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15 Ways How to Get Rid of Paint Smell Safe and Fast

It is always satisfying to see a room with a fresh coat of paint. However, you may find the lingering fumes bothersome. Aside from leaving the doors and windows open, you might be surprised to know that there are certain household items that can naturally absorb paint odors.

There are several ways to get rid of the fresh paint smell in a painted room. Most of these items can be found in your kitchen such as water, baking soda, onions, lemon water, charcoal, coffee grounds, and a lot more. These items are safe to use and can absorb paint smells fast.

If you find yourself constantly leaving the room or covering your nose when entering a freshly painted room, this time, you don’t have to! This article will share with you 15 safe, and fast ways to remove paint odor from a painted room.

All Methods Upfront

  • Baking soda
  • Onions
  • Charcoal
  • Lemon water
  • Coffee Grounds
  • Natural Extracts
  • Electric Fans
  • Water
  • Candles
  • White Vinegar
  • Food-Grade Diatomaceous Earth
  • Well-Ventilated Room
  • Air Purifier
  • Using Low VOC Paint
  • Keep the House Cool

How to get rid of paint smells?

There are several natural ways to get rid of paint smells around the room. Many of the items listed below are available in your kitchen. If you are ready to find out what these methods are, do keep reading

  1. Baking Soda
15 Pound Bags of Pool Cleaner Arm and Hammer Baking Soda

Baking soda can absorb odors not only in your refrigerator and laundry, but also paint fumes. In using baking soda, pour a generous amount into small bowls and place them around the room before you start painting.

You may dispose of the baking soda after you are done painting the room by throwing it in the garbage or pouring it down the drain. If you can still smell the paint, sprinkle baking soda all over the room, on the carpet and furniture.

Leave the baking soda overnight. After 24 hours, you may vacuum the powder off your carpet and furniture.

  1. Onions

The natural pungent smell of onions can help absorb paint smells. All you need are 2 pieces of medium-sized onions sliced into pieces. Place the sliced onions in a saucer and position them all over the room. 

You must dispose of the onions after painting for they could have absorbed volatile organic compounds (VOCs) that are not safe for humans when cooked.

  1. Charcoal
Nature's Bounty Activated Charcoal 260 mg, 100 Capsules, Dietary Supplement to Support a Healthy Lifestyle

You may want to have activated charcoal on hand at home for it is a perfect odor reducer. You can buy these in hardware stores. These can be bought in small pouches or as crushed formula that you may place in a bowl.

Activated charcoal is highly recommended because it is treated with high heat. The intense heat makes the charcoal porous which allows them to absorb the odor faster.

Although, if you have charcoal briquettes at home, you may use them as well.

For a few hours, leave bowls of activated charcoal around the room to dissipate the smell. If you can no longer sense the strong smell of paint, you can make pouches of leftover charcoal which you can put inside smelly footwear.

  1. Lemon Water
lemon water to get rid of paint smell

Image by Claudia Soares from Unsplash

Water with lemon slices can help absorb paint fumes and VOCs. Fresh lemon water gives off a clean and fresh citrus scent. This method may take longer to absorb odors. It is best to leave several lemon water bowls in the room overnight.

  1. Coffee Grounds

The smell of coffee beans and dry coffee grounds is the best smell every morning. If you love the smell of a fresh cup of coffee, you might be surprised to know that coffee grounds can aid in the absorption of paint fumes.

Place coffee grounds in small bowls all over the room. Once you are done, you should dispose of these in the garbage.

  1. Natural Extracts
Pure Peppermint Extract for Baking and Flavoring - 4 OZ - Premium Quality Natural Flavors for Baked Goods, Desserts, & Cooking

Natural extracts are also excellent paint odor eliminators. Vanilla and peppermint are two natural extracts that can refresh the air inside the room. You can lessen the paint’s odor with just a few drops of the natural extract on a cotton ball.

Place several cotton balls with natural extract on saucers and position them around the room. Some painting experts share a simple trick they do to lessen the paint odor. They add a few drops of the natural extract to the paint itself before they begin painting the room.

