Pro Tips on How to Get Rid of Spray Paint Smell?

Spray paint has been one of the most used things since my college days. Our friends and I used to wrap up the street and halls with it. Nothing bothered us about it, not even the price but the smell coming from it after spraying.

Most of them complained that this had been a headache to the surroundings. We started pondering how to get rid of the spray paint smell then.

It took no time for us to find the first solution, which was to use baking soda on the floor. It covered and eliminated most of the smell, and thus, we got out the first solution.

As we moved on and on with the spray paint, we had to come up with other ideas for getting rid of the smell. Some of them are so cheap that you cannot but want to implement them on your own.

You’ll get access to all of them in this article. As a bonus, I’ll add an FAQ section with some of the most asked questions for the past several years. See how the ending goes.

Get Rid of Spray Paint Smell


Spray paint is one of the most used media of paint nowadays because of its easy-to-use configuration. You don’t need any special equipment to use it.

One of the exciting things about spray paint is that you can use it on surfaces such as metal, wood, plastic, and the interior or exterior wall of your house. The thin coating of spray paint dries off quicker than regular paint.

Spray paints are mostly oil-based and water-based. Though oil-based spray paint has more coverage and quicker drying time, water-based paint is the best option for exterior surfaces.

It is the most widely used type of automotive paint in the present world. Automotive spray paint contains special equipment and solvents, which are more environmentally friendly and produces considerably less odor.

Although it’s eco-friendly, the chemical components used in spray paints can be extremely hazardous to our health. The elements of spray paint are known as VOC (Volatile Organic Compound). Some of the well-known components present in the spray paints are:

  • Acetone
  • Xylene
  • Toluene
  • Formaldehyde
  • Ethylbenzene
  • Carbon black
  • Magnesium silicate

These ingredients are most likely to cause damage to our kidneys, liver, respiratory system, and nervous system.

Toxicity of Spray Paint Smell

Paint fumes can adversely affect you if the place where you’re painting is poorly ventilated. It can be harmful if the fume is inhaled or swallowed in large amounts.

You might even find yourself subjected to potential irritation or discomfort due to breathing in the presence of a paint smell for too long.

Some side effects of paint smell can either stay for a short time or cause long-term damage to you. Short-time side effects may include:

  • Headache
  • Nausea
  • Allergic reaction
  • Vomiting
  • Irritation of nose or throat
  • Feeling light-headed
  • Breathing problem

These minor discomforts will disappear once you are in an open space or the fresh air. But be cautious of the more damaging long-term effects, including:

  • Asthma
  • Kidney damage
  • Nervous system damage
  • Liver damage
  • Loss of motor coordination
  • Abdominal pain

These may occur if exposed to a higher concentration of paint gas for an extended period. So, try to prevent any direct contact with high-concentration paint fumes.

Ways to Get Rid of the Spray Paint Smell

Now I’ll share some simple and easy techniques to drive away paint smell efficiently.

Method 1: Sand and Seal

Before spraying paint, you must do some prep work and sand the painting surface first. Sanding the surfaces will help hold the paint in place.

Following this method can smooth out any rough or dirty surface and get even coverage.

Next, make several light coats of spray paint. This way, the smell would fade away more quickly.

Let each layer of paint dry properly before applying more paint; seal it with a clear coat, and you’ll be good to go. This will seal the smell and protect the painting from any exterior damage.

Method 2: Letting it Dry Under the Scorching Heat of the Sun

Drying the painting under direct sunlight in an open space is the quickest and most efficient way to remove the smell. This way, the paint will get to dry correctly, and the smell will disappear.

Move the object’s orientation often so that it can have different places it gets warmed up by direct sunlight evenly. Don’t forget to leave the windows to keep the place adequately ventilated.

