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.



  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 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.

  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

    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.

  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………

    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.
    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

    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?

  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 .

  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 – 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.

  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:

    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 :(

  81. Bob   |  Sunday, 04 May 2014 at 6:16 pm

    Problems with Dutch Boy Greenguard as well. Smells moldy and like chemicals. I”m pretty sure that all paints come from the same 50 gallon barrel and are then sold to the paint stores. Can’t prove this and they would deny it to keep their product looking better than the others. Another worthwhile thought would be that probably all of these paints are now outsourced to China and an ingredient list would be useless. Have any of you ever heard of a company admitting fault at anything? Profits are their only interests and they hope you will move to another location. If you want some some environmental safe product you should shop for your paint in Europe. They have controls in place and are light years ahead of us in that arena.

  82. Ruth   |  Monday, 05 May 2014 at 8:31 pm

    Well we painted with AFM transitional primer – the original smell IS gone but now I have the new primer smell. We just painted yesterday so hopefully that will dissipate soon. Will keep you guys posted. We have a fan in the room and windows open. It is not overwhelming and it doesn’t bother my throat etc.. but it does have a smell.

  83. Ruth   |  Tuesday, 06 May 2014 at 7:48 pm

    Back to report that I am starting to smell the old nasty smell again. I do not think that the AFM transitional primer helped. I didn’t smell the initial smell at first because I was smelling the primer but as the primer clears – yeah the smell is back. And it fact it feels like it reactivated a bit. Geez. So we are back to window open, fan blowing in the room, box fan blowing out of the window. I am so sick of this. I might try bin shellac and after that it would be tear down drywall and start over. I am FURIOUS. Please WR do report back if your attempts worked. I am at my witts end.

  84. Ruth   |  Friday, 09 May 2014 at 1:05 pm

    I am going to get bids in ripping replacing the drywall – insulation – carpet. I can’t continue to live with window open 24/7 to keep this smell under control. If there are any other people out there with Benjamin Moore aura smell issues please, please contact me – in fact contact me with other brands. Maybe we can help each other out.

  85. WR   |  Saturday, 10 May 2014 at 9:19 am

    After two coats of shellac (with 7 days cure time for each), it did seem to get rid of the old smell. Hard to tell for sure because the shellac itself has a smell. We’re still finishing up with the AFM, which also has a smell if it goes up. The AFM is also not covering well–increasing our costs as the painter has to come back to do extra coats (and more time for it to dry and wait for smell to go away–grr).

    I don’t think I’ll know for sure if this process worked for a few weeks.

    Based on EP’s post, I’m wondering whether it is the cold weather that made our bad-smelling paint go bad. But, I can’t find any information on why the paint would smell bad if it had been frozen (especially if, like ours, there were no clumps or any indication that the paint had gone bad).

  86. Ruth   |  Saturday, 10 May 2014 at 12:17 pm

    We are replacing the Sheetrock. I’m done with this nightmare. I am getting bids in.

  87. Kyle N   |  Monday, 12 May 2014 at 7:41 pm

    I painted two bedroom walls using a dark red matt emulsion from Wilkinsons. It was Wilkos own, it has made my entire bedroom smell like rotting old furniture, its definetly the paint as some dripped down the side of the tub and when it dried it smelled exactly the same as my room and the walls. Its not getting better, if anything its getting worse.
    I dont have money so i need to find a solution that doesnt cost too much. Wilkinsons did nothing but tell me to repaint and said theyre sending me a gift voucher. It doesnt solve things though does it.

  88. Donevette Evans   |  Tuesday, 20 May 2014 at 11:23 pm

    I live in an apartment and there is a water tank in a closet in my bedroom, we had a water leak from the third floor so my landlords nephew completely drywall the whole room and painted this happen two weeks ago and I still can’t breath, I am coughing all day and night, I have ashma and it is hard on me I keep a fan on all day. Pleas help me somebody. I feel like I am going to wind up going to the hospital.

  89. Julia   |  Wednesday, 28 May 2014 at 8:44 pm

    We had the bad paint smell for two years. After 4 coats of the heavy duty bin it stopped but the wooden window sills have started stinking when sun is on them. I don’t think I painted them with as much of a coat as the walls. I will repaint them and see. The walls still don’t stink after a year. I had them tint the bin and didn’t have to recoat with another paint. The bin galloon can is filled to the top so you may have to have them shake the paint and take enough out to add the tint to but it’s worth it not to have to buy other paint. Good luck.

  90. Ruth   |  Thursday, 29 May 2014 at 3:37 pm

    By the way for all those thinking about using AFM safecoat transitional – we were very unhappy. A it stunk going up. Low odor – I don’t think so. And B. It feels slightly tacky after a month. What on earth? I would not bother with that product. Horrible coverage too. I would go straight for the shellac BIN if I could do it over.

  91. WR   |  Saturday, 31 May 2014 at 8:58 am

    We also are not very happy with the AFM. Online it says that latex paint can take a month to cure, so I’m giving it another week or two. However, the AFM has not covered well and is still a bit tacky even after 3 weeks. I’m running a dehumidifier and keeping the temperature of the room elevated at night to try to help with the tackiness, with windows open during the day if it is over 60 degrees and not raining. We think the old smell has gone away, but the AFM paint still has a smell (yes, 3 weeks later). The AFM smell does not bother me as much as the old Valspar problem (I can be in the room for 5 minutes without getting a headache), and it does seem to be slowly improving. But I’m still wondering if we’ll ever have the room back again where I am comfortable with me or my child spending time in there.

    I think the lessons learned here are to use the Shellac BIN (not the synthetic) to cover up the bad smelling paint. If that won’t work the drywall will likely need to be replaced. (See Ruth’s comments above on why AFM is not enough).

    To prevent the persistent paint smell problem my husband and I have decided to plan all future painting for times in late summer or in the fall when it is above 70 degrees outside and low humidity. At that time of year, the winter inventory should be gone from paint stores, so the paint should be good (hopefully). And, conditions should be optimal to air the room out and allow the paint to dry properly and quickly. We will also research brands to try and find one with a low history of problems. (Unfortunately, I’ve seen complaints on the persistent smells from many of the major brands, so while I will never use Valspar again it appears that other companies are also not to be trusted.)

  92. Ruth   |  Sunday, 01 June 2014 at 2:24 pm

    WR ours is tacky too! Email me – crazy!

  93. Lisa   |  Monday, 02 June 2014 at 5:09 am

    I painted my bedroom with a zero voc last fall (over 6 months ago – and I don’t even remember the brand) but it did have color added, which apparently changes the voc somewhat. It seemed to have little smell, and after it dried it was fine all winter – no smell. Then, as spring arrived, SMELL! It’s so strange. The walls were dry, now they seem almost tacky. I leave the windows open and let it get warm in there, with a fan blowing through all day. Then, I turn on the house circulation in the evening, then blast the AC, and I can almost get through the night before the smell returns. But now that it’s getting humid, even this doesn’t help. My next thing to try is shutting the room up with space heaters in there, and the attic hatch in the closet open. If I can get it warm and dry in there, and the attic draws the air up and out through the roof vents, I’m hoping I can finally dry this crap out. I don’t think I can bear going through any further work on the walls themselves. Painting is very difficult for me.

  94. Jane   |  Monday, 09 June 2014 at 11:45 pm

    While it certainly sounds as if there are issues with the various paints people are using, one other factor in some cases might be bad drywall. Google “Chinese drywall,” read up on this on Wikipedia etc., and check the manufacturers of bad drywall listed there. Note that increased humidity (and painting would raise humidity of the drywall) exacerbates the problem. (Those of you replacing drywall might want to make a note of the manufacturer’s information you find on the sheets you remove.)

    Since this seems to be a widespread problem, I believe that, rather than frozen paint, something has gone wrong in the paint manufacturing process itself. Possibly new chemicals, or a combination of chemicals that isn’t working out.

  95. Doug   |  Saturday, 14 June 2014 at 3:54 pm

    I wanted to followup on Andy’s post from April 2, 2014. I have had the same problem. I repainted a bathroom with the same paint left over from the previous painting four years prior. I also ended up with a terrible musty clay smell that lasted for weeks. (of note – that original paint was purchased by our painter during a terrible snow storm and may have been left out to freeze in his van, not sure – it smelled fine when it went up the first time). To fix it I followed Andy’s advice and applied three coats of BIN Ultimate2 Shellac (It states on the can – odor and stain blocking). Its clear and is supposed to not leave a yellow tint, but it did leave yellow streaks where I applied with a brush. The instructions on the can were to apply with a brush but I checked back and saw Andy used a roller. So I rolled on two coats. That worked much better. As crazy as it sounds, my wife went into the bathroom today (24hs after 3rd coat of shellac) and smelled the walls. she has given the all clear. I will be applying a coat of paint with stain blocking primer mixed in today. But the smell is gone so there is a way to cover it up. I just hope its a cure and doesn’t come back.

  96. Ruth   |  Friday, 20 June 2014 at 6:47 pm

    WR – do you have an update? Our transitional seems to be less tacky now. How is your room going? I am trying to decide if to give shellac a go or if we should just rip it off all together. I am so tired of dealing with this. :(

  97. Lisa   |  Sunday, 22 June 2014 at 1:25 am

    This paint is an “entity” – like Jerry Seinfeld’s BO smelling car. Unbelievable.

  98. Jody schneyer   |  Tuesday, 24 June 2014 at 12:08 pm

    Has anyone had a permanent cure using bin or must the drywall be replaced to get rid of the odor permanently?

  99. Julie   |  Friday, 27 June 2014 at 3:34 am

    Having same prob as all others. Solver Paint In Australia and not sure if products her are in Aust.

    Can you let us have a further update. I want to do what you did but would like to know if the cure is still going. 3 weeks seemed too early to tell given all the other info on the site.
    Johnny Numbchuck can you give us an update too.
    I will email address above to see if anything has changed there.
    Thanks to everyone for ideas. Mine has been going 3 months with door and window sealed but I need to use the room. I was going to wait it out, but see from here that I cannot do that and need to bite the bullet and get the shellac.
    Zinser products are sold here, I see, so at least that is something.
    Putting shellac on walls is the absolute opposite of low smell and danger paints.
    How did we ever end up in this mess >

  100. Helen   |  Wednesday, 02 July 2014 at 8:08 am

    I bought a house. The previous owners painted my master bedroom with low VOC paint from Lowes a brand I have never seen. It has a Lowes sticker though. I started repainting with a regular Olympic paint/primer in one from Lowes. I had to stop due to running out. When I came about 2 hours later with the new gallon the room smelled so pungent I couldn’t finnish. It has been 3 weeks and still smells with the sliding screen open constantly.
    I painted my son’s room with Behr Ultra Premium paint/primer combo. His room is fine. The regular latex odor disappeared by the end of the day.
    My master bedroom does have a bathroom. Could running a dehumidifier while using BIN get rid of the smell? I live in Southern CA so my humidity isn’t much.

  101. WR   |  Saturday, 12 July 2014 at 10:10 pm

    @Ruth — The AFM seems to have a paint blocking problem since we had to put on so many coats. There is still a smell in the room, but I think it is mostly the AFM, however I can’t really tell if the original Valspar problem is contributing to it. For the one week that we had just the Shellac, the Shellac DID seem to cover the original paint problem. I’m at my wits end on what to do. For now, we are not using the room. I’m not sure if we will try Shellac again or rip out the drywall. In the meantime we have ordered a $1,500 air filter so that hopefully we can use the room again. This is such a nightmare.

  102. WR   |  Saturday, 12 July 2014 at 10:13 pm

    For others dealing with a paint problem, consider making a report to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission ( if you are experiencing a health issue, like headaches, because of bad paint. If they get enough reports, maybe the manufacturers will have to do something about this.

  103. Lisa   |  Wednesday, 16 July 2014 at 3:43 am

    It has been many months since I painted and the room still smells – not like paint but something – I don’t know what. It’s worst when it’s warm. Has anyone tried stripping the paint before going so far as to remove drywall?

  104. Ruth   |  Thursday, 17 July 2014 at 7:47 pm

    I was told that because drywall is porous chances are that he smell could remain even if paint is stripped. And it’s a big job anyway! We are redoing drywall in 2 weeks. We have been dealing with this mess since March 15.

  105. tara turner   |  Friday, 25 July 2014 at 1:32 am

    I am so glad I found you guys talking about this. I thought I was crazy. I rent a home, when we first moved in I thought there was this smell. When I would first walk through the front door, I live in arizona so it is very hot. The hotter the day the stronger the smell. Not to mention the terrible, thick,, paint the landlord did on the inside of the house. Its a concrete block house so no drywall, the paint peels right off. And not to mention I THINK the landlord may have used exterior paint for the interior, since the color of the outside of the house is the exact same as the inside of the house. I already read somewhere where you can’t use exterior on interior cause of the mildewcide and what kind is used. I wake up in the middle of the night coughing and coughing, in the day I can not breath my nose is running I am coughing, it horrible. Today the smell was the worst yet, probably cause it was 115 outside today. Also this house was built in the 1940’s and I have a toddler and a 9 year old and I am very worried about health affects.??? I noticed (unless I missed it somewhere i am sorry if so) but i noticed that concrete was not mentioned through out this post..what can I do??

  106. Lisa   |  Friday, 25 July 2014 at 6:52 pm

    Thanks Ruth. A professional painter examined the room for the first time today. It’s been several months since we painted. He said that stripping the walls would ruin the drywall.

  107. Lisa   |  Friday, 25 July 2014 at 6:54 pm

    Doug – did the smell return after three coats of BIN Ultimate2 Shellac?

  108. Lisa   |  Sunday, 27 July 2014 at 2:40 am

    comment/question: has anyone noticed that the paint isn’t actually dry after several months? All I have to do is wipe the wall with a damp paper towel and the paint comes off – and not just a little. There is something seriously wrong with this stuff. It stinks and it’s not dry – 10 months after painting.

  109. karen   |  Tuesday, 29 July 2014 at 12:49 pm

    We peeled our smelly paint off of all four walls and ceiling. It came off like wallpaper! Still smells

  110. Lisa   |  Tuesday, 29 July 2014 at 11:47 pm

    oh my gosh Karen.

  111. elsie fulkerson   |  Wednesday, 30 July 2014 at 1:52 pm

    We’ve been having the same problems anybody figure out what to do

  112. Lindsay   |  Monday, 04 August 2014 at 10:08 am

    I have had this for 2 years. Worse in hot weather.
    I’m told its bacteria in the emulsion caused by stagnant water before I mixed the contents.
    TEMPORARY SOLUTION : Try spraying the walls with clear antibacterial surface cleaner and leave on walls to dry. This sorts it for a while. ( weeks or months depending on weather ) Each time it comes back its less obvious. Still drives me mad though.
    HAS ANYONE TRIED WALLPAPERING over it..? I’m about to try. Is it just wishful thinking..?
    Glad its not just me!!!

  113. Maria   |  Tuesday, 19 August 2014 at 1:31 am

    Painted our son’s room after he moved out in February 2013 with Behr Premium Plus Ultra stain-blocking Paint/Primer in One. It STILL smells like paint—yes STILL—1.5 years later. If we close the door, the odor is trapped a bit except for what seeps out the bottom of the door. We know how to paint, so we made sure and left the coats dry. We aren’t sure if it is the Base Ultra White or the color tinting by Home Depot that made it smell, but I have an EM to Behr to see what they can suggest. We can’t use the room and we keep getting headaches from the smell. Hope we can get this taken care of pronto since we have guests coming and we need the room!. So glad I found these comments—thought it was just me and my incredibly sensitive nose or my husband’s much less smeller!..:) Will keep you updated.

  114. Kathryn   |  Monday, 25 August 2014 at 9:22 pm

    Paint does expire…2 years after opening…10 yrs unopened..and that is all dependent upon temperature regulation too. Unfortunately, I have yet to figure out how to eliminate the foul smell without complete renovation…so good luck to you all.

  115. Sandy   |  Tuesday, 26 August 2014 at 5:21 am

    Now that all sheetrock down, how is it?
    Over one year ago, when we ran out of Mythic paint for the bedrooms (which I have no problems with coffee ice cream color in living room only problem with blue and purple in bedrooms – maybe it is the blue coloring?), by mistake I bought a quart of Yolo for each bedroom to finish off one wall. As mentioned in email long ago, Yolo changed from using Zinc to some other preservative / anti-fungal. Maybe we need to look at what is the common denominator in all these paint brands.
    I took down what I thought was the “bad smelly” wall in each room, resheetrocked, repainted with Mythic and smell still there!!!!!!!!!!!!!! @%*t. Looking at taking down all walls and then when just read someones post made me realize I may need to take down the ceiling too! Oh my, what a drag and costly.
    Well…. the good news is we have places to live and aren’t on the street or living in a car like millions of other people. We will get through this. Take care, Sandy PS I am thinking of doing VOC air test, but not really sure how that is gonna help me. Any thoughts appreciated.

  116. Sandy   |  Tuesday, 26 August 2014 at 5:55 am

    I wrote the law firm mentioned in this article and gave them this conversation link we are having.
    Will get back to you all if they have any insight.

  117. Ruth   |  Tuesday, 26 August 2014 at 8:19 pm

    Drywall coming down on thursday. Can’t wait to put this nightmare behind me. Scares me that you are telling me the smell is still there. We are replacing all walls and ceiling and re drywalling and replacing carpet as well. To be on the safe side. That is the only room that smells although if it is closed and really hot the smell will travel outside to the hallway upstairs. Hopefully removing all walls and ceiling will do it. The thing with drywall is that it is porous so you might have to redo the whole room in order to get rid of the smell. For the research I have done the people that replaced the drywall got rid of the problem.

  118. Ruth   |  Tuesday, 26 August 2014 at 8:20 pm

    By the way my color was a greish blue – maybe a blue dye could be a problem. I don’t know.

  119. Ruth   |  Tuesday, 26 August 2014 at 8:32 pm

    Also – truly you do not know if the yolo was the problem. Each color and batch can be their own problem. You might be better off replacing all walls just to be sure. I bet you that might be the problem in your case. Of course you would think it is the yolo if that was in common but the reason could be the other room (without problems) was a different batch without problems.

  120. Ruth   |  Wednesday, 27 August 2014 at 7:21 pm

    Sandy – we had to push the start date to next Tue instead of tomorrow due to the holiday weekend/rain. Weill keep you guys posted.

  121. judd   |  Wednesday, 27 August 2014 at 10:18 pm

    Thank God for your posts. Same issues.
    I replaced ceilings in 2 rooms.we primed then painted with dulux latest hightec paint.
    Ceiling was white.walls yellow. We painted the hallway same.
    The hallway doesn’t smell. Can’t walk in to the toilet and the laundry is better with the drier on.
    I have had the dulux rep here 2times. He can’t smell it.
    Complete morron. I have kids. I painted bin first on yellow yesterday. Going to second coat bin today
    Don’t look forward to painting the ceilings as well.
    We are all very sick.
    Is it possible a virus or bacteria can come from me into the paint.
    Totally lost. …

  122. Ron   |  Friday, 29 August 2014 at 2:07 pm

    I posted back in september 2013 and i still have the same smell in the room I panted.

