How is Kerosene Deodorized?

Malcolm Tatum
Malcolm Tatum

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.

Mineral spirits, which can be used to deodorize kerosene.
Mineral spirits, which can be used to deodorize kerosene.

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.

An ounce of rubbing alcohol tends to greatly reduce the odor of a gallon of kerosene.
An ounce of rubbing alcohol tends to greatly reduce the odor of a gallon of kerosene.

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.

Running kerosene through a carbon filter should catch many of the odor-producing elements.
Running kerosene through a carbon filter should catch many of the odor-producing elements.

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.

A kerosene lantern.
A kerosene lantern.
Malcolm Tatum
Malcolm Tatum

After many years in the teleconferencing industry, Michael decided to embrace his passion for trivia, research, and writing by becoming a full-time freelance writer. Since then, he has contributed articles to a variety of print and online publications, including wiseGEEK, and his work has also appeared in poetry collections, devotional anthologies, and several newspapers. Malcolm’s other interests include collecting vinyl records, minor league baseball, and cycling.

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Discussion Comments


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


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


How can I remove the color of kerosene oil?


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


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?


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


How is deodorized kerosene produced?


Where can one purchase powdered limestone?

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