Homeowners, especially those with small children, often ask me how to get rid of smells. There is so much concern for some that they will ask me about potential odor control before they even book the painting calculation.
The good news is that the development of house paint has come a long way with low odor and also odorless lines for some applications. The bad news is that there are still so many reasons to use the smelly stuff, especially if you care for an older home. Alkyd (oil-based) and scalar or alcohol primers are particularly effective when sealing water damage and old oil-painted surfaces to upgrade them to Latex topcoats. But they are also very smelly with potentially long-term vapors. Even the most commonly smelled alkyd paints that are often used today to treat woodwork can have a long-lasting odor for days under the most ventilated conditions.
So how do you get rid of the smell?
I have just received an email from a mother who asks me this question. Her young children's room was painted almost two weeks ago and she left the windows open and the fan ever since. Sheets are still strong enough because she is concerned about having the baby sleep in the room. The painting of this room involved a lot of priming to cover the dark brown oil color used by the previous home team. Since the color needed to be illuminated and the surfaces were converted to a much more environmentally friendly acrylic latex, a common top mark Alkyd primer was used to give the entire room a new start. And although it had "Low Odor" printed on the can, it was obviously not odorless. For composite materials, all woodwork could be completed in a leading "Low Odor" mark of Alkyd semi-gloss, giving a smooth, glossy finish as well as a migraine-inducing steam.
So what can you do? Well, there are some ways you can overcome these situations in addition to obvious ventilation to control, eliminate and even prevent odors from becoming prolonged.
"An ounce of prevention" … Before there was such a thing as "low odor" we used to add a splash of vanilla extract to each gallon of oil paint to make it "odorless". It was cheap, easy to make and had no effect on the color. Now, alkyd paints with low odor are commonly found on the market, and it adds if a tablespoon of vanilla extract makes them essentially odorless.
Or, as in the case above, the painting is already ready. It's too late for vanilla and the smell won't go away as soon as they like. What happens here is that the scents are trapped in the walls while the color cures and probably even in all fabrics and carpets in the room. They need something else to absorb them for good. So here's what I recommended her to do. Cut some angles and place them in a couple of cold water bowls. Put one of the bowls in the room and the other in the closet. As simple and crazy as it sounds, it absorbs the onion and actually eliminates the color dams and smells … sometimes as fast as overnight!
I first learned this trick when I created a child's room about 17 years ago. I had spent about 5 weeks converting a nasty crumbling and dusty old wind room into a nursery that bent the baby's birth. And as it turned out, the baby was born about two weeks early and was ready to come home just as I completed the project. The work required very smelly primers and sealants to bury decades of neglect and water damage. As it was usual these days, I added vanilla extracts to minimize the paintings & # 39; smell (and damage to my brain cells) but the smell was not fast enough to bring in the newborn. The housekeepers Nanny, who moved into the bedroom next door (and who was also worried about the smell) used a couple of bowls of cut onion in cold water overnight and the smell was gone the next day. I couldn't believe it!