How To Clean A Gas Can?

Understanding how to clean a gas can is as easy as ABC. The process requires quite a simple number of steps. However, it is essential to be extra careful so that you don’t make a mistake in cleaning the gas can.

Old gas cans may need to be cleaned to get rid of dirt or anything in them that may negatively impact the gas content in the can.

Having oil in a gas can may also necessitate cleaning the gas can. In any case, the subsequent paragraph provides simple steps to help you clean a gas can. This procedure also answers those asking how to clean kerosene out of gas cans and those asking how to clean diesel fuel from a gas can.

How to Clean a Gas Can Best Methods

how to use gas can spout

Before cleaning a gas can, ensure that the can is first empty of any remaining gasoline. If can still have some fuel in it, do well to dispose of it in line with the provisions of state or local regulations. To clean a gas can, engage the following steps.

  • Put detergent or degreaser in the gas can.
  • Fill the gas can with hot water (up to half the capacity) and close it properly; then, shake it carefully.
  • Open the can and dispose of the solution.
  • Put water in the gas can and rinse out every detergent in it.
  • Open up the aspiration system and adequately clean the inlet filter.
  • Ensure to drain out the water properly.
  • Place the gas can somewhere dry and ventilated so that it can dry before you start using the can again.

The procedures above can also help if you are wondering how to clean a gas can that has oil in it. You may only need to use a tiny brush to scrub inside the can properly. 

Metal Vs. Plastic Gas Cans

Gas can be stored in either metal or plastic gas cans; however, the choice of the can use depends on personal preference. Some people prefer metal gas cans; others prefer plastic gas cans. In any case, they have their pros and cons. Take a look at some of them below.

Pros of Metal Gas Cans

  • They are more durable.
  • The cans come with high capacity.
  • They are non-permeable – oxygen cannot degrade the fuel.


  • The material makes them larger and heavier.
  • They are more expensive compared to plastic cans.
  • They may rust when exposed to specific conditions.
  • The explosion is a risk when exposed to fire.

Pros of Plastic Gas Cans

  • They are less expensive compared to metal gas cans.
  • The cans are pretty easy to handle because of their lightness.
  • They can only meet in a fire and not explode.


  • Plastic cans are porous, allowing air to degrade the fuel inside them.
  • Some plastics are stronger than others.
  • Structural integrity may be weakened by gasoline.

The cleaning process of a metal gas can is not entirely different from that of a plastic gas can.

 If you are wondering how to clean the outside of a plastic gas can, it may only require detergent and water to wash the exterior. If you are also asking how to clean out a metal gas can, the same procedure can also be used.

how to clean out a metal gas can

How to Fill a Gas Can

It is crucial for you to take utmost care in the process of filling gasoline into a gas can because of its volatility and quick ability to ignite.

Therefore, ensure to keep gas cans away from easy access by people, vehicles, and flames. After ensuring all precautions, follow these procedures when filling a car’s gas tank.

Get the gas can out.

Once you arrive at a fuel station, properly turn off the car and get the gas can out of the trunk. Place the gas can somewhere far from people and vehicles. Please do not leave the can in your car’s trunk when filling it, as it is risky because of a possible spark or electrical charge.

Ensure to place the gas can on the ground on the pavement where it can sit properly to receive the fuel without spilling out or any other complications. If you have a gas can with a green button, you may want to find out how to use a gas can with a green button.

Properly position the gas pump nozzle.

Ensure to move the gas pump nozzle towards the area of the gas can. Then, carefully place the nozzle on the rim of the can to avoid a spark from the nozzle, especially when using a metal can (one of the reasons plastic cans are preferable).

Slowly fill

After placing the gas pump nozzle in the rim of the can, slowly fill it to a point where you leave some inches between the rim of the can and the content level. This allows the fuel to expand safely under a temperature change.

Carefully screw the gas can cap

Once the gas can has been filled with the necessary quantity of fuel, carefully screw the gas can cap to lock it. Ensure that it is tight enough not to allow air into the can.

Wipe off the can with a dry cloth.

After filling the gas can and screwing the cap on, get a clean cloth and wipe off any drops of gasoline on the body of the gas can. After that, you can place it back in your car’s trunk and leave.

How to Store Gas Cans

Storing gas cans anywhere under any condition is not the best as it may affect its durability or expose the can to some sort of complication, like an explosion, if kept close to a flammable area.

Always avoid storing gas cans outdoors, as it is not ideal. Keeping gas cans outdoors would expose them to elements that can affect the gasoline in them.

To store gas cans properly, you must keep them in a cool and dry place. The storage location must be shielded from direct sunlight and rainfall, as any of those is not good for the content of the can.

How Long Can Gas Be Stored?

The period of storage for gas differs depending on whether it is high-octane gas or low-octane gas. Usually, standard gasoline begins to degrade from 30 days onward. At this point, the chemical components of the gas will start to break down and become ineffective.

When this happens, the gas may not be able to start an engine because of its weak chemical components. Using such gasoline may even result in some minor engine problems.

Low-octane gasoline can last up to around 6 months, while high-octane gasoline may not last beyond 3 months. Gasoline kept up to 6 months can still be used in generators, but keeping it for more than 6 months is not ideal.

However, gasoline can be stored for up to 1 year when a gas stabilizing agent is added to the gasoline. In any case, holding gasoline for too long is not ideal because of its dangers to life and the things in which they are used.

Where to Store Gas Cans

Gas is a hazardous substance that must be stored with utmost care. It expands with heat, and it is also inflammable compared to kerosene and diesel.

To store gas cans safely, keep them in cool and dry places where they will not be exposed to direct sunlight and rainfall. Also, ensure that they are not kept close to the fire and any electrical components that can easily spark upcharge.

Preferably, store gas cans in detached garages, sheds, and any building separate from a living structure. It is essential to know that wherever gas cans are stored, precautions must be taken around those areas; gas explodes faster than you think.

Gas Can Color Law

In some cases, there are specific colors of cans that must be used to store gas, depending on the laws in that particular state. However, in most places, the law prescribes the use of red gas cans to store gasoline.

Ignoring the prescribed color for gas cans may result in severe penalties from the law enforcement agency responsible for ensuring maximum compliance.

In areas like Texas and Pennsylvania, the recommended gas can color is red. Every resident has to comply with this recommendation to avoid corresponding penalties for disobeying the law.

The common recommendations are as follows; red cans for storing gasoline, blue for storing kerosene, and yellow for storing diesel fuel. This prescription may differ from one place or state to another.

You may have to find out the regulation or provision of the law as it concerns the color of a gas can that should be used in storing fuel. Avoiding the embarrassment of disobeying the prescription of the law is very important.

Final Words

Always remember that gasoline is a dangerous substance when exposed to fire, high temperature, etc. It can also be affected when it comes in contact with water because they don’t mix, and having water in gasoline can affect the injectors and the smooth running of an engine.

Ensure to follow the procedures unveiled above on how to clean gas can to carefully clean your gas can whenever you need to do so. Also, ensure that gas cans are stored in the recommended areas to avoid any complications.

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Osuagwu Solomon

Osuagwu Solomon is a certified mechanic with over a decade of experience in the mechanic garage, and he has over five years of experience in the writing industry. He started writing automotive articles to share his garage experience with car enthusiasts and armature mechanics. If he is not in the garage fixing challenging mechanical problems, he is writing automotive repair guides, buyer’s guides, and car and tools comparisons.

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