  123. Sandy   |  Saturday, 30 August 2014 at 12:59 am

    Ruth, thanks for update. Guess what… I think it was/is the Mythic coloring. Can’t prove it yet, but…
    I asked my friend who took down the one sheetrock wall that had the Yolo on it to paint a door frame for me in another part of the house. It is an enclosed area with a skylight, but gets air from outside. Anyway, I asked him to use the same paint as the front door, dark purple, which I thought I still had can in basement. For whatever reason he ended up using the NEW purple Mythic from the bedroom (that we put on the new sheetrock) and guess what… it smells. I’m in the entryway the last week or so and wondering why the heck I smell the smell from the two bedrooms directly above me! Then I realize – huh – the doorframe is painted with the Mythic!
    So, I am going to do some coloring research over the next few weeks and get back to you all. I’m wondering what they use to color for blue. I know cobalt blue in oil paints use to give me a headache, so switched to watercolors. We shall see….

  124. Ruth   |  Saturday, 30 August 2014 at 5:19 pm

    I swear we are all going to go mad! I can’t wait to put this behind me Sandy. They start Tuesday! Then I will only paint one small area at a time to make sure there are no problems with whatever paint we do choose.
    Prayers for all this to be resolved for all of us soon!

  125. judd   |  Sunday, 31 August 2014 at 8:53 am

    I hope you get an answer Ruth.
    Im so lost. .

  126. Ruth   |  Friday, 05 September 2014 at 8:51 pm

    Paint smell def gone after replacing drywall. We are almost done with it all. They primed and I shook on my boots but the smell is already dissipating so it looks like that is going well. Thankful to not have that nasty smell anymore. HUGE headache and expense but glad that we could get it done. Hopefully the rest continues to go smoothly.

  127. Omam   |  Sunday, 07 September 2014 at 4:58 am

    glad to hear that Ruth . my walls are concrete so the only option is to remove the paint with paint remover
    so it,s little bit missy.

  128. karen   |  Saturday, 13 September 2014 at 2:43 am

    Wow, Ruth, that’s such good news! Congratulations! What a long haul for all of us.

  129. Ruth   |  Sunday, 14 September 2014 at 12:35 am

    Yes! Texture was sprayed and everything is finished now. We are going to be priming soon – probably tomorrow. There is a slight smell in the room that smells like drywall maybe? kind of a dust smell not bad. Kind of like new construction. I assume it is normal. My sister in law who had a room adition done warned me that it would smell “new” for a while. That is with all windows closed etc. But then again it is not overwhelming and there are no floors or paint in the wall yet. Hoping this is normal. I feel it is but I am now on paranoid mode after our debacle. Once everything is primed and painted (say a prayer) and carpet back on I will report back.

  130. Sandy   |  Tuesday, 16 September 2014 at 3:27 am

    hoping all is well with your paint job. just found this article, may be of interest to some….

    I just started corresponding with mythic. after reading above article I may paint with safecoat from now on. we shall see.
    be well,

  131. Sandy   |  Tuesday, 16 September 2014 at 3:49 am

    there are 4 parts to this article. I haven’t read one and two, only three so far.

  132. Ruth   |  Wednesday, 17 September 2014 at 1:00 am

    I hated safecoat’s transitional primer. IT Stunk so bad SO BAD going up (worse than trandiitonal paint) and it remained tacky after months. Another person had the same experience in this thread. I would not touch it again. We primed with harmony sherwin williams primer. I about had a panic attack. But it has been 24 hours and only a faint smell remains when everything is closed. We painted from 2-4 yesterday. Aired out room with fan in window until 8 and closed room for the night and reopened around 12 when the humidity was low. I am about to close the window again. I think it is totally normal paint smell. Right now with window open no smell. I will keep yo guys posted.

  133. Ruth   |  Tuesday, 07 October 2014 at 4:32 pm

    So here is an update. Original Smell def. gone after replacing drywall. Now there is a slight new construction smell I guess? but doesn’t seem to be bothersome. My kids and my husband are not bothered by it. We still have only an empty room and subfloor (carpeting next week) so I would assume that once it is finished and we are putting a few things in the room that should be less noticeable. I am probably over sensitive now to smells after the whole debacle. My sister who had an addition done warned me that we would smell a new smell for a couple months or more. We have a fan running and door open, occasionally open the window to air out. Def. nothing like the original smell.

  134. Sandy   |  Thursday, 09 October 2014 at 9:20 pm

    Hi Ruth:
    Glad to hear things going better! Just had a guy from the paint store at my house and he smelled paint from can and said it had a much stronger odor than usual. So… we shall see. I’ve been in conversation with a guy at Mythic and learning a lot about “no or low” colorants. My gut, tells me some of these problems have to do with colorants, yet, I could be way off. Please everyone, find out what kind of colorant used with your paint & what color of paint caused the problem. Maybe that will help people in the future if we see a pattern. FYI – Chromaflo now owns many of the colorants and is major supplier. Ruth, this may be totally unnecessary to say cuz you likely did your homework… but I hope you are super careful what kind of carpet you buy and what products they have used on the carpet etc. You may need it to sit outside and off gas if regular brand carpet. Best to all,

  135. Jmac   |  Wednesday, 29 October 2014 at 5:42 am

    I had a pro painter come to do some restoration work in a room in my house. I gave him the two old cans I had to color match. One can was from 2009. He said the can was good. I used it to paint a powder room and it smells terrible.

    I cannot tell from this thread what the true solution to this problem is. Lots of expensive sounding options suggested but I need the true way to fix this.

    Is this a health issue or just something smelly that I can with a simple remedy or just another layer of new paint?

    Never seen such a long thread without a single clear solution.

    What do I do?

  136. Ruth   |  Wednesday, 05 November 2014 at 3:50 pm

    Here is another update from me. Our room is mostly finished now – carpet went in. Just need to finish putting back outlets hang mirror in half bath etc. No smell on cold days. Yay! Our original smell was unrenlenless no matter what the weather was. There is a slight smell that is noticeable on warm days of over 75 or so. Not a terrible smell like before but a faint new smell. Doesn’t bother my kids (they say it doesnt smell) or my husband who thinks is normal new stuff. He says it smells faintly of paint. I am not going to lie that this makes me somewhat nervous but considering we ripped the whole room apart and everything in there is new I am hoping this will pass. It is not a bad smell like before it doesnt bother me like the original did where it felt like you couldnt stay in there. So we will see hoping that it will slownly go away. Like I said there is no smell during cold days at all. My friends that had built houses said they had smells for six months or more so here is to hoping this is normal. Makes me nervous but again it is WAY WAY better than the first problem.

  137. Ruth   |  Wednesday, 05 November 2014 at 3:53 pm

    Oh also room is finished but empty. Will be moving furniture in soon to see if that helps too. My friend swears an empty room will smell more. Hopefully she is right.

  138. Sandy   |  Friday, 07 November 2014 at 8:38 pm

    Hi All:
    Did anyone have air samples taken or get paint tested?
    If yes, curious as to what outcome was.

  139. Lisa   |  Monday, 17 November 2014 at 9:52 pm

    I’d like to share an “interim” report for those who find this site while searching for solutions to their stink problem. Again, if you don’t remember, we had painted a bedroom in October of 2012. The paint didn’t smell going on or immediately after. It didn’t start to smell until a day or two afterwards. Then, the smell got worse. We tried many things to counteract it, thinking the paint was just not drying properly. During the winter, while the house heat was circulating (dry air) the smell was tolerable and we thought the problem might be solved. But in the spring it came back with a vengeance and was at its worst when the room was warm, and probably more humid.

    I describe the above in case your situation matches. We had the paint company PPG representative come to see (smell) the room. We were refunded the cost of the paint. I still had the receipt, but didn’t have the paint can. Which is tragically ironic since we’ve kept every other paint can we’ve ever used. SO KEEP YOUR PAINT CANS IF YOU STILL HAVE THEM.

    We had the room examined by a number of professional painters and a company that deals with smells from mold, mildew, smoke from house fires, blood (yes blood) etc. We were given an estimate of $1700 for a treatment. At first they said they’d guarantee the work, but then did not. At that point we chose to try cheaper options first and had 2 coats of the synthetic BIN shellac put on the walls. The room still smelled, although the smell was different, and it did lessen as the days went by. I learned that BIN shellac dries quickly, but I think the moisture in the bad paint was soaking into the BIN and preventing it from drying quickly. The stinky paint continually had a tackiness to it like it had never dried. A few weeks later we had one additional coat of BIN shellac put on. It wasn’t the synthetic and had a duller, less shiny white to it. But that seemed to “cure” pretty quickly and the room doesn’t smell now. HOWEVER – we are waiting until spring to be sure it’s safe to say the problem has been solved. Because last year the smell subsided in the winter (it got very cold here right after that third coat and we can’t be sure the problem won’t re-appear with spring as it did last year.

    But I will write again 6 months or so from now to let anyone know whether or not three coats of BIN shellac actually did the trick. We are very very hopeful. I believe the problem was bacteria in the paint as has been suggested on other sites or even here. I believe this because: only a living organism like mold or bacteria could continually keep the paint from drying by producing metabolic waste. There was no visible problem. The smell never transferred to anything else in the room, And bacteria would explain why the problem lessened in the cold dry air and grew worse in the warm humid air. Also would explain why the problem didn’t appear until after the paint was out of the can and had a chance to breathe and grow on the walls.

    So, I hope I can provide an answer for some that may end up here. Again, I’ll comment again after I know for sure in the late warm spring.

    One painter who looked at our room said he’d run into something like it before and they’d taken samples from the wall. They were never told what those samples revealed, but they were able to recoup some expense after the results were given to the supplier.

    Again, we did two coats of BIN synthetic shellac – one right after the other together.
    Then a few weeks later we did one coat of regular BIN shellac.
    Now the room doesn’t smell but we’re waiting until warm weather to be sure because the last coat went on just before the weather turned very cold suddenly.
    Will let you all know.
    this past year has been a challenge. We use ALL the rooms in our house and not having this room available made things frustrating for day to day life. We did the original paint job ourselves but have had to hire painters to apply the BIN due to sensitivity to fumes and physical disability on my part. The original paint was Olympic Icon paint and primer, flat, zero VOC. It may have been the paint since I don’t think it was a popular brand at Lowe’s and may have been sitting on the shelf. Or it may have been the colorant, since the color was custom mixed and included a small amount of black, which is also not used very often. The color was a butternut squash soup color.

  140. Lisa   |  Monday, 17 November 2014 at 9:53 pm

    SORRY! We painted the room in October of 2013 NOT 2012!

  141. sandy   |  Wednesday, 19 November 2014 at 8:17 pm

    Just wanted to make sure I double posted correction from my August posting. I was confusing a paint store that I thought was named Yolo, with various paint that it sells, Mythic, Yolo, Safecoat and other brands. I want to make sure that I’m clear it was not the Yolo paint that caused the smell because I had only bought small cans of Yolo to test the color and bought flat instead of eggshell buy mistake. I never used Yolo to fully paint any walls in the two smelly bedrooms. I am still waiting to hear back from retail place I bought the paint from and Mythic paint company person, the type of paint I used. Been weeks since retail person came to my house after telling me paint smells bad, the rooms smell and now… no return emails or calls from either of them. Was hoping for some help from them, but, not. Haven’t been able to use these rooms for way over a year. Not sure what my next steps will be. Just drained from all of this.

  142. Phil Pirouet   |  Saturday, 22 November 2014 at 4:58 pm

    I am sorry to read of all the people all over the world who are suffering from the paint odours. We live in England and all the walls, exterior cavity walls and interior wall of our house are of blockwork and plastered. A bedroom walls and ceiling were plaster skim coated and painted and a large wall in the downstairs living room repainted, both with vinyl emulsion paint. The downstairs room gave off a sharp smell and tingling on tongue and mouth. The new carpet in the bedroom gave off such a strong smell that I had to throw it out. I have tried all the sealers mentioned including shellac based – all no good.
    We have paid to have all the plaster chipped off the solid block walls – two men, three days work – and had the downstairs wall re-plastered. The plaster stank, the tingling smell came back and is still the same after six weeks.
    We are now having the interior blockwork wall torn down and replaced. The bedroom is still in the bare blockwork and if the downstairs remedy works we will have the walls clad in plasterboard (drywall) on metal framing with a gap between it and the solid wall. At 70 I can do without it. Has anyone had any luck with a legal remedy as the house insurers will not cover it?

  143. Lilly   |  Sunday, 07 December 2014 at 2:14 am

    Ruth, I appreciate what you went though. I have a smelly room too. Tried to spray with Clorox, then put on BIN. Smell is with us, on warm days. I painted ceiling too with another paint, but can’t tell which one is giving the odor. Scared if we have to tear down the dry wall. How much did this cost you (per linear foot)?
    Thanks. Lilly.

  144. Lynn   |  Thursday, 11 December 2014 at 12:49 pm

    I painted my bedroom a year ago November, left for a Thanksgiving vacation and returned to a nightmare. The room had a musty, sharp herb smell (sometimes smelling like pickles, other times smelling very foul). As someone else pointed out, the smell seemed to pool in the middle of the room, though I spent much time sniffing walls trying to determine its source. I tried air fresheners. A “critter” guy came and determined that there wasn’t a dead animal in the walls. Another company looked for mold in the attic and walls, pulled back the carpet (which had been recently cleaned), and gassed the room with a product designed to kill smells within the walls. It appeared to work, but within two weeks the smell was back. At that point I discovered this website. I had the room tested for toxins, and the tests came back normal except for a slight elevation for paint fumes. I spoke to Sherwin Williams, and they agreed to repaint the room at their expense. They used one coat of Bin. Two weeks later the Bin smell was still strong in the room (it should have lasted two hours); it eventually faded to be a mix of Bin and the awful smell. During the summer the smell seemed to come and go, but once the windows were closed while I was on vacation, the strong, foul smell returned. I live in the Pacific Northwest, so keeping windows open year-round is not an option. I finally resorted to having the drywall torn down and replaced at my expense.The walls were painted with a different brand of paint that wasn’t low VOC. I’m happy to say that I am finally sleeping in my bedroom again. Thank you to everyone who has taken the time to post on this site. Without this site, I would have been all alone in understanding and searching for solutions to this problem. So many well meaning people told me to just “open a window and air out the room.” I wish it had been that simple.

  145. Susan   |  Thursday, 18 December 2014 at 5:03 am

    I painted 2 doors in my bathroom with kilz and had no problem. a couple of days later I put a second coat of paint on of Glidden semi-gloss on it. Once it dried I noticed a sour smell and I can’t get rid of it. Somebody please help me it makes me sick to my stomach. The only up side is the smell is only in the bathroom.

  146. Mike Haymaker   |  Friday, 02 January 2015 at 4:21 am

    I need help too! I’ll never use Kilz again. Its been a week since I primed my bedroom and fumes are still kicking. I am sick now in sinuses from being around it. I am staying elsewhere tonight as I have to leave windows open to air out. I’m lucky its warm here somehow still in AK. I made sure paint was dry before I painted over it with latex as off gassing is known when covering wet paint but, a week later is ridiculous!

  147. David B   |  Wednesday, 14 January 2015 at 10:34 pm

    I’ve had similar problem like many here. Painted with Benjamin Moore line of “Ben” paint. Applied beautifully but smelled like natural gas a day after it was applied. 10 days later it still smelled strong as ever so I painted over it with Behr from Home Depot. The Behr applied awfully but at this point I didn’t care and just wanted the odor to go away. A week later and it took on a different odor which also didn’t dissipate. I contacted the store where I bought the original Ben paint. They escalated the issue to a Ben Moore area rep that contacted me within a day. The store and the rep claimed they never heard of the issue but quickly offered a gallon of primer and a gallon of Regal Select (higher quality than my original Ben line). I applied the primer which is INSL-X Seal Lock. It smelled awful for the first few days but the smell quickly dissipated by day 7. All good right? Noooo. I thought it was now safe to apply a fresh coat of latex paint but now the original odor has returned. It’s been 2 weeks since I applied this. At this point I think my walls are completely contaminated and I will have to re-apply primer and settle for primer white color on my walls.

  148. David B   |  Wednesday, 14 January 2015 at 10:35 pm

    One thing I forgot to mention in my previous post is I think there’s a good chance all of the cans of paint I used may have been contaminated due to weather. I’m in the New York City area and the days I bought then paint were in the 20 degree range though the temp inside my home was in the 60s and the paint thoroughly mixed when applying.

  149. Madge   |  Tuesday, 27 January 2015 at 5:49 pm

    I am a professional painter who has been painting since 1974. After Sandy my friends bedroom got some water damage to a ceiling. We replaced the drywall in the area and did all the proper applications. We decided to freshen the room up but that ended up being a nightmare. I have tired everything that would normally eradicate the odor problem but to no avail. I used all the top name primer sealers and different paint manufactures over the last 3 years. I now know that the only way to resolve this problem is to remove the drywall which will be done in March. I will tape and mud the drywall but not paint until someone comes up with a solution. My theory is the colorants were off whether that happen from the manufacture or because the paint had extreme temperature change I can’t say for sure. I think if I do paint it will be from a local paint store were my chances are better to purchase fresh paint.

  150. Petey   |  Friday, 30 January 2015 at 2:16 am

    Hi Madge, when you say that you used all the top name primer sealers, did you try BIN shellac? Good luck to all.

  151. Jymn   |  Tuesday, 03 February 2015 at 12:16 am

    Well, reading this has been terrifying. I painted a mural in my daughter’s bedroom with behr ultra several weeks ago and the chemical smell is lingering. Some of the painting was done on cold and/or humid days, so I’m worried there’s a coat underneath somewhere that isn’t dry. The smell doesn’t seem to come from the walls, as a few others have noticed, but pools in the middle of the room. Traditional odor absorbers (onions, lemons, baking soda) aren’t doing anything. I certainly hope I don’t end up resorting to priming over it…ugh. But this thread has been helpful. It seems like there’s a serious problem in the paint industry that should end up in court sometime soon

  152. Cara   |  Wednesday, 04 February 2015 at 1:35 am

    Same problem with Lowes Olympic low voc paint and primer in one. My son’s bedroom was painted one month ago.
    Smells like I painted yesterday and I’ve had windows open during the day and an expensive air purifier running every night. I will never buy low voc or paint and primer in one again. Never had any problems like this with my other paints.

  153. katie   |  Thursday, 12 February 2015 at 6:36 am

    well, Here I am adding to this. We had some mold removed and new drywall put up. They painted our wall with a primer/paint. We have been sleeping in the living room for almost a week waiting for the paint fumes to go away because it affects our sinuses. Now I’m thinking we will be sleeping in there the rest of our lives!

