How To Get Rid of the Smell of Spray Paint

If you’ve ever had the displeasure of being in the presence of a freshly spray-painted surface, you know it’s neither a good nor a fun experience.

Not only do you have to endure the smell while doing the project, but the smell also tends to linger and envelop the room after the job is done.

The thing is, spray paint often produces absolutely stunning results, and it would be a shame not to enjoy the benefits it offers.

With that said, I’ve embarked on a journey to find ways to get rid of the smell of spray paint and simply enjoy the benefits.

What Makes Spray Paint So Smelly?

So, why is spray paint so smelly? The answer to that question can be found on the ingredient list of the bottle of spray paint

The typical bottle of spray paint has three basic elements: 

  • Pigment
  • Resin
  • Solvent

Pigment is the substance that gives paint its color. It’s made up of tiny particles that are suspended in the other ingredients.

Resin is the binder that holds the pigment particles together and allows the paint to adhere to surfaces. It can be made from a variety of materials, such as acrylic, enamel, or urethane.

Solvent is the liquid component of spray paint that allows it to be sprayed in a fine mist. It evaporates quickly, which helps the paint dry faster and releases fumes into the air.

Basically, the solvent is the cause of the smell issue!

The solvent in spray paint is usually made from a volatile organic compound (VOC), such as xylene, toluene, or acetone. These chemicals are highly volatile, which means they evaporate easily at room temperature. When you spray paint, the solvent evaporates and releases fumes into the air, which is what causes the strong smell.

In addition to the VOCs, spray paint may also contain other chemicals, such as propellants, that can contribute to its odor and potential health effects. These chemicals are often listed on the label of the can, so it’s important to read and follow the safety instructions carefully.

Man using spray paint on a canvas with bottles of spray paint in the foreground.

Ways to Get Rid of the Smell of Spray Paint

Getting rid of a spray paint smell is not difficult, and it does not have to cost you. In fact, you can eliminate the smell of spray paint with a few products already in your kitchen. So let’s look at a few ways to eliminate the smell of spray paint.

Ventilate the Area

This goes without saying, but you should always, and I repeat, always, make sure you are working with spray paint in a well-ventilated area. This means if you are working indoors, blast every fan you can find and open every single window and door in the house to ensure there is enough airflow in the place you are working.

If you are working with an object you can move around, I suggest taking your work outside and working in an open space.

Get Some Activated Charcoal

Activated charcoal is not just for Internet food trends. Much like baking soda is great for absorbing smells in the refrigerator, activated charcoal can absorb smells in the atmosphere. Therefore, it is great to absorb the smell of spray paint. Activated charcoal is easy to get a hold of. You can get it here, and it often comes in the form of pellets or powders. Here is how you use it.

  • Place some activated charcoal or pellets in bowls around the house
  • Give the charcoal time to do its thing 

And presto! You will have a space that is spray paint-free in no time.

Baking Soda

You probably have a baking soda box in your fridge right now. So you already know that it is great at absorbing odors. 

You have two ways to go about using baking soda on the painted surface: 

  • You can go for the salt bae method and sprinkle. Or you can fuse the powder with water and form a paste.
  • Allow either one of these methods to hang out on the surface for about 2-5 minutes
  • If the smell is still there, go for another application until you get rid of that pesky smell

Use White Vinegar

White vinegar is great for neutralizing odors. Note that I said white vinegar, not brown or apple cider vinegar. Here is how you can use vinegar to counteract the scent of spray paint:

  • Pour equivalent proportions of water and vinegar and water into a spray bottle
  • Shake the contents
  • Spray onto the painted surface
  • Leave it to settle for a few minutes
  • Then wipe off with a damp cloth

White vinegar also has a pervasive smell, so you will have to deal with the smell of vinegar as well. Wait for the smell of vinegar to dissipate, then repeat the process if the smell of the spray paint is still there.

Use Citrus Peels

You know those mandarin peels that you discard? Those peels are very useful. I am sure you have noticed how lovely they smell. Those seemingly insignificant peels can also act as odor absorbers, and they’re a great way to get rid of the smell of spray paint. 

  • Grab a few of those peels and place them in a bowl in the room that has the painted surface
  • Leave the bowl for a few days
  • Replace the peels when they dry out 

Air Purifier

This option is definitely a permanent solution. And this one might take a bit of money from your pocket, but it’s totally worth it (especially if you have pets, which bring their own fun smells). Go for an air purifier! These nifty contraptions are made for the explicit purpose of sucking pollutants and smells from the air.

So if you are constantly painting or embarking on a remodeling season involving a lot of spray paint, this is the ideal solution for you.  

Do look for one with a HEPA filter that can capture even microscopic particles.

Use Essential Oils

If you are not into essential oils, I suggest you get into them. Essential oils are super calming and a great way to keep your space smelling good throughout the day. And guess what? They also help to get rid of the funky smell of spray paint.

Essential oils are definitely a preference thing, so explore the ones you like and go for them. But if you are just starting out, I suggest going for lavender, rose, or peppermint essential oils.

Do Some Cleaning

This seems like an obvious one, but it’s worth mentioning. After you have finished your DIY project, make sure you grab some not-too-harsh detergent or dish soap. Shake it up with some and use that with a damp, clean rag to wipe the area you were working on as well as the surrounding space.

Make sure the area is dry before you wipe. You don’t want to wipe away all your hard work.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Can I use spray paint if I have respiratory issues?

Yes, you can. You just have to be very careful, get a mask to cover your mouth and nose, and not work in an enclosed space.

Also, where possible, go for low-VOC spray paint or water-based paint. As the old adage says, “Better safe than sorry.”

Final Thoughts

Well, there you have it, folks — some ways to get rid of the smell of spray paint in your home. I have tried to provide cost-effective ways to deal with this issue. These methods have gone through my testing process, and I’ve found them worthy of getting the job done. 

So go ahead. If that smell has been bugging you for a few days, try one of these methods and enjoy your smell-free space.

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