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Interior Paint smell a week after painting

Hello, I painted a one window bedroom in a raised ranch (upstairs) with Behr Prem Plus Interior Flat Enamel Paint last week on drywall, the wooden trim with Behr Prem Plus Interior Satin Enamel and dabbed the ceiling with some spots that had my wall paint get on the ceiling with Behr Interior Plus Ceiling Paint.  After a week the room smells very strong of paint, but the room is dry.  I have used window fans on intake and exhaust, an industrial fan, the window is open, heat is on and off at times.  I sanded the room and sponge soaped the walls a day prior to painting.  I am in the New England area so the weather has been low 50s in the day and 30s at night.  Is this smell normal after about a week with this paint?  I painted the rest of the house this week with Behr Prem Plus Ultra Interior eggshell and had no problem, no smell that night it was done.  There was more ventilation with many more windows and a ceiling fan.  I purchased the prem plus for the bedroom since it is labeled as low odor, but find I can't stand in the room for more than 5 minutes a week after painting.  Thank you.

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Posted 2013-04-06T23:16:21+0000  by susanford susanford
Also, was it ok to use this paint w/out a primer? I did not since I thought it had primer in it, but I am learning it is primer pigment. Thank you.
Posted 2013-04-06T23:17:33+0000  by susanford

Hi Susan - thanks for stopping by the community


I have been giving your question a lot of thought and must say that I hadn't had this situation come up in all my years of professional painting.  You may have stumped me:smileyfrustrated:


The only thought I have is the possibility that your heating unit and return vent may be located close to that room and the filter might have absorbed the initial evaporation of the paint.  The odor may be residing in the filter and then becoming circulated each time the heat comes on. 


Try changing the filter and let us know if there are any notable changes.

Posted 2013-04-08T13:39:10+0000  by Kevin_HD_ATL

Hello,  Thank you so much for the repy.  Your comment about my heating filter seems to make an awful lot of sense with how the room is.  My vent and receiver are across the room, but it is a small one window bedroom so it does make them close.  I am almost done painting the rest of my house and then will add Minwax water base on my wooden trim to the areas in the rest of the house.  From there I will change my filter and see what happens.


In the mean time, I have my heating vent shut in that room, since your comment, and have a window fan and industrial fan running.  A friend of mine mentioned placing onions in the room to cover the odor as well, which was done this afternoon.


I really appreciate your reply and will follow up in the coming days as to how I make out.  Any other advise is greatly appreciated.


The rest of the house is being painted with Behr Prem Plus Ultra and the smell leaves in a couple of hours, but the vents are far apart due to the larger space, ceiling fans, higher ceiling, cross breezes, and I leave my back door open.


Thank you,


Posted 2013-04-09T04:21:03+0000  by susanford

Hello, I changed my heating filter today so hopefully this makes a difference.  The heat came on in the early morning (I have a system that memorizes patterns in temperature during the day).  I had the vent closed with the window open a crack, but could smell the fumes this morning.  I hope changing the vent worked.  My room is 12x9 with the vent under the one window and the receiver across the room.  I will follow up with any further fume updates.


Thank you.

Posted 2013-04-09T19:33:51+0000  by susanford

Hello,  I am still experiencing a problem with the smell in my room.  I changed my heating filter and kept the heat off for a couple of nights with the windows open to air out.  The temps are back in the 30's again, so I needed to turn the heat back on.  When I turned on the heat again, there is no smells coming from my vents.  However, the room that was painted still has a strong smell, so much, I still can't stand being in the room more than a couple of minutes.  I have tried onions, lemons, vinegar.  Today I placed in a plate of baking soda, sprinkled baking soda on the rug, and a bowl of vinegar with the window open a bit and the heat on.  It seems to be a stronger smells on one section of the room that is across from the window and near the receiving vent.


Are there any other suggestions as to what is causing this and how I can remove it?


Thank you.

