Can You Give Water To A 2 Week Old Baby House Painting Odors – Getting Rid of the Smell

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House Painting Odors – Getting Rid of the Smell

Homeowners, especially those with small children, often ask me how to get rid of paint odors. It is such a big concern for some people that they will ask me about a possible odor control before they even book the painting estimate.

The good news is that the evolution of house paint has come a long way with low odor and even odorless lines for some applications. The bad news is that there are still so many reasons to use the smelly stuff, especially if you’re repainting an older home. Alkyd (oil-based) and shellac or alcohol primers are particularly effective for sealing water damage and old oil painted surfaces to upgrade them to Latex top coats. But they are also very smelly with potentially long-lasting fumes. Even the most common low-odor alkyd paints commonly used today to repaint woodwork can have a lingering odor for days under the most ventilated conditions.

So how do you get rid of the smell?

I recently received an email from a mother asking me that very question. Her young child’s room had been painted almost two weeks ago and since then she had left the windows open and the fan on. However, the paint smell is strong enough that she worries about letting the child sleep in the room. The painting of this room involved a lot of priming to cover the dark brown oil paint used by the previous home owner. As the color needed to be lightened and the surfaces converted to a much more Eco-friendly Acrylic Latex, a common top brand Alkyd primer was used to give the whole room a fresh start. And even though it had “Low Odor” printed on the can, it was obviously NOT odorless. To compound matters, all the woodwork had to be finished in a leading “Low Odor” brand of Alkyd semi-gloss which produced a smooth glossy finish as well as a migraine inducing vapor.

So what can you do? Well, there are a number of ways you can overcome these situations beyond obvious ventilation to control, eliminate and even prevent odors from lingering.

“An ounce of prevention”… Before there was such a thing as “smelly paint” we used to add a splash of vanilla extract to every gallon of oil paint to make it “smelly”. It was cheap, easy to make and had no effect on the color. Now that low-odor alkyd paints are common on the market, adding about a teaspoon of vanilla extract makes them almost odorless.

Or, as in the case above, the painting is already done. It’s too late for vanilla and the smell won’t go away as quickly as they’d like. What happens here is that the odors are trapped in the walls as the paint cures and probably also in all the fabrics and carpets in the room. They need something else to absorb them for good. So, this is what I advised her to do. Slice some onions and put them in a few bowls of cold water. Place one of the bowls in the room and the other in the cupboard. As simple and crazy as it sounds, the onions absorb and actually remove the paint fumes and odors… sometimes as quickly as overnight!

I first learned this trick when creating a baby’s room about 17 years ago. I spent about 5 weeks converting a badly falling apart and dusty old attic room into a nursery before the baby was born. And as it turned out, the baby was born about two weeks early and was ready to come home just as I was finishing the project. The job required lots of smelly primers and sealants to bury decades of neglect and water damage. As was usual in those days, I added vanilla extract to minimize the smell of the paints (and damage to my brain cells) but the smell didn’t clear up fast enough to introduce the newborn. The homeowner’s nanny who moved into the bedroom next door (and who was also bothered by the smell) used a few bowls of sliced ​​onions in cold water overnight and the smell was gone the next day. I couldn’t believe it!

I have been recommending this technique ever since with excellent results. But it should be noted here that this example was in an empty room. In the case of a fully furnished room, as in our case above, you should consider airing out clothing, drapes, rugs or anything else that might trap the odors and give them a shot or two of Febreeze to do the trick for now.

Now sometimes, there are extreme cases where scents are just not an option. Some people are very allergic to the VOCs (volatile organic compounds) contained in paints and the shades used to color them. Some can become quite ill with even short-term inhalation of the vapors. In these cases, you have to use the whole range of tricks:

  1. Before you paint, empty the room completely to make sure nothing will trap the smells.
  2. Open all the windows before you open the paint cans and keep them open throughout the painting.
  3. Add vanilla extract to your Alkyd, Alcohol or Shellac based paints. (Latex paints usually don’t need this step because they are relatively low odor to begin with).
  4. Place several bowls of onions around the room (as above) while you paint to absorb the fumes as they escape.
  5. When the painting is finished, seal and dispose of all paint cans, bag your drip leaves in plastic before taking them out through the rest of the house (or throw them out the window if possible) to avoid spreading the fumes they’ve caught. indoors
  6. Refresh your supply of onions in water, as the old ones will be full of fumes by the time you finish the painting.
  7. Keep the windows open and wait until the paint is completely dry and the odors are gone before you replace the furniture and other belongings.

Of course, these tips are offered in relation to interior painting, but you should also try adding a little vanilla to your paint when painting the exterior in alkyd coatings as well. It saves the painter a lot of headaches… literally. But whether inside or out, these simple ideas combined with some good old-fashioned common sense should produce a fresh new look with clean, breathable air you can live with.

Happy painting!

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