View Full Version : Help! How do I remove paint odor??

12-16-2003, 11:47 PM
Dave and I spent all day Saturday painting our guest room for my parent's arrival next Sunday. We used two coats of a gorgeous sunny yellow satin paint and it feels completely dry. In fact, I already have my wall stuff back up! The room is finished, but it's now been three full days and nights and the paint odor is still way strong! We leave the window open when we're home, Dave has put an oscillating fan in the room when we're at work, and we've tried 'Carpet Fresh'. All help for awhile but as soon as the room is closed back up the paint odor returns. :confused:

I have until Sunday evening to get the room aired out but I'm nervous! My father has mild asthma and can wheeze when he's around strong smells, and I'm worried! It was raining when we painted and it has continued to rain and I know that humidity can be a factor in the paint completely drying, but aside from just keeping air flowing through the room is there any other secret trick I don't know about?

Hints From Heloise actually said to cut onion wedges and put them in plates around the room with dishes of white vinegar to absorb the odors :confused: but then I wondered how I'd get the onion and vinegar smell out! :rolleyes:

Any ideas would be appreciated! :)

12-17-2003, 12:15 AM
Last time we had the painters in, they mixed a bit of vanilla extract into the paint to remove the odor. Since your paint is already on the walls, how about pouring some into a few saucers and letting it sit for a while. Definitely smells better than onions and vinegar.

12-17-2003, 08:17 AM
I'm surprised the paint smell is still there. We painted a few weeks ago and the smell didn't linger long. Did you use latex? I acutally find the paint has less odor these days than in the past. We always use Benjamin Moore though, so I'm not sure if different makes have different odors.

I don't know what you can do besides airing the room. Maybe burning a candle when you are home could help too.

12-17-2003, 08:20 AM
I would try the dishes of white vinegar...I have used that to help neutralize odors & it works very well. You may also want to borrow/buy an air filter, that may help as well. Other than that, keeping the windows open are a good bet. Good luck!

12-17-2003, 08:25 AM
Have you tried lighting some candles in the room. That can remove odors.


12-17-2003, 08:53 AM
Thanks for the tips so far! I have lit candles and they work for awhile, then when that scent dissolves and the room is closed up again (window is closed) the smell comes back.

Desperate me is trying the onion thing today! :rolleyes: I've wedge cut two huge onions and put them on three plates around the room, and I have three dishes of white vinegar. I was nearly out of vinegar so the dishes are only about 1/2" thick, but hopefully it'll help! I also opened two boxes of baking soda and put them in the room.

I also read the vanilla trick after I'd painted the walls. In fact, I read that if it's white or ivory paint use a drop of lemon extract! Too late for that in this room but I'll remember it next time.

Dave just put our air cleaner down in the basement so I could put Christmas decorations where it used to sit. :p I'll hunt that up tonight since he's in PA for a week and put that in the room too. I completely forgot!

So I have onion, vinegar, and baking soda in there all day Wednesday...let's see how it smells when I come home tonight! Dave did say that the onion and vinegar might smell, but if it absorbs the odor then that smell will be easier to get rid of than paint! I'll dig up the air cleaner and put that in all night tonight and for Thursday through Sunday and see how it goes! Thanks everyone, and keep 'em coming if you have them! :)

12-17-2003, 09:00 AM
My thought is maybe if it was humid when you painted, it's not as dry as it seems. Is there a way to crank up the heat in that room for a couple days to make sure all the paint is completely dry?

12-17-2003, 09:07 AM
Hey - are you off work today??? :D Good to see ya hon!

Wendy w
12-17-2003, 09:13 AM
No advice, just wishing you luck and it's nice to see you! :)

Lynn B
12-17-2003, 05:55 PM
Hey, girlfriend! GOOD TO SEE YOU!!!! :)

We have painted a kijillion walls in our "home-owning history" and have never had a paint odor linger so long. I don't think that's "normal"!

My suggestion would be to contact the paint manufacturer and explain the problem. Hopefully they will have some good advice for you.


PS Off topic... but my DD and a girlfriend are in Seattle right now on a "break-from-school" vacation, and I thought of you! She is having a great time, says it's a wonderful city. I say, any city with a WHOLE FOODS AND TWO TRADER JOES is a GREAT CITY!!!! :)

12-18-2003, 12:09 AM
Well...the onion and vinegar didn't help. :( I know this might sound like a trivial problem, but I'm really concerned that the paint fumes aren't going to fade by Sunday night. I dug up the air cleaner out of the basement and I've got it going full blast in there right now with the door closed and I'm planning on leaving it until Sunday night.

A coworker did recommend something called 'Air Sponge' that is sold at Ace Hardware. Supposedly a tub 'o goo that contains activated charcoal and when the lid is removed and it's placed in the area to be 'sponged' it eliminates all odor from urine to paint solvents to smoke. I didn't have a chance to make it to an Ace after work today, but hopefully tomorrow. That will be my last hope.

Another coworker said that these things are only going to remove the odor that is in there now...but that the reason for the odor is wet paint. This totally confuses me since the walls are dry! :confused: I mean bone dry! I thought maybe the second coat was put on before the first coat dried, but we waited nearly 15 hours before putting the second coat on, and we're 'get the last bit of paint off the roller before redipping' type painters so the coats weren't too thick. It's your basic American Traditions (Lowes) satin latex paint! :mad:

I'll see how this air cleaner works and I'll try to hunt down the 'Air Sponge' goo tomorrow. If anyone has any other suggestions I'd love to hear 'em! No one is married to a professional painter, huh? ;)

Thanks everyone...

12-18-2003, 12:15 AM
If you haven't called the paint department at Lowes, I would do that first thing in the morning and ask them for advice.