House Smells Like Nail Polish Remover (DO This FIRST!)

Sometimes your house may smell like exhaust, nail polish remover, rotten eggs, etc. But if you get these smells constantly, you should find the source immediately before it causes harm to your health. A chemical substance named acetone is present in nail polish remover and other materials. 

The pungent smell of acetone can cause lung irritation. The acetone-like smell could generate from refrigerant leakage in your air conditioner and refrigerator, sealants used in houses, burnt electric cables, molds, fungi, bacteria, etc.

This article explains the possible sources of nail polish remover smell in your house and ways to eliminate the smell.

a woman holding her nose because of a bad house smell

Why Does My House Smell Like Nail Polish Remover?

Nail polish remover contains an element called acetone that makes the smell solid and different. Many other products contain acetone, such as paint thinner, cleaner, etc. It is usual to get certain smells in your house, such as burnt oil, rotten egg, nail polish remover, etc.

The most common reasons you are getting nail polish remover smell are- a leakage in your refrigerator, gas leaks from the sewer, smell from silicon-based sealants, defects in electrical cables, mold and fungi growth on your wall, etc.

5 Reasons Why Your House is Smelling Like a Nail Polish Remover.

Nail polish remover and paint thinner have an identical smell. There might be several causes your house smells like paint thinner or nail polish remover. Here are five potential reasons for your house smelling like nail polish remover-

Refrigerant leakage.

Regardless of your system, whether it’s a typical cooling system, a refrigerator, or a wireless mini-split, it needs refrigerant to cool down effectively. This refrigerant, however, can leak in older or poorly maintained systems, resulting in an acetone-like odor. 

If you don’t recognize the fragrance of acetone, it’s a solvent that’s sometimes used to remove fingernail polish. It’s also included in some pigments and solvents.

Sewer gas leakage. 

A trapped drain in your house or a broken sewer pipe could cause gas leakage, and the smell might spread into your home’s wall.

Sewer gas also has an acetone-like smell. Please find out the gas leaking source and repair it immediately. 

Silicon-based sealants.

If you have recently applied caulks or silicon-based sealant in your bathroom, kitchen, or house, this could be why your house is smelling like a nail polish remover since these sealants also contain acetone.

Silicon-based sealants and caulks can have a familiar vinegar or acetone-like smell; these smells can stay at your home for longer. Ventilate the area where you have applied sealant to remove the smell fast.

people getting bad house smells

Faulty electrical cables.

Suppose the electrical cables in your house are faulty and have a short circuit inside the walls. In that case, they can burn the insulation, rubber layers, or plastic in the junction boxes. 

These problems can generate chemical smells that might smell similar to acetone. If you find any faulty electric cable, switch off your circuit box and call an electrician immediately to fix the issue.

Mold and fungi.

Water leaks and trapped moisture in your wall can grow molds and fungi. Mold and fungi are poisonous because they release harmful chemicals or gas and cause lung irritation. 

The chemicals could smell like acetone or rotten eggs. If you notice fungi and mold on the walls of your house, get rid of them without further delay.

8 Effective Ways to Eliminate the Nail Polish Remover Smell.

Proper ventilation.

Proper ventilation is the easiest solution to eliminate any unpleasant smell like nail polish remover from your house. Ensure your house is well-ventilated, keep the windows open, and clean the vents if they are clogged.

Scented candles.

Scented candles are made with essential oils. So when the scented candles are burnt, the smell of essential oils infuses into the air and eliminates the nail polish remover or any other smell. You can buy scented candles from any craft store. 

Air purifier.

Nail polish remover smell could occur in your house because of stiff and polluted air. If this is the reason, you can use air purifiers to remove pollutants from your air and get fresh air. 

You can add a few drops of your favorite essential oil into the air purifier to keep the air pollution free and make your house smell nicer. 

Cat litter.

Crystal or clay, both cat litters, are great for absorbing unpleasant smells from the air. Cat litter neutralizes strong smells like nail polish remover. 

