Home Trouble: How to Get Rid of Paint Smell in Simple Steps

Recently finished a DIY paint job? Are you stuck with the lingering smell of paint in the air? Wondering how to get rid of paint smell in simple steps? We all have been in there! Painting a room gives a fresh new look to your space and breathes life into another dull room. It is an easy and affordable way of renovating your home every year. 

Beautiful young Caucasian model in white shirt and posing holding outrigger in her hands, painting the wall yellow and looking at camera. Studio shot.

However, one bad thing about painting a room is the suffocating, irritating, pungent smell. Despite ventilation, it makes paint jobs a curse for those with sensitive nose and allergies. The good news is that you can get rid of the paint smell in simple DIY steps. You can now paint your kitchen cabinets, your bathroom, a ceiling or even your stairs without worrying about the after smell! Want to know more? Let’s delve in!

Why you should get rid of paint smell

Getting rid of the obnoxious paint odour can seem like a chore, and many of you might be tempted to let it linger. However, we strongly recommend against that. Apart from the bad smell, there are various reasons why you should get rid of it

It is not only about the pungent smell, but rather the fact that it has adverse and harmful health effects, making it essential to remove it. Some of the issues that result due to inhaling that smell are:

  • Headaches
  • Vision issues
  • Dizziness
  • Breathing problems
  • Throat irritation
  • Eye irritation
  • Lung irritation

7 ways to get rid of paint smell

Now that you know how harmful and toxic paint odour is, you will agree when we say that it is best to get rid of it as quickly as possible. With the help of a few key steps, you can easily remove the toxic smell.

The techniques that we have mentioned below are easy and effective. We recommend that you don’t wait till the job is done to use these techniques. Capture the toxic fumes right from the beginning, and you will be able to enjoy the new paint immediately. Let’s take a look at 7 ways to get rid of the smell.

1. Baking soda

The trusty baking soda has numerous uses, one of which is absorbing odours. You know you can clean your oven using baking soda, but did you know there are various ways you can use it to get rid of the smell of the paint?

  • Fill small bowls with baking soda. Place them in all the corners of the room and leave them overnight. Discard it the next day.
  • If you have a carpeted room, you can sprinkle some all over the carpet. Leave it overnight and then vacuum it in the morning.
  • Mix 1 cup of water and 4 tbsp of baking soda. Place several bowls of this mixture all around the room and leave it for 24 hours.  

You can combine all these methods for better results and see how quickly the smell goes away!

Close-up of baking soda in a glass jar. Bicarbonate of soda.

2. Onions

Onions may cause your eyes to water up, but they don’t cause toxic harm to your body. If you use them while painting a room, they will work their magic more effectively. 

  • To get rid of toxic fumes, simply slice two to three medium-sized onions.
  • Place each half of the onion in a shallow bowl, ensuring that the cut side faces upwards.
  • Keep them in the corners of the room.
  • Leave them for a couple of hours, and then throw them away. 

Ensure that you don’t accidentally use them for cooking as they have absorbed the toxic VOCs (Volatile Organic Compounds). 

3. Charcoal

Charcoal is a fantastic odour absorber. You can use the briquettes meant for the grill, but it is better to get activated charcoal from the store. You can buy it in the form of small bags, or you can get crushed charcoal that you can place in bowls and keep all around the room. 

Simply keep shallow bowls filled with charcoal in all four corners of the room and leave it overnight. The smell will be long gone in the morning.

4. Lemon water

If you keep buckets of water in a newly painted room, it will absorb the odours on its own. However, if you add a few lemon slices, it will absorb the fumes more efficiently and leave a clean, citrusy, refreshing smell in there.

  • Keep a bucket of water in the middle of the room.
  • Leave it overnight.
  • If you add lemon slices, it is better to fill various bowls and place them all around the room.

5. Vinegar

You know you can use white vinegar to clean your washing machine. But you can also use regular vinegar or apple cider vinegar to absorb paint fumes

  • Mix equal parts water and equal parts vinegar.
  • Place the bowls of vinegar in each corner and leave them overnight.

You can keep white vinegar on its own as well since it is known to neutralise bad smells.

white vinegar on the wooden table top

6. Coffee grounds

We all love our coffee in the morning and throughout the day. Coffee grounds are not only good for your garden, but you will be happy to know that you can use the coffee beans to absorb the toxic paint fumes. Use them while you are painting the room to get the best results. Throw the coffee grounds away once you are done.

7. Candles

Candles are romantic, refreshing, and can also be used to get rid of the VOCs in the air. However, you have to be careful about the type of candle you choose. If you use a paraffin-based candle, it will release even more toxins.

A natural beeswax candle or a soy-based candle is a better choice for removing toxic fumes. You can get unique odour-eliminating candles as well. If you have kids or pets, make sure that they stay away from the burning candles to avoid any unforeseen incident.

  • Place a few in fire-safe candle holders and keep them at the opposite sides of the room
  • Light the candles and let them burn for a couple of hours.
  • The candles will not only get rid of the smells but will also leave your room smelling clean and fresh.

Tips to avoid heavy paint smell from the start

Now that you know how to remove toxic paint smells, many of you might be wondering if it’s possible to get rid of it from the start? The answer is yes

1. Select zero-voc paint

You can avoid the toxic paint smell by selecting a zero-VOC paint next time. These paints are excellent for people with health issues. They are also a great choice for spaces that don’t have proper ventilation. It would help if you used them in your bedrooms, especially for the kid’s nurseries.

If you have to necessarily choose an oil-based primer or paint, select one that is marked as “low odour”. Plus, there are paints made from minerals, clay, plants, etc., that are less toxic.

woman painting interior wall blue with paint roller in new house, Home decoration concept

2. Check the weather forecast

Before you start painting, you should check the weather forecast. It is better to avoid the days when the humidity is high since high levels will slow down the drying process. When does the paint emit the strongest odour? When it is being applied and is drying. The longer the paint takes to dry, the higher the chances are that the carpets, upholstery, drapes, etc., will absorb the fumes.

3. Wait for each coat to dry

When you are painting, it is better to allow every coat to dry completely and then apply a fresh coat of paint. Why? Well, damp walls are highly likely to trap fumes and then keep on emitting toxic gases slowly.

4. Keep the paint cans covered

When you are painting, keep the paint cans covered. Moreover, if there are paint trays and brushes that you are not using, cover them with plastic wrap. According to professional painters, if you add a couple of drops of natural extracts such as peppermint and vanilla extract directly to the paint before using it, the extracts will lessen its odour.

5. Allow for ventilation

When you are painting a room, you should open windows and the doors to let the fresh air in, if you can. This will allow the paint fumes to dissipate into the air. However, keep the doors of the other rooms in your home closed. This will prevent the paint fumes from spreading all over the house. You can also use an air purifier.

closeup of woman opening a window with a mosquito net
We all love a freshly painted room as it brings colour and life into a dull, boring space. However, paint comes with a strong smell and toxic paint fumes that are bad for human health. Due to the toxic nature of paint fumes and aroma, it is essential to get rid of them as quickly as possible. We have mentioned 7 natural ways of getting rid of the harmful paint smell using household items to help you with your painting project. Use them and paint your room without the fear of any harmful effects. Happy painting, folks!

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