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How to Get Rid of Spray Paint Smell [Out of the House & Objects]

Spray paint has become very popular, but it does not smell very good. Are you struggling to get rid of the spray paint smell inside your house? Is the smell stuck on your furniture or maybe your clothes? Is it even possible to get rid of the smell of spray paint?

The smell of spray paint will eventually go away on its own in a couple of days. However, there are some things you can do to help get rid of the smell faster.

The best and fastest way for spray paint fumes to dissipate is to paint outside. When you paint outside the fumes have further to travel and the paint dries faster. Ultimately, the faster the paint dries, the faster the smell will go away.

Painting outside is not always an option for some people. Luckily for you, there are some other things that you can do to get rid of the smell of the spray paint. In this article, I will outline the safety precautions of spray painting indoors and how to get rid of the smell of spray paint.

how to get rid of spray paint smell fast

Is the Smell of Spray Paint Harmful?

The smell of spray paint is not exactly harmful. It is the chemicals in the smell that are harmful. If you can smell the paint you are being exposed to paint fumes. Paint fumes contain volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and they are released into the air when you spray the paint.

Some of the short-term effects of exposure to VOCs include headache, dizziness, trouble breathing, and irritation of the eyes, nose, or throat. These symptoms should go away when you get some fresh air.

Long-term exposure can lead to damage to the nervous system, liver, and kidneys. You can decrease your exposure by using indoor and water-based paints as they have fewer VOCs than other paints. In another article, I explained what to do if you inhaled too much spray paint.

The health effects that a person has after exposure to paint fumes vary for each person. The amount of spray paint in the environment, length of exposure, and the health of the person who has been exposed all play a role in each person’s reaction to paint fumes.

How Long Does it Take for the Spray Paint Smell to Go Away Naturally?

The fumes left behind after spray painting are not fun to live with. Unfortunately, these smells can last days or even weeks. Poor ventilation means the paint fumes have nowhere to go and therefore you will smell them for a longer time. If the room is well-ventilated the smell should be gone in approximately 24 hours.

There are some natural items that you can use to help get rid of the paint fume smell faster. I will discuss these natural remedies in the next section along with other ways that you can get rid of the smell of the spray paint.

It is important to note that just because you cannot smell the paint, does not mean the air is fully safe. VOCs can still be present even if you can not smell them.

How to Get Rid of Spray Paint Smell out of the House?

The ways that I will describe below are assuming that you have already painted and used the correct personal protective equipment. That includes covering other furniture and items where you are spray painting. This will prevent the spray paint smell from settling into fabrics and furniture.

Spray Paint in a Well-Ventilated Area

The best way to get rid of the smell of spray paint is to paint outside or in a well-ventilated room. A well-ventilated room or painting outside provides airflow. That airflow keeps the paint fumes moving and disperses them further than a closed-off room could.

A ventilated room or painting outside also allows the paint to dry faster. The faster the paint dries the quicker the smell disappears. The smell of spray paint comes from the solvents reacting to other particles in the environment. Once the paint is dry, the solvent is gone and the smell disappears.

Related Read: How Long Does Spray Paint Take to Dry?

It is also better for your health to paint outside or in a ventilated room. Paint fumes are not safe to inhale for a prolonged time. They can cause short-term and long-term health problems for anyone in the room.

Air Purifier

Air purifiers sanitize the air. They remove pollutants, allergens, and toxins from the area. That includes VOCs. You should use an air purifier that has a HEPA filter. These filters remove smaller particles including those of VOCs.

An Air purifier is not the cheapest option when it comes to getting rid of the smell of spray paint. However, it is arguably one of the best methods. I highly recommend one if you are spray painting a large project or a lot of smaller projects.

Paint With Low-VOC Spray Paint

A low-VOC paint will not completely remove the smell of spray paint, but it will decrease how harsh the smell is. You should avoid oil-based spray paints as they have more VOCs than water-based paints.

Aqua spray paint is known for having low VOCs and beautiful color options. Any spray paint that contains 50 grams per liter of VOC is considered a low-VOC spray paint. There are also zero-VOC spray paints on the market.