  154. Fran   |  Thursday, 19 February 2015 at 6:45 pm

    My husband painted our foyer back in October 2014 & I have been having problems ever since…headaches, anxiety, pain up the back of head, not sleeping. I was in the hospital in Nov 2014 when my right side gradually went numb (was diagnosed with a TIA) mini stroke & I’m still having problems…..I began figuring out it’s from the paint odor…..our home has a very overpowering musty odor since we painted & it’s affected me really bad…..after reading the posts on this website I feel we will probably have to tear out the drywall & start over, although another brand of paint might create the same problem. We used the Olympic Paint from Lowes. I don’t know what they are adding to paint but it is really bad if you have any allergies. I am very sensitive to odors.

  155. karen   |  Saturday, 28 February 2015 at 6:46 pm

    Now the question is: Which paint is good to use? I have always done things very “green”, zero VOC, etc. After this nightmare with Mythic, I am open to using regular paint. Just not sure which brand to use now. Any suggestions? We applied two coats of BIN. It seems to have helped. However, the true test will be the hot weather.

  156. Paul   |  Wednesday, 04 March 2015 at 3:20 am

    I am having the same problem with Olympic Icon paint purchased from Lowes. Painted on Sat. And it is nkw just about Wed. An my kitchen smells awful. I am in the process of talking with the manufacturer of the paint but after reading this thread I am fearing the worse– having to rip out my walls.

  157. Jeff   |  Monday, 16 March 2015 at 6:49 pm

    I have a similar problem. I live in New Zealand and tried using PPG Architectural Easy coat walls with microban. I was painting over a 10 year old surface that had been sanded and sugar soap washed. The paint claimed to be low odor, low VOC and had microban (a good feature for a bathroom and suggested by the local Bunnings store). On initial drying it started to have a sweet choking smell. The room was fully vented the entire time duiring and after painting. I’ve tried onions, fans, vinegar wash, ozone and dehumidifiers. It’s almost 2 months and the bathroom still smells/ It’s a sickly gagging smell (more chemical/synthetic like than organic/vomit like). I’m tempted to repaint but I’d like PPG to explain the problem.They were initially understanding but now, neither the Australian or New Zealand reps have returned my contact requests. Guess what brand I’ll never use again. Here down under, paint is quite expensive (about NZ$65/4l which is about US$40/gal for the medium range stuff stuff like PPG and doiuble that for good paint like Resene).

  158. Thomas Subjak   |  Monday, 30 March 2015 at 7:52 pm

    Has anyone tried Micro-Ban? Seems like it may be a bacterial growth issue and Micro-Ban, especially in high concentrations can kill quite a bit of microbes and bacteria. I’m probably going to be trying it for an issue that we are having, but I figured I’d throw it out there to see if anyone else has tried it first.

  159. Sue   |  Wednesday, 01 April 2015 at 4:06 am

    I had my home painted with zerovoc Dunn Edwards paint. If has been over 2.5 weeks that I have lived in a motel . Daily I air out housebeirhbfans and Hepa filters. I moved back yesterday and could not sleep because I had allergic reaction . What can I do ?

  160. Paul   |  Thursday, 02 April 2015 at 10:54 pm

    Follow up to earlier posts: Olympic paints sent a rep out to my house. He had worked all day and smelled of sweat and cologne so there was no way he’d smell what I smelled and he didn’t. The company gave me a check for $50 for my troubles. Woo hoo. Half for the paint and half if I wanted to buy sealer to lock the smell in.

    At the time I will admit, the smell faded a bit but not totally. Now today it hit 66 degrees here in NJ and the smell is back with a vengeance. I think these companies are full of shit and their products contain VOCs even though they advertise otherwise. And they know people aren’t going file suit because of the cost of counsel as well as testing their products. Based on my experience, I do not recommend Olympic Icon paint to anyone. I am going to try living with the smell for now. Who,would have thought a $25 can of paint advertised as low odor and no VOCS would cause this much trouble.

  161. MB   |  Wednesday, 08 April 2015 at 3:28 am

    Buy a large container of activated charcoal online and solo cups. Fill the solo cups half way and place them around the room/house. It will absorb any chemical smell. I cleared the air after having my floors refinished with poly in a couple hours with the windows open. The chemicals that burn with a new oven, were gone in 30 minutes. It works with paint too and costs very little. You can “renew” the charcoal by placing it in the sun but mine lasts for long periods.

  162. Anita   |  Wednesday, 08 April 2015 at 9:03 pm

    MB trying to get rid of chemical paint odor. Where did you purchase the activated charcoal? What brand do you think is best? Thank you for the advice.

  163. Nick   |  Sunday, 12 April 2015 at 11:31 pm

    I have been painting for years but have just had/having my first experience with weird , sickening smell. I used a Ben Moore Muresco ceiling flat white paint on Ben Moore primed sheet rock. No problem with primer and it was there for weeks with out final coat . Muresco Paint had stronger than usual odor but didn’t think too much of it. However after a week it is smelling of a strong, sickly sweet perfume like odor and giving us all head aches etc.
    We are in Hudson area of New York and got this paint through Herringtons, a local building merchant.
    I am calling them tomorrow to find out what their thoughts might be. Looks dismal from this post and the thought of re sheet rocking is depressing. But that smell has to go, we are sickening from it.
    Any one else had a Ben Moore problem with Muresco ceiling white?

  164. Nick   |  Tuesday, 14 April 2015 at 11:11 pm

    Ok update for Nick’s situation posted 12 April 2015.
    Ben Moore rep came out with rep from Herringtons. Both pleasant and could smell issue. However doubts about whether it could be the Ben Moore paint as, even though walls had unpleasant odor , the dried paint on used can did not. Offered a can of synthetic Bin as primer to go over walls again and will be getting a different flat Ben Moore paint later in the week.
    I am wondering if this could not be the primer which i think was Ben Moore but has been tossed.
    has anyone had success with synthetic Bin? I have put two coats on in a test area and sickly smell has gone for now, but its only been a few hours.
    Synthetic Bin is a water based version of their shellac product.

  165. Lawrence   |  Wednesday, 15 April 2015 at 8:30 pm

    Nick, I used Muresco recently and it did have a strong smell for well over a month. I’m never using Benjamin Moore Muresco again! Good luck with your odor issues.

  166. Vlad   |  Monday, 20 April 2015 at 1:27 am

    If it helps anybody, here’s another datapoint: we repainted walls and replaced floors with cork laminate several months ago. Started having this strong chemical smell soon after. We were dead set on the floors being the problem, since leftover boards did emit some smell. I finally took away the floors, the smell remained. I covered walls with plastic today and the smell went away almost immediately. So the problem is in the paint, either HD or Lowes, low/no VOC with primer. I want to let those of you who have health effects from the paint know that as a temporary remedy plastic film is working very well. I attached it with masking tape.

  167. Sue   |  Monday, 20 April 2015 at 5:52 am

    Achemist friend suggested evacyating home for 2 days but first putting pans of amonia 1/2″ deep in house to neutralize paint. Makes sense but I am very sensitive and fear a reaction to the amonia. Has anyone tried doing this with white vinegar ?

  168. Sue   |  Monday, 20 April 2015 at 6:06 am

    What about a class action lawsuit ? This is really bad. We are all being poisoned by these toxic chemicals . It has been 1 1/2 months and I do not feel totally confident about the paint. I have fans and HEPA filters going 24 hrs a day. I am thinking if buying an AirPura filter which gets rid of VOC fumes . The R600 model costs over $600 . My paint was Dunn Edwards ZeroVOC . I thought it was supposed to be the perfect solution for sensitive individuals. That’s what they claim, yet I had to spend over $2000 to stay in a motel for 20 days because I could not sleep in my home without a reaction. This is about health !!! This stuff is toxic . I wish I had never painted my home.

  169. Sue   |  Monday, 20 April 2015 at 6:09 am

    So are you saying that you did better with the VOC paint rather than the zero VO C ?

  170. For the love of paint   |  Tuesday, 21 April 2015 at 3:42 pm

    Same rotten fish smell with Behr paint from Home Depot. Nauseous and vomitting.

    Face it people. The paint manufacturers know what the problem is, what they’re putting in paint that’s making people sick (does it also include putting fish and crustacean material into paint?) but they are not addressing the issue. The retail stores know what the problem is and ditto their response. Both play innocent and unaware of the problem, they minimize it, they obfuscate, perhaps deliberately lie and cheat their way out of this mess.

    There are things we can do.

    Start a class action lawsuit in the United States. (Here in Canada the dollar figures only amount to peanuts.)

    Everybody unite and selectively boycott a whole line of paint products. Rotate that list. Let’s start with Benjamin Moore. They seem to have the most complaints on this site. (Yes there is a raving review here about how they fixed a particular problem, about how many companies would do that in this day and age, but they certainly don’t go to that length for every problem they’re creating. Lucky the chosen family that Benjamin Moore finally helped.)


    Class action lawsuit against paint stores and manufacturers!

    Boycott Benjamin Moore first!

    Watch the industry start sweating.

    WE can fix this problem. All the best to us.

  171. Sue   |  Friday, 24 April 2015 at 5:35 pm

    Has anyone tried AFM’s Safecoat paint? . It is specifically made with fewer toxic ingredients. It looks promising. In fact, I am going to order some samples for $6 each to try it.


  172. Jymn   |  Friday, 01 May 2015 at 10:10 pm

    success story

    I posted in february that the chemical paint smell was lingering in my daughters room and now it FINALLY seems to be gone. She had been sleeping in the play room in the interim, and we had been having the windows open all the time but the progress was very slow.

    Then last weekend we tried two new things and it seemed to make a big difference.

    One is simple: activated charcoal. It worked better than any other odor absorber we tried. We used a 500g “moso bag” which is nice and tidy, but any brand would probably work.

    The other thing we tried is more interesting: heating up the room. Now, many people have noted that the smell gets worse in hot weather, and that got me thinking. If the problem is paint still being wet underneath other layers of paint because it was too cold or humid to dry properly before it was painted over, then the heat makes the smell worse because more of the underneath paint is drying, but that’s actually a good thing, we want to get that over with and be done with it.

    So we closed the door and windows and used a radiant space heater to heat up the room for hours and hours. It was a dry heat, which is good, and the activated charcoal helps with that too. You want the odor absorber in the room when you heat it, obviously. It smelled a bit worse for a while, then it smelled better.

    We’re happy with the results, so maybe others could try it and see if it works for them

  173. Bob Ucman   |  Tuesday, 05 May 2015 at 11:23 am

    We have a Valspar issue with a bad smell. I tried Kilz(sp) premium primer and that did not work. I am going to try AFM Safecoat Hard Seal per an earlier post and see what happens. Worst case I have to take down the dry wall and start over.

    I will participate in a class action law suit.


  174. WR   |  Wednesday, 06 May 2015 at 6:48 pm

    For those thinking of trying the AFM, it did not work to solve our problem. We used the paint, rather than the hard seal, although I did have it painted over a Shellac seal. I was also disappointed in the quality of the AFM paint. The AFM took forever to dry and had a blocking problem, even though we were running a dehumidifier. For our problem room, we have closed off the room and are using a very expensive air filter to keep the smell/fumes in check and from contaminating the rest of the house. (I had our air tested by an indoor air quality lab before and after the air filter was set up, so I know it works because the “danger” levels of VOCs went into the green. The air filter uses pounds and pounds of activated charcoal.) I now have a room in my house that we cannot use except to store items that won’t pick up smell. Our plan is to eventually replace the drywall when we have the money and time. I have no idea what I will use to paint the walls when we do get new drywall put in. It seems like every manufacturer has had this problem at one point or another. Perhaps I will be making my own paint in the kitchen sink.

  175. Sue   |  Wednesday, 06 May 2015 at 8:11 pm

    Was the air quality checked before and after using the Safecoat paint?

    Which HEPA filter did you buy ?

    Fabric that has been pre washed might be an alternative tompsinting walls.

  176. Sara   |  Friday, 15 May 2015 at 9:22 pm

    Painting nightmare & feeling sick. We put Behr basement masonry paint on our concrete walls in basement a yr ago & immediately felt sick. They told us to put Kilz max primer over & that would seal in the odor. That did not help one bit. This is one yr later & now that the temp has changed the gases are horrible. The air down there is heavy, smells like a vinegar type gas that makes our whole house smell. I can’t stand to be here I feel sick all the time, eyes & throat burn, Ive lost my sense of taste & smell. I don’t know how to fix the problem since it’s on concrete walls. Would it help if I put mortar over it or even drywall over the concrete to keep in the gas odors?

  177. Sue   |  Sunday, 17 May 2015 at 8:10 pm

    Hello Sara:

    I completely understand your frustration and despair as I too am living a “Paint nightmare.” More on that later. As for you, I think you should consider hiring contractors to sandblast the paint from the cement walls that you had painted. Rent HEPA filters that are specifically intended to eliminate VOC fumes. That is my advice.
    As for me, I made the mistake of painting my interior drywalls. Those symptoms you are having will ruin your health over the long run. I know this is radical, but you should seriously consider moving. That is exactly where I am at on all of this. It has been 2 months, the HEPA filters and fans are going 24 hours a day. I can only sleep with the HEPA filter close to the bed. But since moving in, I have had MORE health problems than I had before. I already had a marginal immune system, but since returning this is what happened:
    1. I had a relapse of Epstein -Bar Virus after 30 years.
    Yes, the painted appears to have compromised my immunity to that extent. I have been through two deaths and employment upheaval in the last 30 years and those events did not trigger the EBV. But the paint did. What does that tell you about the toxicity of the paint??? If you have symptoms you are lucky, because you know it is bad. If you have no symptoms, you are unlucky, because health problems will manifest themselves eventually. That is my take on the topic.
    2. I am still recovering form the EBV, but recently, I came down with carpal tunnel syndrome. Never had a serious problem with this in the past. But I felt PAIN which sent me to the doctor.
    3. Then I started feeling joint pain, even being awakened in the middle of the night with hip pain !!!
    Right now I am trying to make my environment as healthy as I can while I make my escape plans, clean out my home, prepare it for sale. The handwriting is on the wall. I must move from this toxic environment before something more serious happens with my health.
    Clearly, this paint does a number on ones immunity and causes systemic inflammation which is linked to a variety of serious diseases. I don’t think I need to list them here. We all know what they are.

  178. Sue   |  Sunday, 17 May 2015 at 8:15 pm


    Some people shared some helpful information and possible solutions to paint problems, but when I tried to obtain further details so that I could go out and purchase the equipment that they used, they did not respond. We cannot help each other and continue our discussions if people are not answering our questions.
    So please check the boxes below when you post a response. That way we can have communication on this topic and we can be helped when you share a successful strategy. We need all the help that we can get. Thank you, SM

  179. Courtney   |  Monday, 25 May 2015 at 9:40 pm

    Hi Ruth. Any new updates on the smell in your room since re-drywalling? I have been having the same problem in (what was supposed to be) my daughter’s nursery since my husband painted with Behr zero VOC, low odor paint in July 2013. We ended up tearing out the new solid hardwood bamboo flooring my husband installed (which tested high for formaldehyde when I had a sample tested) and thought our odor problem was solved. However, once the flooring was gone I was able to smell the “fresh paint” smell that will not go away. After running fans and leaving the windows open nonstop; priming over the walls; closing up and running a dehumidifier to pull all the moisture out of the walls; and, virtually, pretending the room does not exist, my husband finally relented and tore down the drywall today. I am cautiously optimistic, but extremely nervous that either the smell still won’t be gone (which might result in divorce court!) or will return once we paint the new walls again. I have not painted anything in my house for almost two years and fear I will never look at choosing paint the same way again! Can anyone recommend paint and/or primer that they have used recently without any problems? I used to look forward to making improvements around our home, but now the idea of them makes me nervous and unsettled. It is shocking and disturbing the amount of toxic products that are sold for use in our homes with the approval of our government. Now I’m nervous about which drywall to select. I’m looking at Dragonboard if anyone has any experience or input.

    I should note that we also had the air tested in the room and it came back normal. That was a relief, but still gave us no answers and did not make me feel anymore comfortable putting my daughter in there to sleep every day and night. Even the air testing technician detected an odor (a mixture of paint and plaster is how he described it) and felt bad that there was no resolution.

    I am so thankful for this thread because no one I know can relate to this problem. Even my husband can’t relate because he is not sensitive to smells at all. He just knows that our house will remain in disarray until we resolve this mess. At this point it has become our normal that my daughter’s dresser is in my dining room and her crib is in my bedroom. I’m hoping that she can have her own safe and odor-free bedroom by the time she turns two in August.

  180. Sue   |  Monday, 25 May 2015 at 10:53 pm

    Dear Jymn
    Thank you for the helpful information regarding the 500g “moso bag of activated coal and the heater. I will try this.

    Dear Courney
    Please, please do not take any risks with your beautiful child. Keep her away from the paint until you are 100% certain that there is no danger. Personally, I believe that if you still smell something, then there is still an active chemical that could potentially cause health issues. Did you read my post about how the paint compromised my immune system ? Epstein-Bar Syndrome, systemic inflammation, pain – These are clear indicators that the paint is harmful and does cause health problems.
    Have you tried the activated charcoal and heat that Jymn suggested?

  181. karen   |  Tuesday, 26 May 2015 at 3:31 am

    Dear Courtney,

    I agree with Sue, do not feel bad about keeping your daughter out of that room. I have had the same problem for 2 years now. I am scared to paint again. I may go back to using regular paint. I am an alternative health care practitioner and have always done everything very “green.” However, it seems that regular paint is more stable. I am waiting until the summer months to paint, hoping to ensure that any cans damaged due to cold will have been sold. Ironically, cold seems to be more harmful to paint that heat. Are your walls plaster? Ours are plaster. The house was built in 1964. I would have taken the walls down a long time ago, but my husband does not want to. Bin Zinser did help. We have an epoxy on the floor now and are going to put new flooring in to rule out the lingering smell being epoxy. I too would love to hear of a paint line that works. I haven’t heard anything negative mentioned about Farrow and Ball. I’m going to prime and wait a week before I paint. And, even then, I may paint a small area; being sure to cover up the can as I go. By the way, Gold Bond is a non-toxic drywall and they actually sell it at Lowe’s.

  182. gd   |  Tuesday, 26 May 2015 at 8:43 pm

    I have the same problem with Behr paint and primer paint, terrible smell that has effected my upper respiratory system. Drywall has been taken down and still have the smell that is now through out my house. Trying to find company that will test for chemical smells. Behr knows there’s a problem but won’t admit there is . Knot sure if I want to drywall until the smell is gone Has anyone solved the problem of getting rid of the smell and how?

  183. Courtney   |  Wednesday, 27 May 2015 at 12:37 am

    Hi Karen –

    Thank you for your response. I agree with you about using “regular” paint from now on. The air quality technician told me that the VOCs they remove to make low VOC paint are mainly drying agents, making for a longer drying time between coats. I have also learned that low VOC paint is better for the ozone layer, but not necessarily indoor air quality.

