How to get paint fumes out of the house

Written by corey m. mackenzie
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Newly painted walls and furnishings can give off fumes many days after they appear to be dry. Even low-odour paints sometimes give off a smell for a while. Paint fumes can be annoying, at the least, or even overwhelming for some people---especially those with respiratory allergies or asthma. While paint fumes will dissipate on their own after some time, this is often not soon enough. Fortunately, there are a few simple ways to speed up the process.

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Things you need

  • Large box fans and/or circular rotating fans
  • Bowls
  • White distilled vinegar
  • Water and onions (optional)

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    Get paint fumes out of the house

  1. 1

    Remove any remaining paint (in roller pans and paint cans, for example) from the home. Open all windows and doors.

  2. 2

    Put fans in each room that has been painted. If possible, place a box fan in at least one window to draw in fresh air and displace the fumes.

  3. 3

    Set up fans in front of open doorways. Direct them outward and turn them on, facing the outdoors, so that they pull the fumes from the home.

  4. 4

    Even if the paint feels dry, direct fans toward the painted walls and other newly painted items in the home. This will speed up the drying process and help rid the home of fumes.

  5. 5

    Place a bowl of white vinegar in the centre of all rooms with the paint smell. Using vinegar alone (without also airing out the house) will not work but can assist in removing the odour.

Tips and warnings

  • In addition to airing out the home very well, you can also try cutting up onions and placing them in bowls of cool water around the house. According to the article "How to Have Your Paint and Beat the Smell, Too!" by painter Dee Potter, onions will absorb some of the paint smell.
  • Paint fumes can cause severe reactions in people with asthma or other respiratory disorders. If someone in your home has allergies or asthma, consider putting her up elsewhere (in a hotel or a friend's house) until the paint fumes have dissipated.

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