Centrihome.com is fully supported by its audience. When you purchase through links on our website, we may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more

Why Does Bathroom Smell Like Paint Thinner? (Solved!)

Bathrooms don’t always smell pleasant, but some smells are nothing to be concerned about and dissipate quickly. If you walk into your bathroom and your bathroom smells like paint thinner, it could be quite alarming.

Your bathroom might smell like paint thinner due to a plumbing issue or a ventilation issue in your home. Of course, the smell of paint thinner could also linger in your bathroom if you recently remodeled the space or added a fresh coat of paint. Regardless of the reason, it’s not a smell you want to ignore.

Even though the smell of paint thinner in your bathroom isn’t likely caused by the toxic aroma of paint thinner, that doesn’t mean it may not impact your health if it’s not dealt with.

My Bathroom Smells Like Paint Thinner: Common Causes

When you repaint your bathroom and there’s paint thinner present, you won’t be surprised to notice the lingering smell. You don’t want those fumes wafting around your bathroom for long, so you need clean air circulating through the bathroom. Even if the fumes are gone, the smell can cling to different surfaces such as fabrics, and you need to actively remove it or it’ll stick around.

Outside of this, a paint thinner odor is often a sign of a clogged pipe or an issue with your ventilation system. It’s not uncommon for all of the products we use in our bathroom to combine in our plumbing and cause an unpleasant odor, such as paint thinner. This includes not only our cleaning supplies for our bathrooms but our hygiene products too.

While it’s not as likely, depending on how your bathroom is set up, your air conditioning system may actually be causing your bathroom to smell like paint thinner. If there’s a problem with your AC, it can disrupt the odor and quality of the air it’s pumping through your home, and it can make its way through your bathroom through your ventilation system.

Should I Be Worried If My Bathroom Smells Like Paint Thinner?

The root cause of this type of smell may not cause permanent harm to your health, and it may not impact you at all. However, the troublesome smell can be a bother, and you shouldn’t have to just tolerate it. The smell over time could give you a headache or irritate your nose, throat, and eyes.

It’s important that you do a nice clean of your bathroom when you’re dealing with this problem in case that smell tries to attach itself to other surfaces in the room. This includes your towels, rugs, and shower curtain. If the smell is stuck in these fabrics, some baking soda and water paste can help pull it out if you let it set overnight.

Can I Wash Paint Thinner Smell Out Of the Fabrics?

Depending on your bathroom rugs, you may not have a choice but to use baking soda. You can also consider washing your items in some white vinegar in a sink, letting them sit in vinegar and water for at least half an hour. You can then throw these items into your washing machine using regular detergent with cold water.

The heat from your dryer should work with the vinegar and your detergent to thoroughly get rid of that awful paint thinner smell. If it doesn’t, going over your dry clothes with an iron or a steamer can be the extra touch that finally destroys the odor once and for all.

What To Do If Your Bathroom Smells Like Paint Thinner

You’ll want to determine the cause of the paint thinner odor in order to appropriately tackle the smell. If you have a window in your bathroom, open it up to try and get some fresh air circulating throughout the room. If the paint thinner smell is from a recent bathroom makeover, the window should help eliminate the majority of that smell pretty quickly.

You can also bring a dehumidifier into your bathroom for a couple of days to help remove the smell. This will also help clean up the air, making it feel fresh instead of just masking the smell. Activated charcoal is another inexpensive way to absorb odor to get it out of the bathroom.

Next, you’ll want to clean your plumbing and your vents. For your plumbing, you can use a mixture of white vinegar and baking soda and pour it down your drains. For your vents, you’ll want to wipe them out, and if you can, vacuum them out in case there is any debris caught inside.

What If The Paint Thinner Smell Doesn’t Go Away?

If you do a thorough clean, wash, and replace your bathroom linens and rugs, and air out your bathroom and you still notice that paint thinner smell, it’s possible the problem is still lurking deep within your bathroom plumbing or ventilation. You should consider calling in a plumber and/or HVAC technician to see if they can properly diagnose where the smell is coming from.

As mentioned, air conditioning units can pump out unpleasant odors when something is going on internally. The same is true of heating systems. Having an expert come in that can determine if something potentially dangerous is happening to cause this bad smell is never a bad idea; it’s better to be safe than sorry.

Is Paint Thinner Safe?

Paint thinner isn’t used as often as it once was because it’s smelly and frustrating to work with. Paint products have improved significantly, as has paint thinner; you can even find paint thinner that no longer has that awful odor. Breathing in actual paint thinner for long periods of time can be harmful, causing a lot of unpleasant symptoms including fainting.

If you’re planning to use paint thinner in your bathroom or anywhere else in your home, you should only be doing so when you know your air ventilation system is working optimally. Additionally, you should have windows open and you should be doing a thorough clean of the space once you’re finished painting.