7:29AM
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Baking soda on the spill area. The flash point of kerosene is 100 deg or more. 145 is considered to be the typical flash point. Ignition from a spark is just not going to happen. The kerosene has not damaged the strength of the subfloor. Use the soda for a week, then let the area air freely. It will not be a problem if other flooring is to be installed over it. If only carpet over it, then do replace that subfloor area.

    Bookmark   January 23, 2009 at 9:32AM
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If your subfloor has water repelleant qualities like advantech, i wouldn't worry too much about it, baking soda as the bus mentioned. If typical plywood, i would be concerned about it soaking down through the plies and would go ahead and replace that section.

    Bookmark   January 23, 2009 at 11:42AM
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Here's what we've decided.

First try: We sprinkled baking soda and kitty litter on the stain and replaced the mudders' protective paper. We'll sweep up and replace those two things every couple of days for the next few weeks and see what effect it has. If the odor persists that long, we'll try sanding and sealing. If it's still there, we'll bite the bullet and replace the plywood; if it's gone, we won't. We have about 6 weeks till carpeting goes in, so in that time we should have a good idea of what's happening.

Thanks for your help!

    Bookmark   January 24, 2009 at 12:19AM
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Good plan.

    Bookmark   January 24, 2009 at 9:31AM
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