Getting rid of paint smell

Last Updated on Sunday, 12 February 2012 06:48 by ermand Sunday, 12 February 2012 06:41

Today’s question comes from Aaren. Aaren asks:

Hi hope you can help! My daughter’s room will not stop smelling. In fact, I challenged Olympic Paint and Lowe’s – going back and forth until we settled. KILZ and another coat of paint reproduced the original smell! Olympic even paid a professional to do all that work for us. The second coat of Premium One water based latex interior paint still smells. We have 2 air purifiers and had our windows opens for a week while painting and for 12 days afterward. …. As of today however we are dealing with a smell from Friday. It’s awful and I’m afraid to let my daughter sleep in there (although she has for two nights). WHAT can I do to make it go away. The room seems like it’s cursed. No other room in our house ever smelled like this… Please help with ideas of what to do. How long is this supposed to last. The smell is like a sweet, clay smell. It doesn’t really smell like paint at all. We even crawled into the attic to check for smell and it wasn’t present. We tried sprays, onions, vinegar, steam cleaning. Everything. Your advice would be greatly appreciated. Many thanks. Aaren

To be honest I personally have never experienced prolonged smelling after painting a room. Usually something like that might happen if there is excessive moisture which makes the paint dry slower and may contribute to the paint smelling. To try to get rid of the smell I would put a container with some coffee in it. If it doesn’t remove the smell at least will enhance the air a bit.

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80 Comments

  1. John Mitchell   |  Wednesday, 02 May 2012 at 6:24 pm

    I may be having the same problem that Aaren had. I recently painted two rooms (a master bedroom and an adjacent bathroom) with Olympic Premium paint purchased from Lowe’s. Two coats all around on top of sheet rock. For a day or so there was the typically newly painted odor in the room but that dissipated. After several weeks, the master bedroom developed an odor which is different than fresh paint. It’s not an awful odor but it isn’t what I want to be smelling all the time. When I sniff right up against the wall, I don’t really get the smell. But it is always there in the room and seems to be noticeable in other areas of the house. I had the person who does my pest control stop by for a sniff test to try to determine if a critter might have died inside the wall, but he detected nothing that smelled like that (and, besides, those odors generally go away after a few days.)

    I’d would REALLY appreciate the benefit of any experience you had with either Olympic or Lowe’s. I would be very interested in direct contact with Aaren if he/she would be so inclined.

  2. PJ Ramirez   |  Tuesday, 05 June 2012 at 6:28 pm

    We too have this same problem. Our next step was going to be Kilz per advice from the gentlemen at Lowe’s. But that doesn’t sound like it’s good advice. We too, would love to have some help with this as it’s been three weeks and the smell is as bad now as it was the 1st day.

  3. Laura   |  Sunday, 10 June 2012 at 2:05 am

    I am having the same problem. We painted our 12 month old daughters room on Monday. I went to Lowes and told them I was painting a nursery. The guy there recommend the Olympic One paint + primer. The first two days it did not smell bad. By the third night, I let my daughter sleep in there. When I went to get her up the next morning, I almost threw up the smell was so strong. She was cranky all day and threw up twice that evening. Of course I have not let her back in the room since that morning. The smell has still not gone away. It is the worst smell. I called Lowes today and talked to a lady that was working in paint. She said the guy should have never recommended that paint for a nursery. I am so upset and I do not know what to do. The window has been open since Wednesday and we have fans going. I can smell it just walking by the room (the door is shut). I am thinking about going to Lowes tomorrow and demanding they do something. This is not normal. I have talked with several painters who all say there should not be a smell that strong 6 days later. Help!

  4. julie   |  Tuesday, 12 June 2012 at 3:53 pm

    We have tried battling against PPG which owns Olympic paint. We painted our new home with the zero VOC paint and after a few days it began to smell. The more you open the windows the worse it gets. They sent a rep out to test the paint. They later told us that their paint tested “normal” and they would only repay us for the cost of paint. We tried treating the walls with BIN which seals in strong odors then repainted. a few days later the smell is back. Olympic (Martica is who we talked to) swore that they have never heard of this happening. Our Homeowners Insurance has sent 3 different contractors out to try and figure it out and the can only come up with the paint being the issue. Most Zero or LOw VOC paints lack the ingredient to kill mold/mildew which may be in the paint,tint or on your walls and once they mix and dry on your walls they stink!! So Our big excitement of owning our home has turned into a giant nightmare!! We have no more money left to cover replacing Drywall and insulation in several rooms.Even if we replace the drywall how would we know for sure that the paint we repaint with doesnt do this again? Yes, we have tried 2 other brands and same smell comes back. 2 rooms ended up fine as did the hallway.Oh and the house isn’t that old. One previous owner and it was built in mid 1980′s

  5. Victoria   |  Wednesday, 13 June 2012 at 1:57 am

    I am extremely interested to learn if anyone has had success with mitigating the severe paint odor issue that many of you have blogged about. My parents’ dream of a brand new, built to their specs retirement home, has turned into a smelly nightmare for them because of this very problem. It has been approximately 2 years since the house was built and they swear that their noses will actually burn if they get close to one of the walls and take a deep breath. They have tried everything mentioned previously, except for re-painting. My father is preparing to undertake this monumental endeavor on his own since they cannot afford to pay a contractor…especially with no guarantee that re-painting will eliminate this problem. Even though the contractors who built the house swear that they did not use exterior paint on the interior, sometimes you just cannot trust people to be honest. Would someone please advise what would be recommended remedy if that is what happened? Is one brand of primer better than another (Kilz vs. Zinsser)? Thank you all very much for your advice.

  6. Karen   |  Monday, 18 June 2012 at 1:30 pm

    We had to replace the drywall….It’s the only thing that will help!

  7. John   |  Tuesday, 19 June 2012 at 1:22 pm

    This exchange has be useful to me as my problem has not resolved (mine was the second post in this thread.) I wanted to give it a while to see if the situation resolved when the windows were open more of the time, but no joy there. I’ve spoken with both the Olympic rep who handles stores in our area and the tech services folks at PPG Industries (parent company.) As a result, I’m no closer to a final solution although PPG has agreed to test samples of the paint if I send it to them. (In searching their data base, they said the batch number I used in the bedroom turns up no other complaints. The batch number of the paint in the bedroom is illegible because Lowe’s put their sticker on top of it.)