  1. Electric Fans

A few fans can help dissipate the paint smell from the room. The electric fans will make the paint dry faster, so be sure to work fast. 

As a reminder, make sure to turn off the air conditioning unit as well as the air vents inside the room to avoid spreading the paint fumes to the other parts of the house.

  1. Water

A few buckets of water will do the trick! Placing water around the room while you are painting is a simple yet effective solution for removing the paint smell.

It is also recommended to leave the buckets of water to sit overnight since water helps in absorbing paint vapors.

  1. Candles
candles to remove paint smell in house

Image by Joyce G from Unsplash

You can mask the strong paint smell by burning candles.

You may also open your windows to aid in the faster dissipation of the strong smell from the room. As a word of caution, don’t leave a burning candle unattended. You don’t want to burn down your newly painted room.

  1. White Vinegar
Amazon Brand - Happy Belly White Distilled Vinegar, Kosher, 1 pound (Pack of 1) (Packaging May Vary)

White vinegar is also effective in removing the paint smell. It is recommended to use typical household vinegar that contains 10% acetic acid for quicker results. 

In using white vinegar, pour a considerable amount into bowls and position them around the room. The acetic acid in the vinegar helps neutralize the odor in the room.

  1. Food-Grade Diatomaceous Earth
Harris Diatomaceous Earth Food Grade, 4lb with Powder Duster Included in The Bag

Diatomaceous earth is a chalky white powder made from fossilized plankton. It contains high levels of silica content giving it excellent moisture-absorbing properties. 

These can be bought online or in hardware stores. You can leave food-grade diatomaceous earth in disposable containers and let them sit overnight in the painted room.

  1. Well-Ventilated Room

A well-ventilated room helps get rid of paint smell fast. You must open the door and all windows of the room when painting. Let the fresh air fill the room as much as possible.

Airating weel the room is the easiest way of getting rid of paint fumes fast.

ventilate room to get rid of paint smell

Image by Vruyr Martirosyan from Unsplash

  1. Air Purifier

If you have an air purifier at home, you should turn it on before you start painting.

The air purifier helps absorb the paint smell and it also dissipates the smell faster.

I have Xiaomi Air purifier 4 Pro and 4 Lite (for smaller room) and I’m very happy with it. It picks up anything from smell to PM 2.5 particles. At night it is so silent I can’t hear it.

When we were doing epoxy floors we used them and I think they helped tremendously.

Xiaomi Mi Air Purifier Pro H, Touch PM2.5 Display or Google/Alexa, 750-1290 sqft
  1. Using Low VOC Paint

Buying low-VOC paint can help minimize the paint smell in the room.

The VOC present in most paints is responsible for the strong paint smell. To read more about toxic paints, click the link.

Read also: 15 Best Eco-friendly Alternatives to Acrylic Paint

  1. Keep the House Cool

The room is cooler when it is well-ventilated.

However, if you decide to paint during winter, it is best not to turn your heater on. You must wait for the paint to fully dry and set before you turn it on.

Why paint smell will not go away?

The paint smell tends to stay in the room and be absorbed by the soft fixtures in the room because of the VOC present in the paint you used. The VOC is responsible for creating the strong paint smell – the smell of fresh paint.

Read also: 15 Best Eco-friendly Alternatives to Acrylic Paint

How long does it take to get rid of paint smell?

If you use low VOC paint, the paint smell may dissipate within 36-48 hours.

However, if you are using a strong paint formulation, the paint smell may dissipate in a week or two.

The good news is that current paint formulations are manufactured with low VOCs and fainter paint odor.

Epoxy paint can smell up to 7 days – it is mandatory to keep all your windows open or even leave the house.

How do I get rid of paint fumes fast?

It is nearly impossible for paints not to leave any smell behind.

However, there are precautionary methods you can do to reduce the paint odor and make the painting process faster and easier.

