How to remove paint fumes with common household items

Painting your walls can revive a living space, leaving behind a fresh clean look. But that’s not all that can get left behind. Many paints, especially oil-based ones, can leave behind paint fumes that linger for days. While it’s always advisable to paint when you have plenty of ventilation from open windows, sometimes that simply isn’t possible. Fortunately, there are ways to remove residual paint fumes from your home with common household products.


This trick takes advantage of the lowly onion’s odor-absorbing abilities. It works best if added to the room when you are painting, but it can be added afterward if needed.

  1. Peel two medium onions and cut them in half across the rings as you would for big slices to add to a burger.
  2. Place each onion half in a shallow bowl with the cut side facing upward.
  3. Position the onion halves in the corners of the room.
  4. Allow the onions to absorb the paint odors for several hours.
  5. Remove the onions and throw them in the trash. Because the onions pick up chemicals from the paint fumes you cannot eat them after using them to absorb paint odors.

Baking Soda

Nearly everyone knows that trusty baking soda absorbs odors, and paint fumes are no exception. You have several options when using baking soda to fight paint odors.

  • Fill several shallow bowls with baking soda and place them around the room. Allow the baking soda to work its magic overnight and then discard it.
  • For carpeted rooms, sprinkle baking soda over the entire carpet. Allow it to set overnight and vacuum up the baking soda in the morning.
  • Fill shallow bowls with several inches of water and pour in ½ cup of baking soda. Stir to dissolve the baking soda and place the bowls around the room. Let them work to absorb odors for 24 hours and then discard.

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A burning candle is known for its ability to absorb odors, making it ideal to solve your new paint odor problem.

  1. Place one or two candles in fire safe holders and set them at opposite sides of the room. You can buy special odor-eliminating candles for this, but ordinary candles will do if you don’t have access to them. Check smoke shops or the household aisle for odor-eliminating candles.
  2. Light the candles and allow them to burn for several hours. The candles will absorb the paint odors leaving your room smelling fresh and clean.


Ordinary buckets of water are known to absorb the lingering odor of fresh paint, but you may want to combine the effects of water with other odor-absorbing liquids. Try these methods to rid your home of paint odors.

  • Place a bucket of water in the center of the room and leave it overnight.
  • Fill shallow bowls with water and add several lemon slices. Place the bowls around the room to absorb the paint odors.
  • Mix equal parts distilled white vinegar and water in bowls and set them around the room to absorb odors. You can also use white vinegar on its own as it is also known for its ability to neutralize odors.

Always open windows or use fans to draw paint fumes out of your home when painting and avoid masking the paint odor with perfumed air fresheners or other fragrant products. Look for products labeled as odor eliminators instead. The goal is to absorb or remove the lingering paint odor from the room, not to cover it up.

If you are ready to paint your walls but don’t want the hassle of doing it yourself, we would be happy to take over the job for you. We offer a free in-home estimate so you can avoid surprises when the job is done and always stand behind our work. Contact us today if you have questions or to set up an appointment for our services.

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