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Removing Paint Odors

Category Odors
Paint odors can linger in your home after you've finished your project. This guide is about removing paint odors.


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July 12, 20128 found this helpful

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:
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

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July 18, 20120 found this helpful

I have a very good two step process that I follow.

1. Paint room.

2. Go on vacation for a week.

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Ask a QuestionHere are the questions asked by community members. Read on to see the answers provided by the ThriftyFun community or ask a new question.

0 found this helpful
December 15, 2016

How did you know that lemon extract is effective in reducing paint odor? Are there any components in lemon extract that assist in reducing the odor of the paint? What are they?

Thank you!

Answer Was this helpful? Yes
December 16, 20160 found this helpful

This appears to be question about a "tip" that someone posted on Thrifty/somewhere?

I have not seen this tip/information so I can only give you what information I have available about getting rid of paint odors.

In my younger days I owned rental houses so due to constant upkeep, I became very familiar with paint fumes/odors.

My husband would sometimes add a few drops of vanilla extract to the paint and that seemed to decrease odors greatly. (maybe that is where the lemon extract idea came from?)

I have never heard of using lemon "extract" but I definitely used fresh lemons when they were available. Water and Lemons.

Fill a bucket 1/2 to 3/4 with water and toss in a few sliced lemons. The water will absorb some of the solvents in the air, and the lemons will add a fresh, clean scent to the room. Place it in the room while you're painting, then leave overnight. Be SURE to toss water and lemons out as they will have absorbed the "odors". some painters say to also add salt to the water but I never tried that. This worked well. Use bowls if buckets are not available.

Baking soda spread all around worked when carpet was present - just vacuum after 24 to 48 hours.

Other people swear by different items so if you are looking for how to reduce/remove paint odors/fumes - take your pick!

The following are suggestions from fellow "painters" but I am not familiar with any of these.

Just buckets/bowls of plain water..

Coffee grounds - not sure about fresh grounds or used?

Vinegar mixed with water.

Bowls of crushed charcoal..

The weirdest I have read or heard is to use sliced onions!!

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December 27, 20160 found this helpful

It is pretty much a well known fact that some items, such as lemon and vinegar or baking soda or charcoal cut down on odors. Fresh paint is an odor, so yes, it would help the smell.

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December 29, 20160 found this helpful

Lemon extract, fresh lemon wedges and lemon juice are all fragrant removers. I have used lemon juice on my counter tops after using garlic & onions or fish or any smell that you do not want lingering.

Also, I have done this in a restaurant, After eating and not wanting to jump up to use the ladies room just to wash my hands, use a wedge of lemon squeeze it in your hands, rub your hands together and you will have fresh smelling, food free smelling hands. I rarely use lemon extract, unless it is an odor that is very strong. A drop of lemon extract really works so well as a room freshener.

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0 found this helpful
April 11, 2010

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

Answer Was this helpful? Yes
April 12, 20100 found this helpful
Best Answer

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.

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April 14, 20100 found this helpful
Best Answer

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.

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August 30, 20150 found this helpful

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.

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December 29, 20140 found this helpful

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

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December 31, 20140 found this helpful

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.

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December 31, 20140 found this helpful

You could try leaving cut onions around. Just don't eat them afterwards!

Marg from England.

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December 31, 20140 found this helpful

And of course, leave the window open as much as possible.


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0 found this helpful
January 26, 2006

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

Answer Was this helpful? Yes
December 22, 20080 found this helpful


I tried the onion in a bowl thing and it actually made a difference. You have to leave it there for a little while and it smelled like onion. Opened the windows and the onion odor went away in about 2-3h.

I was glad it worked because it was in my baby's room.

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December 23, 20080 found this helpful

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!

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February 8, 20090 found this helpful

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.

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January 22, 20090 found this helpful

How do I remove paint odors in new paint before painting my walls?

Lynn from Florida

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January 24, 20090 found this helpful

Cut an onion and leave in the room until your finished painting.

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January 25, 20090 found this helpful

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!

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November 28, 20090 found this helpful

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.

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August 19, 20090 found this helpful

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.


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August 23, 20090 found this helpful

Next time when painting, cut a couple of onions in half and leave them lying around the room. Discard after a few days.(Don't eat them!)

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August 24, 20090 found this helpful

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

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August 24, 20090 found this helpful

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...

