How to Clean Old Kerosene


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Last Updated: October 13, 2021

Did you find kerosene that has been sitting around for years? Or maybe you forgot to empty your kerosene heater tank last season and now it is gunky?

Before you use it in any kerosene appliances, make sure you clean it first.

Can You Use Old Kerosene?

Yes, you can use old kerosene.  However, it may cause bad smells and smoke and could damage your kerosene appliances. You wouldn’t want to risk using old kerosene on an expensive new heater or cooker.

If you must use old kerosene, clean it first to remove contaminants. Even then, I’d only use it in lamps and not an expensive heater.

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How to Clean Old Kerosene

Below are a few tactics that can revive old kerosene and make it safer to use in your appliances.

  • Separate the kerosene on the bottom of the tank: Water is denser than kerosene, so most of the water will sink to the bottom of the kerosene tank. To get rid of this, pour all but the last few inches of the old kerosene into a new container.
  • Filter the kerosene: You can use several coffee filters for this. They do a great job of absorbing any water in the kerosene. You may need to do it multiple times to get out the sludge.
  • Add fuel stabilizer (optional): Add fuel stabilizer made for kerosene. Wait 24 hours before using the kerosene.
  • Mix with new kerosene: Ideally, you should mix 50/50 old and new kerosene. This will help the old kerosene burn better and prevent damage to your appliance.
  • Replace your wick: If the wick has been sitting in old kerosene, it will get gunky and won’t light even if you add new kerosene.  Here’s how to replace the wick.

What’s the oldest kerosene you’ve ever used?  Let us know your tricks for cleaning kerosene in the comments section below.

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