What does Propane smell like?

Propane smells like rotten eggs, a skunk’s spray, or a dead animal. Some people may have difficulty smelling propane due to their age (older people may have a less sensitive sense of smell); a medical condition; or the effects of medication, alcohol, tobacco, or drugs. Consider purchasing a propane gas detector as an additional measure of security.


Odor fade is an unintentional reduction in the concentration of the odor of propane, making it more difficult to smell. Although rare, several situations can cause odor fade:

  • The presence of air, water, or rust in a propane tank or cylinder.
  • The passage of leaking propane through the soil

Since there is a possibility of odor fade or problems with your sense of smell, you should respond immediately to even a faint odor of gas.