    Tech services recommended using BIN and then repainting, but it sounds from several other experiences here that didn’t help. Since the bedroom has a cathedral ceiling, it’s a tough job and I’m reluctant to spend the time and effort putting on a coat of primer and then repainting, probably 2 coats, if it’s not going to solve the problem. I shudder to think what it might cost to replace the drywall!

    I’m definitely going to send the samples in but I’m not optimistic anything will result from that. I think I’ll also run this situation by a lawyer just to see what he says but I certainly don’t have the resources to get in a protracted standoff with a corporation.

    Bottom line is that I refuse to accept the fact that there isn’t some kind of cause-effect relationship here when we never had the smell before but shortly after painting the rooms the smell developed and has continued.

  8. Dina Merick   |  Tuesday, 31 July 2012 at 5:45 am

    Our house was painted 16 weeks ago, by a painter. One room – a diff. color from the rest, smelled bad from the beginning. Painter must hv. been brain dead to hv applied it. It was done with BENJAMIN MOORE ECO.
    The paint store blew us off- gave us 2 more cans of paint. Repainting just re-activated the smell!!!
    They refused to let us talk to B. Moore cust assistance dept. Would only let us speak w/a sales territory rep, who
    strongarmed us, and told us that our ONLY option was for us to have a PRIMER painted on over the “tainted” paint.
    Yes, the b. moore paint store actually admitted that the paint was tainted, and that they had had a bad shipment the year before, too.
    I guess that they can get away with it, b/c we, the little people, cant take them on in court.
    Our paint smells like extreeemely strong paint, that has fermented, mixed w/ dead fish, puke and sour milk.
    We have had to use an Ozone Generator 5 times, to help curb the odor.
    Unfortunately, the ozone only covers the odor, leaving the same lung irritants and toxins in the air from the paint. Also, the ozone gen.is also dangerous – they have been banned in Canada, and CT is trying to ban them.
    We used it out of desperation.
    We have 2 fans in that rooms windows 24-7, and the air that goes out keeps coming in other windows, even on
    the other side of the house! and through the AC’s.
    THIS IS A LIVING NIGHTMARE. We had to throw out $8,000 in clothing, furniture, carpeting, and probably replacing wallboard. Wall replacement will be $7-10k more.
    I live in fear of replacing walls – what if it happens again w/ a different brand? I think that I will just paint on a wallboard remnant, and let it sit in the room for a month. If there is No odor, then paint the rest of the room. Also, I would test EVERY SINGLE CAN!!!

  9. Amanda   |  Sunday, 07 October 2012 at 12:32 am

    Has anyone had any luck getting rid of the smell? Could you share batch numbers? I think we have the same problem only we have adobe walls with plaster over them.

  10. Joey   |  Thursday, 08 November 2012 at 12:23 am

    I’m a professional painter and I have noticed this with the Benjamin moore paints. Bm is all we use and as of lately some batches smell rancid, sort of like vomit or sour milk. So much so, it is difficult to work with the stuff. I’ve heard that paint company’s are trying to cut the voc’s in the paint, and have taken out additives that kill mold and bacteria.

  11. Mike   |  Tuesday, 25 December 2012 at 5:19 pm

    I’ve got the same problem. Just painted two large rooms with some “Town & Country” flat Wall – Antique White paint made by Yenkin-Majestic. Now the rooms reek of rotten shell-fish. Is there a solution?

  12. Bill   |  Wednesday, 26 December 2012 at 4:27 am

    Just had our house remodled and the front bedroom that faces the afternoon sun sometimes reeks and gets worse when we open the windows. The contractor used Benjamin Moore paints. If its a cold day, there is no smell, only on warm days. Been like this for 3 months, so I do not believe it’s a dead animal. I can smell an odor right against the wall. I am just about ready to replace the drywall and start over…

  13. Martha Derv ish   |  Saturday, 12 January 2013 at 7:04 pm

    Four years ago we spent $14,000. to have a little shed in our yard that looks like our house. It meets all the requirements for hurricane strength walls, roof etc. The interior which is plywood walls was paiinted yellow. I don’t know the brand because the people who built it are gone. The awful poison paint smell is still there! I asked the builders when they were still in the area if it the smell would go away and they said it would in time. Four years and it’s still awful. Can’t let the grandchildren play in there. I looked online to see if there is a paint I can use to paint over the stinky stuff and from what I am reading here, it’s hopeless. EPA, please help!

  14. Rob   |  Friday, 25 January 2013 at 9:46 pm

    Here is how you get rid of the smell really fast! I do mold remediation, mold removal, abatement, chemical clean ups, fungi, termites so this is my line of work.

    Smells caused by paint are a lot more common in cheaper paints or oil based paints. It can also be caused by the primer. Regardless, if the walls are already painted, there is no way to stop the smell other than applying a quality primer. One primer I know of is called “Anabec 250″. It is not cheap, but it is mold resistant, absorbs chemicals, moisture, odors, anything you can think of. If you apply this as a primer underneath paints, you will NEVER have a lingering odor. It is perfectly safe, and very effective. However, it is not cheap.

  15. bob   |  Tuesday, 26 March 2013 at 3:06 am

    I used olympic semi gloss latex paint on a family room. From the time I started painting, my nose started running and has not stopped in over two weeks. Started experiencing nose bleeds by the end of the first week. The smell is horribly strong and has only faded mildly. I am completely miserable and don’t even feel like leaving the house even though I need to. A week after finishing the family room, I bought Valspar and painted a bedroom. It is fine. I am going to buy new paint and try to cover the olympic. I will take Rob’s recommendation and use primer.

  16. jill   |  Monday, 29 April 2013 at 1:46 am

    where do u buy the anabec 250 primer mentioned in Rob’s feb 2013 post

  17. Kristen   |  Friday, 03 May 2013 at 7:12 am

    Does anyone know where or how to purchase the Anabec 250? I have tried searching for it but I haven’t found anything. I have had the same problem with the low voc Olympic paint from lowes. We painted my daughters bedroom a month ago and can’t get rid of the smell. Now she is sick. She has had congestion and a fever for a week now. Her dr. didn’t seem to know what the problem was but said she had an allergy to something. The Dr prescribed some medication but it isn’t working. After reading all these posts my nightmares are now confirmed. It is definitely the paint making her sick. There has to be a solution to this. We just moved into this place and decided to paint her room as well as the nursery as I am 8 months pregnant. Thankfully we used a different paint for the nursery and there hasn’t been in issue in that room. I can’t keep my daughter confined to the couch forever.

