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Suppose you want to revamp your house and nothing is perfect than having beautiful paint. Painting the home with your desired color is an easy job, but there is a significant drawback. Paint not only takes a particular time to dry completely but also creates toxic fumes. How long do paint fumes last is a common question people ask online from professionals. Do these fumes bring certain health risks for people, especially for children?

Paint smell can be tedious, irritating, and harmful for pregnant people, old family members, and children. A regular paint dries in about 24 hours, but the paint’s smell might remain for several days. There are many significant things you need to know if you are planning to have a painting job for your home.

In this ultimate guide, we will discuss the duration of breathing paint fumes while sleeping, their harmful effects, health risks, and everything you need to know about toxic paint fumes. So, stay with us to get all the information in the following.

What Is Meant By Paint Smell?

While painting, you come across different types of walls. After the painting job, you will feel a pungent odor called the paint smell. In actuality, the ingredients of paint emit certain chemicals in the air, and they start spreading all over the space. Usually, the drying time of paint is 24 hours, but the smell remains for a few months.


The lingering smell of old paint can be a common issue when dealing with old paint coatings in homes or spaces.

how long do oil-based paint and enamel paint fumes last

Fumes are produced due to a certain reason. Is paint smell harmful? To understand the paint fumes creation, let’s explain the primary components of paint in the following:

  1. Additives: as the name suggests, we sometimes add certain chemicals to increase the durability and thickness of the paint. They also help get mildew protection.
  2. Pigments: Pigments are an important ingredient of paints and are responsible for bringing the actual color of the paint.
  3. Solvents: Solvents help the paint to stick tightly on the surfaces.
  4. Binders: Binders are like additives and allow the paint to dry in minimal time.

These ingredients consist of dangerous compounds such as additives. They contain a wet layer of paint that is responsible for the spreading of the paint on a wall. When this process occurs, they create toxic fumes and health-hazardous chemicals. The most common dangerous compounds are Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) and more.

Are Paint Fumes Harmful Long Term?

It’s a valid question: are paint fumes toxic? The answer to this confusion is that the toxicity and harmfulness of the paint fumes depend on the additives, solvents, or VOCs.

How long do paint fumes last pregnant? It’s a fact that when you inhale the fumes, the toxic agents go to your lungs and may cause several health problems. The reason for the problem is the VOCs; therefore, the professionals always suggest you buy the paints with low VOCs.

Significantly, you will observe the following symptoms of inhaling paint fumes when you inhale the air having high paint fumes:

  • Nausea
  • Ataxia (Dropping coordination)
  • Asthma
  • Dizziness or headache
  • Visual impairment
  • Irritating throat or dry throat
  • Nose jamming, breathing problem, or nose inhaling irritation
  • Eyes soreness, irritation, or raw problem

Furthermore, here are some tips that will be helpful for you. If the paint smell goes after a short time, the paint has low VOCs. For example, water-based paints consist of low VOCs and offer low risk for the issues mentioned above.

On the other hand, if the smell remains for weeks or months, it is a sign of high VOCs. You may have to face severe health issues, especially for pregnant women, old age people, and kids.

How Long Do Paint Fumes Stay In A Room?

When we apply the paint as a DIY project or even hire a professional painter, the walls need several coats. The multiple coats ensure the long-lasting performance, high quality, and strength of the applied paint. Moreover, the number of coats varies with the type of surface targeted. However, how long do latex paint fumes last?

The problem of paint smell occurs when painting indoors. According to an estimate, the emitted fumes have 10x more than the outdoor painting projects. Two questions arise here: how long does the paint smell take to go away? & How long the paint smell is harmful to humans? Both questions are similar, and the answer is explained in the following:

Recall that the paint comes in different types, colors, and primary ingredients. Commonly used paints are acrylic, latex, water-based, and oil-based. All these paints come with distinctive levels of VOCs that make them different from each other. According to the number of VOCs, we have divided the paints into three categories:

Regular Paints

They are highly affordable but offer high levels of VOCs. When you use these paints, the fumes take longer to emit the toxic fumes. Approximately such paints take about a month to fully emit the fumes, but the smell remains for 14-24 weeks.

