Paint odors can linger in your home after you've finished your project. This guide is about removing paint odors.
There are a few items you can use that greatly help to mask or neutralize the smell of fresh paint. You also need to have good ventilation during, and for at least a couple of days after painting for health safety sake. Please keep in mind that these items only either mask or neutralize odor and that the VOCs (volatile organic compounds) in the paint will still be released into the air as the paint dries. For that reason if anyone has respiratory problems it would be best if they stay elsewhere for one night at the very least.
Here are the suggestions of what works for either odor masking or neutralizing:
Bioworld Odor Neutralizer Commercial Concentrate (Bon-Cc-41):
Is an odor neutralizer that can be ordered online. It's a tiny bit expensive, but it's concentrated:
Essential Peppermint Oil:
Peppermint oil is clear so it can be used even in white or cream tone paint colors to mask paint odor. Mix in 1 teaspoon to 1 tablespoon per gallon of paint.
Lemon extract can also be used even in white or cream tone paint colors to mask paint odor. Mix only 1 to 2 drops per gallon of paint.
Pure Vanilla Extract:
Use only clear vanilla extract for white or cream tone paint colors to mask paint odor. You can use light colored vanilla extract for all other paint colors. Mix in 1 teaspoon to 1 tablespoon per gallon of paint.
Cut a large peeled onion into quarters, place each in a separate saucer (one cut side facing down), add some water and place the saucers in different locations in the room.
Place small bowls or small glasses filled part way with vinegar around the room.
Happy painting ;-)
**Bonus Note: The BioWorld Bon-Cc-41 can also be used to eliminate odors in carpets, hardwood floors, walls, and even laundry that are caused by smoke, skunk, pets, garbage, and urine.
By Deeli from Richland, WA
I recently painted a new wall with a 5 year old latex primer followed by 2 coats of paint. A very disagreeable odor emanates from the wall. I have never had this problem with "old" paint before. Where is the odor coming from?
By George from Port St Lucie, FL
It could be your sheet-rock. Since 1997, many houses were built with Chinese sheet rock and they emit a "rotten egg" smell from the sulfur. This sheet-rock was recently recalled because it causes the wiring to tarnish and corrode quickly. If this is your problem, you will have to remove the sheet-rock! The sheetrock has been a real problem in Florida and the South due to the high humidity. The moisture in the paint also could have made the sheet-rock smell.
If it's just the paint, you can cover the wall with one or 2 coats of Zinsser shellac and alcohol based primer (read the back of all the Zinsser primers) it's one of the lower cost primers that Zinsser makes. They use this to prime and seal hospitals, kitchens and schools. They use it because it's low odor. This primer will help seal in the odor of the paint, but won't help if bad sheet rock is your problem.
Google: "Chinese sheetrock" or "Chineese wallboard" for more info.
If the smell is really disagreeable you may have to remove the wall entirely and sheet rock a new one. Maybe an animal like a squirrel or mouse died in between the walls. I sure wouldn't work hard to try to remove it or cover it up. I'd make a clean sweep. It doesn't sound good.
Definitely reprime the walls. Latex paint can go bad. The smell will continue to worsen. Hopefully reprinting will zap it. Do not repaint until you are sure the smell is gone.
I used a paint made for timber and metal in my bathroom by mistake. What can I do to get rid of the strong paint smell?
By Marie C. from Limerick
In the US we have a paint called Kilz. It is a primer and stops mold and mildew and some smells. That is what I would try if you can find it.
You could try leaving cut onions around. Just don't eat them afterwards!
Marg from England.
And of course, leave the window open as much as possible.
I just finished painting my son's bathroom and was wondering if there was anyway to expedite the removal of the paint smell? I tried a bowl of vinegar but that didn't help. I've been running the air cleaner to help expedite. It's kind of tough to leave the windows open due to it being frigid out this time of year.
Kelly from Bensalem, PA
I also tried the BioWorld Product and LOVED it! The lady I worked with from the company gave me specific instructions on how to use it and was very helpful! She did mention that it works best in the paint before you apply though. Luckly I called before I started painting and didn't notice any scents left behind!
Vanilla extract works on oil paint. Just put a tablespoon in a bowl in the room and leave it for a couple days. Totally takes the odour away. Not sure if it works for latex or not.
Hi, Some older interior latex house paints contain the preservative phenylmercury propionate. Indeed, a small child suffered brain injury after helping his mother paint his room.
The most effective mitigation technique would be to use activated charcoal and pass the vapor through it using a fan etc. The activated charcoal adsorbs the organic vapor. Good Luck!
How do I remove paint odors in new paint before painting my walls?
Lynn from Florida
I painted 4 rooms with absolutely no odor by putting a few drops of real vanilla extract in each gallon of paint. It really does work!
The only thing that seems to clear the air in a freshly painted room is lots of ventilation; cross ventilation if possible. I have been painting with Kilz Odorless Primer and Olympic Premium Zero VOC, low odor paint. These products still have a bit of an odor and so the rooms should be ventilated during painting and while they are drying. No paint is completely odorless. Olympic paint is sold at Lowe's.
OSH sells Dutch Boy Freshair (?) paint that is zero VOC and it has baking soda in it I believe. It is supposed to help keep your home smelling fresh. I have not tried it. Home Depot sells Freshaire brand paint with zero VOCs. It is non-toxic because they have their own non-toxic tints. The paint can says "no chemical odor." Ace Hardware sells a brand of non-toxic paint also called Mythic. Benjamin Moore and Sherwin Williams also carry Low VOC/Low Odor paints. I have found Olympic to be considerably less expensive than the rest.
They do make an additive that makes the paint smell good when you apply it and for a few months afterwards.
Hope that helps.
I am allergic to paint odour, my bedroom was recently painted. How am I to use this method (vinegar to remove paint odors) to get rid of the smell? Does anyone have any other methods? Please let me know. Thanks.
I have a Book called 1.0001 helpful hints and in that it says if you use 1 teaspoon of Vanilla to 1 pint of paint it will keep the odor away and will not hurt the paint
The vinegar in the paint is okay but it can color the paint, and will destroy that bright whtie you may be looking for.
Since my husband and I have severe allergies, we learned that if you boil vanilla, water and cinnamon or nutmeg in a pot of water and put the steaming pot in the room, it cuts the scent a lot. I have also found that using a crock pot with those same ingredients while painting helps, too. 'Course, you get really hungry for cookies after a bit, but...
Using vinegar or scents only cover up the odor, fine if it isn't an allergy but rather that you hate the smell. The problem, if it is allergies or sensitivities is the volatile organic compounds (VOC). Covering them up does not make them go away. Some plants are noted for their ability to remove VOCs from the air, spider plants being one of the best. The next time you paint, get a low VOC paint, some now available have very little emissions. Or you can try making your own milk paint, unless of course you have dairy allergies.