Why Does My Apartment Smells Like Paint Thinner?

The last thing you’d wish to deal with after a home renovation is the smell of paint thinner. But fresh paint isn’t always the culprit for this unpleasant smell!

If you aren’t sure why your apartment smells like paint thinner, this article will help you detect the issue.

It could be caused by a number of reasons, most commonly due to the fluids inside a faulty air-conditioner, or VOCs (Volatile Organic Compounds) leaking from its container.

Fortunately, it is simple to deal with the smell of paint thinner, and you could get the job done with basic commodities that you probably already have at home.

Why Does My Apartment Smells Like Paint Thinner

Possible Reasons for Why Your Apartment Smells Like Thinner

In order to deal with the smell, you’ll first have to find out where it is originating from. You should be careful as the smell of paint thinner contains poisonous particles, and being exposed to it for long periods could cause inflammation and even potentially damage your lungs!

Below, we briefly discuss the reasons why an area could smell like paint thinner

1. The Odor of Paint Thinner Could Be Coming from Your A/C

Whether you have a full-fledged HVAC system or just a single unit A/C, leaking fluids in both systems could cause the smell of paint thinner. If the smell intensifies when you get close to the A/C unit, you’ve probably caught the culprit!

However, it is best to leave the work to HVAC professionals.

It is not just difficult for non-professionals to fix the issue, but it could also be dangerous due to the electrical components inside an air conditioner. Moreover, the gasses used in an air conditioning system are harmful, and prolonged exposure could result in health issues.

2. Lingering Paint Thinner Smell from Recent Paint Job

The most common reason for an area smelling like paint thinner is because of a recent paint job within the premises. Even if you did not use paint thinner for removing paint, lots of paints come with different levels of paint thinner included in them for easier applications. peoples often forget to clean their glasses after painting, so don’t forget to remove paint from the glasses.

Moreover, for low VOC (Volatile Organic Compound) paints, the odor spreads quicker as the chemicals permeate the air rapidly. This nature of fast evaporation of VOCs can cause the smell to spread beyond the room which is being painted. Prolonged exposure to VOCs can lead to irritation in the eyes, nasal cavities, etc.

3. Volatile Organic Compounds Leaking from Their Containers

If all else fails and you cannot find the source of the odor of paint thinner, you should probably check all your drawers, shelves, storage compartments, etc. for a faulty container or products containing VOCs. It could be an aerosol spray, disinfectant, chemicals stored in a bottle, wood preservatives, and much more!

Volatile organic compounds can permeate air very fast, which allows them to escape from their containers easily. The odor created from VOCs is very paint-like and is also harmful as it can cause headaches, irritation in the eyes, nasal pathways, etc.

How to Get Rid of the Paint Thinner Odor from Your House?

Now that you’ve figured out why your home smells like paint thinner, it’s time to get rid of it for good! If the problem persists due to a faulty air conditioning unit, it has to be repaired before you can get the odor out of your house completely.

Below, we discuss 3 easy methods to get the paint thinner smell out of your home –

1. Increase Ventilation Throughout Your House

Proper airflow is essential if you’ll be handling chemicals or paint in an area. A poorly ventilated room will not just have the lingering smell of paint thinner, but it could also lead to health issues. Therefore, it is crucial for you to increase ventilation to get rid of the odor faster.

You can start cross-ventilation by opening up all the doors and windows in your home.

Following this, you should turn on all the fans, including exhaust fans and ceiling fans.

For rooms without fans or windows, you could use a portable fan to increase ventilation.

2. Clean the House Thoroughly

Even if you have great ventilation throughout your home, residual painting supplies and chemical containers will keep creating new fumes. If you hire professionals for painting, they’ll clean up most of the mess. But if you’re on your own, you’ll have to clean them yourself.

Start with cleaning all the brushes, rollers, and all other tools that you’ve used for painting.

If you have paint left in containers, seal them tightly by pounding the rims of the containers’ lids.

For empty containers, rags, and other waste products, put them inside a sealed bag before throwing them away.

We have listed below some important areas, you should clean right after your DIY painting project is done.

3. Neutralize the Odor with Basic Commodities

Instead of attempting to mask the smell of paint thinner, you should try to knock it out entirely. You can get the job done with household items and of course, a little patience. Below are some readily available items you could use for neutralizing the smell of paint thinner –

  • Baking Soda

You might have already used baking soda for getting rid of unpleasant odors from your carpet, fridge, etc. Sprinkling baking soda around your house would be a cheap and effective method to get rid of the odor of paint thinner; thanks to its ability to neutralize odors naturally.

It will absorb the smell of paint thinner from your apartment within a short time period, and you can use a vacuum machine for cleaning it off carpets and other surfaces.

  • White Vinegar

One of the most common ways of neutralizing the odor of paint thinner is with the use of white vinegar. It is a household item, but even if you don’t have it at home, you can get it from your nearest store. All you’d have to do is pour the vinegar into several bowls and let the acids work!

If the smell is too strong, you’ll have to keep more bowls in several places around your house. Within a few hours, the vinegar will absorb the stench of paint thinner in your house.

  • Water

You can also use plain water to neutralize the odor of paint thinner. You’ll have to pour it into several bowls and place them around your house.

While it can’t get rid of the smell entirely, it will nullify the odor by absorbing the VOCs.

How to Get Rid of the Smell of Paint Thinner from Carpets?

Get Rid of the Smell of Paint Thinner from Carpets

But what if the smell of paint thinner is originating from your carpet, which was accidentally soaked in the thinner oil from paint? Or, from the clothes that you wore to a chemical factory?

The smell of paint thinner easily gets into carpets as the fabric is very absorbent. You can get rid of the absorbed paint oils by using alcohol, baking soda, and essential oils.

