Can Kerosene Fumes Kill You?

Kerosene fumes are toxic, and if inhaled in large amounts or for long, they can lead to death. Therefore, there is a higher chance that the fumes emitted by kerosene can kill you if you don’t act fast to treat the symptoms.

Some of the fumes emitted by kerosene included carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, nitrogen dioxide, and sulfur dioxide. Carbon monoxide is the most dangerous of all, and its symptoms include headache, dizziness, confusion, and weakness.

If you’re burning kerosene through a kerosene heater in your home and notice that you have these symptoms or anyone else with you has them, it’s important to act fast and seek medical help. The first thing you need to do is get fresh air and call 911 for immediate medical assistance.

Kerosene fumes normally replace oxygen in the room, and when oxygen levels are low, it poses a huge risk to your health. This is when you’ll start experiencing some of the symptoms mentioned above, and failure to act fast may result in a severe case such as death.

Therefore, it’s important to take precautions when burning kerosene in your home, and you can do that by installing a carbon monoxide detector.

Fumes that Kerosene Heaters Produce and How they Affect Health

The fumes produced by kerosene heaters include:

  • Carbon monoxide
  • Carbon dioxide
  • Nitrogen dioxide
  • Sulfur dioxide

Breathing these fumes can be hazardous to your health, especially for young children, older people, asthmatic people, and people with cardiovascular disease. Effects of carbon monoxide and carbon dioxide are dizziness, weakness, confusion, and headache. On the other hand, nitrogen dioxide causes damage to the human respiratory tract and increases a person’s vulnerability to respiratory infections and asthma.

Long-term exposure to high levels of nitrogen dioxide can lead to chronic lung disease. Sulfur dioxide also affects the respiratory system, precisely lung function. It also irritates the eyes and the respiratory tract. Sulfur dioxide also increases the risk of tract infections and causes coughing, mucus secretion, and aggravating conditions like asthma and chronic bronchitis. Additionally, sulfur dioxide also causes inflammation and irritation of the respiratory system.

These fumes negatively affect your health, which means when burning fuel, you need to ensure proper ventilation in your home to allow enough oxygen inside. This will prevent you from inhaling high levels of these fumes.

Kerosene Heater Ventilation Requirements

Kerosene heaters consume oxygen as they burn. Therefore, if you operate this heater inside an inadequately ventilated room, oxygen might be reduced to a dangerous level. When that happens, it poses a severe health risk to you and everyone in your home.

To prevent this from happening, you need to ensure proper ventilation when the kerosene heater is running. You can start by opening the window in the room where the heater is running. If your room happens to have windows or doors positioned on opposite walls, you also need to open those windows.

Your doors also need to be kept opened to allow enough oxygen inside and remove the produced fumes by the kerosene heater. Since the heater produces toxic fumes, it’s important to ensure there is enough space that allows air in and out to be adequate circulation of the air.

Allowing the toxic fumes formed by the kerosene to accumulate for longer will result in health risks. This is why you shouldn’t leave your kerosene unattended for long or go to sleep while the heater is in operation.

How to Get Rid of Kerosene Smell

The smell of kerosene can be annoying and unable to withstand. This is why you need to find the right ways to get rid of it. Unfortunately, only a few people can do that, but the good news is that here I’ll offer you some tips to help you alleviate the kerosene smell in your home.

  • First, you can sprinkle the area where kerosene smells with baking soda to deodorize it. Once you’ve done that, you need to allow the power to sit for several hours or even overnight.
  • The next step is to scrub the baking soda with a nylon-bristled scrub brush. After scrubbing, rinse the area properly and allow for several hours to dry. If the smell of kerosene is indoors, you can use an old towel to dry it.
  • Take two pounds of volcanic ash minerals and place them in a mesh bag. You can buy the minerals that have already been packaged in a breathable bag. Place the bag on the concrete or area where kerosene smells and let it stay there for a few hours or overnight. This will help to remove any remaining kerosene odor.

Kerosene Heater Safety Tips

Using a kerosene heater requires you to adhere to strict safety measures. You can consider various ways to keep yourself safe while using a heater, and I’ll share them below.

Keep Children Away or Warn Them

If you have children in your home, the best thing to do is warn them of the dangers posed by a kerosene heater and ensure they stay as far away from it as possible. It’s highly recommended for children to be kept away from a kerosene heater that is operating.

Keep the Heater Away from Other Objects

You need to ensure other objects such as furniture, papers, curtains, clothes, bedding, and any other materials that are prone to combustion. This will help to keep your home safe and secure whenever the kerosene heater is in operation.

Proper Ventilation

Ventilation is necessary whenever you’re running a kerosene heater because it produces toxic fumes at low levels. Therefore, to ensure that these toxic fumes don’t cause any health problems in your home, you should have proper ventilation. You can open doors and windows when the heater is running to allow good circulation of air.


Kerosene fumes are hazardous, which is why you need to exercise caution when using a kerosene heater. Ensure you follow some of the tips I’ve provided in this post, and if you have any questions or insights to add, feel free to post them in the comments section below or reach me through email.