Posted 2013-04-12T20:04:15+0000  by susanford

I've experienced the same thing over the course of the last 3 weeks, though I bought paint with the primer already mixed in.  Best I can describe the odor is melting plastic.  Also in a small 1/2 with 1 window.  My contractor also seems to think it's plasticy odor, though a plummer though it was more like cleaning solution odor (ammonia or acetone maybe?), so thinking maybe something in the paint didn't mix very well.  Zero moisture in the walls and no bathtub, so pretty sure no mildew.  Already tried ventilation and even a vinegar solution.  My contact with Behr recommended Kilz Max.  I'll be trying that tomorrow and hope for the best.

Posted 2013-05-02T22:51:24+0000  by qbsak12




If your smell does not disapper in a couple more weeks, your option  is to seal in the old paint with BIN shellac based white primer. Acrylic paints can take up to a month to fully cure and stop off-gassing. Shellac is the best odor sealer that I know of. It is often used to seal in cat and fire odors. BIN has a strong odor of its own, but that is mainly of grain alcohol, its solvent. BIN dries in about 45 minutes and its odor rapidly disappears along with the odors it seals in.


Water based primers are next to useless for stopping odors, Oil based primers are somewhat better, but no where near as good as shellac. To its credit, shellac is as environmentally friendly a primer/paint as there is. It is the product of insects which grow in the orient dissolved in grain alcohol. It is so safe that it is used to coat medical pills which are ingested. It is also time tested, as the Chinese were using shellac hundreds of years ago.


I have often had "flash backs" to my childhood when using some of the Ultra paints. When I was a kid in the 1950's, there were spray cans of artificial snow which you could spray on Christmas trees and decorations. The stuff had the smell of styrene plastic, the same smell I get from some of the Ultra paint. I am not a chemist and have no idea if styrene is found in Behr paints, although styrene compounds are used in the paint industry.


Hopefully this is of some help and interest to you.

Posted 2013-05-05T05:20:22+0000  by ordjen

Hi qbsak12:


What color was the paint you used?  I had what was known as a medium color and as the colors go darker, the more they have a smell.  I am really sensitive to smells so I am just sticking to the white family of colors since they don't bother me.  Behr has informed me that it takes up to 4 wks to cure and pending on weather conditions and circualation in the room.  I actually repainted over my walls with a white color in the ultra since the rest of my house was done in that and it didn't bother me.  After I repainted my walls in a white from the ultra paint it seems a bit better.  I would contact Behr over email since I had a better customer experience with them vs. the phone.

Posted 2013-05-10T04:08:25+0000  by susanford

Hi ordjen:


Thank you for your reply.  I painted my main areas of the house with Behr Ultra in one of the whites and that didn't bother me.  I chose the Prem Plus because I thought that would be better for the small one window bedroom and my sensitivities.  I guess I was wrong in my situation.  I repainted my wall the shade of white based on smell not on desired color and I think it may be ok.  It's only been a week, but this paint smell seems like a normal paint smell to me.  I think this room collects a lot of odors due to it's location and one window from outside, cars, cooking, even new leather jackets -- so maybe the paint is hanging around for awhile.


I did look up the MSDS for Behr paints and they do list 

Styrene/acrylic copolymer as an ingredient, per your previous post.  Will that plastic smell go away after it has cured?

Posted 2013-05-10T04:26:02+0000  by susanford



I wish I could say for certain that the smell will eventually fade. I suspect it will, much like the new car smell that can be almost overpowering when the car is brand new. It does take a few months for all those molded plastic parts and materials to off gas


The comments about deep colors possibly could have merit. The dark colors have as much as 12 or 13 ounces of colorant in them. However, I have been around tints all my working life and I don't recall that plasticy smell eminating from the tint containers.


My son recently purposely added a fragrance to the paint he was using in one of his baths. It was suppose to cover up paint odors. In reality it ended up having such an obnoxious smell that he repainted the bath after having sealed the walls with BIN sealer. The BIN did seal in that odor.


I would still opt for a couple more weeks of patience, especially now that fair weather is here in most of the country and the windows can be left open.



Posted 2013-05-10T23:48:43+0000  by ordjen
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