  • Alcohol

One of the most effective ways to get rid of the odor of paint thinner from the carpet is by scrubbing the soaked areas with alcohol. You’ll just need a piece of cloth for rubbing on the carpet and sufficient rubbing alcohol.

Since alcohol evaporates rapidly, you don’t have to worry about its scent. You’ll have to repeat this a few times until the smell goes away, but it will definitely work!

  • Baking Soda & Essential Oils

Another method for getting rid of the smell from carpets is to use a mixture of baking soda and essential oils. This process requires more time than using alcohol for subsiding the smell entirely, but it isn’t as tedious as you don’t have to scrub the carpet’s surface.

Try using pure and light-colored essential oils, as dark oils can leave stains on the carpet.

You can mix around two cups of baking soda with 10-15 drops of your preferred essential oil and sprinkle the mixture on the soaked carpet.

Let the carpet dry overnight and vacuum the powdery substance later.

Could the Smell of Paint Thinner in My Apartment Pose a Fire Hazard?

The strong smell of flammable paint thinner in your apartment may indicate a potential fire risk. It’s crucial to ensure proper ventilation and remove any potential ignition sources. Store paint thinner away from heat and open flames, and always read and follow the safety instructions on the label.

How to Remove Paint Thinner Odor from Clothes?

Remove Paint Thinner Odor from Clothes

You can get rid of the odor of paint thinner from clothes by using vinegar or a vanilla extract of your choice! The steps for each item are described below –

  • White Vinegar

Using white vinegar is the easiest method for dealing with the smell of paint thinner, and you can do it without a washing machine. You’ll have to soak the clothes in water mixed with 2-3 tablespoons of vinegar.

You can wash your clothes with water after letting them sit for at least half an hour. There might be a faint residual vinegar smell from your clothes, but the heat from ironing them can take off the smell.

  • Vanilla Extracts

If you like the smell of vanilla, you could use vanilla extracts to get rid of the smell of paint thinner from your clothes. For this, you’ll have to use vanilla extracts instead of a detergent. After adding around 2-3 ounces of vanilla extracts, let the machine run for a while.

After the wash cycle reaches about halfway, stop the machine, and let it sit for at least 2 hours. After that, you’ll have to use the usual amount of detergent and wash the clothes completely. On the bright side, your clothes will have a faint smell of vanilla!

How to Get Rid of Paint Thinner Smell from Your Hand?

Get Rid off Paint Thinner Smell from Your Hand

After getting rid of the smell from your house, you may have to get rid of the stench of paint thinner from your hands! Keep in mind, however, direct contact with paint thinners could cause a burning rash on your skin.

With that being said, here are two methods for neutralizing the odor in your hand: also we have an individual article about how to remove oil based paint from skin, please follow this one if the above method doesn’t work.

1. Olive Oil

Although using oil can create a mess, it is a natural solution and not harmful to your hands as soap and other chemicals.

You’ll just have to rub some olive oil in your hands until it feels like the smell of paint thinner is neutralized. Once you’re done, you can wash it off with water.

This will also help to restore all the moisture that was absorbed by the paint thinner.

2. Mixture of Borax with Soap & Water

Using a mixture of borax and plain soap is the easiest way to get rid of the smell of paint thinner from your hands. You’ll just have to be careful not to leave it on your skin for too long as it can cause rashes and chemical burns.

Make sure to dilute it enough with water, with at least a 2:1 ratio of water and borax. Once you’re done cleaning your hand with the mixture, use regular soap to wash your hand thoroughly until all the borax is cleaned off your skin.

Once you’re done dealing with the smell of paint thinner, you could also add some pleasant fragrances to your home with products such as air fresheners, scented candles, or diffusers.

Why do I keep smelling acetone?

Acetone is one type of ketone, which is the fruity-smelling substance found in nail polish removers. If you can smell acetone inside your house, you should check if there is a refrigerant leak.

But if it’s your breath that smells like acetone, it indicates high levels of ketones in your blood, and you should consult a doctor. here you will find the answer will acetone damage car paint? you can check if you care about your car as most people do.

Is there a gas that smells like nail polish remover?

Yes; acetone is a gas that is used in the refrigerants of air conditioners, heat pumps, etc., which has an odor that is similar to the smell of nail polish remover.

If you’re smelling acetone in your house, there may be a refrigerant leak and you should get professional services as quickly as possible.

How do you get rid of the smell of acetone in your house?

Some of the most common methods of neutralizing the odor of acetone include putting fresh ground coffee inside a bowl, placing essential oils mixed with water in a bowl, using air fresheners that contain odor-neutralizing agents, and much more.

But if it’s from a little spill, you can use a dishwashing solution to clean the acetone residue.

How do I find a smell in my house?

You should first clear your sense of smell in fresh air for a few minutes. Next, make sure that you have sufficient airflow, with at least one window open. Try locating where the smell feels the strongest, and you should find the source shortly.

What can I put in my vents to make the house smell good?

You could attach clip-on air fresheners onto the vent shutters/holes, or apply a few drops of your favorite essential oils on the vents. Placing a sachet bag filled with dried lavender inside the vent should work as well. Ensure proper ventilation to prevent unpleasant odors from lingering.

What does it mean if you smell paint?

If there was a recent paint job in the area, chances are that you’re smelling the residual VOCs from the paint. It could also be coming from a refrigerant leak in your air conditioning unit, heat pump, etc. The chemicals in these fumes of paint can cause severe health effects, and they should be dealt with immediately.

Final Thoughts

Once you find where the odor of paint thinner is coming from, you should work on getting rid of it immediately as these gases are harmful to health.

We hope to have helped you find out why an apartment smells like paint thinner and what you could do to deal with it. Best of luck!

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