Lingering Odor from Oil-based Paint - How Do I Get Rid of It???

Updated on February 02, 2010
M.G. asks from Minneapolis, MN
4 answers

My husband used oil-based paint on a project in the basement yesterday and the odor is horrible throughout our house yet today. I did the best I could yesterday to open windows and doors, and used fans to help draw the air out, but soon after closing up the house for the evening the smell returned. We live in Minnesota, so I can't have all windows/doors propped open all day, wondering if anyone has any other tips or suggestions for how to help eliminate the lingering odor?

P.S. I should have originally added that I am a HUGE proponent of no-or-low VOC paint products and that's all we've used throughout our house. I had no idea my hubby had purchased the oil-based paint for a special project and trust me, after I woke him up at 3am to complain, it's highly unlikely he will again :)

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answers from Indianapolis on

Hi M.. Unfortunately, the smell from the paint is likely Volotile Organic Compounds (VOC's). Voc's are found in paint, paint thinners, adhesives etc. and can continue to off gas and contribute to a poor indoor air quality and long term health concerns. Opening the windows and using a fan to draw it outside is a good option although difficult in MN. However if it is in a room that you can shut the door, that might be an option. You could also try using open baking soda boxes to absorb some of the odors. I would not recommend febreze or other sprays as they mask the odors with chemicals. If you have a friend who has an air purifier, that would also be a great solution. Next time, you might ask for paint without VOC's. It can be difficult to find. If you are unable to find it in your area, is a store in Indianapolis, IN and they carry an entire line of environmentally safe products including paint. Shipping may be cost prohibitive but they may be able to direct you to the manufacturer. Good luck.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Pittsburgh on

After my dog was skunked last fall, I learned a thing or two about odor elimination out of sheer desperation. Place dishes of ground coffee around in different rooms. It's amazing what that will absorb. Also, you can boil vinegar, although I thought that smelled more putrid than the skunk! I boiled water with cinnamon and nutmeg and cloves in a pot on the stove and that helped. Good luck!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Sarasota on

Good answers. Also you might try getting large trays to put all over the floor in the basement and full them with INSCENTED kitty litter. Huge but flat bowls filled with vinegar work but take time. Why not ask the paint manufacturer. I did an entire melt-down when I thought the painters had used high VOC paint and ended up with the print out from the company on just what is used to make the paint and the level of VOCs etc, I have quizzed Benjamin Moore on a variety of things too. The cabinets in all three bathrooms here were just painted with oil-based paint (Scott I think) 3 weeks ago and they don't smell at all and haven't since I got here two weeks ago. Also try taking the paint back to where he bought it. Maybe it's defective or very old. If the basement is damp what about Damp Rid? I use it in the closets that are not used to keep them from getting too humid. Let us know how it turns out.



answers from Minneapolis on

You can after the fact use many essential oils for the smell.All are non toxic and chemical free. Including diffusing in the room.

The main one I am thinking of removes all smells including dog & cigarettes. Let mwe know if you are interested and I can let you know how to get some.


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