How do you clean a methanol spill

So a bottle of windshield de-icer broke in my car, which pisses me off (no idea why a plastic bottle would be so fragile when it contains such a toxic chemical), spilling about 6-8 oz of the stuff on the floor of the drivers side. I think the stuff is 40% methanol or so, so that is bad.

I removed the floor mat and took that out of the car. I soaked up what I could with bathroom towels. I also cleaned the area with soap and water while wearing a glove. Now I am leaving the window open for a few days and will drive a different car for a while. I intend to clean the area up more with more soap/water every day for the next few days.

What else can I do? I am worried it will soak into the carpet and I won’t be able to clean it out.

Well, I’m kinda the wrong person to ask, as to me that’s not much of a solvent spill and might even be an amount used to clean my fume hood or lab bench. I’d say you already did far more than is needed and don’t need to leave the windows open, drive a different car, or keep cleaning. The stuff has a boiling point of 150 F and generally evaporates faster than water. If you pulled the mat, soaked up most of it, and cleaned the rest with water you should be fine.

It’s not all that bad. It’s nothing like gasoline or hydrochloric acid in its effects.

I suspect it will evaporate before you get to do another round of cleaning. Problem solved.

Methanol isn’t deadly. On a toxicity scale from 1 to 10 I’d rate it at about a 3 where ethanol is 2 and cyanide is 8. They can put it in a breakable container because they know that if you were to do nothing at all, problems wouldnt be likely. It’s hard to imagine how one would turn this into a poisoning without doing something deliberate like sucking it out of the mat.

Yeah, it should evaporate in a few days at most, given adequate ventilation. Just resist any urges to clean it up with your tongue.

It wouldn’t hurt to clean the carpet but it really shouldn’t be a problem for you. It will evaporate quickly enough.

I think the worst problem with methanol is that it doesn’t show a visible flame when it is burning. So don’t smoke or drop a cigarette while driving.

I drive a small truck with a regular cab, so I figure a few ounces of methanol in a small cab would cause problems via inhalation.

just let it evaporate, like others have said.

this should be more than sufficient. I’ve spilled minor amounts of R/C glow fuel (which is anywhere from 50-90% methanol) and just let it dry.

Very unlikely. You would essentially have to inhale all 8 ounces fairly quickly. This stuff is going to evaporate over a long period. You body processes methanol just fine in low quantities.

methanol and water. mop it up and let what you can’t get evaporate.

if it could do any damage to some materials (most things are fine with it and it might be used for cleaning things) it was likely done before you mopped it up.

That is good if I am worried over nothing. I saw that ingesting 15ml can cause blindness and that worried me about having several ounces on the floor.

The temps are in the 30s and humidity is in the 90s, will methanol still evaporate over the course of a couple days in that environment?

Well the vapor pressure of methanol is significantly less than that of water. The boiling point of methanol is approximately 65°C. So obviously the stuff isn’t going to boil off, but it should evaporate fairly readily on its own.

Keep in mind that I’m a chemist and I work with open containers of methanol all the time, outside of a hood and it’s not much of a concern. Well, I’m not blind yet, that is.

Turn on the heater.

Just don’t smoke.

I wouldn’t worry about the smoking either. 80proof (40% methanol in H2O) isn’t going to be a fire hazard. Crack the windows, and turn up the heat as you drive around.