    My walls are not plaster. My husband probably would not have taken them down either if they were, As much as I wanted the walls down and the problem (hopefully) gone, I did not want the headache of having to pick out new drywall and turning my daughter’s room into a construction zone (more off-gassing in her room that I was trying to avoid). After researching drywall, flooring, paint, etc. and all of the harmful effects they can have on our indoor air quality and health, the saying “ignorance is bliss” has never rang more true! Thank you for the suggestion of Gold Bond drywall. I am going to look into it now.

    I’m glad to hear that the Bin Zinser helped your situation a little. I would love to hear how you make out after installing the new flooring. I will keep my fingers crossed!

  184. omar   |  Thursday, 28 May 2015 at 1:39 pm

    I have the same problem but the bad news is that i had removed the paint with chemical remover because my walls are concrete and it still smells
    than i installed MDF panel over my walls and used wall paper to cover them instead of paint and the room stills smells
    very frustrating

  185. Courtney   |  Friday, 29 May 2015 at 9:51 pm

    Hi Sue –

    Thank you for your post. I agree that an off smell is indicative of a greater problem, that is why I refused to use the room – even after the air quality test came back seemingly normal. I finally went into the room a couple of days after the drywall was removed and have to say that I don’t smell the lingering paint odor that had been there. I have been in there a couple of times, though, and each time I end up with a headache and sinus pressure. I’m thinking it could be lingering drywall dust that is irritating my sinuses (I have had sinus issues since my early 20s) and, hopefully, will not be an issue once the walls are up and the room is properly cleaned. Until then, I will continue to keep the windows open and the room taped off from the rest of the house so no dust makes its way into the rest my home.

    I am very sorry to hear of your health issues. It is very hard for people who do not have such sensitivities to understand that someone can become physically ill from such things. I hope you are able to resolve your issue (or move) quickly.


  186. Judith   |  Monday, 01 June 2015 at 6:17 am

    We bought a new house built in 1950 with plaster walls. Our dream home. Painted the kitchen with Ralph Laurent Paint from Miller Paint company. No problem. Painted the bathrooms with Behr Premium no VOC, no problem. Painted the bedrooms, hallway and living dining room with Ralph Lauren paint from Home Depot, horrible problem. Smelled sour and bad and nauseating. The painters went right over the first coat with the second within 4 hours as per the instructions. Got mad at the painters for not stopping as soon as they smelled how bad it was but they said they cannot smell.
    Contacted Home Depot and they contacted the paint rep who said he has never heard of this problem. Sent the batch numbers to Ralph Lauren and they said nothing wrong with the paint, never heard of this problem but they gave us 5 gallons of Kilz to overcoat it. The smell was gone at first with the Kilz so we painted again with Aura from Miller. Unfortunately 3 months and the smell is still present. It is not as strong but still there and my ears plug up and I get dizzy and an asthma attack so I can’t be in the house without the windows open and fresh air.
    It has been three months of airing and fans and exhaust fans and ozone machine and the smell still lingers. The walls are plaster and it would cost a small fortune to tear them out.
    Please note all posters: these are not VOC fumes but something else that has been put in the paint to replace them.
    The description of the smell as pickles and/or vinegar is what we experience. Even if I can’t smell it I start coughing and my ears plug up.
    Class action law suit seems in order.
    Has anyone contacted their insurance company?

  187. Judith   |  Monday, 01 June 2015 at 6:21 am

    The Miller paint we used was Acro Pure not Aura

  188. Judith   |  Monday, 01 June 2015 at 2:50 pm

    I have a suggestion for future painting to avoid smells. Do not buy paint at big box stores or any big chains like Ben Moore. Their paint comes across country and is not climate controlled in shipping.
    Buy paint locally that is made locally. We have Miller Paint in Seattle and another store called the Paint Laboratory that ships nationally.
    The other thing is to smell the paint in the can before you paint! We realized the paint in the can stunk to high heaven and if we had smelled it would never have used it! Paint in the can should have no smell.
    Still no solution to our problem but may use the heat and charcoal to get the smell gone.
    The local air quality specialist suggested we install a whole house fan to keep air constantly flowing through and out of the house. Instead they suggested keeping a basement window open and running the bathroom and kitchen fans which has helped but if the house is closed and the fans off it smells.

  189. karen   |  Tuesday, 02 June 2015 at 5:42 am

    Dear Courtney,

    The reaction you had could easily be a reaction to the dust from demolition. Curious to hear which drywall you used and how the smell is. Keep us posted!
    Judith, great suggestion about locally-made paint! Thank you! Let us know how the heat and charcoal go!

  190. Lisa   |  Wednesday, 03 June 2015 at 3:09 am

    Hi all, you will see my earlier comments above in this thread. (although I’m not the only Lisa in the thread)

    I’m writing to report that we believe that the problem of the smelly paint has been solved for us, approximately 19 months after it began. In the end, after all our troubles, the problem seemed to be solved with 3 coats of BIN. We used two coats of BIN synthetic shellac – one right after the other together. Then a few weeks later we did one coat of regular BIN shellac. There was no special reason we did it this way. It was just that the first 2 coats didn’t quite do the trick so we applied a third after a few weeks when we realized we needed to. I would have liked to apply a fourth and even fifth to put as much of a barrier as possible between me and that cursed paint. But after a while it was apparent that the third coat must have done the trick.

    If you read my earlier posts, you will see that we used Olympic Icon paint and primer, flat, zero VOC, with a custom color, purchased at Lowe’s. The paint never seemed to dry, and after a year it was still possible to discolor a paper towel by wiping the wall with it. We had spot tried: bleach, alcohol, other recommended cleaners. The smell was something akin to body odor or some other organic smell. Unlike one writer above, closing the room and putting a space heater in there didn’t help. The warmer the room, the worse the smell, dry or not. It never lessened at all.

    We were hesitant to go with the BIN for fear we would be throwing good money after bad, but all estimates for remediation were so costly that we decided to at least try it.

    It’s impossible to know if we’re all experiencing a problem that is caused by the same thing in each case, but it’s obvious that there is something bad going on in paint production. I just wanted to let everyone know that for me the BIN worked, but it took more than the ordinary amount to make a difference.

  191. Sue   |  Wednesday, 03 June 2015 at 5:24 pm

    Hi Lisa:

    I am happy that this seems to have worked for you. As for me, I would be afraid that I would have an allergic sensitivity to the BIN shellac. Yes , the common denominator in all of the paints reported above, is that the paint industry is more interested in making money than our health. It does not matter what the offending chemicals are, the bottom line is that they are toxic to humans. A canary in the mine like me, knows immediately, but others may not notice. That does not mean that the chemicals are not harming them. Today I am leaving my home for a few days to see if a change in environment will improve my health issues triggered by the new paint, which is now several months old. Sue

  192. Lisa   |  Wednesday, 03 June 2015 at 10:18 pm

    Sue, The BIN has a very strong smell, but dries quickly. It shouldn’t be used if you can’t ventilate well. I haven’t noticed any smell from the dried BIN. If you decide to use it, you’d have to have someone other than yourself do the application, because it is very strong. You could leave the house for a few hours. As I explained in one of my comments, the first 2 coats over the stinky paint didn’t seem to handle the problem. The BIN was supposed to be completely dry within a few hours, but even though it seemed to be, it still smelled. That lessened over the next few weeks, but didn’t completely go away til the third coat was applied. Once that dried, we were good – although we waited until the warm weather had given it the test (heat and humidity) before we were prepared to say we’re out of the woods. I hope you can overcome the problem you have. I understand that it’s very frustrating and even sickening to have to try to live with it.

  193. Beth Haney   |  Thursday, 04 June 2015 at 12:12 am

    Well, here’s one more person adding to the mix. My bedroom was painted 9 months ago with Behr paint, and Kilz latex was used underneath in some spots. The room has a plastic like smell that is quite evident when the room is shut up. I thought it was blinds that were made of composite material, so I got rid of $2,000 worth of blinds. The blinds were a factor, and it has improved, but there is still the paint smell.
    A class action suit has been mentioned several times. I do not know how this is initiated but sign me up because I would really like to see something done about this problem. I have not used this room and probably never will.
    What a waste.

  194. larry   |  Thursday, 04 June 2015 at 7:47 pm

    I used to paint houses for a living and then the last twenty years I’ve done other types of painting. Recently I began painting interiors again. First interior job I did was with Behr low voc paint from Home Depot. Stinkiest paint I can ever remember. The strong smell of formaldehyde (? that’s what it smells like to me) and other chemicals lasted for weeks. Gave me bad headaches, couldn’t sleep normally, my nasal passages swelled up and my throat closed up. I even felt depression associated with the other symptoms. Bad stuff. I talked to a painter friend with over 40 years experience and he said he was aware of the strong smell assoc. with the Behr low voc. He said he would never use it. I am on a second interior job now and I am using Royal brand from Ace Hardware – mainly because it is the only paint store close to where I am working. The Royal paint has very little smell. I will probably use it again. I also used Zinnzer latex mold killing primer, and some Kilz latex primer and the smells from those paints were not too bad and dissipated in about a day or two. I also used some Glidden ceiling paint from Wallmart and it seemed OK too.
    Back in the day I always used Glidden low odor latex paint and Benjeman Moore latex for interior work as I found them to have the least odor and cause me and others the least headaches.. But that was twenty years ago, and obviously thing have changed. I remember years ago I had a good friend who suffered from all kinds of allergies and she had her custom chemical free house painted with a special hypoallergenic paint that ended up being worse than regular paint. It was a milk based paint and it had an odor that didn’t go away even after a couple of years. Made her really sick and she wasn’t able to occupy the house. Maybe wallpaper is the way to go. Although after my experience with Royal Paint I am convinced that there are still ok paints out there. It is no fun experimenting and being made sick by so called low odor paints. Porter makes high quality paint. I will probably try some Porter in the future

  195. Ruth   |  Sunday, 21 June 2015 at 5:55 pm

    We have a very very faint smell that doesn’t bother anybody other than me – only apparent when there is no ac or heat on and the room is closed. Considering we tore the whole room up last October and that there is a walk in attic adjacent to it – I can’t rule out that the faint smell might be from air penetration from the attic. Might try to seal that well and see what we have. We might attempt bin in the fall if it continues but truly it is nothing like the smell we had from the Benjamin Moore paint so I am not as concerned and bothered by it. If the door is open there is no smell especially if the ac/head are cycling on and off. My cousin will be spending a month in the room so I am looking forward to seeing what she thinks/says and having that room lived in – which might help also. I will keep you guys posted.

    Lisa I am thrilled your smell is gone!!! I might eventually bin it – but right now it is so faint it seems like overkill and before I do that I will want to seal the attic better anyway to make sure it is not that or that that factor is contributing.

  196. Lisa   |  Wednesday, 01 July 2015 at 4:52 pm

    Ruth, I may have spoken too soon. I am feeling overwhelmed right now because I was sure the 3 coats of BIN had done the trick. But apparently I didn’t wait long enough. We have just now had a few hot humid days, and when the room is shut, the smell is creeping back. This is still the only room that smells, and it’s definitely the walls. I’ve sniffed everything in that room. I’ve crawled around on the floor, I’ve put a ladder up and smelled the ceiling. Nothing in the room smells except the walls – which cause the whole room to stink when the door and window are shut. To the touch, the BIN is fine – it no longer feels like it’s still “sticky” – and you can’t rub it off with a dry paper towel (like was still doable over a year after we painted). And the smell is VERY greatly reduced. HOWEVER – it is still there, after 3 coats of BIN. At this point I think the only thing to try is another couple of coats – but this seems insane. Will anything short of ripping out the walls fix this? We can’t afford to do that, and the paint company (PPG) is not being helpful at all.

    I wish I’d known when this started how it would progress. I would have forced the issue with the rep that came to the house (at my insistence). He pretty much just shrugged his shoulders. I should have forced him to take a sample and find out what was wrong. The company has no interest in finding out what went wrong here. Their only interest seems to be avoiding liability. I’ve done plenty of painting in my years – I never in a million years would have dreamed that a problem like this would develop. This is wearing me out – and I think that the paint company is counting on that. But what are the options? Shut the door and pretend that room doesn’t exist? It’s not a mansion. We can’t lose that living space. There are 3 bedrooms and that’s the biggest one. Many possessions are crowded into one of the other bedrooms for well over a year now. I feel confused right now because I’m really not sure what to do next and the money’s not there for any of it. I feel so much anger at the people at the paint company for not wanting to help. This product shouldn’t be on the market.

    Ruth, thank you for your note. My sincere hope is that things will come around – to a point where you will be able to forget that this affected your life as it has. Maybe dealing with the attic will do the trick. I hope so.

    If anybody reading this wants to consider a class-action suit against PPG (if they used one of their brands) – let me know!
    The last person I spoke with told me they’ve only had one similar report before. Well, I know that’s not true because there’s more than one right on this page! And, even if only one person reported it, now that they’ve got two – shouldn’t they be trying to get a sample to find out what’s going on?

  197. Charlie Orestano   |  Thursday, 16 July 2015 at 1:02 pm

    Hello to all with the paint smell problem, I am a 36 year painting contractor in the San Diego area. Having
    had paint sitting in my storage sometimes for well over a year, I found they paint will go rottenand smell
    like vomit or really bad smelling old cheese or milk. I know a particular paint company that was all happy
    that they are recycling paint, and one day opened 5 gal bucket of “New Paint” and it smelled like vomit.
    My theory is the paint companies are recycling old paint in with new, possibly to not wast or loose the inventory.
    Your choices are to either encapsulate it by painting with a super primer (doesn’t always fix it the smell). Or replace the drywall. I think possibly spraying on a converted varnish, lacquer, or shellac, will possibly do the trick. Always smell the can when you first open it, if it smells take it back to the store.

  198. KDP   |  Friday, 17 July 2015 at 1:10 am

    Well, add me to the list of the nightmare and I do mean NIGHTMARE of horrible paint experiences! I am so frustrated and just finished painting this week with a coat of Sherwin Williams shellac primer. That last coat was the 8th time I have painted my powder room and hallway trying to get rid of the horrible nasty odor. It all began when I painted the first time with PrimeFast2 from Menards and then used two coats of Sherwin Williams Duration paint. When I first noticed the odor, I asked my husband to please install our new vanity/sink and the new toilet thinking it must be a sewer problem. After my husband installed the new vanity/sink and toilet, we continued to smell this strange odor. Still not thinking it was the paint, we called a professional plumber to reinstall the toilet. The two days, we still could smell the strange odor. I called the plumber and he was shocked that the seal on the toilet did not take so he was kind enough to come out to our home and reseal the toilet. Well, wouldn’t you know the smell continued. My husband crawled in the crawl space and checked everything under the house and found nothing. He finally said, “Do think it could be the paint?” We both put our noses close to the walls and lo and behold, it was definitely the paint on the walls! I immediately went to Lowes and purchased Kilz water based primer and another gallon of Sherwin Williams paint. I applied one coat of the Kilz and two coats of Sherwin Williams paint. Unfortunately, the smell came back! After that, I started to research online and discovered this forum and purchased the 500g moso bag of charcoal. It did not work. I tried lemons and onions (not together) to try and absorb this disgusting odor. Nothing worked! I then went to Lowes and they advised an oil-based primer. I put this on the walls and waited…….the smell came back again! I waited a few days and went to a Sherwin Williams store and purchased their shellac. I put this on the walls and hoped for the best outcome…..but unfortunately the smell is still there! I am having a gentleman come to the house tomorrow to estimate how much it will cost to replace the drywall. After reading all the posts on this forum, I believe that is the only thing a person can do. How heart wrenching. I do understand that these walls are not “arms and legs” but it certainly is discouraging to say the least. The amount of money that we have wasted on such a small project is appalling. I will follow up after we rip these horrid walls out and replace with new drywall. To think all that the door jams, crown moulding, window trim, baseboards and everything else will need to come out along with that stinky drywall. I will be “shaking in my boots”, too when the first coat of primer is applied. I will never trust any manufacturer of primer or paint again! From now on, I plan on saving some scrap drywall and testing primers and paints before I ever bring another paint can in our home again and put anything on our walls! What an expensive lesson!

  199. Me   |  Friday, 17 July 2015 at 7:47 am

    Good grief, after reading all of these, I’m afraid to paint my walls now!

  200. Lisa   |  Sunday, 19 July 2015 at 2:25 am

    We are having yet another painter apply yet another coat of primer. This will be an oil-based primer over the 2 coats of synthetic BIN and one coat of original. After the oil based dries and cures, we’ll have two coats of latex applied. And that will have to do. The smell has been reduced, and I am trusting that more stuff to cover the bad paint will reduce it more.

    If it doesn’t completely fix the problem, it will have to do. We’ll turn the room to a use that won’t require spending a lot of time in there when the weather’s not just right so that the window can be open. The smell has never transferred to anything in the room. But it’s the master bedroom, and is infuriating that this has been and continues to be the problem that it is. I’m continuing to negotiate with the manufacturer, and although to a point they were actually very agreeable, they have ceased to be so – perhaps fearing great liability. I don’t know. The cost will end at approximately 6-700$ just to be back to having a painted room. But what is the solution to loss of use? And decreased value of the home for a potential sale? I can’t think about that until I know whether or not this next action puts us in the pink.

  201. David   |  Sunday, 19 July 2015 at 3:36 pm

    Please stop trying to cover up these paint smells. These paints cannot be covered and the cold hard truth is it is a chemical reaction . I am faced with the same problem and paint experts suggested several things which I have tried from repaint to bin and nothing works. I am going to bite the bullet and take down the drywall. All paint products are porous and this can not be stopped. Sorry for the post but I think these are the facts. Good luck.

  202. Tanya   |  Sunday, 19 July 2015 at 3:58 pm


    We moved to a new rental apartment (1960s building) 2 weeks ago.
    It was freshly painted and has a parquet floors newly refinished. No rugs.
    When we just moved, there was no smell of paint, but a faint smell of the floors finish.

    In couple of days the smell was gone but a new smell appeared ONLY in the dining area near the kitchen.

    The smell seems like be hanging in the air, we were not sure of the source at first. I smelled the ceiling, floors, the walls and only the walls in that particular area have a weird a little musty-dirty smell. All other walls (living room adjacent to the kitchen, 2 bedrooms, the hall) have no smell at all and it seems it is the same paint.

    There are small windows in the dining area but they are sealed. So, I am assuming there is bad ventilation there.

    Anyhow, I tried cleaning the walls with vinegar, and the smell disappeared for 2 days and now it is back with the same strength.

    Is it a mold issue? Is it a moisture under the paint due to bad ventilation?
    Most importantly, is it poisonous?

    Should I call mold inspection or professional painter to determine this?
    Does anyone found a solution?

    I afraid that just applying a new coat of paint will not solve the problem.

