What Does Paint Thinner Smell Like? – How to Neutralize Its Smell

Randy Charles
Professional Painter

Randy Charles is the owner of PaintCentric.com, a website dedicated to providing information, tips, tricks, and news about all things paint. With over 10 years...Read more

It is great to work on a repainting and remodeling project. But, there is an accompanying mess often associated with these projects – the after-effects of the paints.

If you have just finished painting your home, you are most likely left with a lingering chemical-like odor of paint thinner. Also, if you recently carried out a renovation project, this could leave behind a toxic smell.

Paint thinner is a solvent used to make an oil-based paint. Paint thinner often smells like putrid or rotten eggs and has a foul, irritating, and offensive smell.

Paint thinner irritates human sense organs and causes dizziness, migraines, and other side effects.

Suppose your home has the unpleasant chemical odor of Paint thinner. In that case, the good news is that this smell can be neutralized using some natural remedies very quickly.

This article will teach you a lot about paint thinner smell, how long it lasts, and how to neutralize the smell in your home.

What Does Paint Thinner Smell like?

Paint and paint thinner involve using some chemical and harsh substances. Paint thinner is a solvent that makes an oil paint light and thin.

Paints can either have high or low volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and can be used to grease car and bike parts.

Paint Thinner Smell
Paint Thinner

Paint thinner has a disgusting smell; it also smells like rotten eggs. This smell is often caused by a high level of volatile organic compound which releases fumes in the air, resulting in an offensive odor.

These cause some side effects on humans, like irritation, watery eyes, drowsiness, headache, and severe health conditions.

Furthermore, paint thinner smells are sometimes caused by painting; when you recently painted your premises without proper ventilation. Also, the moisture from your air conditioning unit can leave a toxic smell behind, another cause of the paint’s thinner smell.

How Long Does Paint Thinner Smell Last?

Paint thinner has a toxic and unpleasant smell, and this smell is hazardous and harmful when inhaled by humans. The paint’s thinner smell is volatile; this means it is evaporative. Paint thinner smell sometimes evaporates quickly, and other times it takes longer to evaporate.

When left open in a room with proper ventilation, it may evaporate within a few hours, and the smell won’t last long. The paint-thinner smell does not last long in a well-ventilated room; it evaporates within a few hours.

How Long Does Paint Thinner Smell Last

But paint thinner evaporates slowly when the room or premises is not adequately ventilated or enclosed. This usually takes a day or more as When the room is enclosed, paint thinner lasts longer and doesn’t go away quickly.

Is Paint Thinner Smell Dangerous?

The smell of paint thinner is hazardous. Paint thinner is an explosive and flammable liquid harmful to humans if inhaled. The chemicals used in making paint thinner are toxic to man and cause various side effects.

The odor released from air conditioning unit leaks is hazardous because it also contains chemicals in the form of refrigerants. The smell of paint thinner causes sense organs irritation in humans, causing migraines, headaches, and other serious health problems.

What Is the Most Common Reason for a Paint Smell?

A paint thinner smell is a hazardous odor that is the after-effect of painting. The smell of paint thinner indicates the use of a chemical substance. There are other reasons for a paint thinner, like the smell, apart from the common one, painting. Some other common reasons are

Most Common Reason For A Paint Like Smell
Reasons for Paint Smell
  • Water Leaks from Your Air Conditioner: Air conditioning leaks also have a paint-like smell. One common reason that causes that paint-like smell in your home is a result of the fluid leaks in your AC. It is known that AC uses chemicals called refrigerants to convert gases to liquid. Like other home appliances, AC is also susceptible to leaks. The fluids from this system also have a paint-like smell, just like paint thinner. Sometimes the coils in the AC might be faulty, which causes the refrigerant to leak. The refrigerant, a chemical, is also harmful and toxic to humans.
  • Old Refrigerator Leaks: Due to punctures in your old refrigerator, this may cause leaks of Freon that also have a paint-like smell. Freon is a chemical used as a fluorocarbon in your refrigerator. These leaks from your old refrigerator are also toxic, leaving behind a paint-like smell.
  • Nail Polish Remover: Nail polish remover contains some chemical substances like acetone. As a result of these chemicals, when someone uses nail polish remover, it has a strong unpleasant smell. Like paint thinner, when the nail remover is opened, it fumes up the entire place, which means that the nail polish remover has a paint-like smell and is toxic.
  • Some Chemicals Used as Cleaning and Refinishing Agents: Some very strong chemicals also have the same foul smell as paint thinner. Isopropyl is one great cleaning agent that also has a hazardous smell. This solvent has a paint-like smell, just like paint thinner. They stink the room when used in refinishing or as a cleaning solution.

What Are the Best Ways to Neutralize Paint Thinner Smell in Your Home?

Paint thinner contains chemicals that are harsh and harmful to humans when inhaled. These chemicals pollute your home because of their foul smell.

Unfortunately, the lingering fumes of paint thinner make the environment of your home uninhabitable for man. This unpleasant smell can be neutralized using water, white vinegar, charcoal, baking soda, and a proper ventilation system.

Neutralize Paint Thinner Smell
Neutralize Paint Thinner Smell
  • Using Water: You can use water to neutralize paint thinner by using it to wash the brushes and materials you used to paint. Water is a natural neutralizing agent, and it reduces the foul smell of paint thinner. You can also fill a bowl of water and let it sit overnight in the room you just painted, and it will absorb the foul smell of the paint thinner.
  • Using White Vinegar: This is another amazing neutralizing agent used in homes. Pour a good quantity of white vinegar into a bowl, and allow it to sit in your recently painted room. It will absorb all the unpleasant smell of the paint thinner.
  • Using Charcoal: Activated charcoal also works wonders in absorbing toxic smells. Fill a bowl with activated charcoal, and let it sit in the recently painted room. It will absorb the paint’s thinner odor like other neutralizers. You can get activated coal from any store.
  • Using Baking Soda: Baking soda is a great neutralizer that naturally absorbs unpleasant odors. When you sprinkle the baking soda in all corners of your home, it will neutralize the smell of the paint thinner.
  • Ventilation System: A properly ventilated system helps mitigate odors quickly. A good ventilation system makes the odor of paint thinner and evaporates quickly. During and after painting, leave the doors and windows of the room open. This helps the ventilation system and neutralizes the toxic smell of the paint thinner.


The paint thinner has a rotten smell. It is essential to take adequate steps to neutralize paint thinner’s odor because it is hazardous to humans. With water, vinegar, baking soda, and charcoal, you can reduce the smell of paint thinner after a painting job or renovation project.

Randy CharlesProfessional Painter

Randy Charles is the owner of PaintCentric.com, a website dedicated to providing information, tips, tricks, and news about all things paint. With over 10 years of experience in the painting industry, Randy has become an expert in the field and is passionate about helping others learn more about painting. He has written numerous articles on the subject and is committed to providing accurate and up-to-date information to his readers.

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