How to Clean A Fuel Tank without Removing It: A Layman’s Guide

Cleaning a fuel tank is an essential part of its regular maintenance. Over time, scale and sludge from rust can gather on its baffles and walls. Impurities like sediments can be created from the common procedure of fuel degradation and gather and settle in the tank’s bottom portion. In a fuel tank, the accumulation of debris can lower its effectiveness and can also pose a possible environmental issue.

Hence, you need to clean the fuel storage tank to keep it in a better condition. Let’s discuss the products and the steps to know how to clean a fuel tank without removing it.

What You Will Need

Cleaning a fuel tank may not be a great idea but if you want to abstain from the unwanted costs, then start cleaning your fuel tank for damage prevention and saving the vehicle in the long run.

To start with, you firstly should empty the tank and drain the gasoline so the tank can be cleaned properly. You need to clean the fuel tank completely to ensure all the rust and debris is gone from the tank. Now, let’s find out the products you will need to clean a fuel tank thoroughly:

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    Muriatic acid or Vinegar or Acetone
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    Safety goggles
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Step-by-Step Instructions

Step-1: Refer to the instruction manual

Before starting the process of cleaning, check the instruction manual for understanding the connections to the fuel tank. Understand properly how every part associated with it works. Ensure to follow the safety precautions stated.

Step-2: Drain the fuel tank thoroughly

The most important thing is making sure that there is no fuel left in the tank. And for this, you can have a test drive to a few distances, by which the fuel will be utilized or will keep the vehicle engine running until all the fuel in the tank exhausts.

​Step-3: Degrease the fuel tank

If still the tank smells of gasoline after getting drained completely, you possibly require degreasing it. You will find that you get a better output by the degreasing process. You can use a degreaser and try to mix the dish detergent with hot water.

Now let the soap or degreaser and water blend stay in the tank for almost 24 hours. If the soap or degreaser combination doesn’t work after completion of 24 hours, degrease the fuel tank again for a long time span.

​Step-4: Use a pressure wash

After degreasing the tank, now use a spray and pressure washer to wash out and dislodge the small flakes of rust, debris, and dirt in the tank. Additionally, it will help rinse out the gasoline sediments as well. You possibly will require pointing the sprayer at various angles for removing light rust and other sediment in the tank.

​Step-5: Utilize a commercial cleaning solution

If the fuel tank has any grime or substantial rust in it, you can use a commercial cleaning solution for removing it. These chemical solutions simply break down the rust. After the utilization, you will be capable of rinsing and removing dirt and debris from the fuel tank.

Think about professional-grade acid solutions like Acetone which can dissolve the rust in the tank. You should use the cleaning solutions which can sit on the tank for a longer period of time.

​Step-6: Leave the tank still for some hours

Now allow the cleaner to sit for some hours on the tank. This will ensure that the rust, grunge, and sludge and other contaminants gathered inside the surface of the tank to get loose or dissolve. It will certainly make the cleaning process easy.

​Step-7: Rinse the tank thoroughly

Now drain the tank properly with clean water. Ensure to repeat this process until you find the tank clean and clear and no smell of gasoline.

​Step-8: Dry the fuel tank for 24-48 hours

Once you are done with cleaning, leave the fuel tank for 24-48 hours for drying. Ensure the tank gets dried and no smell or dirt is left inside.


Hope you have understood how to clean a fuel tank without removing it after reading the step-by-step guidelines. Always make sure to have safety products like goggles, gloves, protective clothing, musk, etc. Don’t forget to ventilate the garage properly and work outside, if possible for you. Feel free to share your opinion with us.

How to Clean A Fuel Tank without Removing It: A Layman’s Guide
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  • Updated April 11, 2018
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