Stale gas in mower tank - How to remove it?

Two years ago my riding mower died when the engine blew a rod. I finally found a new-used engine for it, and am installing it. The only problem is that I never drained the gas in the tank. I just pulled the hose off the carburetor and plugged the end of the hose. I just pulled that bolt out of the hose because it's needed to mount the engine, and thats when I smelled that strong odor that tells me the gas is stale. (I've gotten to know that smell). The gas is ONLY in the plastic tank and hose. I plan to replace the hose anyhow, but the tank needs to be cleaned. My question is what is the best way to clean it to be sure that no gum and varnish get into the carburetor? Actually, it does not look like it is to that stage yet, but I dont want to take chances. Is simply draining it and flushing some new gas thru it enough, or should I wash it out with some sort of detergent and water, or is there something else I should pour thru it, like carb cleaner or laquer thinner or something? Anyone have any experience with this? (There's probably only one cup of gas in there, but it definately smells stale).
And while I am on this subject, if the whole thing (carburetor and all) was full of stale gas, what is the best way to flush the whole thing, or is a complete rebuild of the carb necessary? I may have that problem on another machine, but have not yet looked. Is adding that gas stabilizer of any use after the gas has already gone bad?
Thanks to all that help.
Mark
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Be sure you install an inline filter, i would just pour a few cups of new gas through the tank, if you dont rebuild the other carb it may not work usualy dissasembly is the only way to clean them.
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there should be a farily obvious way to remove the float bowl on the carb. pull it off and clean what you can with carb cleaner. that should be plenty.
randy

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