How to get rid of paint fumes in a house

Updated November 21, 2016

Adding a fresh coat of paint to a room makes a difference, especially when changing colour schemes for an updated look. When this project is done during the colder months, headaches and nausea begin to set in from the fumes. Doors and windows have to remain closed, so it seems as if the fumes are going to hang around forever. You can add things to paint to disguise the odour, but there are two proven methods of dissipating the pungent smell of paint. Five to 10 minutes of time and the fumes are on their way to being gone.

Slice one large onion into quarter sections. Place the pieces in a shallow baking dish filled halfway with water.

Place the dish in the middle of the floor of the room that has been painted. Add a second onion and dish if it is a large room.

Place additional onions in pans in each room painted. The fumes will begin to go away immediately.

Toss the onions out as soon as all of the fumes are gone. This should take less than four hours.

Fill a small bowl with water. Add 1 tbsp of ammonia to the water.

Place the bowl in the centre of the painted area. Do not place more than one bowl in the room.

Add another bowl of ammonia and water in the centre of each separate room painted. Leave these bowls out overnight and dispose of the liquid the next morning.


Ammonia has a strong fume as well. it is best to find other accommodations for the night to avoid the fumes of both the paint and ammonia.


Do not leave the ammonia where children or animals can reach it. It is very harmful to swallow and is a caustic irritant to the skin.

Things You'll Need

  • Onions
  • Small pans
  • Ammonia
  • Small bowls
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