How to get rid of spray paint smell

You can eliminate spray paint smell through aromatherapy, natural methods, or air purifiers. We’ve covered what works best.

Even several days after the spray paint has dried on the surface, the smell can linger in the air, which can be irritating and overwhelming.

Spray paints contain VOCs (Volatile Organic Compounds), chemicals that evaporate when the paint dries, causing the pungent spray paint odor.

How long does it normally take for the smell of spray paint to go away?

The spray paint smell normally goes away within 24 hours of application indoors. However, factors such as ventilation, type of spray paint, and the weather can affect how long it takes.

If you live in hotter regions where paint tends to dry faster, the smell should also go away faster. However, it is important to note that no matter the conditions, you should be prepared to endure the smell for at least 24 hours.

How to get rid of spray paint smell fast

Here are some of the quickest and simplest ways you can get rid of the smell of spray paint:

1. Ventilation

The first and most obvious thing to do, even before painting any surface, is to ensure you are outside or in a well-ventilated room. Open any doors and windows for proper air circulation.

Additionally, you can use fans pointed toward the windows. Turn them on only after you have finished painting to avoid wafting fumes into your face or accelerating the drying process before you are done painting.

If you are outside, ensure there isn’t too much wind for the same reasons.

2. Baking soda

Baking soda for cleaning
Image: JPC

Baking soda has been commonly used as a dying agent to absorb excess moisture from the air, but did you know it also works just as well in the absorption of fumes?

Placing a few shallow bowls of baking soda at scattered points across the area significantly reduces the smell. You can even get rid of it completely if you are lucky.

Leave the bowls out overnight, and throw them out in the morning. Be sure to place them out of reach of pets and children.

For soft furnishings like carpets and other fabrics, sprinkle the baking soda directly onto the surface, leave overnight, and then sweep or vacuum it the next morning.

The same applies if you want to get rid of the spray paint smell on furniture. Simply sprinkle, leave overnight, and vacuum in the morning.

3. Scented candles

Scented candles are not just great for aromatherapy. They also work well to eliminate various odors, and it is no surprise they work so well to neutralize the spray paint smell.

Simply place the lit candles around the room and give them a few hours to work their magic.

They work in two ways: by combusting any chemical residue lingering in the air and by releasing their scent, leaving the room smelling great.

4. Charcoal

activated charcoal

Charcoal works in the same way baking soda does. It can absorb odors and moisture in a matter of hours.

Place pieces of charcoal on plates or shallow bowls around the room and leave them overnight, then throw them out in the morning. Do not attempt to reuse the charcoal for other purposes.

5. Onions

Onions contain a compound known as Propanethiol, which is released when cut open and is responsible for their strong smell.

This method might leave your room smelling like onions for a short while, but it is sure less irritating than the spray paint smell. The onion smell doesn’t last as long, either.

Simply cut the onions in half, place them on plates with the cut side facing up, and leave them overnight. Throw the onions out in the morning and enjoy an odor-free room.

Here’s a detailed guide on getting rid of paint fumes using onions.

6. Air purifier

As the name suggests, air purifiers clean the air, removing odors and unwanted impurities. They are a speedy solution compared to fans.

You may turn on the air purifier as soon as you start painting since, unlike fans, they eliminate the spray paint smell without prematurely beginning the drying process.

7. Coffee beans or coffee grounds

Coffee grounds
Image: Andrea Tummons

This is a great solution because not only do coffee grounds/seeds neutralize the spray paint smell, but they also release a soothing scent into the room. Who doesn’t love the smell of fresh coffee in the morning?

Place the seeds/grounds in shallow bowls around the room, leave them overnight, and throw them out in the morning. Do not attempt to use the coffee as it is contaminated with chemicals from the paint.

For fabrics and other soft furnishings, sprinkle the coffee on the surface and sweep or vacuum in the morning.

8. Water and lemon solution

Lemons tend to have a fresh and soothing effect, and using this method is guaranteed to leave your room feeling and smelling refreshed.

Simply cut up a few lemons and place the slices in containers of water around your painting area. The water is a sink for the chemicals, while the lemon is an air freshener.

For furniture, metal, plastic, and other solid surfaces, spray the surface with the solution and wipe it with a clean sponge or cloth.

Place the containers in the room even before you start painting, and leave them out for a night after you are done to achieve optimum results.

9. Apple cider vinegar

apple cider vinegar

This method works almost like the lemon water solution and is a great alternative for chemical-filled products. Pour one cup for each corner of the room and leave it overnight before pouring it out in the morning.

For solid surfaces, dilute some vinegar in water, spray on the surface and wipe it with a clean sponge or cloth.

10. Extracts

Plant extracts like lemongrass, peppermint, and vanilla are a great solution to eliminate the spray paint smell and replace it with something more refreshing.

Put one or two drops on some cotton balls and scatter them in different corners of the room. Leave overnight and throw them out in the morning.

You can repeat this as many times as you would like to keep your room smelling fresh all through.

11. Indoor plants

Some indoor plants like spider plant, snake plant, golden pothos, dracaenas, aloe vera, and peace lilies can purify the air around them. Place them in the painted room and let them work their magic!

With all that said, you can take some additional measures to prevent the smell of spray paint altogether.

The best option is to use zero or low VOC non-toxic spray paint. These are paints with anything less than 50 grams per litre of VOC.

Another helpful measure is to avoid painting on humid days, as paint takes longer to dry and cure when it is humid. If you live in a generally humid area, consider getting a dehumidifier to accelerate the curing process.