Method 3: Using Lemon and Water

Lemon and water are natural and well-known home remedies to eliminate the paint smell. It safely removes the smell of paint by absorbing the fumes and leaves a refreshing citrusy aroma in the house. The process is straightforward. Slice up a few pieces of lemon, put them in a pot filled with water, and place them near the painted surface.

However, this method may take some time to remove the paint smell. So, it is better to leave the mixture of lemon water overnight in the room.

Method 4: Coffee Grounds

Coffee grounds are another simple and safe way to remove paint odor. As you know, coffee has a powerful smell; it is a great ingredient to cover up the odor of spray paint.

If you are a coffee lover, you’ll love this technique. It replaces the smell of paint with its aromatic fragrance. The grounds can absorb the fumes of paint and don’t let the odor spread.

Also, they are straightforward to discard after use. Just throw them in the trash once you are done with them.

Method 5: Using Baking Soda

Baking soda works like magic in case of removing paint smell. It can even remove odors that are much worse than paint smell. Just take some baking soda in a disposable cup or plate and leave it near your painted stuff overnight.

This will altogether remove that strong smell of spray paint. In case of surfaces with a softer finish, just sprinkle some baking soda on top of it and then vacuum it up when the smell is gone.

Method 6: Using Onions

Peeled onions are another effective way of removing paint smell. Onions naturally absorb the paint smell. You can just take an onion, peel the outer layer and then cut it in half. Leave the piece of onion with the cut side facing up in the room.

You can use multiple pieces depending on the size of the room. For the best result, leave them overnight or until the smell is gone.

You should be careful to throw them away when you are done, as they are no longer safe to use for cooking purposes.

Method 7: Using Candles

Scented candles are always an excellent option for making your room more relaxing and soothing. Knowing that you can use them to remove the foul odor of paint from your house is even better.

A scented candle is perhaps the most straightforward technique to cover any foul smell. Just choose a candle you love, burn it up, and leave it around your room for a few hours.

This will help cover up the smell of paint, and you’ll have your house smelling exactly how you want. You can use multiple candles to make the process quicker.

Method 8: Using Charcoal

We all know Activated Charcoal and its excellent absorbing properties. It has a higher absorption quality than all the other ingredients. Activated Charcoal doesn’t just mask the smell but eliminates it.

One teaspoon of activated charcoal is more than enough for a standard-size room. Leave them on a plate or scatter them in your house for a few hours or overnight; that will do the work. You can simply put it in a bag and throw it away in the trash after use.

Method 9: Using Air purifier/Humidifier

An air purifier or humidifier is another effective way to eliminate foul smells. It circulates fresh air inside the house and carries any foul smell out of the house.

You can add any essential oil or another natural extract to the humidifier. This will leave your house smelling like your favorite fragrance, and you won’t even notice the foul smell of paint anymore.

Method 10: Spraying Air Freshener

Air fresheners kind of work like a candle or humidifier with added fragrance. It will help you mask the paint’s smell and spread a refreshing scent.

Although, the place needs to be adequately ventilated to use air freshener. Otherwise, it may combine with the paint fumes and create an even worse smell.

 Before spraying air fresheners all over your room, open the door and windows to let the room air out. You can also turn on the fan to increase the air circulation in the room.

Things to Check to Avoid Heavy Fumes

Many spray paints in the market produce fumes after you paint them on the wall. This, later on, causes severe damage to the full color, maybe your artwork.

This is something you should be concerned about. That’s why we got you some tips to make the best out of your spray and avoid any kind of fumes from it.

Choosing Strong Colors

While buying spray paints, remember to choose paints that have high quality and intense colors. They set to the surface quickly after drying and create less fume.

Intense colors need fewer paint strokes to cover a particular area and thus produce less fume. Shake the container properly before spraying paint to have even strokes.

Choosing Paint with Lower VOC

Paints with lower VOC (Volatile Organic Compound) or no VOC are better to avoid paint smell or heavy flume. VOC is the material in paint that causes the smell.

