Get Rid of Paint Smells & Other Safety Tips for Expectant Mothers

Most expectant moms look forward to designing and decorating their new baby’s room. There is nothing that transforms a bedroom into a nursery better than a fresh lick of paint. However, many pregnant women have concerns about the safety of their unborn child when being exposed to paint fumes.

Fortunately, most paints nowadays have been developed to be as harmless as possible. Should you be an expectant mom who is determined to get involved with the DIY and assist with the painting yourself, then adhering to these basic safety tips can assist in limiting the risks to yourself and your unborn child.

Safety Tips

  • Visit your local hardware store  and request their recommendation on the safest paint type to use during pregnancy.
  • If you need to remove old wallpaper or scrape off old paint, then ask someone else to assist you with this part of the project whilst you stay away from the area entirely. Although lead-based paints were discontinued prior to the 1970’s, there is still the risk that the old paint on your walls could contain lead. Lead is extremely detrimental not only to adults, but to unborn children too.
  • Once you are ready to start painting, it is imperative that you wear protective gear. Purchase a ventilated mask that not only protects your nose and mouth from the paint fumes, but also filters the air in such a way that minimal paint fumes will infiltrate through. Wear long pants, a long shirt and gloves, ensuring that none of your skin is exposed whilst you paint.
  • Keep the room that you will be painting as ventilated as possible, opening all windows and doors not only to the room, but to the rooms around it to assist with a better air flow.
  • Keep any food or drinks for consumption out of the room to ensure that they do not absorb any of the chemicals.
  • Go outside and get some fresh air at regular intervals during your DIY job.

Whether you rolled up your sleeves and did the painting yourself, or if someone else did it for you, it is still important to get rid of the unpleasant paint smell that will linger in the room once the job is complete. After all, you’ll surely be dying to start decorating the room for your little one. It is easy to get rid of paint smells by simply using affordable ingredients you may already have in your kitchen.


Onions, once cut open, are very powerful absorption tools. Cut a number of large onions into quarters and place them on plates throughout the room. The onions will effectively absorb the paint smell and for those sensitive pregnant noses, not to worry, the smell of onions will dissipate from the room far quicker than the smell of paint would have.

Coffee Grounds

If the paint smells are of a milder nature, you can place bowls of coffee grounds around the room to mask the odour and replace it with a java-lover’s dream scent.


Bowls of white distilled vinegar placed around the room will diffuse the chemical paint odour.


Charcoal is an excellent neutraliser of strong chemical odours. Crush whole pieces of wood charcoal into small pieces and leave it overnight in containers placed around the room.

Vanilla Extract or Peppermint Oil

Vanilla and peppermint are delicious scents with which to fill a room. They are also effective in getting rid of paint smells. Add a few drops of pure vanilla extract or peppermint oil onto cotton balls, or put them into small bowls of water and place them around the room.

Light a Candle

Placing a lit candle in the room for a few hours will burn out the flammable substances in the solvent. To prevent any fire risks, place the candle in a bowl filled with water and keep children and animals out the room so that it cannot get knocked over.


Cut a dozen lemons into slices and place them in bowls all over the room for a couple of days. The lemons will absorb any horrid paint smells and should be discarded immediately after use.

A Bucket of Water

Although not as effective as the candle method, placing buckets of water around the room will help with absorbing any solvent vapours.

Bicarbonate of Soda (Baking Soda)

This method will only work if you have a carpeted room. Generously sprinkle bicarbonate of soda all over the carpet, leave it for 24 hours and then vacuum it up in the morning. This will freshen up and deodorise not only the room, but your carpet too.

Irrespective of which abovementioned tip you use to clear the smell of paint in your room, always keep the painted room well ventilated, with all windows and doors open. If you are able to have a fan on in the room for the ventilation period, this can speed up the process greatly. Whilst you are still pregnant it is advisable to avoid the newly painted room until a week after it has been painted, when all the odours should have dissipated completely.