What's Odorless Paint and What Are Its Benefits?


A renovation or decorating touch up can be stressful enough, without the added worry of becoming sick while you do it.

Paint fumes can cause painful headaches and nausea even in the most well-ventilated areas. So how can you overcome this problem?

One solution is to buy odorless paint. Not only is it fume free, but it is free from harmful chemicals and is better for the environment.

Below, we'll take you through the benefits of odorless paint. Keep reading to learn more!

Why Odorless?

Depending on who you speak with, the smell of fresh paint is either one of delight or disgust. This unique smell arises from the volatile organic compounds in the paint (VOC). They are found in many paints, protective coatings, and solvents. 

VOCs have extremely low boiling points. This means they will begin to boil at even room temperature, evaporating and releasing gas into the atmosphere. This is particularly dangerous if you are exposed to them for a long period of time or within a confined space. 

VOCs are added to paint to stop mildew forming and to extend the shelf life of the paint. Many VOCs are dangerously toxic to human health. Even in less dangerous varieties, exposure to them can produce nausea, headaches, and dizziness. 

What Is It?

Odorless paint typically has a very low concentration of VOCs in its makeup. These paints are often water-based as opposed to petroleum-based. 

You may see both odorless and low VOC paints advertised. They are extremely similar in their makeup. Both will also cover the same surface area as other paints, though they can often be slightly more expensive. 

Types of Odorless Paint

There are three types of odorless paint: Clay, Milk, and Limestone based. Each is slightly different from the other. 

Limestone based paint is typically known as limewash. It is durable and one of the few recommended paints for outdoor use. 

Thicker, more durable water-based paints are now also becoming available. They replace harmful alkyd and solvent-based enamels with water-based alkyd features. They are ideal for areas that will take a lot of environmental damage, such as windows, doors, and outer fittings. 


Odorless paint is ideal for anyone who may be painting a nursery or child's room. The lack of VOCs will not impact the child, who may have to breathe it in when they occupy the room.

If you have a child on the way, you will also want an odorless paint so the smell disperses quicker and does not hang around when the baby comes. 

It should also be used for preparing rooms and halls in any place where occupants have respiratory problems. This can be everything from mild asthma up to more serious, life-threatening problems. It is imperative you keep the air clean in this situation, and the high qualities of VOC from oil-based paints will not do that. 

Environmentally Friendly

Odorless paints are a lot more environmentally friendly than their traditional counterparts.

First, they are not oil-based so any waste paint breaks down with water, unlike oil. Second, they contain less of the harmful VOC based chemicals you will find in other paints. 

A Safer Choice

Even after drying, paint can emit harmful vapors into the atmosphere up to six years later. These paints often contain a lot of harmful chemicals such as metals, formaldehyde, and vinyl chloride.

Odorless paint cuts down on these harmful substances, meaning family, friends, and workers are not exposed to them. 

Color Choices

Odorless paints are available in a wide range of choices. They were previously available in only earthy, stone colors as they use fewer chemicals than paints containing bold dyes and schemes.

However, they are now available in a huge range. Bright pinks, bold greens, and citrus bursts are some colors that are now available.

Your local DIY store may also be able to provide a tester, so you can try out a small patch on your wall before purchasing a huge amount. 


Firstly, your paint will not be completely odor-free. It will still have a slight smell that is easier to stomach and cause fewer problems than solvent-based paints. It should have a sweet, noninvasive odor that will be easily removed with ventilation. 

Before you begin, make sure any room is well ventilated. Open doors and windows and allow for the passage of air through the area. 

Start by washing walls with warm water and soap. If you are in areas with built-up greases, such as the kitchen, use a degreasing detergent. Make sure walls are dry before you move on to the next stage, as odorless paints could streak if painted onto wet surfaces. 

Finish off by removing any residual dampness or wetness with a dry cloth. Any wet parts could cause even heavy, VOC based primers and paints to blister or crack at a later date. 

Mildew and Mold

Most brands of odorless and low VOC paint will have mold and mildew properties built into them. You can increase protection by removing any mold or mildew from surfaces fully before you start.

Use four parts water to one part bleach. Apply it to the area then leave it for five minutes. Return and scrub the area with a soft brush and clean water. Then make sure the whole surface is dry before proceeding. 

Odorless Paint Application

Odorless paint is typically suited for indoor use. This is because it is slightly less durable than oil-based paints, which are often used on exteriors (though there are exceptions).