    Please help!

  18. Cynthia Kecman   |  Monday, 27 May 2013 at 11:48 pm

    We are currently having the same problem with our Game room. We just had it professionally painted with B M matte regal select paint. We noticed the sour milk smell immediately. I called benjamin Moore where my painter bought the paint, the store manager came to my home, said yes it smelled and he would have the batches checked. Then the area sales rep came and said yes, it smells and wrote down batch numbers again and said he would have them tested. A week later he called, said nothing was wrong with the paint but he would reimburse the $ for the pain( not the $2,000) to have it repainted or reprised. My room still STINKS! We waited so long before we could afford to get This Huge room painted, we can’t do it again. We don’t know who to call or what to do. The paint was in one of those 5 gal. Buckets that my painter bought from the BM store. We know its the paint! Someone Please tell me how to prove it. I will be happy to cut out a piece of drywall and send it somewhere to be tested but WHERE and WHO will test? Please help, we are getting sick and I have a surgery scheduled in two weeks! Email me ASAP with ideas and help.

  19. De   |  Monday, 10 June 2013 at 3:58 pm

    Hello, we painted our sons room about 2 years ago. I used a paint from Lowes but cannot remember the brand, but it was the two and one with paint and primer/ We noticed a fish smell that comes and goes and not all the time. It seems if he plays in the room it activates it and then the smell is really bad.. I was going to re-paint the room, but seems like that would not solve the problem. I too wonder if that smell will harm my son who is now 4 but has been in the room for 2 years. Help what do we do?

  20. Linda O'Neill   |  Friday, 21 June 2013 at 1:23 pm

    I am in Australia. I have the same problem there is a chemical type odour after painting. It is now 2 years and the smell has not gone. The company is PPG also. I also know it is the paint and want to prove it also as PPG are not taking responsibility. How do we all get together to lodge a joint complaint to a governing body. I don’t seem to be able to contact any of you directly. Here again is my email please contact me.
    linda.oneill2@optusnet.com.au

  21. ermand   |  Friday, 21 June 2013 at 1:47 pm

    If someone in CT is experiencing something similar please give me a call. I’d like to investigate this and maybe we can come up with a solution.
    I thought I’d come across one of these cases but haven’t been able to as of yet.

  22. Jamie   |  Thursday, 27 June 2013 at 12:15 am

    I bought and painted every single room with Valspar Signature Paint and Primer. We did one room in a maybe color about 6 moths ago and it always smells awful. Not like paint. I thought something small died in the walls. But to find all these posts, I can only imagine that it is the paint. I am horrified to think we have to replace the drywall after all the money and work we’ve already out into the house. I was going to try vinegar and baking soda this weekend. Does anyone think a class action lawsuit would be possible?

  23. Jamie   |  Thursday, 27 June 2013 at 10:46 pm

    Update: called the number on the Valspar can and gave them the batch number and was told there were multiple complaints about an odor from this batch number. A territory manager will be calling to come to the house to look smell and take samples. I am in MA. If anyone has more info or experience, please post.

  24. Carole   |  Wednesday, 03 July 2013 at 6:51 pm

    I have the same odor problem after painting our bedroom a lovely blue shade in November 2012. I used Lowe’s Olympic Low VOC paint over painted plaster (not sheet rock) walls. The smell was not apparent until the spring of 2013 when we started to open up the windows and the weather was humid and warm. Seemed to activate a chemical, somewhat gaseous smell. I smelled the paint up close on the wall and that was where it was coming from! It smells like chemicals. The smell comes and goes and it is very frustrating. We use a hepa air purifier and I have a lot of allergies. When I sleep out of that room, I have a better night’s sleep. HELP!! What should I do? Contact Lowe’s or PPG? I live outside of Philadelphia, PA

  25. Robert   |  Monday, 29 July 2013 at 3:05 pm

    In Ct.

    Interior painted at end of winter. The minute the heat was off and windows opened, the room began to smell like rotten eggs. We hoped it was dead animal, but with AC on there is no smell. We turn off the AC and allow humidity to come in, the smell returns. Clearly it is the Banjamin Moore matte white paint we used. need solution.

  26. Kim   |  Thursday, 01 August 2013 at 5:40 pm

    Carole, Thursday August 1, 2013

    I am having the same issue. I live in New Jersey and used Olympic Paint. My husband painted out master bedroom in November and everything was fine. When spring came we opened the windows and the smell was terrible, a very strong natural gas-like odor. The more humid it became the worse the smell. I can’t even sleep in that room. The smell travels throughout the house if I leave the door open. I have to keep the door closed and block the openings under the doors with towels. I called Lowe’s and they referred me to PPG. I age then the can I used but they told me there was not enough left to test. They said their control batch and same batch # I used was tested and they couldn’t find odor. THey suggested we paint the room with a sealer called BIN and then repaint but I am reading other comments and people are saying it does not work and the smell just comes back a few days later. I am reading the only way to get the smell out is to rip out the sheetrock and start over. PPG wants me to sign a release of damages form and is giving us a $250.00 refund but that is not going to cover the cost to rip the old sheetrock out and put new sheetrock in and repaint. I am calling a lawyer. I suggest you keep you air conditioner on and call Lowe’s, and PPG to register your complaint and then call a lawyer.

  27. Cindi   |  Monday, 05 August 2013 at 5:16 pm

    Currently we are experiencing everything that as been previously stated, only the paint we used was from Home Depot – Behr Premium Plus with added primer. After 3 coats of this garbage, the room smelled like pickles. It would come and go depending on the air flow and temperature in the room. At first I tried using bleach water to maybe kill it but that was useless. When I went back to Home Depot they claimed they’d never heard of this problem. I contacted Behr and the only advice they provided was to use Kilz – they would reimburse up to 2 gallons of Kilz – what does that tell you? So we used one gallon so far. it’s been a week and i thought the problem was solved after a couple days. Wrong. The weather got hot again and one week later after the initial coat, smell is back, slightly diminished. I don’t know whether to try another gallon of Kilz and repaint using another brand, or am i wasting time, money and energy going that route?

