How to Get Rid of Paint Smell Naturally

When you’ve just painted your walls, the lingering paint smell can be bothersome. The most effective way to eliminate the odor is by increasing ventilation—simply open windows and doors. Additionally, common household items can naturally absorb paint smells.

Here are some easy and eco-friendly tips to rid your space of paint odor:

Note: While water-based paints are generally safe, solvent-based or oil-based paints can be more irritating to the eyes, skin, and respiratory tract. Although there’s no evidence that paint fumes harm pregnant women or their fetus, it’s advisable for pregnant women to limit their exposure to fresh paint fumes.

Duration of Paint Fumes

Water-based paint fumes are typically noticeable for three to four days, but oil-based or solvent-based paints may extend the duration. Rooms with limited ventilation or intense sunlight can intensify and prolong the fumes.

Start implementing odor-removal methods right away to prevent the fumes from becoming overwhelming and lingering unnecessarily.

Natural Methods to Reduce Paint Smell

Dealing with the aftermath of painting, whether it’s the lingering fumes or the pungent smell, can be challenging. Here are some natural and effective methods to tackle paint odor:

Baking Soda

Spread baking soda in shallow bowls throughout the room. Baking soda, known for absorbing odors, can also capture paint fumes.If the paint odor persists, sprinkle baking soda on the carpet and upholstered furniture before leaving it overnight. Vacuum the powder and odors in the morning.

Tip: Dispose of the used baking soda by gradually pouring it down the drain or garbage disposal to refresh your plumbing. Be cautious not to pour too much at once, as it might clog the pipes.

Using Onions

Get two medium slices of onion and place them in saucers around the room. While the choice between paint fumes and onion smell might be subjective, the natural aroma of onions can be more tolerable.Avoid using these onions for cooking afterward, as they might have absorbed volatile organic compounds (VOCs).

Activated Charcoal

Activated charcoal is a powerful odor reducer. You can buy it in small pouches or as a crushed formula to be placed in bowls around the room.Repurpose leftover charcoal by creating sachets to place in smelly shoes.

Lemon Water

Water alone can absorb VOCs, but adding fresh lemon slices enhances the effect, emitting a clean citrus scent. Leave bowls of lemon water in the room overnight for the best results, as water takes some time to absorb odors.

Coffee Grounds

Bowls of dry coffee grounds effectively absorb paint fumes, and the pleasant smell of coffee is an added bonus.Dispose of the coffee grounds once they’ve served their purpose as an odor absorber; avoid using them for brewing coffee afterward.

Sprinkle Natural Extracts or Essential Oils

Vanilla and peppermint extracts work wonders in eliminating paint odors. Place a few drops on cotton balls and position them in small bowls or saucers throughout the room.

Some experts suggest adding a drop or two of these extracts directly to the paint can before starting the job to minimize the odor.

Light Candles

Opt for scented soy candles to reduce paint odor. Soy candles burn cleaner, producing less smoke and soot compared to paraffin candles. Soy is also a sustainable and renewable option.

Try Bowls of Vinegar

White vinegar acts as an odor neutralizer, with household vinegar (10%) being more potent than cooking vinegar (5%). Place bowls filled with vinegar around the room to neutralize paint odors.

Absorb Odors With Diatomaceous Earth

Diatomaceous earth, a powdery substance made from fossilized algae, is a natural deodorant. Lay out bowls of food-grade diatomaceous earth to absorb paint smells, leaving them in place until the paint odor dissipates.

Tips to Prevent Heavy Paint Fumes

  1. Choose Low or Zero VOC Paints: Opt for paints with low or zero VOCs (volatile organic compounds) to minimize fumes.
  2. Check Weather Conditions: Avoid painting on days with high humidity, as it slows the drying process and intensifies odors. Soft materials like carpets and upholstery are more likely to absorb odors in these conditions.
  3. Allow Drying Between Coats: Ensure each coat of paint dries completely before applying the next one to prevent lingering fumes.
  4. Cover and Seal: Keep paint cans tightly sealed, and cover paint trays and brushes with plastic wrap when not in use to contain odors.
  5. Ventilate Properly: While painting, keep doors and windows open to allow fumes to dissipate, but close doors to other rooms to prevent spreading odors. Apply the same tips when stripping paint for a project.

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