Wall Paint Smells Like Pickles?


I purchased a gallon of Clark and Kensington paint and primer in one from Ace Hardware. The color my daughter picked out is lemon grass. Since day one of painting it has a very pronounced smell similar to pickles. I know it's green paint, but really. Is there a chemical reaction going on with the mixes to prepare it. How do I rid of it? By the way it's day 4 now and it still stinks.


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July 28, 20180 found this helpful

I have smelled bad paint smells and described them in many ways, but a pickle smell is new to me, but apparently a lot of people have that smell response to paints. I googled it and found NUMEROUS hits for it!

So when I have had bad smells in a room after painting (usually the paint, but one time it was a sandwich that one of my helper friends left a piece of under the tarp on a hot day--that was an easy fix) clearing your nose by standing outside for a few minutes then walking into the room and putting your nose right up to the painted wall.


If it is indeed the paint, which most likely it will be since paint STINKS, take the cans back to the store and ask what they will do to make the situation right.

You may want them to replace it with a low volatile organic compounds VOCs paint or a different brand, but sadly that means repainting (UGH). They may suggest a top coat, but in my experience, that has its own issues and I have had it cause the color to change just slightly enough that I hated it.

If the store won't offer a solution, you may want to go right to the Ace corporate offices. Their contact info is

Good luck! If you need short term solutions for getting the room to smell better...ask and the group can give you some!

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July 28, 20180 found this helpful

Air out the room well and use fans. It will dissipate

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July 29, 20180 found this helpful

I've read some articles and forums that say if the pickles smell does not dissipate in a month, you should prime the walls and repaint.

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July 31, 20180 found this helpful

Please return to Ace and explain your problem. You can carry your receipt or the paint can with you but most likely they will help you solve this problem. I have always found them very helpful and eager to help but if they do not offer assistance then (or a good solution/explanation) then feel free to contact the major office.


  • It is possible this odor is being caused by a reaction between the old paint and this new "all in one" paint but I believe Ace should be able to determine if this is the problem.
  • Consider contacting the company that made the paint and perhaps they will have an answer.
  • Paint "smells" do not always go away in a few days, especially if the room cannot be sufficiently aired out.
  • Consider the fact that when apartments are freshly painted, they are usually aired out (all windows and even doors left open all day for several days - even a full week) before a new tenant can move in. This is only a comparison but that is done for just that reason - smell.
  • If none of this solves your problem and airing out does not make the smell go away then you may be able to contact your credit card company/bank (however you paid except cash) as they will many times step in and check this out for you and may find it in your favor and give you a refund. Not sure there is much else you can do about this paint job.
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  • In the end, you may have to repaint using a sealer first and then new paint.
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July 31, 20180 found this helpful

some people say that the vile smell comes from the volatile organic compounds in the paint decaying, which could very well have mold spores living in them as well as an actual bacterial infection, as most latex paint are now becoming low or zero voc, they have lowered a lot of the solvents that are in paint that fight bacterial growth.

And also many people report that the smell simply does NOT go away, and even forces some to not only repaint but replace drywall, etc


some people had good luck adding a quarter cup of vinegar into paint, or heating up a room/baking it and ventilating it to get rid of odours as well as washing everything down with bleach and water.

but if it were easy enough to return the paint nd buy non-mouldy paint, that would probably be best

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September 26, 20180 found this helpful

Hey! So I work at an Ace Hardware and have had people come in with these complaints. No matter what brand of paint, most companies will tell you to wait it out, or repaint. Every brand we sell (Valspar, Clark and Kensington, and Royal) hhave guarantees for these situations.


The best option I have found is to prime the walls using a primer like Bin or zinsser and then repainting the walls. I hope this helps!

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