  28. ann   |  Friday, 09 August 2013 at 4:39 pm

    Hi,
    Found this thread by searching smells after painting. We used Sherwin Williams paint 4 months ago to paint our daughter’s bedroom. The room has has had a musty smell ever since. No amount of fans, candles, etc. has got rid of it. We used the paint the same day we bought it. Called Sherwin Williams and they said they had never heard of such a problem, etc. This is the most recent room that we have painted. We have painted other rooms in the house different colors, using both Sherwin Williams and Benjamin Moore, but this is the first time we have had this problem. Another painter, on a different site, said this was tough to get rid of and suggested washing walls with bleach/water mix, completely priming again with bacteria fighting primer, etc.

  29. Dawn   |  Monday, 12 August 2013 at 2:04 pm

    Cindi– I too am experiencing the same thing with behr premium plus ultra (with primer). And that is exactly how we described it after the paint dried– it smells like pickles! We painted a week ago and the smell is still strong, even after airing out with windows open and fans for four days. We contacted behr and they told us the same thing, to use kilz. We also went to Home Depot to see if they could be of some help and they told us the same thing, that they had never heard of that happening. Obviously there is something wrong with a batch somewhere. Have you tried contacting behr again to see what they say? We are going to try priming over it with kilz max and will give an update.

  30. Maryellen   |  Wednesday, 14 August 2013 at 6:46 pm

    Has anyone been successful in getting rid of the odour. I have had an experience where the smell lingered on for 10 days now.
    Someone suggested it might be because the original drywall never had primer applied (15 years ago) and now I am applying Kiltz (oil based) and paint. Is this possible.

  31. Sally Olinger   |  Saturday, 17 August 2013 at 3:18 pm

    Help we have the same problem. We use Behr paint then Benj.Moore oil base primer to get rid of the smell. NO LUCK! Should I try kilz oil base primer next? The cost of all of this is getting to me too,

  32. sandy   |  Sunday, 18 August 2013 at 7:06 pm

    So glad I’m not crazy and found you folks. I used first Mythic, NO voc paint and that seems fine in 2 of the rooms. The bedrooms, the painter ran out of Mythic and used Yolo (low VOC) on one wall in each room to finish the job, and this paint has an anti-mildew in it that is supposedly zinc, and not toxic. I’ve tried repainting For some reason, the purple room isn’t as smelly as the blue room, which is horrible! Headache, yuck smell and taste. I am washing the walls with white vinegar and water today. It is weird, cuz airing out did NOT help at all in that room. The last few days I decided to close windows and run air thru my heating system that has charcoal filter and it seems a little better. Scared to open windows again cuz very humid outside. I tried onions, baking soda – everything! Color Trend is the coloring used by Mythic and Yolo. I smelled the straight blue coloring and didn’t notice a smell. I already painted over the two walls with Safecoat Sealer (3 coats) and the Mythic paint and it still smells. I heard (for the future) Safecoat is the best paint to use, but expensive and hard to find. I haven’t used it. I live in SF Bay Area, lots of moisture in the air. Frustrated. Any new ideas please let us know.
    Any lawyer out there that wants to investigate for all of us and take on let us know. Best of luck to all.

  33. Mary   |  Wednesday, 21 August 2013 at 12:05 am

    I had my new office painted with Yolo paint the middle of June and it is August 20th and it still smells. I have tried baking soda, charcoal, fans, heat, ozone generator, dehumidifier, wiping the walls down with alcohol, keeping the door open to the hall way (the window does not open) and I am now going to test AFM Safecoat Hard Seal. I have Multiple Chemical Sensitivity and thought I was buying the perfect paint. The company says that the painters probably did not let the coats dry enough before applying additional coats. The building maintenance folks say it is the paint. They checked the batch and said they have not had any problems or complaints but did refund my money. I have paid 2 months rent and have a 3 year lease and can’t move in. The one thing that has helped the most has been the ozone generator but it was tough on my lungs just opening the door to air out the room. I consulted with Carolyn Gorman who wrote Less-Toxic Alternatives. She suggested BIN or Hardseal, worst case scenario to redo the drywall. Not a great option for someone with MCS and in a rental space. Sandy, is the sealer you used Hardseal?

  34. Lauren   |  Wednesday, 28 August 2013 at 3:01 pm

    Ann- We also painted with Sherwin Williams over two months ago and still have a residual smell. Its not quite a paint smell, but somewhat of a chemical smell. I can’t describe it. It almost smells worse when I turn on the ceiling fan, like it is pulling it out of the walls! It’s driving me crazy. Sherwin suggested repainting in a different line of paint, but the smell is STILL there. Same smell as before as soon as we closed the windows after repainting. This is for a nursery, so I am also at my wits end trying to resolve this issue. We originally used the Duration paint, then painted with Harmony the 2nd time.

    Does anyone have any solutions? Thanks!

  35. Pete   |  Friday, 30 August 2013 at 12:43 pm

    Sorry to say we tried Benj. Moore oil based primer, 2 coats of B.M.latex, 1 coat of Kilz Original oil base primer, 1 coat of BIN shellac based primer (preferred for odor masking) and NOTHING WORKED. The next step is to tear out ALL OF THE DRYWALL.

  36. Cindi   |  Wednesday, 11 September 2013 at 5:31 pm

    Update to my log on 8/15. After applying one coat of Kilz water based primer per Behr’s direction, the room took on another odor…from pickles to cigarette ash tray. Kilz did nothing. I contacted Behr again and this time, they were very eager to reimburse me for all of the original paint, the primer and they told me to get a quote for a painter to re-prime and paint the room. They cut a check after I supplied all the documentation (receipts and quote) immediately…no questions asked. Although I am glad they did this, I was/am suspicious that Behr is full aware of issues and want to avoid law suits – but that’s just my opinion. Hired the painter only he advised to use B-I-N shellac based primer. I was assured that this primer will seal off any odors…period. 24 hours have passed — I’ve still got odor problems..from sickly sweet smell to urine. The odor changes with everything we try. Has any one tried to contact their local health department? I am at the point to hire someone to test the walls, in my opinion this is a potential health issue – for all of us.