Zero-VOC spray paints are misleading as they still have traces of VOCs. Zero-VOC spray paints contain 5 or fewer grams of VOCs per liter. The label of the spray paint should list it as zero-VOC. You can also look at the grams of VOCs and how many there are per liter to determine if the paint is low or zero-VOC spray paint.

Use Water-Based Spray Paints

Water-based paints still produce fumes and a smell, but the smell does not last as long as oil-based paints. This occurs because water-based paints have fewer VOCs in them.

They also dry faster than oil-based paints. The faster a paint dries the quicker the smell goes away. Paint stops producing fumes once it is fully dried. This phenomenon occurs because the solvents in the paint have evaporated.

Lemon Water

Lemon seems to be one of the most versatile foods. They can be used in baking, cooking, and digestive health, and they can be used to draw out the odor of spray paint from your house. All you have to do is place sliced lemons in a bowl of water.

You can use as many bowls and lemons as you want. You can even use a bucket or something bigger if you painted a large room. The bowls should stay in the spray-painted room overnight, if not longer.

There is not a lot of scientific evidence on how lemon water removes the smell or if it removes all of the harsh chemicals in the air. The safest bet is to use bowls that you would not normally use for food.

Apple Cider Vinegar

Apple cider vinegar is another very versatile kitchen product. If you want to use it to remove the spray paint smells from your house all you have to do is pour 1 cup into each bowl. You do not have to dilute the vinegar with water.

Place the bowls all around the room or rooms where you spray painted and leave them overnight. The vinegar should be discarded the next day. Do not try to use it for cooking or even cleaning afterward.

Coffee Grounds

If you are not a fan of the smell of coffee you should not try this option. Coffee grounds can remove the smell of spray paints, but they also make the room smell like a coffee shop. The grounds can be placed in containers around the room.

Once again dispose of the grounds after use. Do not attempt to use these grounds to make a cup of coffee or to fertilize any plants.

Baking Soda

It is no secret that baking soda absorbs odors. It is used in countless cleaning products and even in toothpaste. You can place the baking soda in small dishes around the room. You can also sprinkle it onto carpets or fabrics and vacuum the powder the next day.

Activated Charcoal


Charcoal is great at removing odors. You should get activated charcoal as it is more porous allowing it to better absorb the smell of the spray paint. You can buy bags of charcoal or buy a canister of activated charcoal powder to put into bowls.

Once again you simply place the bowls or bags of charcoal around the room and leave them overnight. The bag of charcoal can be used in other areas around the house to remove odors. For instance, some people place them in sneakers. They can be used until they no longer absorb odors.

Indoor Plants

Some species of indoor plants are air purifiers. Snake plants, aloe veras, and more purify the air in any home. Air purifying plants will not provide immediate relief from the smell of spray paint, but they still help get rid of the smell.

Be careful to not paint your plants while you are spray painting. It may be better to remove them from the room until you have completed the spray painting. They will help remove toxic particles from the room and add some color and personality at the same time.

Onions

What smells worse onions or spray paint? If you think onions smell worse or the smell makes your eyes water then this is not a good solution for you. The rest of you brave souls can slice an onion into a thin sliver or in half. Then just place them in bowls around the room.

The odor of the onions will mask the odor of the spray paint. You should throw out the onions the next day. Do not try to eat the onions. It is possible that they now contain VOCs and can make you sick.

Do Not Use Candles

Candles are known to make rooms smell better. But did you know that candles also release VOCs? While they release significantly less compared to spray paint, they are not the best solution to get rid of the smell.

Candles will mask the smell of spray paint, but you also want to get rid of the VOCs in the air. Candles will add to the amount of VOCs whereas other solutions help eliminate the VOCs in the home.

How to Get Rid of Spray Paint Smell on Items

Did you spray paint old furniture, and now you can not get rid of the spray paint smell? Different surfaces have different ways to get rid of the smell. Below I will discuss the different surfaces and how you can get rid of the smell of spray paint on each surface.

