Recently I moved into a freshly painted apartment. The kitchen cupboards were painted with oil base paint. All my dishes, glasses and food in the cupboards smell and taste like paint. What can I use to remove this smell? I'm pregnant and afraid of getting sick from this. Any help or suggestions will be greatly appreciated.
Kim ~ Warren, MI
Hi Kim, I know fresh paint fumes can be overpowering and oil based paint are often the worst. I have actually had the odor cause me to become light-headed and have to leave an enclosed room that didn't have adequate ventilation. However, the odor normally dissipates within several days of painting as the paint cures. You don't mention how long you've been in the apartment or how recent the kitchen cabinets were painted. If it has only been a week or so, my suggestion would be to leave the cabinets open and if it's not too cold in Warren, a few windows as well. I would think that the smell should be gone in a few days.
However, if that's not the case, you may have to take matters into your own hands and try a few unconventional solutions. I have not personally tried any of these so can't say for sure that they work, but painting contractors claim they do, so they may be worth a shot.
The most pleasant method is to soak cotton balls in vanilla extract and sit them in a small open bowl in the cabinets. The balls will need to be re-saturated as they dry. If nothing else, your kitchen should smell like cookies are baking. I do know that Realtors often use vanilla in the kitchen when having an open house to give the home an inviting aroma.
The second possibility isn't quite as pleasant. White vinegar can be placed in a bowl in the cabinets or poured onto a cloth that's then used to wipe the insides of the cabinets down. I know that vinegar works pretty well on pet accidents so it might be good at getting rid of paint odors as well.
One last thought would be to try placing some charcoal in the cabinets as the material can work well as a filter as it absorbs odors.