How to Get Rid of Spray Paint Smell: A Comprehensive Guide

Bob Thomas


As a qualified painter and decorator, I've encountered my fair share of strong paint smells.

It's no secret that working with spray paint can sometimes leave a lingering, unpleasant odor.

But don't worry – there are several effective ways to tackle this issue and get your space smelling fresh again.

Follow these simple steps to eliminate spray paint smell from your home or workspace.

Quick Summary

This article covers effective methods to eliminate spray paint odors in your home, workspace, or other areas. We'll discuss the importance of proper ventilation, the use of air purifiers, odor-absorbing materials, and DIY solutions to keep your space smelling fresh and clean after a painting project.

Ensure Proper Ventilation

Before diving into more specific solutions, it's crucial to mention the importance of proper ventilation when working with spray paint.

Good airflow is key to dissipating the smell and preventing it from lingering in the first place.

Make sure to open doors and windows while painting and keep them open for a while after you're done. Additionally, using fans can help circulate air and speed up the process.

Use Air Purifiers

Air purifiers are excellent tools to eliminate unwanted odors, including the smell of spray paint.

Look for purifiers with activated carbon filters, as these are particularly effective at trapping and neutralizing paint fumes.

Place the air purifier in the affected area and let it run for a few hours or even overnight.

Utilize Odor-Absorbing Materials

There are several materials that can help absorb and neutralize paint odors:

  • Baking soda: Sprinkle baking soda on carpets, furniture, or other porous surfaces, and let it sit for a few hours or overnight. Vacuum it up afterward to remove the baking soda and trapped odors.
  • Activated charcoal: Place small bowls of activated charcoal around the room to absorb paint fumes. You can find activated charcoal at pet stores or online.
  • Coffee grounds: Similar to activated charcoal, placing bowls of unused coffee grounds around the room can help absorb paint smells.
  • White vinegar: Fill small bowls with white vinegar and place them around the room. The vinegar will help neutralize the odor. Just be sure to keep them out of reach of children and pets.

DIY Solutions

There are also some DIY solutions you can try to get rid of spray paint smell:

  • Create a DIY air freshener by mixing water, white vinegar, and a few drops of your favorite essential oil in a spray bottle. Lightly mist the affected area to help neutralize the paint odor.
  • Boil a pot of water with lemon or orange peels to release a fresh, citrusy scent that can help mask paint smells.

Take Precautions with Materials and Storage

When you're done with your painting project, make sure to properly store or dispose of any leftover paint, rags, or brushes.

This will help prevent lingering odors from these materials. 

Additionally, try to use low-VOC (volatile organic compound) paints, which emit fewer fumes and have a less intense smell.

Clean Surfaces Thoroughly

After painting, it's essential to clean surfaces and objects that may have come into contact with the paint.

Use a mild detergent and warm water to clean tools, furniture, and other items in the room.

This will help remove any paint residue that could contribute to lingering odors.

Be Patient

In some cases, time is the best solution.

As paint dries and cures, the smell will naturally fade. 

Keep the area well-ventilated and try the methods mentioned above to speed up the process, but remember that it might take a few days for the smell to disappear completely.

Last Thoughts

If you've tried everything mentioned above and the paint smell still persists, consider consulting with a professional painter or an indoor air quality specialist.

They may be able to provide more advanced solutions or identify underlying issues that could be contributing to the lingering odor.

Frequently Asked Questions Section (FAQs)

Q. How long does it typically take for the spray paint smell to go away?

  A: The duration for the spray paint smell to dissipate depends on factors such as ventilation, temperature, and humidity.

Generally, it can take anywhere from a few hours to a couple of days. In well-ventilated areas with low humidity, the smell may go away more quickly.

Q. Are there any safety concerns with inhaling spray paint fumes?

  A: Inhaling spray paint fumes can be harmful, particularly in large amounts or over an extended period.

Prolonged exposure to these fumes may cause headaches, dizziness, nausea, and respiratory issues.

It's essential to work in a well-ventilated area and wear appropriate safety gear, such as a mask or respirator, to minimize exposure.

Q. Can I paint indoors during colder weather when it's difficult to ventilate?

  A: While it's possible to paint indoors during colder weather, it's crucial to take extra precautions.

Utilize air purifiers and fans to increase air circulation, and ensure that the room is well-sealed from the rest of the house.

You can also use low-odor or odor-free paint formulations to minimize the smell.

Q. Are there any alternative paint types I can use to avoid strong paint smells?

  A: Yes, there are low-odor and odor-free paint options available, such as low-VOC (Volatile Organic Compounds) or zero-VOC paints.

These types of paint emit fewer fumes and are less likely to cause strong smells, making them a more suitable option for indoor projects.

Q. Can I use a regular fan to help with ventilation, or do I need a specialized exhaust fan?

  A: A regular fan can help circulate air and contribute to dissipating paint fumes.

However, an exhaust fan is more effective at removing the fumes from the room, as it directly vents the air outside.

If you don't have access to an exhaust fan, using a regular fan in combination with open windows and doors can still be helpful.

Q. Are there any long-term solutions to improve indoor air quality after a painting project?

  A: To maintain good indoor air quality after a painting project, you can invest in air purifiers with HEPA filters and activated carbon filters, which can help remove VOCs and other pollutants from the air.

Regularly cleaning your living space, changing HVAC filters, and maintaining proper ventilation can also contribute to improved air quality over time.


In conclusion, getting rid of spray paint smell can be a bit of a challenge, but with proper ventilation, the use of air purifiers, odor-absorbing materials, and DIY solutions, you can effectively tackle this issue.

Remember to take precautions with materials and storage, clean surfaces thoroughly, and be patient as the smell dissipates over time.

By following these steps, you'll be able to enjoy a fresh and clean-smelling space after your painting project.

Suggested Products:

  1. 3M Organic Vapor Respirator: This respirator effectively filters out harmful spray paint fumes, making it an essential safety item when working with paint.
  2. Badger Air-Brush Co. SprayGunner Airbrush Ventilation System: This high-quality exhaust fan system helps remove paint fumes from your work area, ensuring proper ventilation and reducing the risk of inhaling harmful chemicals.
  3. LEVOIT Core 300 Air Purifier: This air purifier features a HEPA filter and activated carbon filter, effectively removing paint fumes and other airborne pollutants from your indoor environment.
  4. Krylon Low Odor Clear Finish: This low-odor, quick-drying clear coat offers protection for your painted surfaces without emitting strong fumes.
  5. AFM Safecoat Zero VOC Paint: This eco-friendly, zero-VOC paint is an excellent option for indoor projects as it emits minimal fumes and has low odor.
  6. Honeywell HT-900 TurboForce Air Circulator Fan: This compact, powerful fan helps circulate air in your workspace, aiding in the dissipation of paint fumes.
  7. DampRid Hanging Moisture Absorber: This product helps reduce humidity in your painting area, which can speed up the drying process and reduce the lingering paint smell.
  8. Concrobium Mold Control Aerosol: This mold-resistant spray helps prevent mold growth on painted surfaces and has a low odor.
  9. 3M Paint Project Respirator: This respirator provides a comfortable fit and effective protection against paint fumes for smaller projects.
  10. Coway Airmega 150: This compact air purifier is equipped with a True HEPA filter and activated carbon filter, making it effective at removing paint fumes and improving indoor air quality.


About the author 

Bob Thomas

A fully certified interior decorator and house painter , Bob Thomas brings immense expertise and knowledge amassed from many years of hands-on experience with residential, commercial and specialty painting and decorating projects of all sizes and scopes.

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