Unilever logo
Cleanipedia PH logo

How to remove paint smells from your home

The smell of paint can linger, even once the walls are dry. Read on for tips on how to remove paint smells plus some safety advice on paint fumes and pregnancy!


Reading Time: 5 minutes

Written by Eunice Samson

Remove paint smells

Is your living room lacking in luster? Or your kitchen feeling a bit dull? What you need is to spruce things up with a new coat of paint! Decorating your home can be an incredibly rewarding experience, but even if you're not sensitive to smell, the smell from paint can be particularly pungent. So, get rid of that fresh paint smell from your home with Cleanipedia’s handy guide and saftey tips for how to remove paint smells. 

Always opt for paints which are not solvent-based as they release less toxic fumes when drying. If in doubt, check for advice at your local store.

Why is it important to remove paint smells?

Wall paint has quite a distinctive smell – you wouldn’t be here learning how to remove paint odor if it didn’t! This strong scent leads many people to worry about the effect that paint fumes have on pregnancy, asthma and other health conditions.

Though modern paints pose very low risk to unborn babies (so if you are planning to decorate your baby’s nursery room, you can do so during pregnancy with no worries), it’s best to avoid painting during the first trimester of pregnancy, as this is when your baby goes through a lot of key development.

Yet, being exposed to paint fumes, pregnant or not, for too long a period of time can lead to dizziness, irritated eyes and coughing. This is because paints have levels of volatile organic compounds, especially present in the solvents used in the paint.

When the paint dries, the VOCs evaporate, releasing what we popularly call paint fumes. VOCs are also present in some cleaning products, but as we’ve seen in our article on air-purifying plants, these can be easily purified. You should:

  • Avoid using solvent-based paints as these have more harmful fumes and higher levels of VOCs.

  • Always keep windows and doors open when and after painting so air can circulate.

  • When painting, make sure to take regular breaks away from the painted area so that you can breathe cleaner air for a couple of minutes.

With these simple tips in mind, you should be able to choose your paint color with confidence and enjoy giving your home a makeover – safely. You can find more tips on how best to paint your walls

The Poll

Would you be more likely to buy a Cleaning or Laundry product that had a QR code visible on the pack over a product without a QR code? 

0 Votes

How to get rid of paint smells

After finishing your paint job, it’s very common that the paint smell lingers, even after you’ve ventilated the room and the paint is dry.

Here we have six natural ingredients sure to help you on your quest for how to remove paint odor long after your walls are dry, or as soon as you’re finished painting:

  • Charcoal. Put bowls of crushed charcoal near the paint – charcoal absorbs all kinds of odors!

  • Baking soda. This ingredient is also known to help get rid of paint smells. Put open boxes or bowls around the room – you can also sprinkle it onto the carpet before vacuuming a few hours later.

  • Coffee. Coffee grounds can absorb odors and also leave a nice scent in the room. Again, just leave a few bowls around the room.

  • Lemon. Sliced lemons in a bucket of water can help absorb some of the solvents in the air. You can add a bit of salt to help get rid of fresh paint smells even more!

  • Vinegar. Another natural substance well known for neutralizing odors, so you could place a few bowls near the painted area to remove paint smells.

  • Onion. Believe it or not, some people find that two halves of an onion, placed at opposite sides of the room, can get rid of paint smells surprisingly quickly!

Now that you're equipped with tips on how to safely remove paint smells, you can play around with different combinations of deodorizing solutions to best suit you and your home. Remember to enjoy your home makeover – the chaos is only temporary!

Do you want to learn which household cleaning tasks cause the most stress?  Then read our Heated Household data analysis. 

Frequently asked questions on removing paint odor

Do moth balls absorb paint odors?

Mothballs do not absorb odors, such as paint smells, but they can prevent musty, damp odors caused by mold as they can soak up liquid and prevent mold from growing. You want to take care when using them, however, as the chemicals that work so well to prevent pests can also leave behind their own scent.

Does lead paint smell?

It’s understandable you want to know if lead paint smells. After all, if you are exposed to lead over a period of time, it can cause damage to brain development in children as well as damage to the kidneys and nervous system in both adults and children – even if the exposure is low level. Sadly, lead paint does not smell – so you may not even be aware that you have been exposed to it. The only way to know if you have lead paint is to use a lead paint testing kit.

How long does fresh paint smell last?

The smell of fresh paint lasts different amounts of time depending on a few factors including the type of paint and the ventilation of the room where it has been used. On average, you should ventilate a room for 2-3 days to ensure the odor and any fumes are removed. If you do not do so, it can take up to a month for the smell of fresh paint to disappear.

Is there such a thing as odor neutralizing paint?

Low and zero-VOC and odor neutralizing paint does exist – but they are not very common. The main option that is available in the Philippines is BOYSEN® Healthy Home™.

Do smell free paints really work?

Whilst you may want to invest in smell free paint – you will never find one that is 100% odorless. What you will find on the market will be less smelly that regular paint which may mean you do not need to ventilate your room for as long after using it.

What can you put in paint to make it not smell?

If you’re wondering what to put in paint to make it not smell, you’ve come to the right place. The easiest way to reduce the smell if you’re sensitive to odors – or simply don’t like it – is to add a few drops of a colorless essential oil such as peppermint oil. For every quart of paint, add just four drops of your chosen essential oil as an odor neutralizer.

Originally published