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

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

Why Does My Paint Smell Like Rotten Egg?

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

Paint is one of the top projects in your home where someone can walk in and ask, “What’s that smell?!?”

Generally, every paint smells, regardless of the type of paint or the painted area. However, the smell shouldn’t be repulsive. But what if it is?

The following article includes things to watch for if your paint smell has issues.

Can Paint Smell Like Rotten Eggs?

Any paint thats not in the right condition or environment can smell terribly. Your paint is most likely to smell like rotten eggs if exposed to excessive heat. Heatwave plays a big role in making any paint originate odors.

So, Why Does My Paint Smell Like Bad Eggs?

Paints smell like rotten eggs because of exposure to chemicals used to produce them. The paint also smells bad because of bacteria that grow over time. Many paints smell like rotten eggs because of many reasons. Some of them are discussed below.

Why Does My Paint Smell Like Rotten Eggs

Bad production materials

Materials used for paint production usually deteriorate with time and become too bad for finish production. If you use such materials, it will only make substandard paint, causing it to smell. Another cause for bad paint is when you open your paint and keep it unsealed for a long period.

Broken seal

Paints are better preserved when tightly sealed. Unfortunately, many people are not aware of this. By mistake, they leave their paint cans lid open and get a horrible outcome.

Expiration of paint

Expiration may cause dysfunctional traits that include an awful smell oozing from the paint. Over-stayed paints give way to the generation and growth of bacteria. Bacteria can let out hydrogen sulfide gas, and this commonly simulates a dreadful smell, especially in latex paints containing a high level of water. The chemicals used in producing paints don’t last forever. They all have expiration dates and will lose pigments and bonding agents once the shelf life expires.

However, we advise that whenever you open any paint can, you should completely use its content in a few days. This will avoid you perceiving rancid smell from it and secure its effectiveness for painting work.

Weather condition

The weather condition also affects how bad a paint odor is. For example, when you expose your paint to excessive heat, the fumes emit an offensive odor.

What Makes Paint Smell?

Excess presence of concentrated VOCs, the surface to be painted, and the quality of production makes paint smell. Another reason paint smell is when producers dont store or manufacture them properly. The possibility of any paint to smell is high, even if they are specific circumstances that make the offensive odor.

What Makes Paint Smell


Volatile Organic Compounds come from the applicants used in making both oil-based paints and latex-based paints. Paints more often than not exhibit smelly attributes based on the level of VOC it contains. Formaldehyde is one of the volatile organic compounds. It is higher in solvent-based oil paints than water-based latex paint.

When you paint your house newly, regardless of the location, the odor of the paint gets intense. For some people, the space becomes unlivable. The thinner solvent evaporates into the atmosphere, and that causes the smell.

The more solvent content the paint has, the more severe the paint odor is. Therefore, the paint smells more on the surface when it is wet than when it has dried. The thinner solvent is more present in wet paint than in dry.


Experts have sighted how important it is to make sure the surface you are painting is good enough to receive the paint. The surface is a major determinant of how your paint smells, whether your paint smells preserved or deplorable. Sometimes you will meet walls or wood surfaces whose reaction will generate pleasant scents. Although, when you wall paint something that absorbs fluid, you will get pungent smells.

Surfaces exposed to redundant heat or undeviating sunlight produce the same outcome. This type of surface produces an ammonia kind of smell which is not good to inhale. So, it is advisable to polish the surface you are to paint neatly before applying paint on it.

Overweening moisture or wetness of any old surface can cause it to be vulnerable to fungi, mold, and blue-green algae. This is responsible for the earthy and stale odor you perceive from the paint.

Cheap Quality Paints

Unbranded companies largely produced cheap quality paints. These products eject hefty and sharp smells. Over time, such inferior-quality paints have proven to be very inefficient in delivery. It commonly incorporates water more than color or other important composition that make excellent paint.

The large quantity of water present in a cheap quality paint advances the rapid growth of bacteria. This is one stimulator of sour smell from the paint.

Buying good quality paint may not reduce the cost, but it is worth the expenses if you need a satisfactory delivery. Furthermore, some of these excellent products are completely free from volatile organic compounds and are anti-bacterial.

Alkaline sealer is effective in dealing with icky smells, refraining cast paints, and preventing bacteria from growing. You can add it to your paint to get the goodness it offers.

Is Paint Toxic?

Exposure to paint and its fumes is toxic to your health. That’s why people usually vacate their homes when they’re carrying out a painting project. Depending on the exposure, the body reacts in different ways.


