How to remove a paint smell

Written by kathryn hatter
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How to remove a paint smell
Remove the lingering odour after painting. (brush in paint image by Vladislav Gajic from

You finally settle on paint colour for your interior room and your decorating plans are coming together. You spend the day applying several layers of paint and then you stand back to admire your handiwork. Unfortunately, the odours of fresh paint are so powerful and unpleasant that you cannot bear to smell them. If paint fumes linger in a freshly painted room, try several different options to absorb or remove the fumes.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

Things you need

  • Fans
  • Plain charcoal
  • Bucket
  • Paper towels
  • White vinegar
  • Shallow bowl
  • Onion
  • Knife
  • Small dish

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  1. 1

    Open the windows wide to create cross ventilation in the room. Set up fans at several points in the room to move the air.

  2. 2

    Crush 10 to 12 charcoal briquettes in the bottom of a bucket. Moisten two to three paper towel squares and nestle them among the crushed charcoal. Place the bucket into the centre of the painted room and keep it there for 24 hours. The charcoal will absorb the odours.

  3. 3

    Pour enough white vinegar into the shallow bowl to cover the bottom. Set the bowl in the centre of the painted room and leave it there for 24 hours. The white vinegar will absorb the paint odours.

  4. 4

    Peel an onion and cut it in half. Pour a small amount of cool water into the bottom of the small dish and place the two onion halves cut-side-up in the water in the dish. Place the dish in the centre of the painted room and leave it there for a day. The onion will absorb the paint odours.

Tips and warnings

  • Stir 2 to 3 drops of pure vanilla extract into the paint in the can before you apply it. Often the vanilla extract will mask paint odours and make them undetectable after you apply the paint.

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