Sometimes, a fresh coat of paint is all that you need to rejuvenate your home and give new life to your boring old walls. It’s a cost-effective hack to upgrade the look of your entire place and can make for a perfect weekend home improvement DIY project. While painting your home can make it visually appealing, more often than not, it can also leave your space smelling a certain way for several days or even weeks, which can be hazardous to your health. Although proper ventilation is one of the quickest and easiest ways to remove paint fumes from your house, sometimes it just isn’t enough. Therefore, to help you out, we’ve put together some useful tips on how to get rid of paint smell that has been lingering in your home using some common household items.
However, before we discuss how to remove paint odour inside the house, let’s try and understand why painting your home – especially with oil-based paints – usually leaves behind a nasty smell.
On the most basic level, all paints comprise four major components: resins, pigments, additives and solvents. In latex or water-based paints, water is used as the primary solvent (although a few others may also be present). However, in oil-based paints, organic solvents such as mineral spirit are used to make the colour wet and applicable. Most oil-based paints contain volatile organic compounds, better known as VOCs, which releases toxic gases in the air.
How Long Do Paint Fumes Last?
To put it simply, the time period varies in every case.
How long paint fumes last depend on the type of paint that was used, if the surface had been primed before being painted, the temperature and humidity in the room, the number of paint coats that were applied, and most importantly, the ventilation of the room.
Can Paint Fumes Make You Sick?
The answer is, yes.
Let’s take a look at some of the most common short-term side effects of inhaling paint fumes.
- Itchy eyes
- Scratchy throat
- Breathing troubles
- Irritated lungs
It is important to mention that these side effects and their respective intensities vary with each person.
DIY Tips on How to Get Rid of Paint Smell
Here are some tips on how to get rid of paint smell using household items such as:
- Tap water
- Portable fan
- Baking Soda
- Lemon water
- Coffee grounds
- Deactivated charcoal
- Vanilla extract
The best thing about these DIY hacks is that you don’t have to wait until your room is completely painted to actually use them. You can put most of these in the room while it is being coated with a fresh layer of paint. Moreover, you can even combine two or more methods for a quick result.
So, let’s find out how you can use these items to remove paint smell from the house.
Buckets of Water
Let’s start with the most common trick used by homeowners to get rid of toxic fumes in the house. It is also the most budget-friendly hack considering you only need a bucket or two of tap water to get the job done. Leave two or more buckets of water in a freshly-painted room for about eight hours before throwing away the water and repeating the process. Although it may take a few tries, the water will absorb some of the toxic vapours in the air and leave your space smelling completely fresh.
While this tip to get rid of paint fumes works in most cases, it might not be as effective as some of the other methods on the list.
Proper ventilation is obviously the best way to get rid of oil-based paint fumes, as well as others, in a house. However, since most rooms don’t have an exhaust fan, using a portable fan is your next best option.
To make your newly painted room smell nice and fresh, place a standing fan near your window with its face turned towards the outside. Then, turn it on to suck all the toxic fumes in the air and blow them out the window.
Owing to its incredible and versatile uses, the baking soda is probably the most important item in any pantry. As you may have heard, people place baking soda in refrigerators to get rid of bad smells. Similarly, you can use this household item to get rid of paint fumes by placing small quantities of the white powder in shallow bowls and placing them all around the room.
You can even sprinkle some baking soda onto the floor and furniture to remove any lingering paint odours. Just make sure to not turn on a fan or else the powder might stick to the wet, newly-painted walls.
This is one of the most efficient ways to remove paint smell from the house.
When it comes to tips on how to get rid of paint smells, this one ranks pretty high on the list.
After baking soda, vinegar is one of the most useful items present in most kitchens. It’s not a popular cleaning product, but you can also use it to remove paint odour inside the house. Just pour some white or apple cider vinegar, whichever is easily available, in small bowls and place one in each corner of the room. The liquid will absorb the solvent vapours in the air and get rid of all headache-inducing paint smells bothering you.
While water can absorb the VOCs, adding a few slices of lemon to it can help make your space smell clean and refreshing without using any chemical air fresheners or other products. You can leave lemon slices in bowls of water overnight in a room to get rid of paint fumes.
Who doesn’t love the smell of freshly ground coffee?
Another smart and cost-efficient way to get rid of bad paint smell is by using dry coffee grounds, which are easily available in almost every house. You can place coffee grounds in shallow bowls and leave them in a room to absorb the paint fumes. It will also help mask the paint of the smell.
Just make sure to throw them away once done. Do not use them to make coffee as they would have absorbed solvent vapours, which can be bad for your health. The same goes for almost everything else on this list.
Onions are also considered a good way to get rid of toxic fumes in the house. However, on the flip side, your room may end up smelling like onions – though at least it won’t be harmful to your respiratory system.
You can slice two or three medium onions and place them around the room in shallow bowls or small plates. Leave them out for a couple of hours to absorb the fumes. If needed, you can replace the process, but just make sure to dispose of the sliced onions after removing them from the room instead of using them for cooking.
If you want to remove paint odour inside the house, you can also use deactivated charcoal to get the job done.
Just like baking soda, charcoal is also placed in fridges and kitchen cabinets to get rid of bad odours owing to its excellent odour-absorbing properties. You can simply put some crushed charcoal overnight in the room that has been recently painted. Do not turn on the fan or open the window, because a strong burst of air can spread the black powdery substance all over the place.
If you like to bake, you most likely have vanilla extract lying somewhere in your pantry. Just place a few drops of the dark brown liquid extract on some cotton balls and scatter them around the room. This will get rid of paint fumes pretty quickly and leave your space smelling like vanilla.
If the vanilla extract isn’t available, you can use any pleasant-smelling natural extract, for instance, lavender, to remove paint smell from the house.
Last but not least, lighting up a candle is a great way to get rid of paint smell.
The flame of a candle can help you in removing paint odours by burning away solvent vapours in the air. However, you must only use natural beeswax candles, as paraffin-based candles actually emit more toxic fumes upon burning, which can be hazardous to your health. Soy-based candles can also be used for this purpose.
Moreover, you must practise extreme caution while burning candles to remove paint fumes from your house, especially if you have children or pets around the house.
So, which of these tips for removing paint odours did you find the most useful? Let us know your thoughts and comments by sending an email on firstname.lastname@example.org.
Meanwhile, don’t forget to take a look at the differences between exterior and interior paints as well as types of paint finishes to learn more about painting your home. In fact, our handy plaint calculator for homes might also help you out.
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