Apartment Smells Like Paint Thinner? (EASY & FAST Solution)

Are you someone who recently started smelling different types of chemical smells but is confused about what to do or whether to be worried or not? If you answered “Yes” to the question, then this article is just for you.

While we know that the main reason your house or apartment smells like paint thinner is probably due to the leakage of chemicals, which can be from a refrigerator or the air conditioning itself.

a woman holding her nose because her apartment smells like paint thinner

What might worry you is how to get rid of it or whether it is much of a bigger issue in the first place. Hence, to answer all these possible queries, read the section below!

What Does Paint Thinner or Spray Paint Smell Like?

It’s difficult to define the fragrance, specifically paint thinner, but it’s obviously a chemical smell, similar to nail polish.

Spray paint has a similar odor to nail polish in some ways, as both contain similar compounds. Furthermore, the smell can vary depending on the product and the chemicals involved.

Many people compare the smell of paint thinner to rotten eggs. The stench is equally foul and unpleasant. 

So to put it in a very simple manner, it’s an odor you’d like to just get out of your home, vehicle, or backyard as quickly as possible. Allowing the fumes to linger is not suggested, and I can’t see why anyone would want to, given how bad they smell.

Why Might Your Apartment Smell Like Paint Thinner?

It’s rather unsettling and alarming when your place smells like paint, especially if you haven’t painted in a while. Hence, it’s vital to remember that certain chemicals have similar smells. So the first step is to figure out what’s causing the problem. 

Usually, if your apartment smells like paint thinner, it is because of VOC leakage from your air conditioner or refrigerant. The term is the abbreviation of ‘Volatile Organic Compound.’

Volatile compounds are usually used in your air conditioner and refrigerator in order for them to work effectively. However, they might sometimes leak, which explains why your house smells like paint thinner even if you haven’t painted.

Questions may arise on how to neutralize the smell of paint thinner in your house and most importantly, what you can do when you start smelling paint thinner.

To ease your pain, we tried to jot down some methods worth mentioning that will cause the paint thinner smell to go away.

a person on the sofa holding his nose

How to Get Rid of Paint Thinner or Spray Paint Smell Out of Your House/Apartment

So here are some easy and fast DIY tricks that you can apply to say goodbye to the unpleasant smell of paint thinner- 

1. Water

You may eliminate the odor of paint thinner in your home with little more than a few bowls of water. Hence we recommend filling a few dishes with water and leaving them in the room where it smells like paint thinner.

If you keep the bowls of water overnight, the water will soak up some of the compounds and neutralize the harsh odors over time.

You may even add a slice of lemon to the water bowl for better and more effective results.

2. Vinegar

It is another household necessity for cooking and cleaning, and white vinegar is the recommended variety for eradicating paint thinner odors. You’ll need some bowls, much like water.

First, fill the dishes halfway with vinegar and set them aside to allow the acids to do their work in the room where they smell like paint thinner. The vinegar will absorb the stinky components in the paint thinner in just a few hours.

To get our recommended white vinegar that will solve your problem, you can check them out: White Vinegar

3. Baking Soda

Baking soda is another great absorber, and you can use it to get rid of the paint thinner smell from your house. Just gently sprinkle some amount of baking soda anywhere in the smelly room. Let it sit for a day, and it will absorb the foul smell from your house. 

Baking soda is a commonly used item & there is a huge chance that you already have it in your house. But if not, then go & grab the one you like from Amazon.

4. Ventilation

Sometimes it is the simplest thing that does the trick. Having the doors and windows open to let the paint thinner escape the house might be enough to have a paint thinner-free house. And it can be a rational and simple method to let your house be the same again.

Can You Cover the Smell of Paint Thinner? 

If any of the methods above is not really working, you can try a different approach. And that is covering the smell with something good! 

And yes, it’s possible to cover the smell of paint thinner. We got some ideas for this, and we hope they may help you out- 

Onion Slices

Onions can make you cry, but in terms of covering paint thinner smell, they might also make you happy! You need to chop some medium or large-size onions in half. Now place these slices in the corners of your odorous room. The chemical in the onion will surely neutralize or cover the smell of paint thinner. 

