How to Get Rid of Paint Thinner Smell

If you are working with oil-based paint, you also have to deal with paint thinner. The product is very effective at cleaning brushes, rollers and hands after a job, but boy does it stink! There is nothing natural or inviting about this smell, either. It’s all chemical and offensive on the nostrils. You can’t get rid of that stank soon enough.


The paint thinner stank is certainly far from subtle. Once it gets into your carpet, hands or clothing, it is a very stubborn one to get rid of. No one wants to be getting a whiff of this stank. It is completely offensive to the sinuses is liable to stop you dead in your tracks. Before you start to get a headache from the fumes, choose one of these helpful solutions to solve the problem.



How to Get Rid of Paint Thinner Smell from Carpet

1 Rub the Spot with Alcohol

If you have had a mishap with spilling some paint thinner on your carpet, try using some alcohol to get rid of the oil residue from the fibers in your floor. Pour some alcohol onto a clean, white rag. Rub it onto the spot. Repeat the process several times. The alcohol will evaporate quickly and should lift out the smell with it.


2 Baking Soda and Essential Oil Removal

This solution for removing the smell of paint thinner from your carpet involves a few steps. First. take a white rag and blot up as much of the liquid as you can. Next, mis 10 drops of an essential oil with two cups of baking soda. Sprinkle the mixture onto the carpet. Leave in place for at least one hour. If possible, leave the baking soda and oil on the floor overnight. Vacuum the carpet thoroughly.


3 Get Some Air on the Situation

Opening a window and running a fan may take care of the paint thinner stank. It will take some time to get rid of the smell. Do not run a heater or expose the paint thinner to any source of an open spark or flame; you may end up starting a fire.


Remove Paint Thinner Smell from Hands

1 Boraxo Scrubdown

To get the paint thinner stank off your hands, start with Boraxo. This product is a powder that is a combination of borax and soap. Apply it to wet hands and scrub vigorously. It is normal for the product to heat slightly as it works, so don’t be alarmed when this happens.


2 Olive Oil Clean Up

Rub a little baby oil on your hands to get rid of the paint thinner smell.¬† Baby oil is a good alternative if you don’t have any olive oil in the house. Both of these products will remove any remaining paint thinner and the stank from your digits. Dry with a paper towel and discard it in the trash.


3 Clean Up with GOJO Hand Cleaner

GOJO is a specialty line of hand cleaning products. The company produces a Natural Orange Smooth Hand Cleaner that would get the smell of the paint thinner out, leaving a more pleasant citrus aroma in its stead. Oranges beat the smell of chemicals any day. Read the label and use as directed. Dry your hands with paper towels.



Get Paint Thinner Smell Out of Clothes

1 Vanilla Extract Wash

Separate the stinky clothes from your regular wash and add them to your machine. Add one-half of a small bottle of vanilla extract to the wash water. Run the wash cycle about halfway through and stop the machine. Let it stand for several hours. Resume the wash cycle and add a small amount of detergent at this point. Let it finish as normal.


2 White Vinegar Solution

To get the stink out, try soaking the clothes in a solution of warm water and two Tablespoons of white vinegar. Leave the clothes in place for 30 minutes. Rinse in cool water. Another  variation you could try is to pour undiluted white vinegar on the clothing and allow it to sit for 30-60 minutes before washing as normal.


3 Lacquer Thinner Soak

Buy some lacquer thinner at a hardware or paint store. You should also be able to pick up this product in the Paint Section at Home Depot or Wal-Mart. Soak the clothes in the product. Take the stanky items out and let them sit until dry. The thinner will clean the cloth and get the smell out.


4 Dish Soap Rescue

This solution to getting the smell of paint thinner out of your clothes also involves a couple of steps. First, pour a small amount of laundry detergent directly onto the stanky item. Let it sit for at least 10 minutes. Do not wash it with your other clothes. You don’t want the smell and fumes to get mixed in with your regular laundry. Wash it with 1/4 cup of liquid dish soap that has degreasing properties. Dawn is one brand that should work well for this purpose.


Published by

Joe Fresh

Joe is an odor combatant, chemistry extraordinaire and all around good guy. He has an over-productive olfactory system with absolutely zero tolerance for unpleasant aromas.

5 thoughts on “How to Get Rid of Paint Thinner Smell”

  1. Joe – Thanks so very much. Your site saved the day. A can of paint thinner left from some construction work was in our janitors closet and began leaking. By the time we discovered it, it was all over the floor and the whole back of the store smelled horrible. We have a health food store so many people that come in are sensitive to lots of things, and that paint thinner sure was terrible. I washed, scrubbed, etc. etc. etc. It was better, but the paint thinner smell kept coming back. I used the alcohol and sprayed the entire floor and wiped it up twice. That was a grand improvement. Then I took 1 bottle each of lemon and orange essential oils and sprinkled all over the flooring (laminate wood). I took a paper towel and rubbed it in all over the floor twice and also put some down the drain. That did it! Thanks so very much for your site.

  2. I have paint thinner smell on my plywood floor where it leaked onto it and I want it gone without taking out the floor. How can I rid the smell from my floor?
    Thank you,

  3. Not one of these solutions worked for me. I used paint thinner to remove paint from a pair of pants. Rinsed it with water. Then threw in the wash by itself. I have since washed about 15 times with each recommendation above and yet the smell remains.

  4. The plastic container of paint thinner cracked and soaked into a concrete floor. I have yet been able to fine a solution to remove the smell, It was in the furnace room and now it is through the house.

  5. Hello,
    I’m hoping you can assist with a not so conventional question. My husband put paint thinner into a “kitchen cleaner” spray bottle. I sprayed it all over the granite countertop… is it taking the sealer off the granite? How do I get the smell out?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *