DIY videos on how to paint a space abound. Everything from amateur tips and tricks to pro-tips is available. What they don’t tell you is the hazards of indoor painting – inhalation of paint fumes.
So, before you change into your overalls and get to work repainting your kitchen, let’s make sure you know exactly what you’re getting into.
The Health Effects of Paint Fumes
Most paints contain volatile organic compounds (VOCs) such as xylene, benzene, and toluene.
Exposure to such compounds have the following side effects –
- Difficulty breathing
- Irritation of the eyes, nose, or throat
- It could also trigger allergic reactions
What to do?
There are a few things you could do to significantly reduce your exposure to toxic paint fumes. These include –
- Ensure you use indoor paints that contain fewer VOCs. Consider using water-based paints as opposed to those diluted with other chemicals.
- Put on protective gear such as a respirator or face mask to lower your chances of inhaling these fumes.
- Open up all the windows in the room so the fumes can escape.
- Don’t paint for long hours at a stretch. Stop frequently and step out for some fresh air.
- Read the paint label carefully. Any safety tips and instructions from the manufacturer should be strictly adhered to.
- Use an air purifier in the room when painting to help get rid of the fumes.
- Avoid painting on very humid days. It’s more difficult for paint to dry on such days. It also increases the chances of other materials in the room to absorb the smell.
- If you’re using multiple coats, ensure each dries before applying a new layer.
Practicing the steps above while painting will ensure that you remain safe. Beyond painting and staying safe while doing so, what about afterward? The smell of paint lingers for days, especially in a poorly ventilated room.
Here’s how you can get rid of the smell quicker with some good old home remedies
- A sprinkle of baking soda
Of course, baking soda will make it on this list. You can use it to get rid of the paint odor. Just put it in a bowl and leave it all around the room to do its magic.
Use deactivated charcoal to get rid of the odor. Buy the charcoal in pouches and place it around the room.
You’re probably wondering whether this one is worth it. Well, onions aren’t toxic. It’s far better to perceive the smell of onions than the toxic smell of paint fumes. Cut a few onions in half and place them at different points in the room. Don’t use them to cook afterward because they will absorb VOCs from the paint.
Candles have become very popular lately. More than the nice scent and ambiance they exude, they can also freshen the air after painting a room. Just choose soy-based or natural beeswax candles as opposed to paraffin wax candles that could release more toxins into the room.
- Lemon water
This might take a while, but a few slices of fresh lemon in a bowl of water in the room will give a refreshing odor to the room – perfect to get rid of the paint smell. 
At the end of the day, a fresh coat of paint can make a big difference and change the look of your home significantly. Go ahead and pull out your overalls and paintbrush now. Just be sure to stay safe while doing that.