  37. Ron   |  Saturday, 14 September 2013 at 1:54 pm

    What if I use a kerosine heater The smell of kerosine should over power the other smell and the heat should dry the paint…. Maby what u guys think

  38. Pete   |  Sunday, 15 September 2013 at 6:18 pm

    Had initially painted two rooms using Behr Low VOC paint and the horrific odor started. That was in Mid June.
    Since than I have tried one coat of Ben Moore Prime Lock with two coats of Ben Moore Regal. One coat of Kilz original (oil base) primer. One coat of B.I.N. (shellac base) primer. Nothing has removed the odor which is noticeable when you enter the house and even outdoors when the rooms windows are left open.
    It is gratifying to discover through this thread that so many remedies given to me have been tried and failed by so many other people, saving me considerable time and money. The next step is tearing out ALL OF THE DRYWALL to the studs, leaving some pieces in a store room to see if the odor follows and re-installing drywall trim and anything else affected by this carp.

  39. Cindi   |  Thursday, 19 September 2013 at 12:57 am

    Pete, you might want to contact Behr. I originally thought I purchased Behr Premium Plus but actually it was Behr Ultra – the one with primer. I couldn’t provide them with the batch code because I tossed the cans. I find it interesting that you and I painted in mid June and went through the same process, and still an odor persists. Certainly Behr can trace what product/batch went to what store and when. I’m worried that breathing these fumes is toxic so I keep the door shut…and I too can smell it at times through the window in the room next to it and across the hall in the master bedroom. My hope is Behr makes this right in whatever needs to be done to fix the problem, and I hope it doesn’t involve tearing out the drywall. The house is only 3 years old and we painted over the original paint in two rooms and this one is a disaster. Just moved into this house in June too…and I can’t even use the bedroom.

  40. Samar   |  Friday, 20 September 2013 at 6:42 am

    Yikes! Reading these posts on here has scared me. I just painted my son’s room on Sept 5th with Behr’s primer-paint combo…I came online to find out how I can get rid of the smell and discovered this!

    My son has slept a few nights in the room but for the past 3 nights I keep bringing him back to my room due to the smell in his!

    We just moved into this house and I had to paint just one wall in my son’s room because it was previously pink.

    Now I am worried about all of our health and about whether I should put my son back in that room anytime soon or not!

  41. Cindi   |  Tuesday, 24 September 2013 at 8:14 pm

    Samar…seriously…contact Behr. They will want info from the paint can, but I didn’t have that info and they’ve still been helping me. They’ve been very responsive with me and are aware of the issues. I would highly suggest that you don’t put anything else on the walls because we’ve put 3 coats of primer on after we painted and still the odor persists.

  42. Cindi   |  Tuesday, 24 September 2013 at 8:17 pm

    I’d like hear from anyone who’s previously posted here what is the status of the problems now? Has anyone gone as far as replacing the drywall? How about sanding the walls to remove the paint? Anyone gone to a lawyer to file class action suit? Any complaints filed to the Consumer Products Safety group?

  43. Sally   |  Friday, 27 September 2013 at 11:47 pm

    We are taking down the drywall. After trying everything else this our only choice! You can see your post above as to all we have tried Sally and Pete. Good Luck to all of you!

  44. Pete   |  Friday, 27 September 2013 at 11:48 pm

    I am taking the drywall down now!

  45. Cindi   |  Monday, 30 September 2013 at 11:41 pm

    Did your homeowners insurance cover any of the cost to tear out and replace the drywall? I haven’t contacted my insurance company yet.

  46. Ash   |  Wednesday, 02 October 2013 at 10:42 am

    I am both relieved and terrified to find this thread. I bought a house a month ago and painted nearly every surface in it, as it’d been a rental for years before and everything needed updating. Whenever I enter there is a weird sweet smell. Granted, I am very sensitive to odors–some people don’t smell it at all. But I just woke up in the night and it was so overpowering I decided to search for the cause.
    In the bedroom we used Behr, but every other room has Valspar. The smell permeates the house but seems worst in the Behr room. Looks like I have some phone calls to make.
    Thanks and good luck, everyone.
    Ash

  47. jane   |  Saturday, 05 October 2013 at 3:26 pm

    I too painted my sons room about 6 months ago with BMoore paint and it has that sweetish, clay, dusty smell described by Ermand exactly. It only seems to abate slightly when I open all the windows fully but comes back full force when closed. I dont even like going into the room as the smell is rather cloying..uggghh
    any suggestions would be helpful but it doesnt seem like anyone has found the magic bullet…

  48. Mary   |  Wednesday, 20 November 2013 at 8:36 pm

    Checking back to see if anyone has had any success. Sally and Pete, How did taking down the drywall go? Cindi, I too wondered about sanding the walls. My space that was painted is a commercial lease space so taking down the drywall may not be an option.
    Like to hear any updates.

  49. Sue   |  Tuesday, 26 November 2013 at 1:56 pm

    It’s with mixed emotions that I read this thread of experiences! We, too, have just had a negative chemical smell that hasn’t left for two weeks. Opened all windows wide with fans, even in the cold of the northland temps, to no avail. The smell is still here….maybe even worse with airing! Tried the onions, baking soda, candles, etc. all only giving temporary masking effects with the chemical smell returning. We had three areas painted all with Pratt and Lambert paints. Only one room has the smell which is a different color and different base was used when the paint store tinted it using a formula to get a Hirschfield’s paint, a local company. Called the paint store and they we’re not helpful, said they’d sold that P &L base for 30 yrs with no complaints. We’re wondering if it was the tint formula that produced the smell or the base….not sure who to approach next on solutions and remuneration. Heaven help us if we have to go to gutting the room…..used all our savings to just put in new windows and get help painting:(. Please keep us up on any positive developments and we will do the same. I think I’ll write Pratt &Lambert next…..and we’re burning incense today. Desperate!