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0 found this helpful
November 5, 2014

How to get rid of paint odor in a newly painted house?

By Ngangi

Answer Was this helpful? Yes
November 5, 20140 found this helpful

Put plates in the painted room with either

. slides of raw onions

. baker yeast (not chemical yeast)

. charcoal

You can also burn a candle and use a ventilator with the windows opened.

Hope this helps!


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August 22, 20130 found this helpful

I used the wrong kind of paint in my bathroom. I used paint for the outside of your house. How do I get rid of the smell fast?

By twin

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August 24, 20130 found this helpful

There are many kinds of paint. There are some that are indoor or outdoor paint. My personal choice inside is to use oil. New paints have very little odor to them. Adding a few drops of colorless baking vanilla and stirring in does well in LATEX only. Ask the supplier of your paint. They will have other things to recommend.

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0 found this helpful
April 17, 2007

How do I get rid of paint smell? I have bedroom that was painted with miller paint. It was 3 weeks ago and still has an odor and was water based. I have tried an Odor Genie with an open window and a fan - it is better but still quite noticeable. The rest of interior was done in Behr - no odor from day one. Any help would be appreciated.

CJ from Camas, WA

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April 17, 20070 found this helpful

I know that we sometimes use"Natural magic, odor absorber", lasts 90 days(White plastic tub with green vented lid). These work really well. I buy alot of flea market/church sale items that sometimes smell like "basement". This does the if only I could make it myself and save lots of money!

In reply: these can be purchased at a pharmacy, a large supermarket or maybe a hardware store(if they know about quality:-)

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April 17, 20070 found this helpful

There's really only two ways to clean up the air, The fastest & the very best way is to rent an OZONE GENERATOR. (ozone machine). We had a fire in our home & the only thing that would remove the nasty charred fire smell was the industrial Ozone machine the pros brought in the next day. What a difference it made! We had to run it for 24 hours & not be in that room when it was running. AMAZING is all I can say! Truly AMAZING!

The only other way to get rid of the smell is to open your windows & wait... as long as it takes. Keep small children & animals out of the room in the mean time, especially ones with asthma & allergies. The smell may be nasty, & they aren't good for you either! Did you accidentally use an oil based paint? If so, that will take even longer to dissipate.

---> To rent Ozone Generators, either call up a rental store or look in your yellow pages under "Fire"... there you'll find companies that specialize in cleaning up homes after fires. They all have Ozone Generators for rent.

*** You may have a friend that has an ozone type of air cleaner that you could borrow. There are a lot of people that sell these "Ozone" air purifiers (about $400) & they will all let you try them for 30 days... this is also an option. The smaller Ozone machines may take a few days to work, while the industrial ones only take one day. Just put it in your room & shut the door. The smaller ones are okay to stay in while running. Turn off the industrial ones before using the room.

*** Any "Odor nutrilizers" will just mask the smell... Beware, products like Fabrize are bad for pets!

---> You can also try putting scattering 4 or 5 bowls filled with white vinegar around the room. Change to new vinegar daily. Vinegar will remove nearly any smell. When possible, leave the windows open all they way & block cold air from comming in the rest of the house with a few towels stuffed under the door. I'd do this for 2 or 3 days, & if this does not work, try the ozone machine & it will work!

* The "Queen of Clean" on DIY recomends Vinegar for removing all odors in the home.

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April 18, 20070 found this helpful

I have read that adding a tbsp of vanilla extract to your paint will stop odors. Hope this helps

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April 10, 20150 found this helpful

How do I get rid of paint smell?

By Cynthia from GA

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December 1, 20110 found this helpful

I just had the doors painted with QDE enamel paint; the odor is so strong. I like the color but to get rid of the smell is my problem now. Can you help? Thanks.

By Fely C.A. from Manila, Philippines

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February 4, 20160 found this helpful

lemons cut up vinegar and salt and water

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August 11, 2008

I'm getting the whole inside of my house painted. The paint smell is a little heavy. How can I remove the smell?

Rachel from Houston, TX

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August 11, 20080 found this helpful

For really nasty smells, rent an ozone machine (from a rental store) & run it for several hours (while your family is away). The smell will be TOTALLY gone in no time!

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August 13, 20080 found this helpful

fans will speed up the drying process. open all windows possible

ozone machines are really good. don't know the cost of renting one though

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