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How is Kerosene Deodorized?

Malcolm Tatum
Updated May 17, 2024
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Kerosene may not have the popularity around the home that it once enjoyed, but there are still enough household uses that the strong odor can cause some problems. A number of different additives can be used to reduce or eliminate the odor, or the fuel can be filtered to remove the elements that cause the offensive smell.

One of the oldest methods of creating deodorized kerosene is by ading paraffin oil. While the amount that should be added varies from one folk recipe to the next, most recommend using one part paraffin oil to two parts kerosene. Many people also believe that this combination will result in a fuel that will burn brighter in an oil lamp.

If there is no paraffin available, using common rubbing alcohol is an option. Rubbing alcohol is actually isopropyl alcohol, and can be purchased at most discount retail stores. If the kerosene is destined for use in a camping lamp or heater, adding in 1 ounce (29.5 ml) of rubbing alcohol can often greatly decrease the aroma of 1 gallon (3.785 liters) of fuel. If rubbing alcohol is not readily available, a recipe of one part mineral spirits to three parts kerosene will yield the same result. Alternately, 20 drops of sassafras oil is said to cut the odor of 1 gallon (3.785 liters) of kerosene greatly.

When it comes to attempting to filter out odors from the kerosene, there are two suggested methods. First, the kerosene is run through an activated carbon filter. This filter should catch some of the elements in the fuel that actually cause the odor, and by eliminating them, the smell is drastically reduced. A second approach is to add 1 cup (about 330 grams) of powdered limestone to 1 gallon (3.785 liters) of kerosene. The mixture should be allowed to sit for three to five days; by then, any residue of the powder will have settled to the bottom of the container. The fuel should then be strained into a clean container. The limestone is said to absorb the odor causing properties of the kerosene, leaving the fuel to burn brightly and with almost no odor at all.

For people who cannot stand the strong odor of kerosene, these methods can make the difference between an enjoyable camping trip or one that is pure misery.

About Mechanics is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Malcolm Tatum
By Malcolm Tatum
Malcolm Tatum, a former teleconferencing industry professional, followed his passion for trivia, research, and writing to become a full-time freelance writer. He has contributed articles to a variety of print and online publications, including About Mechanics, and his work has also been featured in poetry collections, devotional anthologies, and newspapers. When not writing, Malcolm enjoys collecting vinyl records, following minor league baseball, and cycling.
Discussion Comments
By anon999018 — On Oct 10, 2017

Isopropyl alcohol and kerosene-- All store bought alcohol contains 10-30% water. Kerosene is a non polar hydrocarbon, will they mix?

By anon994341 — On Feb 01, 2016

Powdered limestone can be purchased at either a hardware store or farm supply store. A garden center should also carry it. It is used most often for adding to the soil in gardens or spreading on lawns. I also wonder if simply setting a piece of limestone or limestone rocks in kerosene for a few days would work. This would eliminate the mess of a powdered limestone. --Ardon

By anon355314 — On Nov 15, 2013

How can I remove the color of kerosene oil?

By anon349450 — On Sep 26, 2013

We are manufactures of white spirit. How can we reduce its smell and increase or decrease its smell?

By rvmahalingam — On Feb 22, 2013

We are planning to start a mosquito repellent unit here so we want to purchase deodorized kerosene for our use. Where can I purchase it?

By LynnDa — On Feb 14, 2013

I actually like the smell of kerosene, but I know that it is really off-putting to most people.

By sanjukumar — On Sep 05, 2009

How is deodorized kerosene produced?

By anon24689 — On Jan 16, 2009

Where can one purchase powdered limestone?

Malcolm Tatum
Malcolm Tatum
Malcolm Tatum, a former teleconferencing industry professional, followed his passion for trivia, research, and writing...
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