How to Remove Paint Smell from Fabric

Home improvement is a constant, never-ending battle for many homeowners – with endless lists of upgrades, fixes, and repairs that need to be regularly conducted to maintain your home’s appearance. Among the list of home renovation projects for most homeowners is the task of painting rooms inside of your home, a daunting task that requires a lot of time, attention, and the use of a lot of laundry care products to remove the unwanted smells and stains of paint on the fabric of your clothing.

A fresh coat of paint is one of the least expensive and fastest ways to give your home a fresh, polished look. However, the odors and messes that this project creates can be plentiful and will require the use of many products to help fight the chemical odors from the environment where the paint was applied. Paints contain an amalgam of chemicals within its construction including VOCs that will aid in the smell that is emitted from the paint when it is used within an indoor environment. These chemical odors produced from paint can be both toxic to indoor air quality and to the health of those who are breathing in this contaminated air quality, and when paint makes its way onto your favorite pieces of clothing, nothing is worse than the nauseating smell of paint that is stuck within this fabric.

In this article we are going to discuss the potential dangers associated with paint smell and learn the best method to use to remove paint smell from fabrics such as your soiled painting clothing.

Paint Smell 101: Understanding the Causes Behind the Fumes

Paint SmellWhen it comes to the smell of paint, you may wonder what exactly the components behind this odor are and why it is that it produces this strong aroma into the environment. Paint is constructed of a variety of different ingredients such as solvents, chemicals, and additives that will provide the paint with its ability to be applied to surfaces in the home. Most paints will have some level of VOCs present within its ingredients, and these are chemicals that are known to both emit an odor into the environment as well as contaminate the indoor air quality within the air space in which the VOCs were released into.

Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) are chemicals that are released into the air as gases from both a solid and/or liquid that contain organic chemicals like paints and varnishes. These chemicals are solvents that will be released into the air over time and this will create certain health effects depending on the level of exposure to these VOCs. According to Consumer Reports, the federal government caps the VOC content in paint at 350 grams per liter for flat finishes and 380 g/l for other finishes. This is mainly due to the health risks and air quality issues that higher levels of VOCs will present to an indoor environment.

What is the Smell of Paint

As we discussed earlier, the smell of paint can be created from an array of components present within the actual paint that is being used. Typically, the smell of paint is much stronger when it is wet rather than when it is dry, this is because of the fumes and chemical VOCs that are released into the air during this off-gassing, drying process according to the EPA. This process will create what is known as paint fumes, and a major question with paint fumes is how long do paint fumes last?

Off-gassing is a process in which a solid or liquid compound turns into a gaseous chemical as it is acclimated to room temperature. This progression will produce a distinct chemical odor in the air that will be highly noticeable when present in an enclosed indoor environment. This process will occur after the application of paint in a home and while the paint begins to dry on the wall it will begin to emit this chemical odor into the air which is commonly referred to as paint smell.

How Long Does Paint Smell Last

How Long Does Paint Smell LastAdditionally, the length of time that paint smell lasts for, whether it is applied to your walls or if paint got onto a piece of fabric such as clothing or upholstery is an ambiguous answer that will depend on a multitude of factors. The main factors that will play a role in how long paint smell lasts is the amount of paint that was applied, the type of paint, and the proper care that was used to rid the paint smell out from the source of this odor (whether it be from inside of a home or on a piece of clothing).

For example, if you paint an entire room it can take a longer duration of time to remove the odors than if you got paint on your clothing, however, the odor no matter the size can still irritate many people and will need to be properly removed from the material. When it comes to painting a room, it can take about 14 to 24 weeks for the smell to dissipate, as a gage to how long paint smell lasts.

Is Paint Smell Toxic?

There have been many questions surrounding the toxicity of paint (is paint toxic)and the smell it produces to both human health and the quality of the air in the indoor environment where the paint was applied. Generally, the effects of paint on the environment will depend on the type of paint that is used and the amount in which the paint was used within this indoor space. According to Poison Control, they state that latex or acrylic latex paints and oil-based paints are usually composed using water or mineral oil as the primary liquid within its construction. Whereas solvent-based paints will contain an amalgam of volatile organic chemicals (VOCs) as the liquid – which can be potentially hazardous to human health.