Odorless paint is quick-drying, so if painting in hot climates be aware that paint may be drying as you are literally painting it on. 

Before you apply to any surface, make sure your walls are smooth and free from cracks or uneven surfaces. Begin by placing wall filler in any cracks and smoothing it out. Ideally, this should be done around 24 in advance of painting the wall so it has time to dry.

Once all cracks are filled, use sandpaper or a sanding block to even them out. You can also do this on any areas of the wall that are uneven. Make sure you wipe all dust away with a dry cloth then vacuum, so dust does not return to stick in your paint later.

Applying Odorless Paint on Top of Previous Paints

Odorless paints do not sit well not top of other paints. It is advisable to clean the area and remove any previous paint before you begin. 

If the area already has cracked and has peeling paint, then painting over it will not solve the problem. This is likely down to poor preparation on the previous paint coat. Remove all paint with a scraper, then sand it down before applying your odorless paint. 

Odorless paints often require more coats, particularly if they are being applied to darker or colored surfaces. They should be kept in a separate container and stored in a cool, dry place. Low VOC paints do not require this. 

Can It Paint Over Wallpaper?

Painting over wallpaper is never a good idea, with any kind of paint. If the wallpaper is patterned it may show through. Also, the water-based nature of many odorless paints may bobble or contort the wallpaper, creating an uneven surface. 

Remove wallpaper using hot, soapy water and a scraper just as you would old paint. Go back, sand down any uneven surfaces, and start the painting process on a fresh wall. 

Using a Primer

A primer is a base coat of paint that allows your topcoats to have a more even surface. It can also brighten your topcoat and smooth out the walls. It will fill in any porous surfaces and hide any stains that will not be removed.

Apply a white primer for a uniform finish. Choose one that is not harsh in its chemical make up such as a water-based primer. This will give an excellent foundation for an odorless paint job. 


The clean up should be easily done with warm water and soap. There should be no need for harmful solvents of turpentines to clean brushes. 

Any walls painted with odorless paints should not be cleaned with chemical-based cleaning products. This will wipe the paint from the wall or discolor it. Any paints advertised as low VOC may also do this, so try a test patch before you begin. 

Using Odorless Paint in Commercial Properties

Commercial properties will differ from residential ones in that they will have a higher volume of traffic and footfall. This results in increased wear and tear on your coats of odorless paints. You will also lose money if you decide to close a property during renovation.

Odorless paint allows you to work on painting your shop or office with a minimum level of disruption. The lack of fumes will not cause any headaches or sickness, so you will be free to carry on working and making money. 

The lack of fumes can often mean that some people may not even notice work going on. To ensure there are no accidents, make sure you secure the immediate vicinity you are working on. Redirect any walkways and use wet paint signs to want people away from the area. 

If you are painting a property for rental, be sure to let your tenants know that you used odorless paint. This shows you as a caring landlord who spends time, money, and makes an effort to secure the safety of his customers. 

Odorless Spray Paint

For anyone not decorating a house or property, then your paint will likely be used for the purposes of art. Odorless spray paint is available, and it has all the excellent qualities of normal spray paint without the solvents and VOC chemicals. 

Many of these spray paints are made with high-quality artists pigments. They are water-based, with low solvent levels. They are ideal for use in a home or studio as they do not have the adverse health effects associated with normal sprays, such as headaches and nausea. 

Using It for Art

A lot of paints can also be found in a range of opacities, making them versatile for a number of projects. They are permanent and durable enough to be used outdoor for street art projects.

They are mainly matte finishes, cutting down on harmful chemicals even further. 

As well as street art style pieces, this paint is great for a number of projects. Stenciling, creating murals, sculptures and mixed media can all benefit from odorless paint. 

Will Contractors Use Odorless Paint?

contractor or decorator may prefer to use odorless paint for health reasons. However, it is not a given. If you would prefer them to use odorless or low VOC paints, discuss this with them beforehand. 

The decorator may need to factor this into their quote, so you should be aware that it may make the job a little higher if they are buying the materials.

However, a professional will know how many layers you require and let you know about any issues with the surfaces to be painted. 

Purchasing the Paint

Once you have decided on odorless paint and chosen the color, all you need to do is purchase it. Even smaller paint stores should stock odorless paint, though if you require a wider range of colors you may need to visit a superstore. 

If you have any unanswered questions or need more advice, then call us or send an email. We are more than happy to answer any queries or give quotes for decorating services.

Contact us today and get your renovation project started!