  50. Liz   |  Friday, 06 December 2013 at 6:53 pm

    We painted with Behr Premium Plus Ultra paint and primer in one three weeks ago. We didn’t have any issues with our main floor but then a few days later, we went to get a new colour for our bedroom and the same weird lingering odour thing has occured that everyone has described here. My husband doesn’t smell it and it makes me feel crazy since I know there’s something so I’m so glad others have experienced this, even though it’s really sad. It is definitely not a paint smell but there’s a definite smell, even though it’s faint. Airing it out and using natural remedies isn’t working for me either. At first I thought maybe it was taking longer because it’s cold out so I am limited with how much fresh air I can give the room but from reading this, it seems like it is not related.
    It bothers me because the smell wasn’t there before we painted and it makes me wonder if that means it is unsafe. I don’t feel comfortable following Behr’s advice to use Killz and repaint, especially after reading this. I think I will call back and give them the batch number. I know I’m not really adding anything to this thread that hasn’t already been said but just want to let people know, there’s yet another one of us affected by this elusive issue.
    I’ve tried to get info regarding health risks due to lingering odour but haven’t been given much of a clear answer. If anyone knows whether it is connected to health risks, I’d like to know.

  51. cindi   |  Monday, 09 December 2013 at 2:27 am

    Behr sent an air quality engineer to our house. I’m waiting to hear from Behr on the results of the test. The air was tested in different parts of the house as well as outside. As for now, we have no immediate plans to put more paint on the walls until the weather gets warmer to truly determine if the BINZ we applied actually sealed off whatever was in the Behr paint. I’m hesitant to paint any other rooms in the house – not happy that this experience will always make me hesitate to paint in the future.

  52. Coleen   |  Sunday, 15 December 2013 at 3:36 pm

    I can’t believe I found this we site! My husband and I are literally screaming at each other over paint fumes in a new bedroom addition to our home. I have MCS which he says is all in my head and is furus that we just spent 50k on I room I cant go in. I purchasd the wall paint, but didnt think about e ceiling and so the walls were primed (needlessly) and ceiling painted with cheap, bulk, smelly, voc laiden toxicity. I am miserable with asthma and eye issues and my husband is just fed up. My question is, can I use Safecoat Hard Seal to paint over the walls and ceiling without having to repaint the color? it says it dries to a clear gloss and while I don’t necessarily want shiny walls, if it will allow me to be in the room and my home again, it’s fine by me. I am so glad to know I am not the only one with this issue and really encouraging to hear that there are others who not only acknowledge MCS, but (very unfortunately) suffer from it like I do.
    Thank you so much!

  53. johnny numbchuck   |  Sunday, 22 December 2013 at 5:54 am

    Primed drywall……..smelled fine then painted and had severe rancid smell from Dulux Diamond interior latex (new paint, bought, shaken, used same day). Dried OK, but smelled like wet paint and sour milk for 6 days, all windows open. Smell didnt improve…..so……

    Primed with zinnser BIN2 (thick used for cutting in with brush) and rolled on Shellac BIN (very watery ). Made sure no failed smelly paint was showing through BIN.
    .

    Burnt scented candle during application (helps burn off drying agents in paint fumes, didn’t bother with onions, lemon etc….)

    Smelles great and neutral. Don’t lose hope, don’t rip out drywall, and do not sleep/use any room that uas failed paint. Just stir BIN good! Use ultimate or shellac formula and get it on as thick as you can…..then repaint with new latex paint. Still lots of work, but safe and no need to rip out drywall. Wear organic respirator when using BIN products and good industrial one should cost $20 from safety store, not $50 like big orange and big blue sell.

    Happy Painting and don’t settle for ANY odours after 12 hours!!!

  54. sandy   |  Thursday, 26 December 2013 at 2:21 am

    Hey Mary – Not sure if you’ll c this. Re:Yolo… it still smells!!!!!!!!!
    I used 3 costs of safecoat brand sealer, not sure if “hardseal” or not. I may have to take down sheet rock or sell my house, but other people smell it too so not sure how that will work! Any other people prblems with YOLO????? they tested paint and said “fine”. It does have a NON zinc moldicide, which is supposedly “nontoxic” but people where perfume, use scented laundry soaps and all this stuff is bad for us. What to do?

  55. karen   |  Thursday, 02 January 2014 at 5:23 am

    Has anyone tried sanding the walls? I believe I have the same problem and wondering if I can just sand down the layers. I have plaster walls.

  56. karen   |  Thursday, 02 January 2014 at 6:24 pm

    Has anyone tried skim coating the walls?

  57. Aluna   |  Wednesday, 15 January 2014 at 6:28 pm

    Just painted parts of my house with Dunn Edward NEW paint (dark blue) and have that awful sour smell… We applied two coats of primer (bin advanced) and another coat of new paint. Still got the smell …. and have killer miraganes. Have anyone found an answer. It’s killing me here. Do I need to rip out dry wall? Does the smell migrate to other walls and furniture? Is what we are smelling harmful to health? Help!

  58. AJ   |  Thursday, 16 January 2014 at 7:30 pm

    Have all of the above smells that change with everything we do…. Have done two coats on bin advanced and new top coat on bad walls. It stills smells and have been having killer migraines, bleeding sinuses and dizzy. I sleep in the only safe room in the house with window open and door closed. FYI it winter here. Going a bit nuts and just want my house back… By the way I work at home too.
    QUESTIONS….
    Was your offending color dark blue?
    Has anyone ripped out dry wall… And did this work???? As I am read to hire a contractor…
    Please help!!!! Please!!!!

  59. Lisa   |  Tuesday, 21 January 2014 at 11:35 pm

    WE hired a painter who bought Benjamin Moore paint and it smells sour and like cat urine. We have never had a cat. We replaced the carpets a few years ago and had them cleaned before Christmas just before we had the walls painted. I am calling Benjamin Moore to see if there are any other complaints. My painter said he would paint it again for free, I just need to make sure whatever he paints it with will work.

  60. AJY   |  Wednesday, 22 January 2014 at 8:29 pm

    We just painted with brand new, but gone-bad NO VOC paint (Dunn Edwards in a dark teal). It went on smelling like good paint but when it dried it has a chemical sour smell like a cross between formaldehyde and vomit. We live in the desert (Sedona) so humidity is not an issue. Headaches and nausea are not fun. We sealed all offending walls with 2 coats of sealer primer (BIN Advanced) and another top coat of paint, as suggested by paint company, and it did not fix the smelly problem. Then we got desperate. We have burned two boxes of nag champa incense, as well as cinnamon candles for days. We have washed the walls down with backing soda…. vinegar…. and natures miracle. Everything we do alters the smell, but does not clear it up. Other rooms we painted with lighter tan color of same paint are perfect. The windows have been open for days with exhaust fans going, and we are being held prisoner in the only warm room that doesn’t stink. Once the room warms up the smell comes back. After reading dozens of blogs on this issue and hearing over and over that paint company’s do not own up to having a fix to this bad no-VOC paint issue, it looks like we may to have to tear down dry wall! HELP …. Any suggestions out there would be helpful before I rip my home apart.