Removing Spray Paint Smell on Metal

The smell of spray paint on metal can be removed in a variety of different ways. You can place the lemon water, activated charcoal, or any other before-mentioned method near the metal. Or you can apply a vinegar solution to the topcoat of the metal.

Vinegar can remove the smell of paint from metal. It can also remove the spray paint from the metal. That is why you have to dilute the solution and apply a very small amount.

Do not apply the vinegar solution until the paint is fully dry. If the paint is still sticky to the touch you should wait longer. When the surface is dry apply a light layer of vinegar and water solution to the metal object.

Removing Spray Paint Smell on Wood (Furniture)

If you want to get the spray paint smell out of wood furniture you will need vinegar, a mixing bowl, a rag, and a fan. Before you do anything make sure the last layer of paint is dry to the touch. If the surface feels sticky wait and check the surface again later.

When the top coat of paint is dry mix two parts of water and one part of vinegar in a bowl. Then you can apply the solution to the wood with a rag. Once the surface is coated in the vinegar solution, turn on a fan. You should point the fan towards the wood.

A fan helps the vinegar dry and will speed up the curing process of the spray paint. Repeat the process if the smell is still present. You can also leave the wood furniture in the sunlight to help reduce the smell and increase drying time.

Related Read: How Long Does Spray Paint Take to Dry

Removing Spray Paint Smell on Plastic

You can use any of the suggestions mentioned in the earlier section about getting rid of the smell of spray paint. Lemon water, vinegar, or activated charcoal placed near the plastic item will get rid of the smell of spray paint.

Make sure you use a low or zero-VOC spray paint designed for plastic. Spray paints designed for plastic will dry faster than spray paints made for general use. After all, the faster the paint dries, the sooner the smell goes away.

Removing Spray Paint Smell on Fabric

Did you spray paint and now your clothes reak like paint? Normal laundry detergent will not remove the smell from your clothes. It may dilute the smell slightly, but it will still linger. You can however use baking soda, borax, or vinegar to get rid of the smell.

You simply follow the instruction on the borax box when washing the clothes. Or you can fill a bucket with warm water and ½ cup of baking soda or vinegar. Then let the clothes soak in the solution until the smell has disappeared. The clothes can be washed normally afterward.

Related Read: Can You Use Acrylic Paint on Fabric?

Removing Spray Paint Smell on Canvas

So you decided to try to spray paint canvas? Now you just want to get the smell of spray paint off your canvas. Well, the best way to get rid of the smell on canvas is to let the canvas sit in a well-ventilated area and fully dry.

You could try using vinegar on cotton balls or a rag, but you risk smudging your paint if it is not fully dry. You can also put charcoal, lemon, or any of the above-mentioned items into a bowl and place it near the canvas.

Those things will help the smell dissipate faster, but I still highly recommend leaving the painting in a ventilated area to dry. This will not only get rid of the smell but will ensure your paint is set and dry.

Is it Safe to Use Spray Paint Indoors?

If possible you should always spray paint outside, but you can spray paint safely indoors. The fumes are easily dispersed when you spray paint outside. When spray painting inside you should make sure you are in a well-ventilated room.

You should not close off the room you are painting in as this will increase the amount of fume build-up. Whether you are painting inside or outside you should wear a mask and eye goggles while spray painting. Some people even prefer wearing gloves when they spray paint.

If you must spray paint inside you should remove everything from the room that will not be painted. If that is not possible then cover everything with tarps. The smell of spray paint will be worse if there are surfaces in the room it can adhere to and linger on.

Verdict

The best way to get rid of the smell of spray paint is to paint outside. However, that is not always feasible. If you must spray paint inside or you are spray painting a room make sure you are using proper PPE.

Spray paint smells bad and can have short or long-term effects on your health. The fumes from the paint can cause shortness of breath, dizziness, headaches, and more. Long term the fumes can cause damage to your nervous system, liver, and kidneys.

On the bright side, there are things you can do to get rid of the smell. These at-home remedies also remove the harsh particles from the air and therefore they are beneficial to your health too. You can use indoor plants, coffee grounds, onions, baking soda, and so much more to get rid of the smell that comes with spray paint.

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