How to Remove Smell of Paint from Clothes

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Trying to get the smell of paint out of your clothes can leave you with a headache, literally. Normal washing detergent can't do the job alone, but with a little help from simple natural remedies like vanilla oil or baking soda added to your clothes before washing, they will smell better than they did before you painted.

Step 1

Paints are made up of Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC), which are organic compounds that have high vapor pressure and under normal conditions began significantly to vaporize into the atmosphere. These compounds attach to the fabric in your clothes and need dilution with organic agents to break them down.

Step 2

Adding a tablespoon of vanilla, cinnamon, or nutmeg oil to a bucket of hot water and soaking your paint smelly clothes in it for an hour before putting them in the wash with help dilute the smell. You can also put that bucket in the middle of the room you just painted and it will help clean the air, toning down the fresh paint smell.

Step 3

Soaking clothes in hot water with a 1/4 cup of baking soda will get the smell out too. Baking soda is an old-fashioned odor-removing remedy that helps to naturally whiten your clothes and soften fabric.

Step 4

Pour a tablespoon of rose oil or lavender oil into the wash then allow clothes to air-dry outside in the sun. Nothing beats fresh air and the natural elements to remove paint smell.


Tifany F. Williams

Tifany Williams is a feature writer from Seattle and a proud alumnee of Howard University's, John H. Johnson School of Communications. Her articles have appeared in regional and community newspapers like The Seattle Medium, The District Chronicles, and online at, where she contributed regularly.