7 Tips for Eliminating Paint Fumes

eliminating paint fumes

As interior house painters, we are all too familiar with the smell of freshly painted walls. The odour of fresh paint comes from the evaporation of solvents in the paint. Once the solvents are fully evaporated, the paint is dry and the smell will disappear.

When we paint interiors we use high quality non-toxic paints, and we take care to ventilate the property as much as possible to remove solvent odours as fast as possible.  However, in some instances, especially with enamel paints, you may find that the smell may linger for a day or so.

Eliminating paint fumes after professional painting services is easier than you might think. In fact, your kitchen is probably already stocked with everything you’ll need.  You can use these 7 tips for masking or eliminating any other types of odours too.

4 Tips for Masking Paint Fumes

These first 4 DIY methods will mask the smell of the paint.

7 Tips for Eliminating Paint Fumes - onion1

1. Peppermint or Vanilla Extract

If you like the smell of peppermint or vanilla, try placing a few drops of pure vanilla extract or peppermint oil on cotton balls, and place these around the room. You could also add the extract or oil to small bowls of water. Peppermint and vanilla both smell strong enough to cover up the paint fumes.

2. Use Coffee Beans

Alternatively, if you are a coffee lover, grab some freshly ground coffee beans and place them in small bowls around the room.

3. Use Charcoal

Charcoal can also be used to deodorise odours. Just crush up some wood charcoal and leave it overnight in containers throughout the room. By morning, your interior painting will smell no longer!

4. Cut Up Some Onions

This next method sounds weird, but trust us -  cut a few brown onions in quarters and place them around the room. The onions will absorb any lingering paint odours.

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3 Tips for Eliminating Paint Fumes

If masking the paint fumes isn't quite cutting it, give these three eliminating techniques a go.

7 Tips for Eliminating Paint Fumes - candles

1. Light a Candle

One of the most effective ways of removing the solvent fumes entirely is to light a candle in the room, and let it burn for a few hours. The flame will help burn the flammable components in the paint solvent. Remember, you shouldn’t leave a candle unattended, and little kids should be careful around the open flame and hot wax.

2. Buckets of Water

A safer method of removing the smell is to place a few buckets of water around the room. The water will absorb some of the solvent vapours, leaving your newly painted interior smelling fresh. While this is a safer method, it isn’t as effective as burning a candle.

3. Ensure Proper Ventilation

Lastly, ventilation is key to removing odours from inside your house. Keep windows and doors open as long and as often as possible. Do this in conjunction with the other DIY methods we’ve listed, and your home will be odour-free in no time!

Hire Professional Painters Today

Contact us today if you’d like us to pop over and provide a detailed quote for refreshing your interior. Give us a call on 07 3829 5735, or fill out the form on this page. Our team of expert painters from Brisbane will do everything they can to minimise disruption to your household and have your home back to normal in no time.  

Avatar for Louise Kraudelt

About Louise Kraudelt

Meet Louise Kraudelt, a knowledgeable and insightful author in the field of house painting. With a passion for sharing her expertise, Louise provides valuable information and tips on all aspects of commercial and house painting in this blog.


  1. Avatar for Mick Mick on 02/26/2017 at 6:58 am

    Hi, great advice on how to get rid of paint fumes!! Thanks

    • Avatar for Connie Roeder Connie Roeder on 03/04/2020 at 3:48 pm

      Hi a couple of day’s ago I had a gal of paint thinner spill in my kitchen in the floor.How can I get the smell of it out. It almost smell like it’s every where, or it in my wood flooring in trailer house

  2. Avatar for Tamerah Tamerah on 11/23/2017 at 10:48 am

    A week ago I moved into an old house that had been freshly painted throughout with enamel paint prior to being put on the market. I assumed, when I first looked at the house in early September, that the smell would have dissipated by now but it’s still very strong after the house has been locked up for a day.
    Is this normal?

  3. Avatar for James James on 04/16/2021 at 9:41 pm

    Thank you for this article!! We got into some trouble with neighbors while doing renovations to our newly purchased condo, The fumes got into the bathroom vent and was blown into the bathrooms of the condos above us, and started a chain effect. Good thing the building was only four floors so we didn’t get even more complaints.

    I cut up two kilos of brown-skinned, white onions and scattered them on the floors/surfaces in all the rooms. Within three minutes 95% of the fume’s odor was gone and we were finally able to open our windows and get fresh air. I dropped a little peppermint oil on the surfaces on all rooms as well to get rid of the remaining 5% odor.

    The onions and peppermint sting the eyes for a few minutes but it was worth it. I had been coughing really bad just from being exposed to the fumes for 30 minutes earlier this week..

  4. Avatar for Laila Laila on 10/27/2021 at 12:25 am

    The odour of fresh paints is usually due to the evaporation process of the solvents content in the wet paint, once the solvents are fully evaporated, the paint is dry and odours will disappear.
    High quality paints are non-toxic, good ventilation is strongly recommended and will help to remove any solvent odours during applications process and early drying stages. It is normal for any encountered smell to linger for a day or so.

  5. Avatar for Harshit jain Harshit jain on 08/14/2022 at 7:35 am

    My adhesive smell very bad cause of benzene. What can be done to neutralize the odor or make the adhesive small good.

  6. Avatar for Jay Baker Jay Baker on 09/24/2022 at 1:46 pm

    I have moved into a freshly painted unit and have been here now for 2 weeks and the smell is still so strong even with leaving the doors and windows open throughout the day its such a lingering smell I can almost taste it. T g ere is also a bucket of this paint still in my bedroom wardrobe and don’t know why it’s still there.. could that still be affecting me even with the lid on? I haven’t tried the 7 tips yet but I will try I did use insence but that hasn’t worked. When I come home from going out it still smells as strong as the day I first walked in the door…

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