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How to Get the Paint Smell Out of a Room

Have you finished painting and are left with a strong, fresh paint smell? Some love it, while some hate it. Ultimately these fumes are dangerous for your health and need to be removed!

Let’s talk about how to get the paint smell out of a room and eliminate its harmful fumes. I’ll discuss what causes paint fumes and how long they typically last. Follow along as I’ve compiled the best ways to get rid of those pesky fumes for good.

Let’s get started!

Person rolling paint onto a wall.

What Causes Paint Fumes?

Did you know out of the four components of paint, additives are the main component holding the highest amounts of chemicals? It’s true. It’s essential to note that dangerous chemicals in these additives produce fumes. At the same time, too many inhaled fumes damage your health and body.

As you paint, paint will spread thin as it’s applied to your project surfaces. Harmful chemicals called VOC are then released and give off potent toxins.

Exposing your body to these toxins should always be avoided when possible! Always practice safety when you paint and wear the proper gear, such as gloves, a mask, and protective eyewear.

What is the Purpose of Additives?

Why are these additives there? Additives are blended into the makeup of paint to help improve your paint’s overall thickness and durability. Additives also help lower the number of air bubbles from forming and help prevent mold and mildew from occurring.

When your paint is wet, it releases strong fumes in the air. These fumes are also called VOC or volatile organic compounds. Inhaling too many VOC fumes over time can harm your body and cause permanent health problems.

Are VOC Paint Fumes Toxic?

Man using paint sprayer and wearing breathing mask.

Short-term exposure isn’t as harmful and toxic. To avoid fume levels, look for water-based paints with lower VOC levels and practice painting safety.

Long-term exposure will cause more severe health problems. Therefore, it’s essential to learn how to get the paint smell out of a room properly and provide appropriate ventilation as you paint.

Always eliminate paint fumes by using fans to circulate fumes away from your body. Also, wear protective face gear, such as a mask and goggles, to help reduce fume inhalation.

Take a Break From Painting if You Experience:

  • Headaches
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea
  • Trouble Breathing

Finally, always remember to wash off paint immediately that gets on your skin. Your skin is very absorbent and can soak in these toxins!

How Long Will Paint Fumes Typically Last?

For a freshly painted room, expect these VOC paint fumes to hang around for fourteen to twenty-four weeks for standard paints and up to two months for oil-based paints.

Rest assured, by using these methods for how to get the paint smell out of a room effectively, you’ll help speed up the timeline and eliminate these toxic VOC fumes permanently!

Method #1: Using Buckets of Water

Using a handheld shower sprayer to fill a bucket with water.

Using water is going to be the simplest solution when it comes to how to get the paint smell out of a room after painting.

How Does This Work?

Take a few buckets of water and place them throughout your painted room. Let the buckets sit overnight. Paint fumes will absorb into the water!

This method is one of the book’s oldest and most effective tricks.

Method #2: Setting Out Bowls of Vinegar

Pouring vinegar into a bowl. One method for how to get the paint smell out of a room.

It’s a bit simpler to use the odor-eliminating properties found in vinegar for getting the paint smell out of a room effectively!

How Does This Work?

Fill a few bowls with white vinegar and place them around the room you’ve just painted. Make sure only to choose basic white household vinegar.

The acetic acid found in vinegar naturally dissolves the molecules that carry odors, which will remove paint fumes from a room.

Method #3: Set Out Bowls of Baking Soda

A jar of baking soda.

Here’s another great way how to get the paint smell out of a room quickly and effectively by using bowls of baking soda!

How Does This Work?

Just as baking soda eliminates odors in your fridge, leaving out bowls of baking soda will absorb paint fumes from your room. What’s great about this natural method is baking soda is very inexpensive and natural.

Rooms With Carpet

If you have carpeted rooms, sprinkle baking soda directly on your carpet and allow it to set overnight for best results. Then, vacuum up all the leftover baking soda, and you’re good to go! This is one of the easiest ways of getting the paint smell out of a room!

Method #4: Using Activated Charcoal

A bowl of activated charcoal.

Activated charcoal, also known as activated carbon, is typically used to filter out contaminants trapped in our air and water. It has tiny, low-volume pores that enlarge surface areas ready for chemical reactions or absorption.

How Does This Work?

A great way to assist you in how to get the paint smell out of a room is to use activated charcoal. You’ll want to pour this powerful, natural substance into disposable aluminum baking pans and leave it to work overnight.

This porous material acts as a natural air purifier and absorbs odor-causing molecules.