Here are some ways you can do to get rid of paint fumes fast:

  • You should definitely purchase and use paint that is marked as low odor or with zero VOCs. It is best if you can use paint that is oil-based as well as those made from plants, milk, and minerals.
  • You may want to check the weather forecast before doing any paint job because high air humidity slows down the drying process of paint. When the drying process is slow, most of your furniture and soft fixtures like carpets and curtains have the tendency of absorbing odors and stay on for a long time.
  • Lastly, you can remove the paint smell faster by placing any of the items listed above around the room when you are painting.

Different Methods to Remove Paint Smell in the House

how to remove paint smell in the house
Cal David

There are different ways you can remove paint smell in your home. As discussed earlier, there are 15 methods you can do to remove paint smell.

However, paint smell can still stay on your furniture and fixtures for days after painting. This can be quite disturbing. 

A paint smell can stick to your carpet, curtains, furniture, cabinets, and drawers. You can remove the paint smell by trying some of the methods below:

Removing Paint Smell on Furniture

You may place white vinegar in several bowls to place near your furniture. White vinegar can help neutralize the paint odor. 

Alternatively, you can place baking soda in several bowls around the furniture because of its natural absorbing odor capability to eliminate strong paint smell.

Removing Paint Smell on Cabinets and Drawers

If you are painting cabinets and drawers in your home, the best way to remove the paint smell is to keep your cabinets and drawers well-ventilated after painting. You may have read suggestions to apply a mixture of vinegar and water to your cabinets and drawers to remove the paint smell. 

It is possible, but certainly unsafe for your cabinets and drawers because of its high acidity level. Baking soda can also damage your cabinet and drawers when applied to cabinets and drawers. 

Instead, you can place either baking soda or vinegar in several bowls to be placed inside cabinets and drawers. Alternatively, you can use coffee grounds, activated charcoal, and food-grade diatomaceous earth.

You also have the option to purchase commercially-sold paint odor eliminators. A paint odor eliminator can absorb and neutralize strong and offensive odors. 

These are versatile and can be used to remove strong and unwanted odors such as paint smell, smoke, urine, car odors, and so much more.

If you are painting wooden furniture you may read these articles:

How to get rid of paint smell in car

The first thing that you can do to remove paint smell from cars is to keep the car well-ventilated. You should open all the doors and roll down all the windows for a couple of hours. 

It is best to check and clean your car’s aircon filter since it has probably absorbed paint smell. However, if you still find the paint smell strong and offensive, you may place buckets of water with slices of lemon and onion to absorb the odor. 

Regularly change the water, lemon slices, and onion slices every eight hours until you can no longer sense the paint smell.

How to get rid of paint smell in car
Image bywhereslugo fromUnsplash


What happens if you smell paint for a long time? How can you recover?

Inhaling paint for a long period of time can cause short-term health concerns such as dizziness, headaches, and even nausea. You should drink a small amount of water or milk while observing your reaction to paint smell exposure.

If you feel any of the symptoms, it is a must to call Poison Control.

What kills the smell of paint?

There are several ways to kill the smell of paint fast. You can use baking soda, sliced onions, activated charcoal, lemon water, and coffee grounds. You may place them in small bowls and leave them inside the painted space.

How do you get rid of paint smell in a new house?

You can remove the paint smell in a new home by opening the doors and windows to keep the whole house well-ventilated. Keep the whole house at a cool temperature for the paint smell to dissipate easily. You may place charcoal, baking soda, onions, candles, and even air purifiers to get rid of paint smell fast.

What Reddit users suggest to get rid of the paint smell?

Reddit users highly recommend keeping the room well-ventilated for a couple of days to get rid of the paint smell.

It is also best to place fans inside the room to help dissipate the smell. If there are carpets or curtains, these need to be removed and washed.


A freshly painted room is like fresh air in a home. Fresh paint gives new life to your home. However, the strong odor is not fresh air at all. Moreover, the smell becomes a burden and an irritant for the people living in the home.

With the different methods above, you now know how to get rid of paint smell in your home with more comfort and ease. You can get rid of the paint smell quicker. 

If you find this article interesting, you may also be interested to know more about eco-friendly paints that are perfect alternatives to using when painting your home.

Last update on 2024-04-18 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API