After painting a room, you may enjoy the visual satisfaction from your chosen color for the walls. However, that enjoyment will only last for a few seconds until the smell of the fresh paint attacks your nose.
So, how to remove paint odor inside the house? Here are some tips to get rid of the lingering foul odor.
What causes the paint smell?
To avoid the pain of doing the follow-up work after painting a room, it would be better if you understand the cause of the fresh paint’s awful odor.
The culprit of its unpleasant smell is Volatile Organic Compounds or VOCs. It’s a component to make paint and creates the odor that fresh paint has.
Therefore, a solution for you is to choose paint buckets without VOC. Their formula is a great option for people who are sensitive to odor.
Additionally, zero-VOC paint is also suitable for rooms that don’t have enough ventilation like bathrooms, or spaces that you or your children spend a lot of time in, like bedrooms, nurseries and kids’ rooms.
Other paints are made from environment-friendly components such as plants, milk, minerals, and clay that you can consider for your next paint projects.
How to remove paint odor inside the house?
Ventilation is necessary when you paint a room. To make the room ventilative, you should always open windows when painting. Nevertheless, the unpleasant odor hangs in the air during and even after the last coat of paint dries.
Therefore, fans will help accelerate the process of pushing the paint odor out of the windows. The fans’ desirable positions are in the center room facing towards the windows and in the doorway.
It’s worth noting that paint will dry faster because of the fans, so you should complete your painting project in advance.
For less energy-consuming solutions, you can prepare various buckets of water and place them around the room. The water-filled buckets will absorb the paint’s unpleasant smell overnight.
This simple yet effective trick dated back to the 19th century in the book named “The Expert Cleaner”.
You can also add some fresh lemon slices to give the newly painted room a refreshing natural scent.
Besides its culinary purpose, vinegar is also a household name thanks to its benefit of eliminating odor.
You can divide vinegar into bowls and lay them around the newly painted room. The acetic acid of vinegar will counteract odor-carrying molecules of paint.
The 10-percent acetic acid vinegar, or household white vinegar, is more effective than the 5-percent acetic acid culinary vinegar. So, we suggest you use the former.
Two of the most effective natural extracts for odor elimination are vanilla and peppermint. You just need to squeeze some drops of these extracts on cotton balls and scatter them around the room.
Some paint professionals suggest adding a few drops of the natural extracts directly to the paint cans before beginning to reduce the paint odor.
See More: How to Clean an Airless Paint Sprayer? 7 Easy Steps
Baking soda has the same working mechanism as vinegar in eliminating the paint’s unpleasant odor: It counteracts and absorbs the unpleasant smell.
In addition, it works particularly well in painted rooms with surfaces that tend to hold on to smell, such as carpets, drapes, and upholstery. You can sprinkle baking soda on these surfaces and let it be for a couple of hours to do its job. Then, you can vacuum the powder.
In a pinch, briquettes used for grilling is enough to get rid of the paint’s odor. But activated charcoal, which you can buy at any hardware store, can produce a quicker result.
Treated with high heat, activated charcoal is more porous, which allows this type of charcoal to absorb odor-carrying molecules better since it has more spaces inside to store them.
You just need to put charcoal on aluminum pans and let them in the painted room overnight.
In this case, to fight the unpleasant smell of paint, you can use another overpowering smell of onions. How does it work?
There is a chemical, called Syn-propanethial-S-oxide, that helps create the distinctive odor of onions. This chemical counteracts the molecules (aldehydes) that contribute to the paint’s unpleasant smell.
You can cut onions, leave them around the newly painted room, and witness their magical effect of eliminating the paint’s odor the next morning.
Another tip is to check the weather of the painting day in advance. You should avoid days with high humidity since this condition hinders the drying process.
Paint releases the sharpest smell when it waits to dry after you apply it on the walls. And if it takes a more extended period to dry, it is more likely that the soft surfaces like carpets or drapes will absorb the paint fumes.
Additionally, you should wait for each coat of paint to totally dry before you apply the next coat. The reason is that damp walls keep the toxic fumes between layers and gradually release them over a long period.
You should also close the lids of paint cans and cover any other paint-tainted tools with plastic wraps when not in use to prevent them from emitting more unpleasant odor inside the room.
Last but not least, while it is crucial to open the doors and windows of the painted room, you should close the rest of the rooms’ doors to stop the paint fumes from spreading throughout your house.
As we suggested before, there are many ways to get rid of the paint smell inside your house. All solutions, including fans, water, vinegar, baking soda, charcoal, and onions, etc., are familiar and easy to find.
However, it’s not necessary for you to clean up after the paint odor has caused some damage to the air quality inside your house. You can also choose to prevent that from happening in advance by using one of the tips we have provided.
I am a licensed architect who is passionate about all things home improvement industries, I have been doing DIY painting projects and have developed lots of experience around home improvement over the 10 years.