  203. Sue   |  Sunday, 19 July 2015 at 8:05 pm

    Don’t paint !
    I am flat on my back As I write this. The paint weakened my already weak immune system. Since moving back into my painted home I had a relapse of Epsten bar Virus. Then I was exposed to a hospital virus. Now I can’t get a diagnosis of what it is.But I am weak and have a fever .

    Don’t be in denial.
    It’s not about the smell. It IC about health. The smell is indicative of a serious health hazard.

  204. Lisa   |  Monday, 20 July 2015 at 4:59 pm

    If ANYONE has experienced this problem and found a solution – don’t forget to come back and tell us!!!!!!

    Has anyone tried multiple coats of primer? Like four or more? different kinds? LET US KNOW!

    To those who ripped out drywall – what did you try before you gave up?

    Anyone have a lab analysis? Anyone got reimbursement?

    Don’t wait! Get someone from the company and/or an independent expert and find out what’s in the paint – even if you have to get it off the wall. Notify the manufacturer immediately. They will continue to say they haven’t heard of any problem. But we know from this site that they’ve been notified – more than once.

    Benjamin Moore had a class-action suit against it for zero-VOC paint that never stopped smelling and remained tacky. That’s exactly what’s happened to me with Olympic Icon paint (a brand that others here have named as well.)

    With this many of us experiencing the same problem – I think we can say it’s the paint’s fault, not our own.

    Please – if anyone reading this has used Olympic ICON zero voc and is having this smell problem, please contact me. Use this e-mail: the word “mlema” followed immediately by the number “45” no spaces or caps. And that is @ gmail dot com.

    I can’t afford to rip out dry wall. And at this point it looks like the paint company isn’t going to reimburse me for all the expenses I’ve incurred. I’m convinced, based on this site, that the paint I used was defective and led to this ongoing smell problem (almost 2 years).

  205. Linda O'Neill   |  Tuesday, 21 July 2015 at 1:04 am

    Here I am back again on this site and amazed at all the new reports. Seems like some people getting relief using charcoal but there are paints out there that nothing will get rid of the smell. We used Taubmans yes I am in Australia so it is indeed a world wide problem that the paint manufacturer are not addressing, I hassled Taubmans that much I hassled the dry wall manufacture and the insulation manufacturer. Finally Taubmans paid the cost of having the dry wall removed so I also went ahead and replaced the insulation pink batts with a more natural product. The Taubman paint had nano particles which are supposed to make it easy to remove marks on the walls but they don’t really know how it works. We are not amateurs and had painted our own house inside and out no problem with Dulux paint. It was only when we painted our small apartment we had the problem so lucky it was only a small area.
    How do we all get together and get this out there. Maybe pit the paint companies against each other I am thinking of sending the link to this page to Dulux.
    But honestly is was such a stressful and frustration time for us I don’t know if I can go through it again.

  206. Lisa   |  Tuesday, 21 July 2015 at 5:42 pm

    Update: after talking with people on another site, I’ve decided not to apply the Kilz oil-based, but instead to go with a second coat of the BIN shellac (not synthetic, which the first two coats were) I’ll let you know if 2 coats of synthetic and 2 coats of shellac finally kill this smell. I’m very hopeful because even though the smell returned after having put the first 3 coats on last fall – after the room was allowed to get pretty warm, even more of the smell is gone (heat made it worse when it was just the paint, but perhaps the BIN, which was dry to the touch [unlike the paint] has finally found a way to dry out what’s underneath it, by allowing it to get to 83-85 degrees in that room – hot day :)

    Honestly I don’t know how it works, i think I’m just trying to psych myself up here. I don’t see that anyone else was insane enough to live with this so long and just keep putting more BIN on the wall. (unless I missed that). It has greatly reduced the smell, and hopefully the fourth coat will suffice. Again, I’ll let you know.

  207. Lisa   |  Tuesday, 21 July 2015 at 6:35 pm

    I have just taken the time to re-read these many posts. I do see that some people said BIN worked for them. Unfortunately there is no follow-up post to reassure us that it worked permanently.

    I’m going to let you all know if my latest attempt at fixing this works. It will be at least 3-4 weeks before I can have another coat of BIN shellac applied, and give it the warm/humid test after it dries and cures.

    Stay tuned!

  208. Anita   |  Thursday, 23 July 2015 at 4:19 pm

    Lisa what other site is talking about this problem? If we all call 310-520-8477 and leave a message describing our problems with paint, I think it will help. If we all file a formal complaint with the consumer products safety commission, we might get some answers. Everyone agency says they have never heard of the paint problem. If we all submit complaints together, we may get a better response.

  209. Anita   |  Thursday, 23 July 2015 at 4:24 pm

    It might also help us if we let each other know what area of the world we are having the problem. I am in NJ just outside of Philadelphia, PA.

  210. ron   |  Thursday, 23 July 2015 at 7:56 pm

    Hello im back.. I have been posting on this web page for 3 years now. About my paint smell problem in my room.. 3 years with this nightmare I have repainted the room numerous times and even tried different kinds of air products and treatments even ozone generators. Now the room is used for storage, I would love to have the room back but it looks like the only solution is to rips the walls down witch is alot of money the paint company should pay for that. they are sell bad paint. We end up spending more money for there incompetents.

    P.S remember 3 long years

  211. Linda O'Neill   |  Thursday, 23 July 2015 at 10:30 pm

    I am in Sydney Australia had the same problem with PPG paint Taubmans. They paid for the walls to be replaced but would not admit liability they said it was a good will gesture. Removing the dry wall was the only way to get rid of the smell.
    I think Lisa has a great idea
    Lisa what other site is talking about this problem? If we all call 310-520-8477 and leave a message describing our problems with paint, I think it will help. If we all file a formal complaint with the consumer products safety commission, we might get some answers. Everyone agency says they have never heard of the paint problem. If we all submit complaints together, we may get a better response.

  212. Lisa   |  Thursday, 23 July 2015 at 11:56 pm

    Anita – who is at the phone number you want us to call?

    Ron – did you try primers? What kinds? How many coats?

    I am still in mid-stream here. The BIN primer has reduced the smell, so I’m hoping that more of it will reduce it even more. I am afraid to apply paint though. But should I have to live with primer on the walls?

    I am still communicating with the company (PPG) in hopes of reimbursement for my expenses, but since I don’t know what they will total at this time, I don’t know what resolution I’ll be content with. Like others, it seemed like a good idea to try the primer first. What’s puzzling is: if the company knows about this problem (which they do) – you’d think they’d want to get it sorted out – – like develop advice as to how affected customers should deal with it. But not all cans of this paint are having this problem. So perhaps it’s a game of odds. I can only speculate.

    Different people on this site have used different products from different companies. They seem to have in common that they are low or zero VOC.

  213. Linda O'Neill   |  Friday, 24 July 2015 at 12:06 am

    Yes you would think they would want to get it sorted but I believe there could be Health problems associated to these products and then it will be huge for their industry. So they are just denying there is a problem they tell each complainant they have had no complaints which is an utter lie.
    Complaints need to be going to Government bodies not just to the company. Any one with health problems should be getting their doctors to report it. Maybe even go to the media.

  214. Barb   |  Saturday, 25 July 2015 at 3:12 am

    The elephant in the room – WHAT can one paint with, once either a shellac based product works to seal in the smell, or the walls are ripped out and replaced? Please folks – if you have a success story with a follow up paint, share it! I’ve lived through nearly 2 years of misery which finally seems to have been at least partially solved by BIN, but what paint can I now safely put on my walls?

  215. WR   |  Sunday, 26 July 2015 at 7:37 pm

    Hi, I check back here every few months but not super often. We had the problem start for us in early 2014, and here is where we are at:

    *The BIN Shellac (the real stuff, not synthetic), reduced the odor but did not make it go completely away. The longer we go on, the more it seems to come out from behind the BIN. I wish we had replaced the drywall from the very beginning.

    *We are using a very expensive GC MultiGas air filter from IQ Air. Don’t waste your money on HEPA filters, etc., you need something that will remove chemicals (like the MultiGas) This makes the room usable for storage and completely eliminates the smell, but it is not a long term solution. We will be ripping out the drywall when we have money and time.

    *When we paint again, I will not use low-VOC paint, I will not use dark/saturated colors, I will not buy paint in the winter time, and I will consider getting local paint (as someone here suggested), although I’m not really sure that their supply chain would be all that different from big box stores. We will also paint ourselves (no professionals) so that I can immediately stop the project if the paint smells. We will wait 72 hours between coats and run a dehumidifier to help the paint dry properly.

    For all of you trying the BIN Shellac (the real stuff, not synthetic), please make sure to use a gas mask. Shellac is very toxic while it goes up. It should dry quickly and be fine once dry, but you should not be painting Shellac without proper safety equipment. My other comment would be, learn from everyone else’s mistakes here and skip the Shellac. It is not a permanent solution. Best solution is to bite the bullet and rip out the walls.

  216. Sue   |  Sunday, 26 July 2015 at 10:00 pm

    Excellent advice ! Thank you for sharing.

  217. Anita   |  Tuesday, 28 July 2015 at 5:21 pm

    David is right. This is a chemical reaction. Most likely very dangerous and toxic. We need to work together to get help immediately. 310-520-8477 is a news station with investigative reporters. Call and leave a message there and at the consumer products safety commission. They need to get more than one complaint to investigate.

  218. Lisa   |  Tuesday, 28 July 2015 at 6:38 pm

    WR, Sandy, and others:

    I’ve read all the comments on this site at least once or twice. But for some reason I missed a number of things each time.

    I feel like I should have left the three coats of BIN as is. (two synthetic and one shellac) The smell at first blush of hot humid weather had seemed to return – and I scheduled one more coat of BIN shellac in hopes of knocking it down once and for all. Then, leaving the room very warm – it seemed that the smell from the 3 coats was fading. But I had the fourth coat put on anyway. In fact, I asked the painter to keep going until the entire can was on the walls. I’d had it tinted so he could see where he’d painted (instead of white on white)

    The smell from the BIN seemed to go quickly. But now, four days later – a sickening musty clay odor has developed. I am hoping very much that this is the BIN “curing” – but I know that’s probably another stupid hope.
    But no more. If 4-5 coats of BIN doesn’t get it, nothing will and I’ll have to rip out the walls.

    I wish I’d read more carefully – but – I’m not sure I would have believed it if I hadn’t done this myself anyway. How could I have justified not trying the primers and spending all that money to rip the walls out from the start?
    As it is however, I’ve spent 600$ on putting BIN on the walls, over and over and over….

    Of course – if it turns out that this last go ’round just needs to “cure” – certainly I will be happy to report that to you all. It’s early enough in the summer to find out whether it’s going to work. It’s too hot and humid to have the windows open (90 today) – but I can put a space heater in there to help the process With the paint, that made things worse – but if this is going to work once and for all, the heat will make things better and not worse.

    Anita: there isn’t another site talking about this – but I had joined a do it yourself site in order to ask others if they were familiar and what was there advice? No one had heard of this before, but it seemed that BIN shellac was recommended over KILZ oil based (if you were going to try to cover it)

    I have reported this issue of bad smelling paint that doesn’t dry to the Consumer Product Safety Commission.

    Anita, if you would tell me what the name of the news station is that you want me to call at the 310 #, I’ll do it. What happened when you told them about this?

    I’d love for a lawyer to take an interest in this. Perhaps I’ll start sharing this link with some various law firms.

  219. Lisa   |  Tuesday, 28 July 2015 at 6:44 pm

    …and please… if you’re willing, write to me at mlema, followed by the number 45, @

    (don’t want the robots to pick up my e-mail, so you have to interpret that address as it should be)

    I will keep names together – in case a lawyer is interested we’ll have a way to give him or her our names and a way to contact us. As it is, people come and go and there’s no way to get back to them unless they happen to come back here.

    Thanks to all of you very much! I’ll keep you posted (it will be a while until I know what’s going to happen with this last attempt) Did anyone else still reading here try 4-5 coats of BIN before quitting? (man, I must be crazy?)

  220. Linda O'Neill   |  Tuesday, 28 July 2015 at 10:37 pm

    Yes it is about high time this was out there and investigated. But it will be a hard slog. As the paint companies so big.
    The bin never worked for me as from previous post you will see I am one of those who ripped out the dry wall.
    By the way my wall were never previously painted.
    I am in Australia but I will ring the number published here.
    I would love to know what feedback others got from the number.
    Besides the expense it is the trauma and stress it put you through.

  221. John   |  Saturday, 08 August 2015 at 7:43 am

    I am realizing that I too have the paint-smell problem, and it’s been throughout my house since 2011. I thought it was something else, until by a process of elimination I started to consider the paint. And here, this page, proves that it is all too possible. My culprit is Home Depot Behr primer under two coats of Behr paint. I have determined that the odor started shortly after the house (new) was primered (lousy primer) for the first time. It’s never gone away after more than four years. I have been suffering memory loss and less muscular coordination. Things pop out of my fingers when doing detail work. In winter, I wake up afraid of what the night’s toxins may have done to me. Last winter, I opened the doors four times per 24-hour period. I’m in Ontario, Canada, with precious few window-open months.

    I’d like to address the two scenarios, bacteria versus chemical. Before finding this page, I read from one person (Ric) who seems 100 percent certain that bacteria is eating the paint, and that re-painting only feeds it. It makes sense. However, there is a chance that he’s an agent of the paint people trying to shift the blame from the paint chemicals to bacteria. It should be expected that the paint people have gotten wind of this page, and that they will introduce their own comments suitable for their own concerns. But bacteria is a good theory, and Ric may instead be our angel. I’ll tell you why bacteria is a good theory, so long as it can still breath air under a few coats of paint. If bacteria can eat its way through a millimeter of paint to fresh air, new colonies will re-appear with vigor on the outside of your expensive, additional paint. Ric says not to use latex or oil paint to correct this problem, like throwing gas to a fire. His solution is to spray — not to roll or brush — Lysol on all the walls, two times. Let the first Lysol coat dry. After that, he says, “Once dry, prime the surface with BIN Primer or Synthetic BIN – Do not use latex or oil primers as they will also feed the bacteria. Do not use Zinssers Mold Killing Primer (won’t work, and not recommended by Zinsser). Best means of application again is to spray (low pressure) and not roll or brush. Allow to dry thoroughly – then apply a second app (same manner). Do not use odor-absorbing products – nor paint perfume additives…After the second coat of BIN has dried, apply 1 or 2 coats of a high quality, acrylic paint (again, best if sprayed – but now should be able to be rolled safely).”

    He claims that none of the products suggested is food for the bacteria. But how does he know?

    If the culprit were chemicals in atomic form worming their way through the pores in the paint / shellac, then three coats of paint / shellac over top of the chemicals should severly curb the latter’s migration to the outer surface, meaning that the smell should be greatly dimished permanently. But if your smell comes back with increasing levels, even to the point that was before the paint / shellac was applied, that’s why I think bacteria is the better theory. So, before you tear out the dryway, give Lysol or some other bacteria killer a chance, and maybe have some trust in Ric, but I’d like to know whether wallpaper can cut off either the oxygen to the bacteria, or prevent it from eating through it. I’m assuming that bacteria doesn’t eat everything. I assume it’s eating a certain chemical in the paint but may not eat paper or plastic. Isn’t there a water-proof, plasticized wallpaper for kitchen and bathroom pruposes?

    Sign me up for a class-action suit. I have an entire house that’s polluted. I’d like to add one more thing. Ric claims that the bacteria is harmless even though it has a foul odor. How does he know that? He doesn’t say how he knows. It’s not anything a man on the street would know, not even a typical painter. That’s the one thing that makes me suspect that Ric could be an agent of the paint people. Still, he could be telling the truth concerning the bacteria at the root of the problem, in which case the paint people need to assure that they stop adding to the paint whatever it is that certain bacteria like to ingest. Apparently, the sweet-smelling odor is of a different bacteria than the the kind causing a foul or musty odor. I have the latter.

    My name is John, and I am sorry for you all.

  222. John   |  Saturday, 08 August 2015 at 12:33 pm

    Was up till 4 am reading, and writing that post. After some sleep, it’s now 8 am, and I have my story with some details to offer. The house was started in Dec 2008, one third of it only, up to the roof and shingles by February. I spent the rest of the winter elsewhere. Probably late in 2009, the one-third was drywalled and primered to act as living space while building the rest. Spent the 2010 winter away as well. Did not smell anything when returning in April-May, which is why I was dumb-founded when the odor first appeared the following year, after having drywalled and primered the rest of the place in 2010. If it was the formaldehyde in the particle-board floor, as was at-first suspect, it should have been of a harsher odor the year before. I do not recall bringing the 5-gallon bucket of Behr Premium Plus Drywall and Sealer with me (I still have the bucket), meaning that I must have left it to freeze all winter (over 2010). Interesting, but I’m not yet sold on the culprit being frozen paint. Even though the one-third area was primered in 2009, the winter would not have allowed the bacteria to thrive, explaining, I think, why there was no odor in the spring. After that, all doors would have been left open until October, but even with the doors and windows closed through to the end of Decemeber (spent that winter away again), the fact is, even now I do not smell anything while living in the house. The nose gets used to smells and no longer registers them to the senses, unless we leave the place and return. It worked every time I went to town for four or more hours; I’d return and find the same odor exactly. To this day. I feel that my house has been ruined. Try to imagine how that feels. I will not sell the house to give someone this problem, would rather die or get sick here. I can’t smell a thing right now as I write. My walls up-close never smell either, but that may be from the used-to-it factor. It takes about five minutes of being home before I no longer smell it. It was probably the winter 0f 2014 when I staying here the winter (was at home day and night)j, and when starting to cough, I knew I had allowed the doors to remain closed to long. I was refreshening the air twice per 24 hours. Some low-odor paint was purchased in the next summer to cover the particle board floors, but it did nothing to remove the odor. It was not a rotting animal, and I could not put my finger on anything in the house that could be the potential source. Finally, this year, I wondered whether it could be the paint, something that seemed unthinkable before that.

    My paint has been fully dry, and chemical seepage from the paint chemicals is not expected to be so rampant that it smells the place up withing four to six hours. I’ve tested this by freshening the house before going to town, and four hours later in a sealed house (no windows open), the odor is foul. That’s why I refreshened four times daily this past winter. Bacteria create their own gases as exhaust, but they might also cause spores in the air, where they themselves migrate, and then into our lungs. I don’t know, I’m not qualified to know. But my next move is to get professional help, now knowing the likely source as the paint. Note that no matter what type of paint is applied, frozen or not, the bacteria eat it…if it’s bacteria at all, that is. If frozen paint causes a bacteria bonanza, thern the altered chemical nature of the paint (due to freeze) must be making “ice cream” for them to feast on. If the culprit is paint-related gas / fumes (not bacteria), I should have smelled it in the spring after all the house was primered, but I did not smell anything after returning that spring. However, the “funny” thing is, that was the year, I think, that I found the patio door practically wide open upon returning, but no water stains on the floor from snow or rain getting in. Particle board becomes stained with water. I figure that a person had been in the house very recently, but there was sign of such a one. Anyway, even now, if the patio door alone is left open while I’m in town, it’s never enough to get rid of the smell.