Put some cat litter on a tray and place the tray in the area where the smell is more potent. The litter will keep your home smelling fresh for about seven days. 


Charcoal is a toxin-free, natural substance that absorbs pungent smells like nail polish remover. You can put some charcoal chunks into a breathable bag and hang the bag in different areas of your home.

A bag of charcoal can keep your house odor free for up to three months. 

Grounded coffee.

The smell of ground coffee will keep your house smelling fresh and neutralize the bad smells from your house. Add some ground coffee into a bowl and place it in the center of your house. Change the coffee grounds once every week to get the best results.

Sodium bicarbonate.

Sodium bicarbonate, often called baking soda, has been used for years in houses for its smell-absorbing properties. 

Pour some sodium bicarbonate into a bowl and place the bowl from where the nail polish remover smell is coming the most. Baking soda can work as a deodorizer for three to four days. 

a young woman holding her nose because of a bad nail polish smell

Citrus fruit extract.

The fresh, sweet smell of citrus fruit extracts eliminates the overpowering smell of nail polish remover. You can place the peels of citrus fruits like lemon, lime, and orange in the corners of your house, or you can also use citrus essential oils in your air purifier.   

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQS)

If you could somehow smell nail polish remover, what does that mean?

If you sense acetone in your house, it could be a symptom of a refrigerant leak. While this reduces your ventilation system’s effectiveness, it poses a health risk and, if subjected to an open flame, a fire hazard.

Why is the paint thinner smell coming from my house?

The odor of paint thinner can often detect the existence of chemicals that can be detrimental to your health. VOCs, volatile organic compounds, are the most significant reason for paint thinner odor. Volatile organic molecules, which have a strong odor similar to paint thinner, can swiftly escape into the air.

What does a refrigerant leak smell like?

The ducts or the air – conditioning itself may emit a smell of alcohol, chloroform, or sweetness. It is the refrigerant’s odor. Refrigerant leaks contribute to climate change, and refrigeration absorption may harm your health.

From where paint thinner smell in my bathroom is coming?

When the vent pipe in the bathroom becomes clogged, the restroom can stench like paint thinner. As a result, the air within the bathroom becomes clogged and does not flow as it should. 

The condition may worsen if the toilet’s fixtures aren’t draining water properly. It’s essential to get the vent pipe cleared as soon as possible.

Why would my house have a chemical odor?

You should check out any chemical odors emanating from your HVAC system. A damaged heat exchanger might release a formaldehyde odor, a significant problem. The heat exchanger is the component of your furnace that transfers heat from the combustion chamber to the rest of the system. 

Why is a cracked HVAC system hazardous?

If the HVAC system becomes cracked or damaged, hazardous carbon monoxide gases can be released into the air, circulating through your HVAC ductwork and out into your home’s air. 

It can occur a chemical smell to spread across your house. If you get this smell, immediately switch off your HVAC system and call your HVAC expert.

What does it smell like when there’s a freon leak?

Freon passes across a closed wire coil in an air conditioner, but these coils might burst and leak AC refrigerant. The odor of a loss of freon is somewhere between pleasant and chloroform. 

If you anticipate a freon leak, call a professional who can diagnose the situation with a freon leak detector.


An ingredient named acetone is present in nail polish remover, making it smell pungent. The nail polish remover smell spreads fast because the acetone vapors rapidly. 

You must find out the source of the nail polish remover smell in your house since it could seriously harm your health. Several possible reasons your house smells like nail polish remover are as follows-

  • Leakage in your refrigerator or air conditioner.
  • Gas leakage from the sewer of your basement.
  • Silicon-based sealants or caulks smell.
  • Faulty electrical wires in your house.
  • Fungi, mold, or mildew growth on the walls of your home.

Whatever the reason, you must find the source immediately. Take necessary steps to fix this issue as soon as possible before it causes great harm to your health.