How to Get Rid of Paint Smell

How to Get Rid of Paint Smell


Paint provides one of the easiest but still most effective ways of breathing new life into old rooms and other things like furniture pieces. But, painting stuff can have one significant negative consequence: dealing with unpleasant paint odor.

This pungent paint smell comes from the evaporation of solvents in the paint, and it should disappear once the paint is dry. However, you do not have to live with unbearable paint smells as there are different ways of getting rid of them, and here we explain some of the easiest ones.

How to Get Rid of Paint Smell

1. Baking Soda

Baking soda is what many people turn to when they want to get rid of bad odors in fridges and ovens, given it is very good at absorbing smells. Similarly, you can also use baking soda to deal with the paint smell. All you have to do is leave bowls of it all around the freshly painted room or sprinkle it on carpets and rugs in the room.

2. Activated Charcoal

Activated charcoal is highly porous, given that it undergoes a high heat treatment. This property makes it very ideal for absorbing the odor-causing molecules since there are more spaces for them to go in the charcoal. You should pour the activated charcoal into pans and leave it in the room overnight.

3. Lemon Water

Although plain water can still absorb the odor-causing VOCs in the paint, you can make it even more effective by adding a few slices of lemon. With lemon water, you get a pleasant citrus scent that replaces the pungent paint smell. But, since this method takes quite some time, you will need to leave the bowls of lemon water in the room much longer.

4. Coffee Ground

Instead of discarding your used coffee grounds, you should use them to deal with foul odors, such as the smell of fresh paint. Coffee grounds are highly porous and have a large surface area that can help absorb the odor-causing molecules. Even if they do not absorb all the paint smell, the pleasant coffee aroma should make things a little more comfortable for you.

5. Candle

Odor-eliminating candles are handy when dealing with paint smell as they help mask the annoying odor as the paint dries by replacing it with a better smelling scent. But, regular candles can also be beneficial since their flame helps burn the VOCs from the room’s air. However, make sure you do not use paraffin-based candles. These candles can worsen the issue by emitting toxins into the air.

6. Peppermint and Vanilla

Peppermint and vanilla have a fantastic smell that can be very useful when dealing with paint smell. Since their scent is quite strong, you can use it to mask the paint smell as the painted area dries. An easy way to use this method is to put vanilla or peppermint extract on cotton balls and place them all around the room. Also, you can add them to a bowl of water and leave it in the room overnight.

7. Onions

Besides having excellent odor-absorbing properties, onions also have a pretty strong smell that can be highly effective at masking the paint smell. All you need to do for this method is slice up a few onions and place them around the room. Before using this method, you have to decide what you find most bearable between the strong paint fumes and the onion smell.

8. Vinegar

Vinegar is another common home remedy for getting rid of different smells at home. Simply placing about a cup of distilled white vinegar or even apple cider vinegar in every corner of the painted room can help eliminate the pungent smell without adding more toxicity to your air.

Tips to Avoid Heavy Paint Fumes from the Start

Tips to Avoid Heavy Paint Fumes from the Start


While there are many effective ways of getting rid of paint smell, it is always easier to avoid them from the start, and here are a few things you can do to ensure this.

  • Use Low-VOC Spray Paint: Since the VOCs in the paint are the source of the pungent paint smell, using a product that does not contain many can be very useful. A low to zero VOC paint will always produce less odor that should dissipate within a short time.
  • Ventilation: Keeping the room well-ventilated as you paint effectively minimizes smell buildup. Leaving the doors or windows open ensures that most paint fumes dissipate and do not accumulate in the room.
  • Give the Surface Enough Time to Dry: Even if you do not have a lot of time to spare for the job, you need to give the surfaces you are painting enough time to dry before the next coat. Doing this ensures you do not have damp walls that trap more paint fumes.
  • Cover Up the Paint: You should never forget to keep anything with paint, such as the paint can or tray covered. Also, things like the rollers and brushes need to be covered when not in use, so they do not release more fumes into the air.


Paint smell is always part of the job you have to deal with, whether you are painting a room or furniture. However, there are many ways of removing it from the air, ranging from baking soda to onions and essential oil extracts. Keeping the room well-ventilated and choosing a paint low in VOCs are vital when dealing with paint smell.


  1. 8 Ways to Remove the Smell of Paint Fumes – The Spruce
  2. How to Get Rid of Paint Smell – Country Living Magazine
  3. Quick Tip: Neutralize Paint Fumes with an Onion – Bob Vila