In this article we are going to learn more about the process of how to remove smelly paint odors from the inside of a house, the different types of paint used in a home, and the best ways to remediate the odor of paint from within this indoor air space.
What is Paint & Paint Chemicals
Most people have used paint at least once inside their home, whether they applied it themselves or hired someone to paint it for them. However, when it comes to understanding what paint is and how paint is composed, often times people will be unaware of the functioning behind paint. Paint is a colored substance which is spread over a surface and dries to leave a thing decorative or protective coating on the surfaces that it is applied, such as ceiling, walls, flooring, etc. The paint will be composed of a mixture of four basic ingredients; pigments, resins, solvents, and additives.
- Pigments: Pigments work as the color that paint takes on when it is applied to a wall or other surface.
- Resins: Resins are the binders or glue that holds the pigment particles together to provide adhesions to the surface painted.
- Solvents: Solvents are the carrier that makes it all liquid and allows for it to evaporate as the paint dries on the various surfaces it is applied onto.
- Additives: Additives are components of paint that are provided in paint to give specific performance characteristics to the paint, such as stain-blocking or mold-killing properties.
The smell that is produced from paint that is used in a household that is applied to the walls and various surfaces will be the product of various chemicals that are used in paint such as volatile organic compounds (VOCs). These VOCs are emitted as gases from certain solids or liquids, and these chemical VOCs can include toluene, xylene, ethyl acetate, formaldehyde, methylene chloride, and glycol. The various chemicals used in paint will be used to help the liquid evaporate under normal indoor conditions of temperature and pressure. In addition, certain VOCs such as formaldehyde is added to paint to inhibit bacterial and fungal growth – although the potential health effects of formaldehyde exposure in an indoor space may be hazardous to some individuals, depending on the amount of exposure.
Types of Paint for Houses
The various household paints that are used in a home today can all range in quality, material, and chemical structure that can impact how long the paint lasts for on the walls of a home and the duration in which the paint fumes will last after the paint has been applied in your indoor environment. Some paints are classified as cheaper paints that have a higher percentage of solvents per volume that the more premium, expensive options of paint. The man types of paint that are used for houses will include water-based paint and oil-based paints – each of which will contain a different combination of ingredients and will have a different look when applied onto the walls or surfaces in the home.
- Water-Based Paint: Water-based paint, which is also known as latex, is one of the most common types of paint that is used for the interior of a home. Latex, water-based paint will be a fairly fast-drying type of paint, and typically this paint will contain fewer VOCs than other types of paint with still maintaining an excellent performance. In addition, water-based paints are able to withstand movement and its ability to prevent mildew and moisture from getting into your home.
- Oil-Based Paint: Oil-based paint are the most common types of paint that is reserved for high-moisture environments such as bathrooms and kitchens and those areas subject to heavy wear or prone to impact. This oil-based paints will usually look to be high gloss and will have a longer drying time than latex paint.
Why Paint Smells Bad
The putrid smell of paint will waft throughout the air the minute you open the can and start applying it to the various surfaces inside your home. The fresh paint odor that emanates from new paint will be the production of the chemical components used within this specific paint type used, whether it be resins, additives, or VOC chemicals. Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) are chemical compounds that are released into the air that will be responsible for that strong paint smell that is produced from freshly applied paint. The higher the levels of VOCs in paint, the stronger the odor will be when the paint is used in the environment.
These VOCs are gases emitted that are emitted from various types of liquids or solids that can be harmful if they are inhaled for a long period of time. Depending on the type of paint that you use inside your home, there will be varying levels of VOCs within these types of paint. Some paint manufactures have even started to produce Zero VOC paints that are designed to use less VOCs or no VOCs in comparison to other types of paints used throughout homes, however, these paints will still contain toxic chemicals.
How Long Do Paint Fumes Last
After you have started the painting process inside your home, as the painting has progressed and concluded homeowners will be left with strong paint fumes that will swirl in the air and seep throughout the air flow of the indoor space of your home. These paint fumes, as we discussed previously, are the result of the VOCs in the paint that are released into the air once paint begins to dry on the walls or surfaces in which it is applied onto. This drying process of paint and the paint fumes that the drying process creates will last for an ambiguous amount of time, which may take weeks or months to remove from the air. The ability to predict how long the gases of VOCs will be emitted into the air is undeterminable, but it will be noticeable to occupants as they may begin to experience health effects such as dizziness or headaches that will progress steadily in this environment.
There will be many variables and factors that will play a role in how long paint fumes last in the air of an indoor space like a home, such as ventilation, air flow, and the amount of paint used in this confined living space. The more ventilation and air flow that this indoor space has will determine the duration of time that paint fumes will be trapped in the air, which will thus lead to strong paint smell in the air.
Inhaling Paint Fumes Side Effects
Is it best to try to avoid the strong fumes of paint that are produced from the inside of your freshly painted room/home? Paint fumes have been found to produce irritation to human health, such as to a human’s skin, and even potentially to a person’s respiratory system. The paint fumes will flood the indoor air of a home, which can lead to easy inhalation or ingestion into a human body – this can lead to irritation to the eyes, nose, or throat. Therefore, it is important that the indoor space that has been impacted by paint fumes is allowed fresh air to remove and recirculate this air, replacing it with fresh outdoor air that will help to minimize the fumes in this indoor air.
According to Healthline, when it comes to inhaling paint fumes, there may be certain health effects that a person will experience. These paint fume inhalation symptoms can include the following;
- Irritation of the eyes, nose, or throat
- Dizziness or light-headed
- Trouble breathing
In addition to inhalation symptoms, some individuals may even experience an allergic reaction to paint fumes in their personal indoor air. Strong paint fumes can certainly trigger conditions such as asthma and allergies, due to the strong chemical composition of the paint in the air.
Home Remedy for Inhaling Paint
If you have ever experienced the strong aroma of paint fumes inside of your home after painting, then you may have dealt with the difficult process of removing paint smell from the air to prevent paint inhalation in the home’s occupants. Some individuals might gravitate to natural home remedies for paint removal such as baking soda, vinegar, and even charcoal absorbers that can be placed inside of the home. Although these odor absorbers can work inside of a home to remove various odorous sources, when it comes to paint smell you may require the help of a stronger solution, such as an air purifier and/or HVAC filter.
The OdorKlenz Mobile Air System is a revolutionary solution to removing odors in your home by eliminating odors caused by pets, household chemicals, cooking, perfumes, and even building products like paint and flooring. This portable air purifier contains the patented OdorKlenz® earth mineral technology that works to capture, contain, and neutralize noxious and toxic chemicals and odors from the air space. Additionally, this air purifier contains a second stage filtration that uses a hospital-grade HEPA filter for fine particulate removal larger than 0.3 microns in size at a 99.99 percent efficiency. The OdorKlenz technology can capture the paint VOCs that are released from the air and can aid in the neutralization of these paint fumes swiftly in the indoor air space.
Mobile Air System
✓ Patented earth mineral technology works to attack VOCs and break them down on a compound level
✓ No chemicals or masking agents
✓ Will not release any chemicals back into your environment
✓ Safer and faster at removing VOC’s than traditional carbon filters and PECO air purifiers