Coffee Beans

You can’t deny that the coffee beans have a pleasant smell! And in this war with the paint thinner smell, they can be our little troops! 

You can place a bowl of fresh coffee beans in the room. Ensure to keep the lid open, and they’ll cover all the paint thinner odor within a few hours. 

A few Best coffee beans are listed here: Best Coffee Beans

Essential Oils

Essential oils are mainly used for aromatherapy, but many people use them to make their home scent well. Many options include lavender, peppermint, rosemary, lemongrass, etc. 

You can use the essential oil in a wax warmer or diffuser to mix it in your air. They will not only reduce the paint thinner odor but will also create a calming, relaxing, and stress-free environment. 

Grab the one you prefer: Essential Oils from Amazon

Scented Candles

Scented Candles work in the same manner. They also produce a relaxing scent in your room, which will surely cover the paint thinner smell or any kind of odor. You can light the candles for 1-4 hours at a time, which will be enough.

Check out the amazing scented candles here & create an amazing environment.

Is Paint Thinner Smell in House Dangerous to Health?

Yes, Smelling paint thinner might be dangerous to health, but it depends on the concentration of the chemicals.

As we said, the smell is created from volatile components, which have many effects on our health. Inhaling high concentrations of these chemicals may make us dizzy, nauseous, or cause headaches.  

But the smell we usually encounter in our house doesn’t stay long. Also, their concentration is not that high. So you don’t have to be worried much. But taking precautions is recommended. 

Because Inhaling these chemicals for extended periods might result in sickness. Also, they are not really safe for infants or pregnant women. So make sure the smell goes away as soon as possible. 

Also, smelling paint thinner can indicate safety issues as leakage of such dangerous elements may lead to possible accidents or fire breakouts. We recommend you call in experts in this field to help you out.

Why Does Your Bathroom Smell Like Paint Thinner?

If your bathroom does not have any air conditioner or refrigerator, then why do you get a paint thinner smell in your bathroom? 

A bathroom might smell like paint thinner if the vent pipe becomes clogged. As a result, the air within the bathroom becomes clogged and does not flow as it should. It’s possible that the condition is becoming worse if the toilet’s fixtures aren’t draining water properly. It’s essential to get the vent pipe cleared as soon as possible.

Another reason might be that you recently renovated your bathroom. And if somehow paint thinner is spilled on the carpets or blinds, it may be the cause of the odor. 

Sometimes your washing machine may smell like paint thinner, and if that happens, the odor can spread through the whole bathroom. 

You can try any of the tricks we mentioned to eradicate the paint thinner smell. Additionally, you can use dehumidifiers, charcoal bags, or an air refresher to remove this smell. But first, fix your vent pipes if that is clogged.

Additional Tip: You can always use bathroom fresheners to avoid any types of bad smells, including paint thinner.

Can You Prevent Your Apartment From Smelling Like Paint Thinner?

Yes, it’s possible to prevent the paint thinner smell from filling your apartment. First, you need to inquire about the source of the smell and then have to fix it if possible. 

Suppose if it’s actually coming from wall paint or nail polish remover; ensuring proper ventilation will be enough. But if it causes by the leakage of the air conditioner or refrigerator, you must have to fix it to prevent the smell. 

Here are some common fixes to prevent your house from smelling like paint thinner- 

Fix AC Leakage

If your air conditioner is leaking fluid, it may be the source of the paint thinner smell of your house. 

This device uses chemicals to convert gases and liquids very quickly. These chemicals are known as refrigerants, and they are similar to chemicals present in paint thinner. 

So if somehow the central AC coils break down and refrigerants start to leak, they spread this awkward smell in your room. 

Despite the smell, other signs of leakage are the AC will make noise, and you’ll see the ice forming at its lines or coils.  

ac leakage image

So if you notice any of the signs, make sure to call an expert and fix the leakage. It might cost you some bucks, but it’s for the greater good. 

Fix Refrigerator Leakage

Older refrigerators use freon as a refrigerator, which is a hazardous substance and often the reason for the paint thinner smell. 

If there’s any puncture in the refrigerator, it’s possible that the Freon is leaking. So must call an HVAC expert to fix the refrigerator right away. 