So, a lower concentration of VOC means that the smell isn’t much strong. Also, water-based paints contain lesser VOC, and the odor can be removed more efficiently.

Selecting a Feasible Environment to Paint

Always remember that it is better not to use spray paint indoors. Use it outdoors or in a well-ventilated place where the smell can disperse quickly. You should keep the doors and windows open while using spray paint.

Taking little breaks in the middle of painting to go out and get some fresh air might be a good idea. Staying in the presence of paint fumes for a long-time can cause dizziness.

Ensuring Proper Drying of Paint

Let each layer of the paint dry off properly before layering another coat of paint over it. Cover small areas at a time with each layer of paint. This helps to keep the fume to a minimum. Drying it off under scorching heat helps fade the foul smell.

Surface dry spray paint dries more than other paint. It hardly takes 10-30 minutes to dry.

However, if you paint in the winter, refrain from turning the heat on until the paint is completely dry. The cool temperature helps keep the fume under control. Also, don’t apply a thick coat of paint as it will take more time to dry.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q: How Long Does it Take for the Spray Paint Smell to go Away?

People often ask me about how long it takes for the paint smell to go away. If you use the paint in a properly ventilated place, it will take around 2-3 days for the smell to become unnoticeable. Usually, the smell of spray paint fades within 24 hours after applying it.

But it can take up to a few weeks for the smell to go away in cold or wet weather. This happens because the damp walls of the room absorb the paint fume and emit them slowly over time, causing the smell to stay longer.

Q: Is the Smell of Spray Paint Harmful?

Yes, the smell of spray paint can be harmful if you are exposed to it for a long time. It can cause minor difficulties like headache, nausea, sneezing, coughing, irritation, etc., and severe injuries like damaging kidneys and lungs, asthma, and allergic reaction.

Suppose it’s possible to avoid staying in the presence of high-concentration paint fume for an extended period. It is better to take short breaks between work and get some fresh air outside.

Q: What Gets Rid of a Strong Paint Smell?

Proper ventilation is the main requirement for removing the smell of spray paint. Circulation of fresh air will help remove the smell faster.

Keep the windows and doors of the room open, and turn on the fan. After a while, you’ll notice the strong smell of paint fading.

You can also use baking soda, charcoal, lemon and vinegar, candles, air fresheners, and coffee grounds to remove the strong paint smell. These simple techniques work pretty effectively in case of removing any strong smell.

Q: Can Spray Paint Mess up Your Lung?

Yes, it is very much possible for spray paint to mess up your lungs if you are not careful. When the paint is sprayed, a chemical named Isocyanate is released into the air.

Isocyanate is a respiratory irritant that can cause extreme coughing and even damage your lung if inhaled in a moderate amount.

Some paints can also irritate once it comes in contact with your skin. So, cover yourself adequately and wear a mask near places that are being painted to avoid such discomfort.

Q: How to Use Spray Paint with a Brush?

Spray painting can also be done with brushes. You can simply spray some paint in a container or a disposable cup and use it with a brush. I use this method to apply more paint over rough edges or flawed finishes. It can also be used to add details to a finished painting.

You can paint over paper, canvas, furniture, and even your tools and room wall with a paintbrush, giving them a more personalized look. Make some free strokes to cover small areas at a time.

Use masking tape to conceal the edges while painting. This will prevent the paint drips from entering unwanted places.

Final Words

It is not a difficult task to get rid of the spray paint smell now. More or less, you are done completing the course from this article. Just wait for the time to implement, and get the result instantly.

But make sure you don’t end up messing up or wasting things. Ingredients you use, take in proper proportion, and use them well.

Ezekiel Mutitu

Ezekiel Mutitu is a man of many talents. He has an unquenchable thirst for knowledge, which has led him to do thousands of DIY projects. He loves learning about anything and everything - especially electronics and electrical items. Ezekiel knows that by being passionate about writing, he can help people from all walks of life understand complex topics and processes.

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