Is Spray Paint Flammable?

Randy Charles
Randy Charles
Professional Painter

Hi, I’m Randy Charles, the creator and chief editor of this site Paintcentric. I’m a businessman now by profession, but I used to work as...Read more

There are different kinds of spray paints in use today. Spray paints are pretty common and widely used because of their uniform application. However, one must be careful when applying them. First, the fumes in the air can be dangerous and even cause a fire.

This leaves many wondering, is spray paint flammable? Most spray paints remain highly flammable and can lead to flash fires. If it catches a flame when spraying, it can ignite. As long as the spray fumes are in the air, they can catch fire.

Spray paints contain flammable solvents that can catch fire. However, once applied and dry, the flammable solvents evaporate making the paints non-flammable.

Are Oil Paints Flammable?

Key Takeaways:

  • Various spray paints are used for various DIY projects, crafts, experiments, etc.
  • Spray paints feature flammable oil substances making them highly flammable in a liquid form. They are flammable as long as the fumes are in the air.
  • The flammable solvents evaporate when the paints dry. So, they are not flammable when dry.
  • Oil-based paints are slowly being phased out and replaced with water-based paints which are not flammable.

Looking to learn more about spray paints and whether they are flammable? Keep reading below.

Is Spray Paint Flammable?

Without a doubt, most spray paints are flammable. Whether it’s artist paint, house paint, or fabric paint, spray paints are flammable and can ignite.

However, the level of flammability depends on the available flammable insolvents. The flammable solvents in the paints determine if the spray paint is flammable. Some spray paints are more flammable than others.

Is Spray Paint Flammable

For example, water-based spray paints are rarely flammable while aerosol paints are highly flammable. You need a proper understanding of the spray paint you’re using to avoid fire accidents.

Any leaks can lead to a serious fire. How you store spray paints is very important. You need to take precautionary measures and treat the paints like any flammable liquid.

So, what exactly makes spray paints flammable?

What Makes Spray Paint Flammable?

Flammable solvents inside the paint are what make the spray paint flammable. Flammable solvents inside the paint are responsible for starting a fire. For instance, butane and propane gases are flammable solvents found in aerosols.

You probably need a better understanding of what makes spray paints to know what makes them flammable. Spray paints are generally made of different compounds. The major compounds are solvents, pigments, and propellants.

What Makes Spray Paint Flammable

In this article, I focus on the solvents as this is what makes spray paint flammable. Solvents carry all the paint ingredients. They play a major role that determining how well the paint disperses.

You’ll find most paints containing Volatile Organic Compounds, and VOCs of different chemicals. These are the chemicals responsible for causing a fire. They are also referred to as spray paint fumes.

It’s important to understand the different solvents in paint and their effects. Apart from being flammable, most of them are dangerous to inhale.

Butane and propane gases in the paints are highly flammable and can start a fire if ignited. Other flammable solvents include varnishes, methanol, isopropyl alcohol, acetone, toluene, methyl alcohol, and much more.

These toxic solvents are hazardous and need to be handled with the best care possible. That’s why it’s advised you do your spray painting outdoors. Oil-based paints are usually flammable since they contain most of these flammable solvents.

However, there is a trend toward water-based spray paints which are not flammable. Shortly I’ll discuss paints that are not flammable.

How Long Are Spray Paint Fumes Flammable?

You’re probably wondering how long it takes before the fumes can clear. Most people prefer spray paints despite the danger because they apply paint uniformly. You can enjoy even smoother results using spray paints.

How Long Are Spray Paint Fumes Flammable

However, the big question is how long are spray paint fumes flammable? You don’t want the fumes lingering in the air for so long since they can cause a fire. Furthermore, they are dangerous to inhale and can cause various health side effects.

So, how long are spray paint fumes flammable? Spray paint fumes are flammable as long as the fumes are still in the air. Depending on the size of the room to paint and ventilation, it can take 2-4 days for the fumes in the air to completely clear. Until then, avoid smoking in the room as the fumes can cause a fire.

It’s for this reason that spray paints are recommended for use outdoors. If you have to spray indoors, make sure the room is well-ventilated.

As long as the fumes remain in the air, they can ignite and cause a fire. When spraying, you need an open area and be extremely careful. It’s also important to understand the paint type and if it’s flammable.

Which Paints Are Not Flammable?

Well, not all paints are flammable. There are various types of paints that are safe and not flammable. Good examples are water-based paints. Most water-based paints are not flammable and widely used for indoor painting.

In the past, people solely depended on oil-based paints. However, that has changed with most countries coming up with strict rules on the use of oil-based paints.

Whether a spray paint is flammable or not depends on the solvents present. While most water-based paints are not flammable, there are a few exceptions.

Below are some points which are not flammable in different states.

Acrylic paint:

Acrylic paint is a non-flammable paint and a great option to consider. It is a water-soluble paint that is non-flammable when in a liquid state. However, acrylic paint is combustible when it dries.

Acrylic is quite common in the automotive industry. It dries pretty fast within an hour of painting.

Oil paint:

Generally, oil paints are flammable. However, they become non-flammable when the paint dries up.

Latex paint: 

Latex paints are water-based and non-flammable. They are the safest paints and remain non-flammable in both liquid and solid-state. Latex paints are the same as acrylic paints apart from the pigments and binders.

They are extremely popular paints with a smooth finish. What’s more, latex paints are extremely easy to clean and maintain.

Paint Thinner:

Paint thinner is not flammable but combustible. Thinner paints help thin paints. It does contain some volatile organic compounds with low flammability and combustibility. It also does contain petroleum. This makes the paint combustible but not flammable.

Well, these are just some of the paints that are not flammable. However, flammability will always depend on the solvents inside and the state of the paint.

Overall, oil-based spray paints are flammable due to the flammable solvents inside.


Understanding different spray paints and whether they are flammable or not is essential. It can help you make a crucial decision when buying paints. Furthermore, understanding flammable paints can help you take necessary precautions and avoid accidents.

You need to use paints properly to achieve the best results. How you store and apply the paints is crucial to prevent accidental fires. While spray paints can be flammable, you can apply them safely to an open area where they dry fast. If applying indoors, make sure the room has good ventilation.

Randy Charles
Randy CharlesProfessional Painter

Hi, I’m Randy Charles, the creator and chief editor of this site Paintcentric. I’m a businessman now by profession, but I used to work as a painter earlier in my professional career. There is simply nothing about painting that I didn’t do as a painter. From painting a fridge to a multi-storied building, I left nothing. I retired from my painting job in the mid of 2018 due to back arthritis problems.

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