Pine shelves that I cut. Stained with a Varathane pre-stain wood conditioner, wiped with a cloth, waited about an hour, then used a cloth to apply a Varathane Premium wood stain (Colonoal Maple, if that makes a difference). I let the wood dry for a day next to window inside the house, ran a fan on it for a day. 2 months later, the paint odor remains. Is this expected?

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    put them in a container, like a garbage can, that you run a small forced-air space heater into (on low) and vent out from the other side (or with a duct back out the inlet side), like a giant side-ways hooka. This will force hot air over it constantly and drastically speed up the offgas process. I use one for spray painting and it makes stuff usable in 90 mins instead of overnight.
    – dandavis
    Commented Jun 16, 2023 at 21:45

2 Answers 2


It happened to me once. My mistake was not waiting long enough (like a day or more) between the primer and final coat.

Too late now to fix it, I even used heat gun to accelerate the drying still it took weeks.

Pine is relatively soft wood, so stain will be absorbed deeply and it takes long time to dry up.

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    Helps dramatically if it is left outside in the summer to dry out.
    – DMoore
    Commented Jun 16, 2023 at 19:25

Agree that best to leave outside in sun. This essentially bakes the item and burns off the chemicals but outside. If an item is stained and left outdoors in the sun for 3 days, it should burn off most everything. If stain is especially powerful or toxic, just leave out for a longer period perhaps up to a week.

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