  223. KDP   |  Saturday, 08 August 2015 at 12:58 pm

    Update: My last comment was that we were going to tear out the drywall and start over. Before we tore it out, we decided to purchase a Idylis dehumidifier ($250 on sale) to give the drywall one last chance of survival. After one week of continual use and several times of emptying the container full of water, I noticed there was a slight improvement. The odor was not gone but better. I continued to run the dehumidifier every day and I watched the number of dryness get lower and become relatively steady. During that time the foul musty odor subsided quite a bit but was still slightly noticeable. My hope of success was up and down over the one week period of time. One night I set the dehumidifier inside the powder room and closed the door. When I opened the door the next morning, the number read “30”, the lowest number. The walls were actually warm to touch! I continued to run the dehumidifier with the door open and after several days of running and low humidity outside, the smell was diminished to the point I was tempted to paint again but I still waited another few days. I decided to paint the hallway two days ago with paint that I had from a couple years ago because I knew it was good. It is holding its own for right now and I am hopeful it is gone. I guess my only deduction is that when I started this painting was during the time one of the most wet springs Indiana has ever had. We live in the country and the fields looked like lakes for weeks on end. I am going to assume for today it was weather related. BUT…….I am going to buy ‘new’ paint today from Lowes that carries Sherwin Williams and paint my powder room. I am going to pray that the smell will not come back. If it does, I will post. I can tell you I will paint with great reservation and will be shaking in my boots with the new paint.

  224. Lisa   |  Saturday, 08 August 2015 at 7:58 pm

    John in Ontario, Canada:

    I would suggest you go ahead and get an expert in there to rule out something like moldy drywall. There was some bad product from China on the market for a while. I had an expert come to my home – a guy who is a “fixer” after fire, flood, blood, etc. He was able to rule out mold. His assessment didn’t cost us anything.

    I also read the advise from the gentleman who suggested that the walls be sprayed with Lysol. Although it makes sense, I would NEVER do that. Lysol itself is very bad to breath, and you’d have to spray so many many cans to actually produce any saturation of the surface of the paint that it seems like an unrealistic undertaking. it’s also a liquid, so if whatever is causing the smell ISN’T susceptible to Lysol, then it could make the problem worse.

    I tried wiping areas of the stinky walls with bleach, alcohol, and a commercial wall cleaner. Although the bleach and alcohol subdued the smell in the wiped area a bit, it would have been impossible to apply enough to affect the whole wall, and once the bleach or alcohol dried, the remaining stinky paint underneath “took over” again. The area never stopped smelling.

    I do believe that one reason the BIN is effective is that it’s alcohol-based. So you’ve got the alcohol killing the surface “bugs” and simultaneously the shellac is suffocating it.

    If you’ve still got the can your primer or paint came in, you have a chance to check that out too.

    I’m sorry if this comment isn’t addressing your own comment exactly, I just have a few minutes here right now.

  225. Sue   |  Saturday, 08 August 2015 at 8:00 pm

    Hello All:

    I know it is disruptive to your households and lives to be living with a foul odor. But what about having a heart attack or autoimmune disease that is triggered by the paint. Isn’t that important ? I read about a woman who had a heart attack 2 years after she painted the interior of her home. I don’t recall if it was on this website or another.

    The bottom line is that the foul odors are indicative that there is a chemical reaction of some kind. Whatever the mechanism is, the paint companies are responsible. It does not matter if it is Zero-VOC (as was my case) or regular paint. The odors are SYMPTOMATIC of the larger problem which is the tremendous threat that this paint issue presents to OUR HEALTH.

    Let me give you a brief update on my health.
    * When I moved back into my home, post painting, I had difficulty breathing. So I moved back out into a motel for 2 more weeks.
    When I moved back in, I still had difficulty breathing, but with nowhere else to go, I had to survive. So I slept (and continue to sleep with) a HEPA filter by my bed.
    * I believe that despite the fact that several months have passed, the paint has weakened my immune system. Proof?
    I had a relapse of Epstein-Bar Syndrome after 30 years of inactivity !
    I overcame it. Then after catching a different virus, the EBV has been once again activated. This will take between 4 and 6 months to recover. I have been extremely weak, hardly able to feed myself and certainly not strong enough to buy my own groceries.

    Many people appear to handle Dunn Edwards Zero VOC paint with no problem. Or is it silently chipping away at their health without their knowledge ? Time will tell. I just know that it has cause me many problems- health, financial, emotional duress.

    When I read John’s post about his health, I wanted to cry. We must do something !!!

    John wrote: ” I have been suffering memory loss and less muscular coordination. Things pop out of my fingers when doing detail work. ”
    This sounds like a problem with the central nervous system to me.
    Remember that paint is an environmental toxin that can push the human body over the edge.

    Please, get out of your home before your health worsens !!!

    You have reason for not being able to sleep because of this problem.


    I am the one who initially suggested a class action lawsuit sometime ago, however, I have since learned that a specific company needs to be named. In our case, it is the entire “field” of paint companies. Any attorneys out there who can tell me if my understanding of CALs is correct or not ?

    After giving this some thought, I agree that the best way to bring about change is to approach the media. Let’s talk strategy here. Someone left a phone number in LA. Has anyone phoned and spoken to them? Who should we speak to ? Please provide the contact information including the e-mail address, phone number and name. I think it is an excellent idea, but it will not work unless we bombard them with phone calls and e-mails.

    Let’s organize and fight this !!


  226. Lisa   |  Monday, 10 August 2015 at 5:04 am

    Sue – you absolutely must do whatever you have to do to protect your health. We’re doing what we can for others and ourselves by posting our stories here.

    Anyone can make a complaint to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission as well. I did so and received and e-mail asking me to make a report, which I will do tomorrow.

    I’m also willing to talk to the media, but in a limited way only. I did a reverse look-up on that phone# but got no info. I asked the poster for more info but I don’t think the poster has made a return visit yet.

    I’ve also given this site to a law firm I thought might be interested but I’ve heard nothing back. I’m afraid our cases are too varied – and we don’t know what the specific cause is (bacteria? industrial product?)
    Someone who can prosecute needs to be involved. Here’s the Class Action that happened a little while ago:

    Please protect your health and try to recover. People can e-mail me at the address I’ve given above. If anything changes I’ll let them know. But for now I have no encouraging news and, frankly, this is difficult for me to do much about at this point. I’m still trying to actually solve the problem. I’m still dealing with this in my house and trying to “live around it” – as I am fortunate that this is just one affected room.

    Please be well and let me know if you think I can do anything else to help.

  227. John   |  Tuesday, 11 August 2015 at 2:45 am

    Hey KDP, your case sounds like bacteria. The lower the water level in your air, the lower the odors. That makes sense if the bacteria need humidity. What doesn’t make easy sense is where these various odor problems aren’t happening for 99.9 % of the people. Maybe it is frozen paint that becomes food for bacteria.

    My first reaction with a bacterial problem such as this would be the use a varathane. But no one has called for that. Intsead, they';ve suggested shellac. I wonder why. If BIN won’t work without first killing the bacteria, why not spray on bleach instead? It’s cheap. With either bleach or Lysol, a gas mask should be used, with fans running, as well as goggles of course, and I don’t think full strengh is needed. Don’t spray from a finger-depressing spray bottle, but get a paint sprayer with small, electric air compressor (not expensive). I’m pretty sure that bleach will ruin the paint; I don’t know what Lysol does to it when soaked in. But for all I know, these paint-eating bacteria, if that’s what the problem for some of us is, can survive bleach. Let’s assume not. Will the bleach smell after it’s dried and covered?

    Theoretically, covering bacteria with latex paint should kill it due to lack of oxygen, but, in reality, rolling a wall with paint leaves tiny holes, or tiny spots with very thin paint. The reason that RIC said NOT to roll or brush is that the bacteria will be spread around, some of it ending up on or near the top layer rather than buried. Spraying doesn’t require a devise to contact the wall.

    I don`t like wallpaper, but there are one-color wallpapers. I could live with that. But it needs to be air-proof. One-color vinyl wallpaper could solve some of the problems on this page. And the wallpaper glue may even help to bury the bacteria. It’ll be some time from now, but I may try wallpaper for my case in one room, on top of a mildly-bleached wall.

  228. Barb   |  Tuesday, 11 August 2015 at 2:49 am

    An update:
    A couple of weeks ago I wrote to ask if anyone had any ideas about which paint to safely use once the problem had been rectified. At the time, we had just primed with BIN, painted with a new product, and had a lovely two week respite from the ghastly smell of our contaminated low VOC paint. Until today, that is. To my horror – the smell is back, with a vengeance. The original problematic paint (which by the way, was B.M. Aura), has clearly once again contaminated the walls. It’s amazing that it can seep through a shellac based product like BIN, but it can. The reason I know it’s the original paint causing the problem is because we had a new partition wall built within the last month in the same room. This small new wall was primed and painted in exactly the same way as the older offending walls and this small wall is the only one in the entire room that does NOT smell. The only thing different about it is that it never had a coat of Aura. As hard as may be to accept (both intellectually and financially), ripping out the drywall seems to be the only solution.

  229. Barb   |  Tuesday, 11 August 2015 at 2:58 am

    I forgot to mention, in light of many people talking about washing down the walls – we had our walls washed with TSP twice before embarking on painting (twice). Doesn’t work, so don’t bother , though the paint company may suggest it.

  230. Linda   |  Tuesday, 11 August 2015 at 3:21 am

    Seems no one has managed to get rid of the smell. I know we could not. After washing with vinegar, having 1/2 onions in the room, doing the Bin thing. God it was stressful. Bite the bullet just get rid of the gyprock, Also advising people to open up a power point of light switch and see if there is a god awful smell in there. Our did so the insulation had to go as well. Don’t let the paint company off the hook take them to Fair Trading ” that is what we call the court here in Australia.

  231. Lisa   |  Wednesday, 12 August 2015 at 5:32 pm

    I have 4-5 coats of BIN – synthetic and shellac – on the affected walls and the smell seems to be gone. There is a very slight and different odor if you sniff the walls within an inch. It’s not the horrendous smell that filled the whole room a year ago in the summer (it’s summer here now again – after all that BIN – 3 coats last fall and 2 coats this summer)

    Again, I’m not a chemist or biologist but I think this is bacteria. The expert who came to my home said it was NOT mold or mildew. And I forgot to mention this, but one thing he wanted to try doing was an ozone treatment. You seal off the room and blast it with ozone. This would kill bacteria, but might cause even higher toxicity, and would need to be followed by professional-level air exchange.

    Basically, the way I see it the bottom line is: these products are defective and we shouldn’t be shouldering the burden and expense of remediation. We shouldn’t be spending all this money and suffering this vexation just to return our homes to normal. All we wanted to do was paint.

    I agree with Linda of course. Ripping out the drywall is the sure and permanent solution. When I get brave enough to put some paint on my walls to see what happens after 4-5 coats of BIN, I’ll let you know whether or not it’s worth risking the BIN route. Something to consider is that there’s great inconvenience either way. If you rip out the drywall, it’s a big messy job and you still have to prime and paint. But repeated separate applications of BIN is also problematic – and I still can’t be sure that when I paint it will be ok.

    I’ll definitely let everyone know. I’m so happy the smell is gone that it’s tempting to leave the BIN on the walls. But one wall still shows the last white layer through the thinner chocolate-milk color layer of tinted BIN. And the overall effect of the tinted BIN is pretty ugly. I will probably have the room painted in a couple of weeks or so.

  232. Sue   |  Wednesday, 12 August 2015 at 6:08 pm

    Ozone is great idea. What type of business can do this to your walls?

  233. James   |  Friday, 14 August 2015 at 7:12 pm

    Hi everyone. I found this site after running a search on paint odor because I painted a newly remodeled room and after a month it still smells, and it even smells as described here, like pickles, almost an organic clay smell! I couldn’t figure it out because the first room I painted, using the exact same brand and even same line of paint, within 2 days all the paint smell was permanently gone. The only conclusion I have come to is the fact on the new room I used paint that was on sale at Sherwin Williams at 30% off and it must have been getting old, and then I stored it for a year and a half before using it. If it was still good to begin with, just slightly old, it would have been nice if on the can there was a warning that too old of paint will ruin your house. argh I wouldn’t have waited to use it. What is so hard about a little warning label? That’s all i would ask on any product. As for the ozone generator, I actually own one. the problem is the gas doesnt penetrate into the paint all the way. And incidentally, I already own a carbon filter too. Now that works, but they are a little loud. BTW, the filters I use are at greners website, phresh brand. They use a high powered fan to push air through the filter. Keep in mind though, that carbon itself actually has somewhat of a smell itself, especially when new. So anyway, last night I decided to sleep in the new room for the first time. And let me say it gave me a sore throat and asma symptoms. I don’t even have asma at all. I always wondered what it was like. Its like there not enough oxygen. Not a good feeling. I started off without the carbon running, because its a bit loud. Man, I couldn’t even sleep at all! Its like my body wouldn’t work right. i even thought it was in my head until my wife, the next morning, said she had the same symptoms. So I brought in the 50lb carbon filter and fan system and had immediate improvement in the ability to sleep, however it still isn’t a silver bullet. You have to remember as its blowing air around, some of the air is bouncing straight off the walls and you breath it before it gets filtered. i think at the end of the day, the best practice is just for there to be a frickin warning on the label of paint mentioning how toxic it can be if its gone bad and how to tell if its gone bad!

  234. Echota   |  Monday, 17 August 2015 at 10:44 pm

    We are in the exact same boat as so many of you, only instead of in a house, it’s in our RV.

    I also have MCS, and am extremely sensitive to chemicals. My husband used Killz primer, which oddly was’t the problem, and some sort of low or zero VOC paint from Sherwin-Williams. We are intending to live in our Rv for awhile, so we were making it more like a home. We painted all the cabinets, which span most of the RV, with the aforementioned paints, while the walls have been painted with Annie sloan chalk paint and Yolo Colorhouse.

    We are NO having any issue with the latter two, but the white we used for the cabinets, which again are about 70% of the Rv, is killing me. It is ESPECIALLY bad in the heat, but is offgassing constantly. One thing we’ve done is we have a little $99 ozone machine we bought on Amazon. It has a 120 minute timer. If we do two cycles a day of the ozone machine, then air it out, the smell dissipates for that day, but only for that day. If we stop running the ozone machine daily, the smell comes back with a vengence. I like to have the windows open when possible, but when we have to close the windows and run the A/C, it means I get a migraine from the chemicals.

    I was both relieved and appalled to find this thread – relieved because I am not alone, but appalled at just how many people’s health this is damaging – I, too, have EBV, MCS, Mast Cell Activation Disorder and so many other issues, and this has been causing flares of many of my symptoms, including migraines, and affecting my health. Since the Rv is parked in our driveway currently we were able to move back out and into our house again for now, but the whole point of the RV is to try and find a better climate for my health, since I have SO many sensitivities, including mold (and we are in the Pacific Northwest).

    I am glad to read that people were able to get some of these companies to pay for repainting – I am hoping that we will be able to get Sherwin-Williams or whichever company made the paint we used to reimburse us for the paint, have a rep come out and test paint and air quality, and also pay for stripping and repainting these cabinets. Because this is ridiculous. I plan on using this thread as proof that we are not the only ones, should they balk at repayment…

    To answer someone’s question about ozone, you can either purchase a machine yourself on Amazon – just be sure that you follow all the directions when using it, and never use it with people or pets in the home. Or plants, probably. And air out any room it’s used in completely before entering again. It can dry out your sinuses and lungs, so be super careful.

    There are companies who do this, but the only one I know the name of is one I worked for when I lived in St. Louis – Steamatic of St. Louis. They have the REALLY big ozone fans that are serious business. If you maybe look for companies that say “Environmental Services”, that might lead you there. They also do flood and fire restoration, if that helps the search.

    I really appreciate this information everyone has shared – I read the ENTIRE thread – and while I am really disheartened that there hasn’t ever been a fix that has worked other than “replace it”, I AM glad that everyone has been sharing here. This has been really helpful for me to get ideas on what we can do and what won’t work, before we sink even MORE money into it.

    Oh, and for safe paints that are actually safe for real? Not at all cheap, but Annie Sloan chalk paints are the bomb. I really really wish I had just gone with my gut and used those everywhere like I originally wanted to. Like I said, I am extremely chemically sensitive and I was able to paint with Annie Sloan without a mask even, which for me is amazing. I also liked the Yolo Colorhouse, but I see that many people had issues with it above, so I won’t recommend it then. But AS, YES. IT’s $40 a quart, though, and you generally have to use a wax afterward to seal it (we didn’t use the wax on our walls). But eco-friendly paint just isn’t cheap.

    We’ve also had really good luck using milk paint with a beeswax sealer but you can’t really touch that up if anything happens to it.

    If we are able to repaint these cabinets somehow, I will spring for the Annie Sloan – in the long run it would have actually saved us money, since this whole debacle is just costing us more and more to try and fix. A really expensive lesson to learn.

  235. Linda   |  Monday, 17 August 2015 at 11:51 pm

    Good idea to show the paint company the posts. I wonder what they will do probably try to close down the site.
    I wanted to bring it to the attention of a rival paint company to the one used. Too stressful. I am one of those who just got rid of the gyprock and insulation. Sorry to hear it is in your R.V.
    When I am finally over all the stress I will try and bring this problem to a regulatory body here in Australia
    Only problem is we have the worst Government in the history of Australia at the moment with a mad man at the helm.

  236. Sue   |  Wednesday, 19 August 2015 at 4:24 pm

    Dear Echota:

    Thank you for sharing the name of a paint that you were less sensitive to, namely, the Annie Sloan line. I wrote the manufacturer and this is what they wrote:

    ” Chalk Paint® is a non-toxic, water-based paint that is lead-free, EG-free, odour-free and has very low VOCs. Further to this, representative samples of Chalk Paint® decorative paint by Annie Sloan have been independently certified as ‘toy safe’ according to strict European standards. The paint was evaluated by one of Europe’s leading testing houses who have confirmed full compliance with BS EN 71-3:2013.

    We have 2 members of staff with asthma who work in our shop and warehouse, both of whom regularly use the paint in workshops etc. with no ill effects. ”

    I am definitely going to give this a try in the future.


  237. Echota   |  Thursday, 20 August 2015 at 7:57 pm

    You’re very welcome. I am chemically sensitive and have had no issues painting inside, without a mask, with Annie Sloan. Other than the expense, I love it. :-)

    I’ve also had good success with the Yolo Colorhouse paint, but reading above I see not everyone else has. But I was able to use it, again with no mask and no issues, painting inside.