  61. Liz   |  Saturday, 08 February 2014 at 2:31 am

    We gradually applied 3 coats of AFM Safe Coat Hard Seal and it wasn’t until the third coat, that we noticed a slight improvement. The smell is definitely still there though, unfortunately and my husband can actually smell it too. We called AFM directly and they said that sometimes people have to do 6 to 8 coats of the hard seal before getting the desired results.

    We also did some air testing through the internet company, Home Air Check, and the voc results were “elevated” in the bedroom. The scale goes from normal, moderate, elevated and severe. So that was rather disheartening.

    AFM suggested we try painting with their Safe Coat paint. We were given improper instructions by another company about how to apply the hard seal and there are visible, dried, air bubbles all over the walls. We are told the paint will cover them and act as a sealant as well. It’s hard to feel hopeful after what a hassle it has been.

    We are also looking into getting an air purifier that removes voc’s from the air since our air quality testing revealed an issue. We tested on the floor that we painted with a different batch (no smell) and thankfully the results were just moderate for voc’s.

    Cindi – I too now dread the thought of painting. Definitely never using Behr paint again that’s for sure.

  62. Jill   |  Saturday, 22 February 2014 at 4:12 pm

    I think I have been having the same problem – for over TWO YEARS!!!!! I bought a foreclosure in late 2011 that had mold in the lower part of the walls, due to a flood in the crawlspace. I am in CA – we don’t have basements, we have crawlspaces. Anyway, I had the mold professionally removed and the drywall patched, and then I painted the whole thing with Lowes Olympic low VOC paint. For two years, I have been trying to pinpoint the source of the constant smell in this house. Like someone else said, you don’t necessarily smell it if you put your nose up to the wall. Instead, it pools in the rooms. For me, the smell is a sweet chemical smell. My brother in law said it smelled like a glue or esther. It’s not unpleasant per se, but it drives me crazy, and seems to pervade everything, even my hair. Because I had had mold and also put in new pergo floors, I just never thought the smell could be coming from the paint. At my wits end, I am having all the drywall removed – ALL THE INTERIOR DRYWALL. It’s a small house. As it is coming down, oh my goodness, the smell is clearly coming from the drywall. There is no more mold in there at all. And if you smell the back side of the drywall – nothing. It seems to be coming from the paint on the front side! I feel like there should be a class action suit or something. What is in this paint????? How ironic we were all trying to be extra safe by using low VOC paint.

  63. Jean   |  Friday, 28 February 2014 at 1:09 am

    Hi,
    Has anyone tried nanotech by earth paint? It’s supposed to seal out fumes. I’ve been having the same problem- painted 1 year ago with mythic and still can’t live there. I’m going to try nanotech I’ll let you know if it helps. Also has anyone tried a hydro lug machine?
    Thans

  64. Jean   |  Friday, 28 February 2014 at 1:10 am

    That’s hydrolux. Sorry auto correct

  65. Jeff   |  Sunday, 02 March 2014 at 1:12 am

    To All,

    The smells most of you are smelling is from latex paint that has gotten to cold or froze. Wether it’s old paint not stored in a heated space, got stuck in a storm during transit to the store, the store lost power for days during a freeze, etc. Latex paint is not freeze thaw stable and gets a sour or rotten egg smell.

    I would suggest a good coat of Kilz or I prefer Z-Prime to seal the walls first. Follow the directions and let it the primer cure for several days before revolting with new paint.

  66. ANDY   |  Tuesday, 11 March 2014 at 12:04 am

    I just wanted to say I’m dealing with this right now. I’m happy I found this forum. Thanks

  67. ANDY   |  Friday, 14 March 2014 at 3:33 pm

    UPDATE: Olympic rep told us to use BIN ultimate primer ($42 per gallon ) to cover the existing paint. They are sending us a $100 check to cover our expenses. They did not admit to anything but after suggesting the frozen latex idea they were happy with that theory. I used 2 gallons of that BIN stuff. (get a mask, that stuff smells bad) . It seems like painting worked. Now I just have to repaint the room to the right color. Im glad it worked out cause I couldn’t stand that smell any longer .
    cheers

  68. Mary   |  Sunday, 16 March 2014 at 5:06 pm

    I am having the same problem. We took our walls down and replastered. Then put ecos lullaby no voc non toxic paint on them. They smelled very bad. Then we repainted with bher from Home Depot they still smell not the normal paint smell. This is a sharp smell that burns our noses. And we can not sleep in our bedrooms. Have used ozone in the past which ruined the cloths in the room. I have tried washing the walls, charcoal
    , vanilla, backing soda, coffee, onions. Nothing takes this sharp smell away. Daughter is chemically sensitive so no harsh chemicals were used in the rooms. This seems to be a bigger problem than I thought by reading all these posts. Has anyone found a good smell that can penetrate into the walls?

  69. Marge   |  Thursday, 20 March 2014 at 1:41 am

    I just painted my bedroom with Dunn Edwards Latex paint. Have used same brand and color throughout my condo. This time, I noticed a slightly fishy smell in the room 2 days after painting. When I get up close and smell the walls I notice only 2 walls seem to smell bad. Maybe it is moisture. One wall faces north and one is an interior wall next to the bathroom. I am going to try Kilz latex made for mold/mildew odors on those 2 walls. Hope no more than 3 coats will do the trick!

  70. Ruth   |  Saturday, 22 March 2014 at 5:19 pm

    OMG I am SOOOOOO relieved and terrified at the same time reading these posts.

    Painted my son’s room last Saturday with Benjamin Moore Aura paint – low VOC – Have used this paint before with zero problems.

    I noticed it seemed to be stronger smelling going on than I remembered but thought I was imagining. Well it is a week later now and it still smells. Thank GOD if we ventilate the room the smell is barely there but the moment we close up it builds again as if it was just freshly painted.