Additionally, when VOCs are released into an indoor environment in higher levels it can have a potentially significant impact on human health. The American Lung Association discussed some of the issues surrounding human health and VOC exposure below;

“Breathing VOCs can irritate the eyes, nose, and throat, can cause difficulty breathing and nausea, and can potentially cause damage to the central nervous system as well as other organs.”

Paint Smells Bad on Clothing Fabric

If you have ever painted your home, then you are aware of the messes that this activity can cause including the markings of paint that can acquire on your clothing fabric while working diligently painting. Once this happens you will go through multiple processes to try to eradicate both the stains left behind from the paint and the strong odors that have been absorbed into the material of the clothing fabric.

Paint odors are comprised of volatile organic compounds (VOCs), as we discussed earlier, that have a high vapor pressure and under normal conditions will significantly vaporize into the atmosphere. These compounds when released into the environment can attach to the fabric in your clothes, particularly when the paint is collected on the clothing material. When this happens, it can lead to the initiation of sensitivities that some people experience from chemical exposure, the symptoms can vary per person.

What Gets Rid of Paint Smell on Fabric

What Gets Rid of Paint Smell on FabricTypically, normal washing detergent will fall extremely short when it comes to both stain and deodorization of the fabric, which will lead to the need of a resourceful laundry care item that is able to accomplish the deodorization of strong paint fumes from clothing. There are a variety of different products that can be used in your washing cycle to help rid odors from the fabric such as vinegar, borax, baking soda, and bleach. However, many of these laundry care products for deodorization will fall short when it comes to providing a complete deodorization of fabrics, especially of the strong odors of paint that can taint the entire garment of material.

Therefore, the creation of many unique and effective products for odor removal have been designed and marketed to aid in the sometimes-hard removal process of eliminating paint odors and other stubborn odors stuck on clothing. Among the odor removing products that are able to be used on clothing material to thoroughly remove any stubborn odors like paint, there is one that has been tested and proven effective at eradicating a broad spectrum of odors, and this product is the EnviroKlenz Laundry Enhancer.

EnviroKlenz Laundry Enhancer for Paint Odor Remover

EnviroKlenz Laundry Enhancer for Paint Odor RemoverThe EnviroKlenz Laundry Enhancer is a safe and effective laundry enhancer that makes the perfect addition to your wash load if you are struggling to remove stubborn laundry odors like paint smell, acting as a paint odor eliminator. EnviroKlenz uses a patented earth mineral technology that is able to effectively contain and neutralize any noxious or chemical odors from the fabric of your clothing – without the use of masking agents or chemicals to accomplish this odor removal. The addition of the EnviroKlenz Laundry Enhance to your most tenacious wash loads will successfully aid in the removal of many odors from the material of your clothing, even those clothing that contain an odor that leaves your sensitivities heightened – especially for those with multiple chemical sensitivities (MCS) or other environmental sensitivities.

The application of the EnviroKlenz Laundry Enhancer into your wash load is an undeniably easy process – with only the dispersion of the product into your wash basin or detergent slot, along with the use of your everyday normal detergent. For the best results, it is recommended to run your washing cycle on a warm water wash with high agitation.

Article Sources:

  1. Consumer Reports: What are VOCs in paint, and is more or less of them better? (link)
  2. United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA): Addressing Indoor Environmental Concerns During Remodeling (link)
  3. Poison Control: Paints for Indoor Use: When Should I Be Worried? (link)
  4. American Lung Association: Volatile Organic Compounds (link)

Laundry Enhancer Liquid 

$14.99 – $24.99

Patented earth mineral technology works to attack VOCs and break them down on a compound level

No chemicals or masking agents

Works to remove chemical & malodors from all machine safe fabrics

Easy and effective application, used in conjunction with a non-scented laundry detergent

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