    To give our own update, my husband contacted Sherwin-Williams about the situation, and is going to take the cans into the manager tomorrow. They said if we’re close enough, and I think we are, he will even come out then and check out the RV, and they will test the paint. I’ll keep updating with our progress as well. I am so hoping to be repaid for this and for them to make this right.

  238. John   |  Thursday, 27 August 2015 at 1:37 am

    I was at Home Depot speaking with the paint employee about my house odor. I’ll just tell you what she said. She said my latex primer couldn’t have become frozen or it would become a large ball in the bucket. I’ve never encountered anything like that with any paint, and I’m sure I’ve had some frozen latex over the past 40-odd years. She said latex that has frozen in the shipping process to Home Depot would never make it into the customers’ hands. If she is correct on both counts, then freezing may not be the cause for anyone’s odor on this page.

    She also said that the all paint smelling bad is thrown out, and that one time she even saw growth on the top of a bucket / can. We can’t assume that it was mold, but there we have it, something(s) do grow in paint. But there is a big difference between something growing in wet versus dry paint. There can’t be too many organisms capable of growing with only the water in the air. I’ve got a couple of phone numbers to chemical / odor people that I intend on getting to soon.

    Just want to say that 4 or 5 coats of BIN, to the present time, is not yet a sure fix because this “beast” takes time to come back to the surface, or at least to come back in a big way. It’s perplexing that the one who rubbed bleach on the wall had the smell returning. It could be due to the rubbing process. Rubbing means that a few survive, if in fact bacteria is the problem at all, and then they multiple and return. Plus, if they are deep in the paint, it needs to be soaked with bleach or something else. If Bin is rolled on, that too can allow some to survive, because they cover the roller and get to the upper surface as you roll. It’s like turning over dirt with weeds; you get most of them buried deep and killed, but others near the surface come back and spread more seeds.

    I can’t say that my odor is like pickles. I love pickle juice so I know what it smells like. Mine is a thick on-the-foul side, but I have nothing else to compare it to. It seems to make breathing harder, but I get no headaches, just a lousy feeling. That feeling has been gone all summer, and I feel much better than in winter. I’ll keep posting if there’s anythying to add. John


  239. Linda   |  Thursday, 27 August 2015 at 1:47 am

    Great that you keep posting. Why not bring this to the media. How about contacting someone on THE DOCTORS
    programme. We get that show here in Australia to and sometime they voice this type of concern. I was thinking of contacting Dulux paint they are very reputable. I was going to head the letter up something like want to wipe out your competitors and go from there.

  240. Sue   |  Thursday, 27 August 2015 at 2:02 am

    I think you are absolutely right. The media is the place to bring this to the attention of others. Thank you to letting us know THE DOCTORS program is aired in Australia. What about DR.OZ ?


  241. James   |  Thursday, 27 August 2015 at 7:11 am

    Speaking again of ozone generators, I just shock treated my problem painted room and the 1st night, no smell. But then the next day the smell returned with a vengence and changed smells, from a light smell of pickles to a musky smell. The strength decreased a bit over the next few days though. Why is it when I shock treat (a very high dose of ozone, not the small machines that you can keep on all the time with people near by) when I shock treat the other rooms of the house there’s no such after odor. Its because the problem is the paint won’t cure. Its dry to the touch but not cured, even though I painted 6 weeks ago. I also noticed the paint scratches off easily. And once, I tried to wipe down the walls with a mild bleach-water mixture and the painted started to become wet paint and disolved a bit, turning the bucket of bleach-water a milky white. Argh, this is so agrevating. I worked so hard on that room, even replaced the wall studs and window when I remodelled it. And had it profesionally taped and mudded, though I hung the sheetrock myself. The whole reason I even did all this was to make the room smell like less of an old house and now it smells worse than ever.

  242. Matt   |  Thursday, 27 August 2015 at 4:41 pm

    My wife has MCS. We recently bought a house and we need to paint. I want to get in and get all the walls painted before we move so it has at least a month to ventilate before we move in. I have been researching this issue quite a bit. Has anybody used a product called ECOS? They claim to be zero-VOC. I have read in numerous other sources that this paint is recommended for people who have multiple chemical sensitivities. My only concern is that it sounds a little too good to be true. Be interested to know if anyone has experience with this brand of paint.

    So sorry to hear all these stories of suffering. I have seen it first hand and know how debilitating it can be.

  243. Linda   |  Thursday, 27 August 2015 at 9:31 pm

    I have been through all the anguish best just to bite the bullet and get rid of the dry wall that smell has permanently it and will never go.

  244. Sue   |  Thursday, 27 August 2015 at 10:41 pm

    Don’t do it !!!! I believed the Zero-VOC rhetoric and got into trouble. Don’t believe a thing. Instead, I suggest you paint some Annie Sloan paint on a sample of drywall. Then prop this up in a room of the house for a few months. See how she reacts first before you consider painting rooms.

  245. Echota   |  Monday, 31 August 2015 at 1:59 am

    Matt, I can’t speak about ECOS, because I haven’t used it, but I also have MCS and I have found Annie Sloan and Yolo Colorhouse to be safe. If the paint can be bought at a regular paint store, it’s greenwashed, don’t use it. If you have to go to a special green building supply store or a specialty botique to get it, it’s much more likely to be safe.

  246. Lisa   |  Wednesday, 02 September 2015 at 6:04 pm

    Well, I promised I would be back to report. And this is my judgement at this point in time:

    If you’ve just discovered that the paint you put on the walls developed a smell that doesn’t go away – involve the company immediately and DON’T BACK DOWN until your problem is truly solved. I highly suspect that many of you, if not most or even all, will be required to rip out the drywall before completely solving the problem – as Linda has said more than once.

    Unfortunately for many here, like myself, we didn’t discover that this problem was not unheard of, was actually due to some problem with the low or zero VOC paint, and that it can’t be easily or cheaply solved. Instead, we found ourselves in the thick of it before we got online to try to find out if there was some way to fix the stink.

    If you read through all these comments, you’ll see that there’s more than one brand involved. For me it was Olympic ICON zero VOC – custom tinted at Lowe’s. Applied in October of 2013. Developed a smell within a few days. We continued to ventilate the room. The winter quelled the smell enough that we thought we were out of the woods, but in late spring of 2014, when the weather got warm, the smell returned in full force and got worse. We tried dry heat in the room, which made it smell more. We ventilated as much as possible, and we notified PPG, the manufacturer, at Lowe’s direction. PPG said that without batch numbers (the cans were gone) they couldn’t help us, and said they’d had no reports of any such problem (obviously not true – since the very same problem has been reported here as having been reported to that manufacturer). They refunded my money, but didn’t want to do anything more. I insisted that a rep visit my house. He pretty much just shrugged his shoulders and said we could try primer.

    THAT was the moment I should have dug my heels in, insisted that they take a sample to an independent lab and figure out what was wrong. I shouldn’t have taken another step or spent another dollar without their involvement, since it was their product that caused this smell. I have ignorance to blame. I’ve done plenty of interior, and exterior painting in my life. I’ve never, never, never had a problem like this. In my mind there was no reason to suspect that it was possible to buy paint from Lowe’s and get a bad product.

    We tried wiping the walls in spot areas – with bleach, alcohol, recommended wall cleaners – to no avail. We had several painters come in to assess the situation. Each recommendation boiled down to primer and topcoat. We had a gentleman from SERVPRO, a company that does remediation after fire, flood, smokers, accidents, etc. give us an estimate. His included ozone treatment (a dangerous procedure which presents its own risks) along with cleaning, and finally primer and paint. That was a $1700 estimate.

    We finally decided to proceed with primer and paint, and we had two coats of synthetic BIN applied in the earlly fall of last year (2014, one year after paintng). Three weeks later, we had one coat of BIN shellac applied, because the first two coats of BIN didn’t seem to do the trick. The walls did improve with these applications of BIN. They were now smooth and dry to the touch, as opposed to a not-wet but not-dry sort of rubbery surface of the bad paint – a surface that you could rub or even peel the paint off. We left the three coats of white BIN primer on the walls through the winter, when, again, the cold temperatures seemed to subdue the smell.

    In the spring, happiness reigned, temporarily. I sent a request for reimbursement for the three coats of BIN along with labor to apply the final topcoat. The company said it wouldn’t pay for labor for the topcoat, and while we were going back and forth on that – the smell returned (the warmth came late this year). I tried to get a rep from PPG to come back to see what was going on, but the company isn’t interested in doing that.

    Because the BIN had helped so much last fall, we decided to apply more. Around July 20, my painter applied tinted BIN to cover all the white BIN. He was able to apply 2 coats to three of the walls and 1 to the forth with one gallon of BIN. This seemed to resolve things, but there remained a smell from the BIN itself – sort of a clay or musty smell, slightly resembling the original smell. However, the smell never got as bad as the original paint, and I mistakenly assumed it was simply the BIN itself, and that perhaps BIN had its own smell that needed to be covered, since it’s a primer. This is another place that I think I made a mistake. If 3 coats of BIN didn’t solve the problem, then no amount of primer is going to solve it. BIN is amazing stuff, but it’s apparently no match for the evil spirit that finds a home in some zero VOC paint. Why didn’t the paint company tell me: “hey, don’t put any more BIN on the wall…it’s not going to help any more than it already has”?

    Fully one month later, the topcoat was applied. We used Benjamin Moore Aura. It covered very well and looks beautiful. It’s dry to the touch, HOWEVER – the walls smell like a combination of paint and BIN. It’s been almost 2 weeks since the paint was applied, and I’ve been ventilating the room EVERY DAY. The weather has been perfect as far as temperature. The walls are smooth and dry – but the walls still smell. This isn’t the overpowering smell as from the bad paint – a smell like BO, or even just paint that hadn’t dried (after a year) – this is the smell of BIN and paint mixed together. When the fan is exhausting air from the room, you can’t smell it. That is, the strong smell of the drying paint itself is completely gone. But, if you put your nose near the wall, you can smell it. It’s a sickly sort of sweet clay smell. And when we shut the window and door at night (so the smell doesn’t get in the rest of the house) when we open the room in the morning, the smell is in the air in the room.

    So – take Linda’s advice. Rip out the drywall and be done with it.

    It’s been almost two years and the problem’s not gone. And we’ve spent over $700 so far. And it looks like we’re going to have to rip out the drywall anyway. I can’t recommend ozone because it’s expensive and risky and there’s no guarantee it will work (unless you can find someone who will guarantee it). I don’t think bleaching will be a bad thing, but again, dangerous to do and it might not work. The only thing you know will work is getting rid of the drywall that the paint is on.

    And yes, we checked the carpet, ceiling, attic, etc. It was evident to everyone who examined the room that the smell was coming off the wall paint. If I could do this all over – I would have gotten onto the manufacturer immediately and never let up until I knew what had caused the problem – chemically – and that they were going to fix it. I shouldn’t be forced to spend hundreds or even thousands of dollars to fix a problem caused by their product. I guess it’s time to get some estimates for drywall, and to perhaps contact a lawyer.

    At this point, I think it’s important for me to thank the creator / owner / maintainer of this web site. THANK YOU!

    If people are experiencing medical issues as a result of using a product, they should definitely contact a personal injury lawyer (after their doctor of course). Also, report the product at:

    REgarding class actions suits: currently they exist only over the issue of paints that claim to be zero VOC actually NOT being zero VOC. Concurrent health issues would also be a part of that I believe. I’m not going to recommend anybody, but I think you could probably find a national law group online that might want to talk to you if that’s your issue. For myself, I just need to restore my home to a live-able condition at this time. It’s been almost two years, and I have no idea how much longer.

    Thank you all for your comments. Again, my vote is for ripping out the drywall, and also for involving the manufacturer ASAP and throughout the process of remediation.

  247. Lisa   |  Friday, 04 September 2015 at 1:52 am

    PS – although I’ve said that I just need to restore my home to a live-able condition, when doing some self-reflection, I realize I’ve been having frequent headaches. Sometimes they’re bad enough that I become sick to my stomach. I’ve tried to stay out of the room but I’m starting to think that this latest manifestation is having a negative impact on my health. Because none of us know what’s causing these odors, I think it’s important to try to limit your exposure as much as possible. I’m thinking I should probably talk to a doctor at this point? Certainly I have enough to contend with without being sick on top of that. I’m very sorry for those who are having even more serious issues from this bad paint. Let us know how you’re doing.

  248. Lisa   |  Friday, 04 September 2015 at 2:55 am

    Since I wrote the long saga just a day ago, the smell has continued to worsen and it’s every bit as bad now as it was before the multiple coats of BIN primer and the two coats of fresh latex. Perhaps worse. I was able to be in the room before even though it smelled bad. Now I can’t stay in there for even a minute.

  249. Clarke   |  Saturday, 05 September 2015 at 2:42 pm

    I’ve been following this thread for months as I have suffered an odor nightmare as well. A similar thread and possibly helpful thread here:

    Good luck to all

  250. Lisa   |  Wednesday, 23 September 2015 at 9:36 pm

    It’s been a month since the room was painted with the good paint. The smell in the room has stabilized into something that’s most closely characterized as a chemical / paint smell. We’ve scheduled the removal of the drywall. It took one-two weeks for the smell from the latest attempt, which was the topcoat, to become what it is now – which hasn’t changed regardless of the fact that the weather has been perfect for ventilating the room, which we’ve done every single day. The smell remains the same. It’s as strong now as ever and I have some fear that when we remove the drywall we’ll find that it’s affected the insulation or more. I wish we could have gotten someone in here sooner to rip it out. It’s going to be another few weeks.

  251. Sue   |  Wednesday, 23 September 2015 at 10:27 pm

    H Lisa:

    Thank you for the update. I am so sorry about this. I know how disappointing this is that you will have to knock out the drywall. Please let us know the results. I am certain that this will significantly reduce any fumes and I expect that with time and ventilation any residual odors will leave.

  252. keith nyc   |  Saturday, 26 September 2015 at 3:28 pm

    I’ve been following this thread for sometime as I have had issues for a year. I’ve done research and read tons of blogs, articles, threads on painting/DIY websites. I believe I have a solution but I am waiting a couple of weeks before I can say it’s been a success but first I will share what I have gathered.

    Most of the odor problems are from recent industry changes in paint formulations from regulators demanding lower VOC. Also paint is not what it used to be. Paint used to be just paint. Now its primer and paint in one, scrubable paint that may never completely “dry”. Also paints that may have no odor if applied to a clean surface, may react with whatever is on our walls now and have a bad chemical reaction.That is something we can’t change.

    These are things in our control: Application!!! Use new rollers and brushes!!!! Many users applying second coats too soon. Most water based paint requires a minimum of 4 hours in ideal conditions for recoat. Give it a minimum of a day to recoat. I was able to recreate the gas odor by applying known good paint on a small piece of cutout drywall and applying a 2nd coat 2 hours later when it was dry to the touch but not ready for a recoat. Many inexperienced DIYers and rushed painters will recoat after 2 hours because it’s dry to the touch. I’ll admit I was guilty of this. Most latex paints (after reading TDS of several different paint brands) in IDEAL CONDITIONS are dry to touch in 2 hours, can be recoated after 4 hours, and fully cured in 2 weeks.
    warm temperature and low humidity is considered ideal conditions.

    WHAT WON’T WORK: Applying another layer of paint of different brand over your stinky paint. All latex paints are breathable and gas emitting from the contaminated paint on your walls will permeate right through it. Are paints are breathable with higher sheen paints being slightly less. Gloss finish will be less permeable than flats but all are breathable. The higher the volume of solids in a paint, the less breathable. Info of volume solid of any type of paint is listed in the products TDS (technical data sheet) which is available on paint manufacturer’s websites.

    Zinsser BIN-like others on this site, this didn’t work for me. Not only is it expensive, smelly, messy and extremely hard to apply. I did 2 layers over a 2 day period. It smelled very powerful on application and less so as it cured but after a week or so, I was left with a combo primer and gas odor which never faded.

    WHAT MIGHT WORK: A UK based DIY website has a thread where many users reported the odor issue with some success of applying Alkali resistant primer. The odors were caused by mostly Crown brand paint and some by Delux brand. I am from the USA and never heard of these brands until reading the thread. In trying to treat my issue, I researched “Alkali resistant primer” only to find it was not something widely available here but similar products that are suppose to have a high ph resistance of up to 13. I only found 2 products with that claim and it was Masonry sealers (which I didn’t want to use inside my home) and Zinsser brand 123 primer. I tried this on a small area in my home and have had big improvement. On its TDS, it lists ph resistance of up to 12.5. None of the other primer products on Zinsser’s website lists ph resistance. I applied 2 layers. Recoat time is 1 hour but I gave each layer a day then applied 2 layers of latex paint on the following days. Before applying these on wall, I applied these on a piece of cutout drywall to confirm the primer and paint were not contaminated and did not smell. I let it sit for 2 weeks before applying to walls.I will report back here in a couple of weeks if it doesn’t smell on my walls as the paint takes 2 weeks to “cure” but so far so good.

    Good luck to all!

  253. Lisa   |  Monday, 28 September 2015 at 6:32 pm

    keith in nyc

    Thanks very much for posting. I very much hope that you’ve found a solution for your problem. It’s hard to tell if we’re all having the exact same problem, but if you’ve had a smell for a year after painting, it sure sounds the same!

    Did you report your problem to the paint manufacturer? What did they say? Are you experimenting on your own dime? I have done plenty of painting in my lifetime. If there are paints being manufactured that require special preparation of the wall to be painted, then that should be noted on the label very plainly. Also, I’ve always used new rollers, etc. when painting, and have always left plenty of time to dry between coats. I suspect that there was something wrong with my paint before it went on the wall, but somehow spreading it on the wall allowed whatever was wrong with it to manifest.

    Here’s the problem with trying to solve the problem: we’re all guessing and experimenting and spending lots of money, time, and trouble to fix it – when we shouldn’t have to. We should be able to buy paint, apply it according to the directions using recommended materials, and have the room done and live-able. If you’ve found a solution to this problem that doesn’t involve removing the drywall, then the manufacturer will be in your debt.

    Please do let everyone know what you find out from your reading and experiment – again, I sincerely hope that you’ve found the answer, for the sake of everyone concerned. Thanks!

  254. keith nyc   |  Wednesday, 30 September 2015 at 6:22 pm

    @Lisa, I did report my problem to the store where the paint was purchased and they contacted a rep from the manufacturer. They called me within a day and quickly offered a gallon of BIN and a gallon of the same paint I had originally purchased. As mentioned, BIN didn’t work out for me and I have been spending my own money ever since. I couldn’t pursue anything really because I threw out the original can of bad paint and only had a receipt to show my purchase.

    What upsets me about the paint industry’s response is that they either claim there are absolutely no health risks. HOW IS THAT POSSIBLE IF THEY CAN’T FIGURE OUT DEFECTS IN THEIR OWN PRODUCTS THAT THEY CAN SUDDENLY BECOME DOCTORS AND KNOW THAT???? It has affected my health and many of those that have posted on here. If not long term, then at least short term. I’ve suffered from headaches, shortness of breath, and many other issues that I never had before prior to this. Only thing that helps is leaving the house for long periods of time.