Low VOC Paints

They are specially made paints to dissipate toxic fumes quickly. Particularly, 1 liter of paints consists of 300g of VOCs, but low VOC paints only have about 50g per liter. The smell vanishes in a few days, i.e. 3-4 days after application.

Zero VOC Paints

If you are looking for a paint that doesn’t contain any VOCs, zero VOC paints are the answer for you. In this modern world, manufacturers are producing such paints with a special method. When you apply such paints, they dry off in a minimal time of 1-2 days approximately. On the other hand, such paints are costly compared to others.

Do Paint Fumes Go Away?

How to get rid of the paint smell is the most asked question by the homeowners. Here we are sharing some significant tips for quick relief from the paint smell.

  • Baking Soda: Baking soda is a useful compound used by people in the past because it’s a good smell absorbent. Just sprinkle a small quantity of baking soda in the room after painting and wait for home remedy for inhaling paint. It will make the area odor-free in a few hours. Furthermore, don’t forget to clear the baking soda in the end.
  • Open Windows & Ventilations: After getting the paint job done, open the windows and ventilation of the room. If there are fans, turn them ON, and it will help get rid of the paint smell quickly.

NOTE: Turn OFF the air conditioners to prevent any problem.

  • Charcoal: Deactivated charcoal is the cheapest solution to throw away the toxic smell. Just spread a small amount of charcoal in the room, and it will absorb the smell in a couple of hours.
  • Other Methods: You can make a bucket of vinegar solution and throw it on the floor to avoid spray paint fumes in house. Likewise, lemon consists of citric acid and is found to be very helpful in discarding the paint smell. Cut 5-10 lemons and keep them in the corners of the room. Not to mention, coffee grounds and candles can also be used to dump the paint smell.

What Happens If You Inhale Paint Fumes For Too Long?

If you inhale the toxic paint fumes for long, these breathing solvents and additives can cause many health problems. You might have dizziness, headache, nausea, and such common health issues. It usually happens when the house has a poor ventilation system. Always try to have some ventilation arranged in the room to prevent such problems even after the paint. Otherwise, these symptoms and diseases may prove deadly for you.

How Long After Painting Can I Sleep In The Room?

Paint is not human-friendly just after the completion of painting project. Also, the high VOC paints are not good for people’s health. In case, you have to sleep in the room that is freshly painted, how long a person can sleep after painting? The answer depends on the type of paint and number of VOCs in it.

However, you can sleep in the room after 2-8 hours of painting because the highly toxic fumes release in this period. Further precautions is to make sure the proper ventilation of the room to sleep without any issues.

What To Do After Inhaling Paint Fumes?

If you are spending time in a newly painted room, it’s not good for your health. First, follow the precautions given by the paint professional. If you feel the symptoms after inhaling paint fumes, drink a reasonable amount of water or milk. It helps keep you hydrated and keeps you normal. In case, you are still not feeling well, consult with a health care provider immediately.

Final Words On How Long Do Paint Fumes Last

In conclusion, the smell of the paint remains for 14 to 24 weeks in general. We have learned that VOCs are responsible for toxic fumes or smell. You can also choose the type of paint to get a lower amount of paint smell. Again, you can use any of the methods mentioned above will work to remove the paint fumes quickly. We believe you will like this guide about how long do paint fumes last and it will be helpful for everyone.

FAQs On how long do spray paint fumes last

Do paint fumes go away?

There are two methods by which the fumes can go away. First, try to buy the low VOCs or zero VOC paint. Secondly, use the tips & tricks to unload the smell of toxicants in the paint as mentioned in the guide.

Is it OK to sleep in a room with paint fumes?

Professionals and even doctors don’t recommend sleeping in a room. The reasons are that you might be open to severe health issues, or it’s almost dead-dealing.

Jennifer Marie-Holapaints writer

Jennifer Marie

Jennifer Marie is a general contractor with over the years of experience in home remodeling, DIY projects, and commercial painting projects. Her experience includes working with paint sprayers, painting tools, and other painting supplies. You can follow her on Facebook.

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