    I don’t know if the painters applied coats before the bottom one dried or a humidity issue or a bad batch of paint or what but this is NOT normal.

    The plan is to continue to air for another week as much as weather permits – we have a couple of rain daysin the forecast. Maybe renting/buying a dehumidifier. Also I called the store I got the paint and the paint manager said this is not normal and that he is notifying the Benjamin Moore rep. I hope I get somewhere with him.

    Next step if this doesn’t work is to get transitional primer from AFM safecoat to try and seal this sucker up. And paint with AFM safecoat paint. I pray this works. Otherwise it is rip off the drywall (Shudder) . Thsi would mean dealing with the attic insulations and outter wall insulation. WHAT A FREAKING MESS. I just thank GOD that we did not paint more rooms or the hallway.

    Please do update the thread if anybody finds any solution. I sure will.

  71. WR   |  Sunday, 30 March 2014 at 5:34 pm

    We’re having similar problems with Lowe’s Valspar paint. The room was painted almost 8 weeks ago and still smells of fresh chemically paint, even though we’ve been airing it out as much as we can in the winter. Based on all of these responses I’m almost ready to rip out the drywall and start fresh. The room is for a nursery, so of course it has to be safe for our child.

    Did anyone actually have long-term success using the BIN sealant, AFM safecoat, or AFM hard sealer over the paint to get rid of the paint smell? Based on my research sealing up the old paint with those options those seem to be the only methods that might work besides ripping out the drywall. What I’m worried about is that if those steps don’t work, we’ve just wasted more time and money and still will have to replace the drywall, so I’m almost inclined to just start there. At least with the drywall removed, I could use the rooms near that room again (our bedroom and my office) instead of isolating myself to the other side of the house to protect our baby from the fumes.

    Also curious if anyone actually had these smells dissipate over time? After no noticeable improvement in the smell after 8 weeks, I’m not optimistic that will happen, but curious if anyone did have any luck with that.

    We’ve tried onions, coffee, and ventilation, and none of those things are working. Will never use Valspar again. My husband says that the silver lining in all of this is that we just painted the one room and not our entire downstairs living area, which could have been a disaster if we had done all the painting at once.

  72. Ruth   |  Monday, 31 March 2014 at 4:51 pm

    WR – you can contact me at ruth@casawilliams.com – I think I am going to try the AFM transitional primer and safecoat next. I am having some success with at least lessening the smell by running a dehumidifier constantly in the room. But I don’t think the smell is gone by any means. I am waiting to hear from Benjamin Moore.

  73. ANDY   |  Wednesday, 02 April 2014 at 12:46 am

    Just checking in. Now 3 weeks after painting with the BIN ultimate primer and topping it off with colored paint. the room still doesn’t smell. I’m satisfied with the result.
    GOOD LUCK ALL

  74. Ruth   |  Wednesday, 02 April 2014 at 5:55 pm

    Thanks for the update Andy!

  75. Ruth   |  Thursday, 03 April 2014 at 6:27 pm

    Update from me : Benjamin Moore finally got back to me and they are sending a local rep to my house. I will update the thread when I hear what he has to say. I am considering asking for A. My costs to be reimbursed B. An air testing C. For them to pay to fix this mess. Almost 3 weeks later I can’t use that room.

  76. Ruth   |  Monday, 07 April 2014 at 7:41 pm

    Rep came today – said at first he didn’t smell anything. Then he said well it smells like paint. Well yes. That’s the problem 3 weeks later. Anyway he said for some reason it is drying slownly. Took samples of the paint to test at a nearby lab from Benjamin Moore. We should know by Thu if there is something wrong with the paint.

    Also we have an air quality testing done on the room and our upstairs on Wed. I just want peace of mind that the kids rooms that are adjacent to this one are ok as well.

    On thu after the BM rep gets back to us I will follow up on the results of both tests and what BM is doing to help us out with this.

    I think our next step will be to prime with transitional primer by AFM and their safecoat paint afterwards. Praying that fixes the issue. I will likely test air afterwards to make sure we are in the clear as it is our son’s room. He has been moved to the guest room since this whole debacle started :(

    Will keep this posted.

  77. WR   |  Friday, 11 April 2014 at 12:41 pm

    We are going to try to seal the problem with: 2 coats of shellac (real shellac, not synthetic), then AFM primer, followed by AFM color. We’re letting each coat of shellac cure before doing the next coat, so we won’t know if it works for a few weeks. Plan to post results here. We’re hoping this works and we don’t have to re-do the drywall in the room.

  78. Ruth   |  Friday, 11 April 2014 at 3:43 pm

    Do let me know how that works WR! Fingers crossed for you!

  79. EP   |  Monday, 14 April 2014 at 8:30 pm

    Am having the same problem with Valspar paint purchased at Lowe’s in the panhandle area in FL. Thank goodness we only painted one spare bedroom instead of the entire house. The scent of rubbing alcohol mixed with pickles continues to become more pungent and is starting to seep out into the hallway, I assume because of the extreme humidity. A Valspar rep will be coming to investigate sometime this week.

    I hear one of the most common causes of the funky smelling paint (after drying on surfaces) is transport or storage in unfriendly conditions, particularly freezing conditions, while on trucks for delivery to the store (especially concerning the newer “environmentally friendly” paints). Here is a link to a good read from a pro painter who has extensive experience with low and no-VOC (volatile organic compounds) paint vs. standard paint:

    http://www.trimlinepaintinginc.com/low-voc-paint-everything-they-never-wanted-you-to-know/

    Wish everyone the best of luck resolving this problem! Will post back when (if) I am able to find a solution.

  80. Ruth   |  Thursday, 17 April 2014 at 9:52 pm

    Benjamin Moore said nothing wrong with the paint – as I expected :( They are willing to refund us for the cost of their paint or replace the paint. We will ask for a refund and perhaps ask them to cover labor as well. Next step will be to prime and paint with AFM Transitional Primer and Safecoat paint. We will start that not this weekend but next. Hoping that will take care of it. WR so interested to hear how your Bin priming went and if you have noticed a reduction in smell already. Also I did have air testing done and came back low for VOCs so at least there is that as a positive. THANK GOD I did not paint the hallway too or the entryway which is cathedral like. I would be loosing my mind otherwise. I will be ever so careful with paint from now on :(

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