    I will post back shortly to give an update.

  255. Sue   |  Wednesday, 30 September 2015 at 7:05 pm

    Hi ! I just want to make certain that I have this straight. Is it Lisa that continues to have health issues ? Or is it Keith?

    Because of my health issues post Zero VOC paint (Edward Dunn, but it makes no difference what the brand is. Poison, is poison). I am seriously considering moving out of my home of 30 years. I am distraught over this whole thing, as I do not want to move.

  256. Lisa   |  Wednesday, 30 September 2015 at 9:28 pm

    Keith, thanks for that further explanation. I will be eager to hear what you find.

    Sue, Keith has ongoing problems from the paint. I am having my drywall replaced in a couple of weeks, after trying multiple coats of BIN (didn’t work) I would suggest you do what you have to do to protect your health. If that means moving out, then do it. If it means replacing the drywall, then do that. Maybe you’ll have to figure out which is more economically feasible for you. If you believe that you bought a ZERO VOC paint that turned out to NOT be zero VOC – then I’d say you need to contact one of the law firms that is bringing class-action suits against paint companies that have advertised their paints as being zero VOC when in fact they’re not – especially if it’s causing you health problems. Try searching under “zero VOC paint class action suits” – this one comes up. for example:

    At this point for me I simply need to get the drywall replaced (I hope) – as I was fortunate that only one room was affected. I’ve been staying out of there except to go in every day (while holding my breath) and open the window and put a fan blowing out, to pull fresh air from the front of the house through that room. I feel sorry for nature out there that has to deal with whatever gases are making this stink. God bless nature as the big detoxifier. I hope we don’t wear it out.

  257. Lisa   |  Thursday, 08 October 2015 at 6:57 pm

    Please – if anybody visits or revisits: give us as much info as you can. What brand and kind of paint? Did you contact the company?

    Don’t do anything to try to fix it without involving the company, because they’ll deny that their paint was the problem. Have a third party examine the room to witness and give their assessment – because you’ll probably have to sue the company if you end up spending a lot of money (like to replace drywall). Don’t be naive. It’s obvious from this page that these companies have had plenty of complaints about this smell problem – and yet they deny it.

    If the company sends a rep and the rep tells you to try a primer – don’t do it! Once you cover up the paint they’ll say they can’t test it! Tell them you want a test from an independent lab. Cut out some drywall (you’ll have to do that anyway) and check it out for yourself! But either way – don’t let the company off the hook. They will use every trick in the book to avoid taking responsibility for this problem.

    Especially: if you painted room(s) in your house that you can’t avoid being in and you’re suffering nausea, migraines, or worse – go to a doctor and then call a personal injury lawyer. It’s too late for me…protect yourself!

  258. Steven Roe   |  Friday, 09 October 2015 at 1:15 am

    Just painted with Olympic Paint from Lowes 5 days ago and it smell horrible.
    Its my sons new bedroom and he can use it. After building a room in the garage and spent alot of money that my son made and it smells like it was just painted and its dry. I don’t knkw what to do.

  259. Keith NYC   |  Sunday, 11 October 2015 at 6:11 pm

    Lisa, have you had your drywall removed yet? My previous attempt of 2 layers of 123 primer and 2 layers of latex eggshell improved the odor a lot but wasn’t a fix. Whenever the temperature rose above 75 degrees Fahrenheit, the gassy odor returned. There is virtually no odor on cooler days even if I put my nose directly on the wall.

    So now I have tried a couple of different things. I had some semi gloss paint which I applied in a small area and that seems to not have an odor. I don’t want semi gloss in my bedroom but at this point I’ll settle for it if it covers the odor. I can’t find an explanation as to why semi gloss wouldn’t smell other than it is a more durable paint and is thicker in viscosity than the eggshells and flats I previously used. For those that have painted in all different sheens know that when you have say big drips of semi gloss on the floor that you can peel it off in one piece when it dries as opposed to flat paints that need to be cleaned with water and it breaks up.
    Semi glass has a lower perm rating and some even use semi gloss as a vapor barrier. Before covering my entire bedroom in semi gloss, I’ll let this small patch cure for a full 30 days and then go from there. Lisa, it may be worth trying some semi gloss if you haven’t torn down the walls yet.

  260. Anita   |  Monday, 12 October 2015 at 6:29 pm

    We are sick at my house from the toxic BEHR paint fumes we have not been able to get rid of for 11 months. I called Poison Control. They said they had never heard of the problem or gotten any other complaints. Might help to call Poison Control if you have been feeling sick from these fumes that none of us seems to be able to get rid of.

  261. Linda   |  Monday, 12 October 2015 at 7:30 pm

    I didn’t think to call them here in Australia as I thought they only dealt with emergency incidents. What did they do for you did they register your complaint did they try to help in any way.

  262. Lisa   |  Monday, 12 October 2015 at 9:32 pm

    Keith in NYC, — the smell problem is definitely related to temperature. In the winter, here in the midwest, the room had little smell – even the first winter when the bad paint was still on the wall and not covered with primer. Likewise, the next winter when there was 2-3 coats of BIN on the walls, we really thought we’d conquered it. But in summer the smell was horrible when just the paint was on the walls, and when the BIN was over it, there was still a smell. After 4 coats of primer, I decided to try the paint.

    I talked to a lot of paint people (again) at that time. I was considering an oil-based paint. I was thinking that maybe an oil-based might be less permeable. The paint company I was talking to said that the only oil-based they still sell is high-gloss that’s used on door casings and the like. i didn’t like the idea of high-gloss in my bedroom, although if I’d were still at the point where I was physically and financially able to keep experimenting – perhaps I would do it. The drywall is gone as of an hour ago :)

    One thing to remember for those that haven’t already tried covering their bad paint before contacting the manufacturer is: there’s a 2 year statute of limitations on trying to collect from the company in small claims court. Of course, if a person has used the stinky paint in more than one room, they will likely go over the $ recoverable in small claims.

    So Keith – I did think about the different paints – and also primers. I considered an oil-based primer. But everything I read online said that BIN shellac was the best at dealing with odors. After the final two latex coats over the layers of primer – the room smelled as bad as it did with just the paint – and was still that way now – almost 2 months later and always as bad as the first. So we took out the drywall. And the drywall is fine – as we suspected it would be, since there was never anything wrong with it to begin with. The layers of primer and paint on there are just like the thinnest skin compared to the thickness of the drywall, and yet that’s where this mysterious problem hides. We kept some of the drywall with the paint on it as evidence, since we’ll be trying to collect in small claims. We felt we couldn’t wait any longer to get this fixed – winter will be here before you know it. We’re so tired of moving things in and out of the room everytime we have work done. And I’m tired of sleeping in the basement. After two years, we need our house back, and we can’t afford the time or money to experiment any more.

    Again, I hope very deeply that you find a solution. It’s possible that some people have, If you read all these comments carefully, you’ll see that some people may have primed and actually fixed it. Not everyone comes back, so you have to think they fixed it (or maybe got tired of talking about it :)

  263. Lisa   |  Monday, 12 October 2015 at 10:06 pm

    Anita – try calling the State Health Department in your state. I was on the verge of doing this. Don’t know why I didn’t think about it before.

  264. Lisa   |  Monday, 12 October 2015 at 10:07 pm

    In fact, I probably should do this anyway. If there’s any chance of getting this on the radar for the media and the public, it will probably be due to health concerns. We kept some of the drywall, so they can check it out. Good luck!

  265. Lisa   |  Friday, 23 October 2015 at 5:04 pm

    Keith in NYC – I just ran across the tips on alkali resistant primer on a Crown site:

    But it sounds like you tried their “Solution” and it didn’t completely work (maybe you really do need the 13? How could .5 make that much difference?). Our new drywall is up and primed. The room smells like dead fish. I discovered a 5 gallon bin of dirty water from mudding that they’d left to sit for a week. Almost knocked me over. So now we’re postponing the topcoat until everything that’s on the drywall now has a chance to cure and off-gas.

    This problem that a growing number of people are dealing with is serious and expensive. It’s not right that the nature of it is allowing the manufacturers to claim they’re not responsible. It’s their products that are causing the problem, but all they have to say is: “We can’t help you if you dont’ have the batch numbers!” But in reality this has nothing to do with batches (as talked about on that page), and product liability has nothing to do with batches or warranty. If you make a bad product, you should make it right if it hurts someone or costs them money.

    Keith – you shouldn’t be expected to keep your paint cans. What brand and kind of paint did you use? Keep your receipt. Don’t let them off the hook. They encouraged you to use BIN – and now the bad paint is covered so they can say they can’t sample it. I was told I’d need a “wet sample” – well, first of all, I didn’t know the paint was going to start smelling a few days after I painted, and second, people don’t keep paint cans if they’re empty, and third – the rep was IN THE ROOM and could have gouged some off the wall, since it remained rubbery. This is baloney. It’s apparent that this problem cropped up a while ago and that the manufacturers are aware of it. If it’s truly only one in 100,000 that are experiencing it, then it shouldn’t be a big deal to help those of us who are the unlucky one in 100,000. If it were my product, I would want to be responsible – even if it meant that I lost money. I wouldn’t want to carry the guilt for the headaches and disruption of making someone’s home stink for months or even years.

  266. Benjamin   |  Friday, 23 October 2015 at 8:49 pm

    My advice where you get that paint go to that shop you have buy tell the tiller you have bad smelling in your house he must come or make a plan to remove it

  267. Tim   |  Saturday, 24 October 2015 at 10:12 pm

    I have this same problem. We painted 4 bedrooms at the same time with exactly the same paint except for the color. The room painted red has this odor while the other three do not. We went so far as to repriming the walls with a high quality oil based primer and repainted the walls, again red. The odor is still there!! It’s not a fresh paint smell but something I cantvreally identify. The house is pony 10 years old and the smell was not there before the red paint. Very frustrated. Any suggestions?

  268. Sue   |  Sunday, 25 October 2015 at 12:16 am

    Is it regular paint or Zero VOC?

  269. Keith NYC   |  Monday, 26 October 2015 at 1:27 am

    @Tim, what brand and sheen did you use? My original problem started with Benjamin moore flat with a customized dark grey color.

  270. John   |  Tuesday, 27 October 2015 at 2:45 am

    I was just reading the posts at the UK website left by someone above. It’s hard to make sense of it when one person claims the problem occurs / worsens in sunlight, and another reports the problem occurs only when the windows are open regardless of sun on a wall.

    I shared on an odor problem in virtually all my house but the bedroom, and after some five years, the odor persists. I had planned on flooring the place (for the first time) in hopes that the odor was coming up from the solid-rock crawl space, which is often humid as rain water seeps through rock crevices, but even when the rock is dry, the strong odor on the first floor is there. I purchased some floating wood flooring for the entire story, but after starting in the bedroom, I found that it made noise when walking on it. After a month or two of contemplation, back the flooring went to Home Depot for a refund. The last batch went back about a week ago, meaning that I haven’t been able to test whether the odors are from inside the floor, which is packed with pink insulation. However, the furnace was just installed in the crawl space, which required the removal of some insulation in the floors, and, aside from where mice had made bedding, it didn’t smell. Nor had humidity gotten into it from condensation. It was all fine. I had painted the particle board sub-floors thinking that to be the problem, but the odor persisted. When I finally tried to accept what I had rejected previously, that the walls were the problem, I arrived to this page, which had me pretty sure that the Home Depot Behr primer was the problem, even with two coats of Behr paint overtop. The bedroom was painted several months ago with a new bucket of primer and paint, and doesn’t have the problem. I know that because, every morning when I awake, I open the bedroom door, and, sure enough, the rest of the place stinks. If I spend all day there, I can’t smell it, but if I go to town for a few hours, it’s strong in my nose when I return. I can’t describe it because I don’t know what else it smells like. It’s nothing that I own. Anyway, until the floors are done, I can’t deal with the walls. So long as I can sleep in fresh air, I’ll be alright. The rest of the place needs to be freshened up with open doors as cold weather sets in.

    I still have no solid idea on the causes or odor sources in regards to the posts on this page because the problems are not identical across the board. There are several situations where foul odor occurs on a long-term basis, some with defective paint finish, and others not. The one who had the problem with the same paint only with the red color suggests a dye problem. Might there be a dye problem for all cases? Might the culprit in a lot of cases be a certain dye brand / color and not the paint itself? Can that explain problems with white primer? Or are primers the problem? Perhaps that red room got a different can of primer.

    Before tearing out the drywall, see if a layer of paper peels off easily under the paint. Sometimes, only part of the paper peels, leaving enough that one can lay on a thin coat of drywall mud to smooth out a finish appropriate for painting. It may be a better option because the wood trim doesn’t need to come off. But whether this is even an option depends on what difficulty there is in pealing a layer off. With the paint on, peeling the paper may be impossible. Sorry (or should we be glad) to hear that the drywall came off, Lisa. You have a 99,999 out of 100,000 chance of getting good paint this time. Don’t even think the word, Murphy.

  271. Big John   |  Wednesday, 04 November 2015 at 10:03 am

    Has anyone tried BaKing the rooms a little? Paint cures best above a certain temperature. I just ran into a similar problem with some primer. it’s cold outside this time of year and leaving windows open with fans running drops the rooms temperature below the optimal temperature of the paint. Try blasting some heat in the room with fans running to try and dry the paint out. It seemed to make a difference for myself.

  272. Lisa   |  Wednesday, 04 November 2015 at 4:32 pm

    Big John – I baked the room, and after the room got very warm and the walls were warm to the touch, I ventilated. Then I did it all over again. If that helped your situation, then your situation wasn’t the same as mine. In my situation, heat made the room even worse.

  273. Lisa   |  Wednesday, 04 November 2015 at 4:54 pm

    John, I did note that the UK site said something about sunlight causing the problem. I tried to find out how old that site was, but could not. My problem was not caused by sun on the wall. There was absolutely no doubt it was the paint itself. Every square inch of the surface of the walls smelled and nothing else – not the ceiling, the rug, the walls on the other side, the attic, the basement, etc etc etc.

    I’m sorry it’s affecting so much of your house, but glad it’s left you one “clean” room. I was fortunate that the situation was reversed. But it was my bedroom, so I had to sleep in the basement, and cram all my clothes and stuff into an extra tiny room (thank goodness we had that) The dressers got moved in and out of the livingroom every time we primed. I can’t believe we tried so hard for so long. I don’t know whether to be proud or ashamed. Good luck to you my friend.

  274. Lisa   |  Wednesday, 04 November 2015 at 5:00 pm

    John, I hope I didn’t imply anything insulting in my comment. You are facing a lot, and I admire you very much for dealing with it as you are. Best wishes. I’ll be back of course.

    Have other commenters who posted here so long ago solved their problem without replacing drywall? Or did they do that and then move on? It would be great to know.

  275. Keith NYC   |  Wednesday, 04 November 2015 at 5:57 pm

    Lisa, did everything work out for you with new drywall?

  276. Lisa   |  Thursday, 05 November 2015 at 1:10 am

    Yes Keith – THE SMELL IS GONE!!! :)

    We’re afraid to paint though. The walls are a lovely primer white….

  277. Keith NYC   |  Thursday, 05 November 2015 at 5:36 pm

    Lisa, so happy for you. As for my situation, I painted my walls in semi gloss. As mentioned in my previous post, eggshells and flats I used over primer never covered the odor. Semi gloss probably due to it’s higher durability and thickness did a better job, it’s been about 3 weeks and although not completely gone, it’s the best it’s been since this fiasco started. Semi gloss looks horrible in my bedroom but I’ll settle if it holds up, Benjamin Moore makes their contractor grade (Super hide and Super Spec) line in a variety of whites. I chose a ready mix color rather than custom in case the dyes are old or contaminated. Seems like many here may have had bad dye mixed in when one color produced smells while another didn’t.

  278. Lisa   |  Thursday, 05 November 2015 at 5:54 pm

    Thanks Keith! My fingers are crossed for you. I too suspect the colorants. If you want to e-mail me at mlema 45 @

    gmail. com (no spaces) we can discuss more. I don’t want to keep writing lengthy stuff here.


  279. Sue   |  Thursday, 05 November 2015 at 5:54 pm

    HI Lisa:

    Wow ! You did it ! You made the leap and replaced the dry wall and have results. If I were you, I would take a large piece of drywall (that is not on your wall) and paint it with Annie Sloan, then leave it in your garage to see if that works. Only after I am convinced that it has no fumes would I put that paint or any other paint on my walls. Or you could cover your walls with cloth. Keep us posted.

  280. Lisa   |  Thursday, 05 November 2015 at 5:56 pm

    Thanks Sue! I might just do that. I don’t want to leave the walls with just the primer, but it is very scary to paint now.

    I truly hope you’re doing ok. What did you decide? (if you don’t mind me asking)

  281. Sue   |  Thursday, 05 November 2015 at 6:14 pm

    Hi LIsa:

    The “stars” are coming together and it looks like I am going to move.
    But I plan to be very careful of paint int he future.

  282. Holly   |  Tuesday, 10 November 2015 at 5:32 pm

    A week after priming and painting my son’s bedroom, the smell was still overwhelming, even after using fans and opening windows everyday. After reading lots of ideas from others with the same problem, I used this solution: I closed off the room for 2 days and ran a small space heater for about 10 hours a day in an effort to “bake” the paint to be sure it was completely dry. I also put 2 large Moso Bamboo Charcoal bags (from The Container Store) in the room to absorb the odors.
    The heater caused temperatures to reach as high as 95. I turned the heater off at night and with normal furnace use the room stayed at about 75 degrees. The smell traveled just a little to other parts of the house, but the room was already smelling so much better. On the third day I removed the heater and opened all the windows and turned on all the fans in the whole house (I got lucky with a 50+ degree day in early November.) I left the house for about 8 hours and let the whole house air out.
    This process made a HUGE difference in the room and there is very little odor left at all. I have been accused of having a Super Sniffer nose, and this really worked for me. No resealing or repainting, thank goodness!

  283. Linda   |  Tuesday, 10 November 2015 at 8:02 pm

    Can you publish on here when you did this and is the smell still gone. Also would you be so kind as to keep us up dated if the smell should return. I had to remove the gyprock as we call it here in Australia.

  284. Lisa   |  Wednesday, 11 November 2015 at 2:53 am

    Heating didn’t work for me. I don’t know how charcoal would have worked because the supply of smell was endless. Here’s the thing: if heating “cured” it, it would also have cured at just warm temp over time – barring unusual level of moisture. There was something chemically and structurally wrong with the paint I got. We gave it a year to stop smelling, and tried to assist it in many ways. Nothing worked. But I hope that your problem is gone Holly. And maybe others who have whatever problem you have will be helped. Is it possible that the temperature you painted at was preventing the paint from drying and that’s why the heat helped? Also, you have to be careful no to get the paint too warm, as that can damage the surface.

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