Here's Why You Should Add Vanilla Extract To Your Can Of Paint

There are plenty of things to consider when slapping a fresh coat of paint on the walls of a space, including all the prep work that needs to be done and, of course, choosing a color that fits your vision. However, if you've been dissuaded from painting because of the fumes it fills a room with, there's a TikTok hack you should try out.

It couldn't be simpler and involves adding a mere tablespoon of vanilla extract (yes, the same vanilla extract you use in the kitchen for baking) per gallon of paint. In such a small amount, it certainly won't make the entire space smell like a delicious bakery. However, as the TikTok video explains, vanilla is a natural deodorizer that can help combat those paint fumes wafting through the air. In fact, you can even make your own DIY air freshener by simply placing some vanilla extract-soaked cotton balls in a bowl, proving what a powerful deodorizer it is. If you want a stronger scent, you could also consider combining the vanilla extract with a vanilla-scented paint additive. These additives can likewise be mixed into your paint and claim to provide a scent that remains for anywhere from three to eight months, depending on the size of the room.

Considerations for the type of paint

Not every can of paint is created equal in terms of fumes. While the simple TikTok tip is a handy odor neutralizer, those concerned by the smell will want to determine which type of paint they're dealing with before they make their purchase. The vanilla tip is particularly handy for anything that is alkyd, alcohol, or shellac-based. While these paints have many pros, such as their durability, they typically have a stronger odor than water or latex-based options. If you've determined that one of these smelly products would be most suitable for your project, adding vanilla extract can be a serious game changer regarding how long those odors linger in your space. You may not necessarily need the tip as much for low-odor alternatives, but it certainly doesn't hurt to neutralize any lingering volatile organic compounds (VOCs).

There are also clay, milk, and limestone-based paints that are billed as odorless if you're looking for a different option for which this hack would be a pleasant addition rather than an absolute necessity. And, though it may seem alarming to add the pigmented brown extract to particularly pale colors, don't worry — as the video demonstrates, once you mix the vanilla extract in with the gallon of paint, it will disappear and won't impact the hue whatsoever. 

Other natural ways to get rid of paint odor

Perhaps you selected a pungent type of paint, and the vanilla extract hack just isn't doing the trick. Maybe you're painting a space without much ventilation, or you're just very sensitive to the fumes that paint emits. Either way, there are a few natural ways to eliminate that unappealing scent lingering in the air once it's already on the walls.

For instance, not only can baking soda help neutralize odors in your fridge, but you can combat the smell of a freshly-painted space by laying down a few plates of this powdery substance. Or, you can try a similar technique with activated charcoal by placing some around the room to absorb the VOCs in the air. Other options include coffee grounds or a bucket of water with lemon slices. Not only do these help neutralize the odor, but they also add an appealing scent to your space. On the other end of the spectrum, you can chop an onion in half and place it in the room — this vegetable has a chemical within that gets rid of the paint odors. Of course, you'll be left to deal with the smell of onion, so it's a matter of which aroma you mind the least.