How To Get Rid of Spray Paint Smell? (6-Step Guide)

So you’re wondering how to get rid of the spray paint smell in your home? 

Maybe you recently completed a DIY project and now you’re stuck with the lingering smell of spray paint in the air.

Or maybe you’re trying to prevent the spray paint smell from getting into your house in the first place.

Man Spray Painting a Wall and Learning How to Get Rid of Spray Paint Smell

In this ProPaintCorner.com guide, we'll show you how to:

  • Why you need to be careful around spray paint fumes
  • What supplies you’ll need to get rid of spray paint smell
  • What you can do to eliminate paint fumes and odors
  • And much more!

So before you book a hotel room for the next few days to avoid that nasty paint odor, I recommend you read on to learn a few simple tricks you can use first.

Why it's Dangerous to Not Get Rid of Spray Paint Smell Immediately

Getting rid of the noxious spray paint smell can be a headache, and you might be tempted to just let it linger and deal with it for a few days. We don’t recommend that.

Not only can the smell cause health issues like dizziness, headaches, and respiratory issues, it’s also pretty easy to get rid of if you take a few key steps.

Of course, it’s ideal to limit your exposure to paint fumes as much as possible.

Paint fumes can linger for days or even weeks if not treated properly. Which causes a big issue because after a few hours you will go "nose blind" to the smell and it might seem like it's not there at all.

But just because it doesn't seem to smell anymore, that doesn't mean your lungs and body aren't being exposed to toxic chemicals. 

In order to protect you and your family, it's important to think ahead about how you're going to eliminate the fumes in the safest way possible to prevent damage.

If you’ve already been exposed and you’re trying to get rid of the smell, however, there are several inexpensive hacks you can use to get rid of it quickly.

Some of these techniques work quickly, but most of them will take a day or two, or at least overnight to be fully effective.

Supplies You’ll Need For Getting Rid of Paint Smell

Depending on which method you decide to use, you’ll need several different supplies to do this.

  • Box fan
  • Baking soda
  • Water
  • Lemons
  • Activated Charcoal
  • Bucket
  • Air purifier
  • Shallow bowls
  • Coffee Grounds

Not all of these will be 100% necessary, if you try one method and it doesn’t work you can try another and so on.

In fact, we would recommend using a few of these together to help eliminate the fumes as quickly as possible and avoid possible overexposure to these chemicals.

Read More >> How to Remove Spray Paint From Walls

How To Get Rid of Spray Paint Smell (6-Step Guide)

  1. Use Low-VOC Spray Paint
  2. Ventilate the Area Well
  3. Place Activated Charcoal in the Room
  4. Place Lemon Water Around the Room
  5. Place Baking Soda Around the Room
  6. Place Coffee Grounds in the Corner of the Room

Step 1 - Use Low-VOC Spray Paint

One of the best (and first) things you can do to eliminate the smell of paint is to choose a Low-VOC paint.

Low-VOC spray paint simply means the paint is low in “volatile organic compounds” that contribute to off-gassing and fumes after it dries. 

Selecting low VOC paint is better for your overall health and reduces risks associated with paint fumes. So next time you’re about to go buy some spray paint for your DIY project, make sure to look for a can that says “Low-VOC" and avoid using any oil paint that will have even more paint fumes.

Step 2 - Ventilate the Area Well

The next thing you can do to get rid of spray paint smells is to simply ventilate the area as much as possible. Air flow that is directed to the nearest window or outdoor area is going to push those fumes outside. 

If possible, open windows and doors as wide as they'll go. Then, consider investing in an air purifier and a box fan which can be used to create better flow within the room.

You want to get as much fresh air into the room as possible in order to dilute the paint fumes.

These simple steps will allow the off-gassing and toxic fumes to leave your home which will also lower the health risks associated with inhaling these fumes.

Better yet, consider spray painting in a booth or temporary outdoor structure or area to prevent long-term exposure to the fumes. 

If you're not familiar with what a spray paining booth is, you can find portable ones that look like this on Amazon in varying price ranges.

If you're planning on doing more painting projects in the future or don't have a good place to paint, these are a great alternative to minimize the fumes!

These really help to not only make clean up much easier, but also to contain the spray paint fumes to one area. They're ideally used outside and the portable booths can be placed in a yard or on a patio to make it simple.

Read More >> What Are The Best Ways to Remove Spray Paint?

Step 3 - Place Activated Charcoal in the Room

Next, if you’re still struggling to get rid of paint smell, you can try placing activated charcoal bags or pellets in a bucket and putting that in the center of the area.

This is a great way to absorb the spray paint fumes quickly because the charcoal will take on the smell and leave your room smelling great again.

It’s important to pick up an activated charcoal because when it’s activated, it’s more porous which means it can fully absorb the smells and fumes around it.

Crushed charcoal usually won't work as well to eliminate the smell of paint since it doesn't have the same pockets of oxygen to create space for odor absorption. 

Typically you can find desiccant bags with activated charcoal at your local fish or pet store, but you can also find them on Amazon.


Step 4 - Place Lemon Water Around the Room

For a DIY hack to get rid of the smell of the paint, you might try taking a few bowls of water and filling them with slices of lemon.

Depending on the size of the area affected by the spray paint fumes, you can use more bowls and place them around the room strategically.

While you could use a lemon water solution, it’s recommended to actually cut a lemon in half and simply place that in the bowl of water.

This will be more effective at absorbing the fumes. Usually this will take one day or one overnight treatment for you to see the difference.

Step 5 - Place Baking Soda Around the Room

If nothing else has worked for you, or you want to hammer the spray paint smell with as many options as possible, you can try placing containers of baking soda around the room as well.

Baking soda also acts as a desiccant to absorb odors and fumes, which is why many people place an open baking soda box at the back of their refrigerator.

Step 6 - Place Coffee Grounds in the Corner of the Room

This one is close to an "old wives tale" hack, but it works. Coffee grounds and coffee beans not only act as a natural air freshener (who doesn't love the smell of coffee?) but they also act as an odor absorbing agent.

When placed in the corner of a well-ventilated room, they make the room smell better while also covering up the strong odors of spray paint.

If you’re wanting to eliminate the smell as quickly as possible, try doing steps 2-6 simultaneously overnight. It might look a little strange, but it can’t hurt.

Read More >> How to Remove Spray Paint From Plastic

Meet Your Pro Paint Corner Author

Madison Rude

Madison Rude

I’m kind of a painting nerd. My mom taught me how to paint when I was nine, and since then I’ve painted rooms, furniture...you name it. I’ve written technical advice for Wagner sprayers, and I’ve spent a lot of time DIYing my own home. I’m no expert, but I love to learn. And here at ProPaintCorner, I learn more about painting every time I work with one of our painting pros to bring you the best product reviews and How To advice available. Together, let’s make your next painting project the best it can be!

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Madison Rude

Madison Rude

I’m kind of a painting nerd. My mom taught me how to paint when I was nine, and since then I’ve painted rooms, furniture...you name it. I’ve written technical advice for Wagner sprayers, and I’ve spent a lot of time DIYing my own home. I’m no expert, but I love to learn. And here at ProPaintCorner, I learn more about painting every time I work with one of our painting pros to bring you the best product reviews and How To advice available. Together, let’s make your next painting project the best it can be!

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