Method #5: Food-Grade Diatomaceous Earth

A bag of diatomaceous earth.

Diatomaceous Earth is tiny fossilized plankton accumulated across millennia and you find it mainly in freshwater lakes. These finely ground and pure deposits act like a natural deodorizer for getting the paint smell out of a room.

How Does This Work?

Diatomaceous Earth is an organic chalky white powder. The best kind to use is food-grade diatomaceous earth for the healthiest option. Place diatomaceous earth in aluminum baking sheets and leave it alone overnight to do its magic!

Method #6: Chop Up A Few Onions

Man chopping onions.

Try not to cry, but if you chop up a few of these kitchen staples, they’re an excellent choice for removing the paint smell from a room.

How Does This Work?

Onions naturally contain a chemical that neutralizes VOC paint chemicals. Cutting up a few onions and leaving them in bowls is an effective method for how to get the paint smell out of a room naturally.

The organic chemicals in onions counteract the VOC fumes in paint, which then erase paint smells.

Method #7: Essential Oils or Extracts

An essential oil diffuser.

Essential oils help purify the air and also make your room smell great! Vanilla and peppermint are the best ways to remove paint odor. Runners up are lemon, lavender, orange, and rosemary.

How Does This Work?

Leaving an oil diffuser running in a freshly painte room, or even while you paint, is another natural method for how to get the paint smell out of a room!

If you don’t have a diffuser, try dabbing oil on cotton balls and placing them throughout your space.

Method #8: Coffee Beans

A jar of coffee beans.

If you’ve ever been in a candle store, you’ll notice they have jars of coffee beans scattered around. These jars of beans are there to reset your nose to smell other scents correctly. Coffee also works excellent with resetting a freshly painted room.

How Does This Work?

Coffee beans are a great suggestion for removing the paint smell from a room. All you’ll need to do is place whole coffee beans in bowls or wide mouthed jars throughout your space. Whole coffee beans will work hard to reduce paint fumes and absorb the smells.

Even if they aren’t coffee drinkers, most people enjoy the smell of fresh coffee!

Method #9: Lemon Water

Slices of lemon.

Like using buckets of water for absorbing paint fumes, you can add fresh lemon juice to water for double the cleaning power!

In addition, lemon water detoxifies the air and gives off a fresh scent.

How Does This Work?

First, you’ll want to fill a few medium buckets of water and place them around your room. Next, cut up fresh lemon, squeeze some of the juice, mix it into the water, and leave the remaining lemon slices floating in your buckets.

Keep in mind this method requires a night or two.

Method #10: Air Purifiers

An air purifier.

Air purifiers are popular options for how to get the paint smell out of a room as you paint. These machines suck in the “bad air” and release pure, healthy, breathable air.

How Do They Work?

Better than fans, air purifiers remove paint odors without speeding up the drying process of your paint. Air purifiers work hard to remove harmful indoor particles and cleanse and balance your air.

Sanitized air from air purifiers is free of pollutants from paint fumes, allergens, and VOC toxins.

Method #11: Candles

Jars of scented candles.

If you love candles, you’re in luck! You can use odor-eliminating candles, but it’s not necessary. Instead, stick to purifying scents such as lemon, vanilla, peppermint, and citrus.

How Does This Work?

Using candles to improve the aroma of a room and neutralize unwanted smells has been practiced for ages. Candles help alleviate odors while attacking these VOC fumes floating in the air and refreshing your space.

How to Avoid Paint Fumes Before They Begin

You’lll have less to worry about if you practice purchasing low VOC-based paints. It’s healthier for you overall as well as the environment.

Remember to keep your room ventilated and free of paint fumes!

Constant Airflow

Constant airflow and circulation are critical when it comes to painting. Use classic fans, but be careful to point them towards windows and never your painted areas. You never want to speed up the drying process and cause paint problems.

Cool Temperatures

Also, keeping your home at cool temperatures or painting in the winter is a great way to keep the fumes at bay. Setting your room to cooler temperatures instantly lowers the paint fume counts developing while painting.

Wrapping Up How to Get the Paint Smell Out of a Room

A room painted in a light neutral with white trim and ceiling.

So now you know how to get the paint smell out of a room during and after painting! Any of these methods will work well to freshen your space, keep you safe and healthy, and flood out paint fumes.

Better yet, you probably have all, if not most, of these items already at home!

Check our the Interior Painting page on DIY Painting Tips for project inspiration. Thanks for visiting, and as always, happy painting!