Why Does My House Smell Like Paint?

Does the paint smell cause you headaches? Same here!

Before opening the windows and doors immediately, try to look around and inspect where the smell is coming from.

The paint smell is normal when your house is under renovation. But, if it’s not that, then what can be the other possible reasons for this head-hurting paint smell?

No worries, I am here to help. 

Continue reading to know about both the causes and tips that would help you get rid of this unpleasant odor. 

Key Takeaways:
  • What Makes Your House Smell Like Paint?
  • Other Reasons That Cause Paint Smell in the House:
  • How to Get Rid of the Paint Smell in Your House?

What Makes Your House Smell Like Paint?

If you feel a chemical-like smell in your house, it is probably because the AC leaks fluids. The fragrance of acetone is a significant sign that your AC is not working well and needs to get checked as soon as possible.

When you smell paint thinner in your house, it might be because of VOC leakage in your refrigerant.

Volatile compounds are commonly used in your air conditioner and refrigerator to make them work functionally, but leakage sometimes happens, which creates a paint-like smell in your house.

These two common reasons make your house smell like paint thinner. Continue reading to find out what are the other possible reasons.

Other Reasons That Cause Paint Smell in the House:

1.   Refrigerator is Exuding Refrigerant

If you smell a robust chemical-like scent in your house and if you think it’s your refrigerator leaking refrigerant, get it checked right away.

Usually, this smell is similar to paint, so ensure you know what acetone smells like. A lack of knowledge about acetone can sometimes result in an accident or costly repair. That’s why you must call a professional technician when your refrigerant leaks.

2.   Usage of Nail Polish Remover

If you have noticed a strange paint smell in your house and there was no use of paint recently, then someone may have used nail polish remover inside your house.

The main reason is acetone, which creates this kind of smell. Like paint thinner, acetone is also a common ingredient in nail polish remover, but its scent lasts for a short time and can be disappeared by opening windows.

Another way to fix this problem is to leave where the smell is coming from and return after an hour or more. Since it doesn’t last long, this smell eventually finds its way to escape.

3.   Cleansing of Floors & Furniture

A strange paint-thinner smell that you feel in your house can occur because of the recent scrubbing on floors or furniture. Varnish can sometimes develop an aroma similar to paint thinner.

Since varnish brings out the natural beauty of old woods and perfectly cleanses the floor, the possibility of paint thinner smells coming through the air is evident because of the odorous solvents in varnish.

Always open the doors or windows when using this varnish with solid chemicals. It helps pass air naturally without creating a paint-thinner scent all over the house.

There is no need to panic if the smell does not disappear shortly after opening the windows and doors. It may take some time, but the paint‘s thinner smell will dissolve.

4.   A Strain of Paint Thinner on the Clothes or Carpets

Sometimes the reason for smelling paint all over the house can be because of irresponsibility. We have to be careful when using paint thinner; try not to leave drops of paint thinner on your clothes or carpets.

Paint thinner is a vaporous chemical whose smell will last longer for weeks, so if you see a strain on your clothes or carpets, wash it immediately, or it will remain for days.

Sprinkle vinegar and baking soda solution on the affected areas to sponge off the paint spots. The process will take a little time but requires patience and effort.

5.   Poor Ventilation After Recoating the House

When repainting your house, ensure you have opened all the windows and doors to let the air pass. If it does not happen, then the paint smell will stick to the room first and then expand around the house slowly.

Now you know it, so don’t paint with closed windows and doors. Ensure they are open enough to let fresh air circulate freely through the house.

How to Get Rid of the Paint Smell in Your House?

Once you diagnose the reason for this unpleasant paint-thinner smell, you must know how to eliminate this smell. I have enlisted some great tips on what to use when your house smells like paint.

1.   Water

Water is the simplest of all solutions. Nothing but a few bowls of water can help offset the paint-thinner smell.

All you have to do is fill up a few bowls with water and place them overnight in the room or other area where you feel the smell. Water will neutralize the powerful odors and absorb the chemicals.

Try this trick, it is super easy to attempt, and we already have quick access to bowls and water.

2.   Activated Charcoal

Activated charcoal works wonders when it comes to removing chemical-filled toxins.

When your house smells like paint, try using activated charcoal by placing them in a few bowls in the affected area of the house and leaving them overnight.

You can find activated charcoal at any local store or online if needed.

3.   Baking Soda

You might have used baking soda for other home stuff. Try using it when there is a paint smell in your house because baking soda absorbs the chemicals quickly.

It’s an easy way to eliminate the scent on clothes or carpets because baking soda absorbs and destroys the fragrance.

Sprinkle some baking soda on the spots in the house or on the strained clothes. Also, it is easy to wash it off later from the rugs.

4.   White Vinegar

Vinegar is another great trick to remove the paint‘s thinner smell. This item is best for cooking and cleaning and is easy to find.

Fill up the bowls of vinegar just like water and place them in the areas where you feel the smell of paint thinner and leave for hours.

Within a few hours, vinegar will do its magic by soaking up the scent of the paint and eliminating it.

5.   Proper Ventilation

Ventilation is necessary when the paint-thinner smell is all over your house because the scent needs fresh air circulation to disappear completely.

Just open the windows and doors and let the air pass through; it will help you eliminate the nasty, paint-thinner smells and refresh your house.

Note that when you’re getting your house painted, keep the windows and doors open until the procedure finishes.


You must figure out and resolve the paint smell issue in your house immediately especially if you are inclined to quick headaches and breathing issues.

There could be various reasons behind the paint smell in your house, but I have gathered some useful tips that will help you get rid of this unpleasant smell.

by Lisa Wilson

Without the internet, Lisa would never have discovered upcycling. She used wisdom from other people’s blogs to begin her upcycling journey, then she started writing her own!