How to Get Rid of the Paint Smell in a Restored Car

Updated February 21, 2017

You recently painted your late-model car as part of the vehicle's restoration process. Everything is fine, but the strong paint smell. The odour is present inside the car, and the smell is not only strong, it is causing you to have breathing issues. You don't have to breathe the paint fumes. Getting rid of a paint smell is difficult, but it can be done with time and a few household products.

Park the car in a well-ventilated area like under a carport or driveway.

Clean the car's interior with a upholstery cleaner that has a scent. Use a sponge and wear latex gloves. You want to wipe the seats, dashboard and other areas of the car's interior to remove any build-up of paint odour that may be present.

Pour in a plastic container 1 tbsp of white vinegar and 1 tsp of a fragrance like lavender or other extract.

Place the plastic container in the centre of the car on the floor or centre console.

Place several dryer sheets under the car's seats.

Close the car's doors and make sure all windows are up. Keep the container in the car overnight.

Remove the plastic container the next day if you plan on driving the car and spray the car with an odour-eliminating spray. Once you are back home, place the bowl back in your car for about a week before checking for the odour. Change out the dryer sheets every other day.

Check to see how strong the paint smell is inside the car after the allocated time is up. If the smell is still present, keep the bowl in the car for about a week before checking for the odour. Keep changing out the dryer sheets every other day.

Spray a odour eliminating spray after one week to remove any lingering paint smell that may still be present.


Try not to use the vehicle for at least a week ,and let the vinegar draw the paint smell out of the interior.

Things You'll Need

  • Upholstery cleaner
  • Sponge
  • Latex gloves
  • Plastic container
  • White vinegar
  • Fragrance -- lavender or other extract
  • Dryer sheets
  • Odour-eliminating spray
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About the Author

Nick Davis is a freelance writer specializing in technical, travel and entertainment articles. He holds a bachelor's degree in journalism from the University of Memphis and an associate degree in computer information systems from the State Technical Institute at Memphis. His work has appeared in "Elite Memphis" and "The Daily Helmsman" in Memphis, Tenn. He is currently living in Albuquerque, N.M.