Clean Properly After Painting

If the smell is really coming from spray paint or paint thinner, then it’d be easier to prevent this smell. 

Since you will use brushes, rollers, and buckets to paint your walls or mix paint thinner in the paint, they may capture the smell for some days. 

So make sure you clean almost everything after painting that comes in contact with the paint or the chemicals. If you throw any of the things in the garbage, get rid of them as soon as possible. 

Finally, allow air to enter your room so the odor left in the house can leave quickly. 

Check for Paint Thinner Stains

Paint thinner stains can be another reason for the foul smell. The stain can happen unintentionally, especially on your carpet or clothes. 

So check well before coming to any decision. If your carpet has any paint thinner stain, clean it up with a mixture of two cups of baking soda and a few drops of essential oil. 

You can soak your stained clothes in diluted white vinegar for about 30 minutes in order to remove the paint thinner stain and smell. 

Final Thoughts

We hope this article guided you on what to do if your house smells like paint thinner. Now, with our easy and fast DIY tricks, you can quickly get rid of this stinky smell and make your house environment as comfortable as before!

READ IT NEXT: Why Does My House Smell Like Chlorine? 8 Possible Reasons & Ultimate Solution

Frequently Asked Questions

Q. Why Am I Getting a Paint Odor When There Isn’t Any?

Olfactory hallucinations (phantosmia) cause you to sense smells that aren’t actually there in your environment. The odors sensed in phantosmia might be unpleasant or pleasant and vary slightly.

They can manifest themselves in one or even both nostrils. The phantom odor may be present all of the time or it may come and go.

Q. Is It Possible That My Home Smell Like Nail Polish or Solvent?

Your home may smell like nail polish or solvent because of acetone vapor leaking from a refrigerant. It is the most likely reason for an odor stripping from your ventilation vents.

Another unusual odor that necessitates prompt, professional care since a leak might harm a costly component, such as the compressor if more refrigerant is lost.

Q. Is It Possible To Inhale Lighter Fluid When There Isn’t Any?

Inhaling paint thinner near your air conditioner is typically a clue that something is wrong with it. A paint thinner odor from your air conditioner is almost always the result of fluid leakage in the system. Chemicals are used in air conditioners to convert gases to liquids quickly.

Q. Why Does My Home Air Conditioner Have a Paint Thinner Odor?

The air conditioning unit uses refrigerant to extract heat from the warm air in your home. The refrigerant passes through copper coils that are closed.

These copper coils might shatter over time, allowing refrigerants to leak. The coolant, which has a mild chloroform odor, could be the source of the chemical-like stench you’re detecting.

Q. Why Does My Car Smell Like Paint Thinner?

The main culprit behind your car smelling like paint thinner may be faulty oxygen sensors. Their main job is to monitor and control the mixture of fuel and air in the car engine.

So if it’s faulty, the balance will be disturbed, and that causes a leak of unburnt fuel. It comes as a paint thinner smell from your car’s exhaust pipe. You should fix the oxygen sensors to prevent this smell.

Q. Is It Possible To Smell Paint Thinner Outside the House?

Inhaling paint thinner near your air conditioner is typically a clue that something is wrong with it. A paint thinner odor from your air conditioner is almost always the result of fluid leakage in the system. Chemicals are used in air conditioners to convert gases to liquids quickly.

Q. When You Inhale Paint Thinner, What Happens?

Exposure to paint thinner vapors can be harmful to one’s health. Short-term symptoms can include dizziness, headaches, shortness of breath, nausea, hallucinations, confusion, loss of consciousness, and irritation of the skin, eyes, or respiratory system, depending on the degree of exposure that may occur.

Q. How To Get Rid of the Odor of Paint Thinner in Your Home?

According to Hunker, fill small basins with activated carbon, which absorbs aromas in the air. Place the bowls in every area with a paint thinner odor. Leave it there for a few days to get rid of the odor.

Q.Is It Possible for a House To Smell Like Varnish After a Vacation?

Check your air conditioner if you haven’t done any painting or renovating in a while but still smell lighter fluid. Problems with your air conditioner can often cause an odor in your home that smells like paint thinner.

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