How to Get Rid of Paint Smell

How to get rid of paint smell is the most common question asked when painting a room.

Let’s review the top 14 ways that professional painters recommend for removing and preventing paint smell in your home.

How to Get Rid of Paint Smell
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14 Top Ways How to Get Rid of Paint Smell

Here are our top 14 ways to remove paint smell from your home after painting. We will discuss each one below.

  1. Paint Odor Eliminator
  2. Fans
  3. Baking Soda
  4. Cut Onions
  5. Activated Charcoal
  6. Candles
  7. Essential Oils
  8. Vinegar
  9. Cat Litter
  10. Coffee Grounds
  11. Water
  12. Cut Up Lemons
  13. Diatomaceous Earth
  14. Air Purifier

How to Get Rid of Paint Smell

What neutralizes the smell of paint? What gets rid of paint fumes fast? Read our solutions below to get rid of paint smell in your house. Most of these solutions work best if you do them before you even start painting and if you leave them in the room for 12-24 hours after finishing your paint job.

Paint Odor Eliminator: Stop Paint Scent at the Start of Your Project

Paint odor eliminator is a product that you add to your paint before you get started painting that reduces the paint smell from the start. This is because it neutralizes the smell of paint before you even paint one brushstroke. KABOSH is the product we recommend and you can pick it up HERE.

Fans: Ventilate the Area Before, During and After

Ventilation right from the start of your paint job is one way how to get rid of paint scent fast. Along with a ceiling fan and/or floor fan, open a window or two and the door to the room you’re painting. Proper ventilation is how to get rid of paint fumes fast.

Baking Soda: How to Get Rid of Paint Smell with Baking Soda

If you also need to know how to get rid of paint smell on furniture, baking soda is the answer. Sprinkle baking soda on your carpets, couches, and any soft furniture. Let it sit overnight to absorb the paint smell, and then vacuum it up about 12-24 hours later. Baking soda is effective in removing odors because it neutralizes acidic molecules, making them less likely to cause a foul smell.

Cut Onions

Another way how to get rid of paint smell after painting is to use onions! There is a chemical inside onions that neutralizes paint fumes by absorbing them and doesn’t leave the room smelling like onions either. Cut a large onion in half and put on opposite sides of the room you’ve painted for 12-24 hours.

Activated Charcoal

Activate charcoal is a great way to get rid of paint smell. It works by absorbing the odors from the air into its porous surface. You can buy it in premade pouches or in a powder form that you put in bowls and place in the room. Leaving for 12-24 hours works best. Activated charcoal is available in most health food stores, and it is inexpensive. It works by adsorbing the molecules that cause the odor, leaving the air smelling fresh and clean.


Scented candles can do the trick to remove paint smell. Light them before you get started to really help eliminate the odor.

Essential Oils

Essential oils are another natural way to remove paint smell. Lavender, peppermint and vanilla are especially effective to get rid of paint smell. Put a few drops of essential oil on cotton balls or even Kleenex or TP and place them around the room. You can also use a diffuser. You can do this before you start painting to help eliminate the odor from the get go.

Vinegar to Remove Paint Smell

Does vinegar remove paint odor? It’s a great way to not use chemicals. By itself, vinegar is a good deodorizer. Pour vinegar into a few bowls and place them in different places in the room to neutralize the odors. Vinegar works by breaking down the molecules that cause the smell, making them less potent. For best results, leave the bowl of vinegar in the room overnight.

Cat Litter

Cat litter usually has built in odor absorbers in the litter, like baking soda.

Place the litter in a container in the area that you’ve painted. Just like coffee grounds, you can place small bowls in vents, corners, or any area that may have absorbed the paint smell.

Coffee Grounds

Dry coffee grounds work great at absorbing odors and leaves the room smelling a bit like your favorite grounds. Buy the cheapest ground coffee you can find and place them in a bowl with a flattish bottom so that more of the grounds are exposed to the air.

Leave the bowl in the room or area you wish to remove odor for around a week and you will see a difference. Shake the bowl up once and awhile to expose more of the grounds to the smoke odor. You can even place smaller bowls or containers inside AC and furnace vents to suck up odor in those places.

Just remember to not turn on your air systems during this time or you will have coffee grounds blown all over the place.


Put water in buckets around the room and let it sit overnight while it absorbs the paint smell. Adding sliced up lemons may help speed up the process and leave your room with a nice citrus smell instead of paint odor.

Cut up Lemons

You can simply leave cut up lemons in various places throughout your painted room to absorb the odors and leave behind a fresh citrus smell.

Diatomaceous Earth

Diatomaceous Earth can be used to absorb odor by putting it into bowls and placing around the room. Use food grade because the other kinds are irritating to pets and lungs.

Air Purifier

Using an air purifier while you paint, and afterwards, will pull the paint fumes out of the air. Turn it on as soon as you start painting to work the best. Look for models that use HEPA filters, which are designed to capture tiny particles, including paint fumes. Air purifiers are especially useful if you are sensitive to the smell of paint or have respiratory problems.

How to Get Rid of Paint Smell: Info About Paint Smell

How Long does it take for Paint Smell to Go Away?

That all depends on if you used regular paint or Low VOC/Low Odor paint, the size of your room, how many coats you did, etc. I’ve noticed that it can take anywhere from 36-72 hours for paint smell to go away.

Remember, if your room isn’t ventilated that it will take longer. Ventilating your room and/or using the techniques above before you start painting, will reduce the amount of time paint smell takes to go away.

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Does Paint Smell Affect Health?

Many people ask is it safe to sleep in a room after painting? Paint fumes and exposure to them over short or even long periods of time can cause skin, eye, and throat irritation. I recommend not sleeping in a room you painted for at least 36 hours (or even longer) so plan accordingly.

How to Get Rid of Paint Smell: Tips for Preventing Paint Fumes from the Start

 Here are a few tips for preventing paint odor before you even start painting.

  • Low VOC/Odor Paint
  • Low Humidity
  • Ventilation
  • Let Paint Dry
  • Keep Lids on Paint Cans

What is low odor and low VOC paint: are they the same thing?

Low VOC mean low in volatile organic compounds (VOC). Those are the compounds that are released into the air and cause odor, so they are the same thing. The best paint to grab is paint the is labelled Low or Zero VOCs which emit less odor. Some paints are even more natural based and are made from plants, minerals, clay, etc.

Low humidity/warm day so that the paint dries faster, paint emits the most odor as its drying, so reducing the drying time will help to reduce or eliminate paint smell. 

Ventilating your paint area with fans and opening windows and doors will remove paint odor and prevent it from building up from the get go.

Let each coat of paint dry before applying the next. Damp paint and walls will trap fumes and slowly emit odor for a longer time.

Keep the lids on your paint cans covered while painting or while on a break to prevent odors from escaping into the environment.


How to get rid of paint smell is easy if you are prepared before you even start painting. Getting rid of paint smell is easy if you follow these simple steps. Ventilate the area, use activated charcoal, baking soda, vinegar, air purifiers, and odor-neutralizing sprays to get rid of the odor.

Remember to be patient, as it may take several days for the paint smell to dissipate completely. With a little effort, you can enjoy your newly painted space without the unpleasant smell of paint.


Will paint still smell if I use a paint sprayer?

Yes, even if you us a paint sprayer, the area you painted can still smell like paint. Follow our advice above to get rid of that smell ASAP.