My husband touched up the paint in our bedroom. The smell was rancid, like sour milk. I cannot believe he used the paint that went bad. I have a horrible headache and watery eyes, an obvious allergic reaction to the mold smell. When the paint finally dries will it all be OK? Or are there lasting issues now with him using the sour bad paint?

  • Is the paint now dry? How long has it been on the wall? Apr 24, 2013 at 10:16
  • Yes it's dry now and the smell is finally gone. It's been on the walls for 2 days, but he used that same paint 2 months ago and had the same problem. I made him throw it out this time to not make the same mistake again. I am wondering if it will still have a bad effect on the walls or the air quality in the room since it was paint gone bad?
    – user12680
    Apr 25, 2013 at 23:48
  • Once you have painted over the foul primer with some new paint, the problem should be gone forever. Glad you threw out the old stuff. Apr 26, 2013 at 8:45

5 Answers 5


The foul smell is from the volatile organic compounds in the paint decaying. Could very well have mold spores living in it. Whatever you are smelling its going straight into your lungs because smells are particular. If it was me I would get rid of it like it was a plague.
My suggestion is get a heavy duty respirator with the proper filters and a boat load of lacquer thinner. Scrub the walls down with the thinner using towels to get as much of that bad paint off as possible. Then apply two coats of Behr Primer & Sealer to the walls. Finally finish by applying a good brand of paint. Lacquer thinner is hard core so:

  1. cover everything; it will take just about any finish off.
  2. have all your fans running in that room with all the windows open and the door closed.
  3. remove all pets from the home prior to and for several days after the lacquer operation has been completed.
  4. let the walls thoroughly dry out with fans running before attempting to paint.

I put a quarter cup of white vinegar in my stinky paint that smelled like arm pits,and no more smell! Love my vinegar!

  • Then you used the paint and it was ok after you put the vinegar in it?
    – user27612
    Nov 3, 2014 at 20:31
  • This totally works. Some white vinegar will kill whatever's in there that's smelling bad stone dead and get rid of the smell.
    – iLikeDirt
    Jan 8, 2016 at 17:06

A week after priming and painting my son's bedroom, the smell was still overwhelming, even after using fans and opening windows everyday. After reading lots of ideas from others with the same problem, I used this solution: I closed off the room for 2 days and ran a small space heater for about 10 hours a day in an effort to "bake" the paint to be sure it was completely dry. I also put 2 large Moso Bamboo Charcoal bags (from The Container Store) in the room to absorb the odors. The heater caused temperatures to reach as high as 95. I turned the heater off at night and with normal furnace use the room stayed at about 75 degrees. The smell traveled just a little to other parts of the house, but the room was already smelling so much better. On the third day I removed the heater and opened all the windows and turned on all the fans in the whole house (I got lucky with a 50+ degree day in early November.) I left the house for about 8 hours and let the whole house air out. This process made a HUGE difference in the room and there is very little odor left at all. I have been accused of having a Super Sniffer nose, and this really worked for me. No resealing or repainting, thank goodness!


Vinegar or Charcoal is good to rid the bad odder, also place a fan and leave doors and windows open for a few days. it would be best to remove the old paint and replace with new paint. Check with your city council for disposal of the old contaminated paint as most likely it will contain mold spores. You wouldn't want to just throw it anywhere as someone or kids might get hold of it.


Your first step should be to open the windows and direct a fan to exhaust the rooms air. Next I would seal the paint can tightly and label it as NG or expired. See if it stamped with an expiration date or if the label warns that when applied it may be "malodorous".

And finally, if you feel that you have purchased a low- quality product let the store know exactly why you are returning the paint. If there are other people that had a similar experience the purveyor probably wants to know for the publics and his benefit. Also, an e-mail to complain to the manufacturer may seem futile, but you should feel it is your civic duty. This sometimes elicits a response from the manufacturer for a refund or some other monetary offer.

This happened to myself. It was Dulux. Something to do with new European laws now. They gave my money back.

Lastly, you should be wary of using this particular brand of paint seeing how your body is re-acting and its' sensitivity to it. Don't use it; your house may retain the noxious odor for days until it is completely dried. Also be concerned about your health and your families. Warning: Some types/brands of latex paint can be extremely hazardous to pregnant women. Women with child should not be subjected to these paint fumes as it may cause them to go into pre-mature labor. Check with your OBGYN for further information.

  • Do you have any basis for the health risks, or is it just your opinion?
    – BMitch
    Jan 9, 2016 at 2:50
  • @BMitch- the answer does have valid concerns as far as health issues. Most important is the threat for miscarriage to pregnant women fom breathing paint fumes. And if the other answer is accurate regarding mold spores..... enough said.
    – ojait
    Jan 10, 2016 at 17:56

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