How To Get Rid Of The Smell Of Spray Paint

When the spray painting is finished, and you’re standing there admiring your hard work, there can be a lingering worry in the back of your mind about how long the strong and very noticeable smell of the spray paint is actually going to last. 

This lingering smell is called “off gassing” and while it’s very difficult to prevent while spraying, there are a few ways you can help get rid of the smell after you’re done painting which is always worth doing since you don’t want the offputting odor to distract people from admiring your latest refurbishment or decoration. 

Here are some of the easiest and most effective ways you can quickly do away with this unwanted smell once you’re done using a can of spray paint

How Long Does The Smell Of Spray Paint Last?

The smell of spray paint on average will usually last for 2-3 days, however, if you’re using a full can, or several cans in one session, the smell can last a lot longer and reach up to a week in some cases. 

It can therefore be worth trying to deal with the smell sooner rather than later, especially if you’re expecting guests soon and don’t want them to be put off by the smell lingering in the air. 

Is The Smell Of Spray Paint Harmful?

While the smell of spray paint is unlikely to cause you any serious harm in the long term, it can have some uncomfortable short-term effects which is another reason it is worth dealing with it as soon as you can.

These short-term side effects include headaches, nausea, and vomiting, along with eye and nose irritation.

It can also be harmful to the liver and kidneys if you have underlying health problems, so for both health and aesthetic purposes, the smell should be dealt with soon after the paint has been applied. 

Best Ways To Get Rid Of Spray Paint Smell

Activated Charcoal

When charcoal has been treated with oxygen at extremely high temperatures, it becomes activated charcoal, a home-use product that acts as an odor-absorbing component.

You can buy it at most general health food shops and from chemists with it being very easy to get a hold of. 

Activated charcoal is often used to neutralize pet odor and mold, however, it can just as easily be used to quickly remove the lingering spell of paint too, simply leave it out in a bucket or bag overnight and the paint fumes will become absorbed within a few hours. 

Baking Soda

While many people will use baking soda for unblocking drains, a major reason people will use it as their preferred cleaning resource is that it also removes bad odors and smells, making it perfect for getting rid of the smell of paint. 

Place a full bucket of baking soda in the center of the room where you have been spraying the paint so that it can absorb as much of the smell surrounding it as possible and isn’t obstructed by any walls. 

Leave it overnight, and the irritating smell will be gone by the morning.

If the smell isn’t completely gone, it may still be lingering in the carpets, so it can be worth sprinkling some baking soda over it and then using a vacuum to dry it out after a few hours. 


The smell and aroma of candles are not only strong enough to eliminate any unwanted smells, but they are also a great aesthetic addition to any room, especially since you have so many choices in the kind of design and smell that you want. 

How To Get Rid Of The Smell Of Spray Paint (1)

Branded candles are often the strongest and will fill a room with a pleasant scent almost instantly, however, another great option is using alcoholic scented candles such as the extremely popular rum candles since their scent is so strong. 


If you have a few onions set aside that you might not be using, an easy way to get rid of paint odors quickly is by slicing 2 to 3 large onions in half and keeping them near the wall or the objects that you have painted over. 

When onions are broken up and their skin is chopped, they spew out enzymes and sulfenic acid which are the reason we cry when preparing them as part of a recipe.

These two compounds also interact with any fumes they come into contact with, overpowering them and eliminating other smells entirely, just make sure to throw the onions out immediately after they do the job so that you won’t have to deal with their smell for long. 

Coffee Beans

Not only can coffee beans absorb smells in the surrounding environment, but they also give off a powerful and pleasant scent.

You won’t even need too many beans to do this, simply place at least half a bag in the room where you can smell the paint and leave it to neutralize the odor over the course of a few hours. 

White Vinegar

White vinegar contains acetic acid which neutralizes molecules in the air that carry odors, making it a very handy tool for getting rid of any lingering smells of paint.

Simply fill up 2 to 3 bowls full of white vinegar and space them out around the room a fair distance from one another so they can have the maximum effect. 


Each time you use a spray paint can, the unfortunate truth is that it’s going to leave behind that very potent and undesirable smell that can hang around the room for days, or even weeks at a time depending on how much of it you use. 

This can not only be incredibly distracting and unpleasant for visitors, but it can also lead to some nasty side effects which is why it’s always worth learning about the best ways to neutralize or replace the smell right away. 

Try out one, or a few of these effective methods to have your room smelling fresh and paint-free in no time. 

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