A smelly paint, when inhaled, is harmful to almost every part of the body. Theres a high level of concentration of volatile organic compounds in smelly paints.


Inhaling paints can cause severe headaches and dizziness. Prolonged exposure can cause drowsiness, hallucinations, and even induce comas in extreme cases.


In addition to the fumes, the skin can experience a lot of damage when exposed to paint, as paint irritates the bare skin. Other symptoms include soreness of the eyes, throat, and nose. As a painter or someone who just had his/her house painted freshly, you might have experienced a temporary discomfort in your eyes, incessant sneezing, and/or throat inching.

Is The Smell Of Paint Toxic

This happened because of the high concentration of VOC in the paint used on your wall. Headache is another defect of inhaling paint. After breathing in so much of a smelly painting, its natural to feel dizzy and light-headed.


A kind of disgust thats strong enough to make you feel sick caused by inhaling paint. You will also have difficulty in breathing. The comforting part is that all these are just temporary, and you will be fine in a matter of time. However, it doesnt mean you shouldnt avoid being in such a space.

Long Term

The long-term damages only attack the specific system of the body, including:

  • The nervous system
  • The kidney
  • Liver

If exposed to these and you dont receive proper treatment, you can faint just by perceiving paints odor. After painting your house, it takes about 2-3 days for the fumes to be harmless. You should wait until then before moving into the house or sleeping in the room.

Related Reading:Is Paint A Compound Or A Mixture?

How Long Does It Take For Paint To Stop Smelling?

According to experts, a standard paint can take up to 14 to 24 weeks to stop smelling complete. Oil paint takes longer – 2 months extra to stop smelling. You can hasten the process to make your paint stop smelling by opening doors and exposing the painted room. When the paint is getting dry, the smell reduces and even quenches entirely. You just have to be patient enough to let it.

Paint doesnt just dry immediately after applying it to the surface. It even takes longer to dry when not exposed to air. The time taken to dry is the same time to stop smelling. Because once it has dried, the smell reduces. It can take days, weeks, or even months for paint to stop smelling.

These are just a few reasons paint smell can either last longer or not. One of them is the type of paint. When VOC is in the paint, the smell lasts longer. However, surfaces exposed to steady moisture can make it hard for paint to stop smelling quickly.

Solvent-based paints also make the smell seizing process very sluggish. Paints that contain too much water and have aided the growth of bacteria don’t have any business with quick odor seizing.

How Do You Fix Paint That Smells Like Rotten Eggs?

Applying any smell absorbing seal in the painted space is a good way to fix the paint that smells like rotten eggs. Reducing or stopping the smell of paint can be possible with readily available items, even in your homes.

Here are a few ways you can fix paint that smells:

Scented candles

Scented candles do a great job of quenching the smell of paint in a room. They come in a variety of flavors and are easy to use. It takes just lighting them and letting them burn off for a couple of hours. The scent takes over the room and subdues the previous foul smell.


Placing these in strategic positions in your room will absorb the dreadful smell of paint, leaving your room odorless.

Baking Soda

Baking sodas has proven to be functional in ways other than baking. It is enough to just keep a bowl full of baking soda in the painted area and do nothing extra. Just like charcoals, baking soda also can absorb the smell. It even eradicates the strongest paint smell.

Coffee beans

Aside from sucking up severe smells, coffee beans are also efficient in circulating delicate aroma around the room.

Water and lemon

The unique nature of this method shows during painting. You dont have to endure the smell of the paint until after painting. Instead, you can just take a bucket full of water and slices of lemon; place them in the room where you are painting.

The water in the bucket sucks in the solvent evaporated into the room space. In contrast, the lemon gives the room a fresh and comforting scent. To get a better outcome, you can let the solution stay in the freshly painted room through the night. Then come the next morning toa completely natural and sweet-smelling room.

Are There Paints That Dont Smell?

Some paints dont smell. In fact, every paint that is void of any volatile organic compound is very odor-free. In addition, you can apply a tablespoonful of vanilla extract in one gallon of paint to nullify the smell. It doesnt change the color of the paint even for a bit.

Final Verdict

Paints generally smell bad because of a couple of reasons, but you can counter them.When youre out to buy paint, look not only out for dazzling colors of paints. Check the level of volatile organic compounds the paint contains. Also, check the paint’s conditions — how tightly sealed the can is and how long it has been opened. This will determine how stinky your room turns out after you have painted.

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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