The Importance of Ventilation When Painting Indoors

ECOS Paints 11/17/2020
The Importance of Ventilation When Painting Indoors

When it comes to home improvement, safety should be a top priority. For some projects, this may mean wearing protective goggles or heavy-duty gloves. For others, it may mean keeping out young children or pets. If your project involves painting, then keeping your space ventilated must be one of your safety priorities.

Health Concerns

Many indoor paints affect indoor air quality because of the presence of volatile organic compounds, or VOCs. VOCs evaporate into the air as you paint and even more so as the paint dries. When you paint in an unventilated area, these particles become trapped in the space and continue to accumulate throughout the project. These compounds can cause nausea, dizziness, headaches, and shortness of breath in anyone exposed to them. However, there may be more severe reactions for people with health conditions.


Because of the effects that VOCs have on airways, exposure to paint fumes can trigger asthma attacks. Exposure to VOCs has also been linked to higher rates of asthma in children. Keeping an area ventilated reduces the level of the compounds in a space, thereby reducing the rate and severity of these issues. Interestingly enough, one study observed that using paints without VOCs greatly reduced the symptoms experienced by people with asthma. This is just one more reason to invest in our zero-VOC* primers and paints.

Chemical Sensitivities

Some people find that exposure to chemicals affects their health in a more generalized way. People with multiple chemical sensitivities find that exposure to certain chemicals can trigger symptoms of rashes, muscle and joint pain, headaches, fatigue, and even greater susceptibility to other illnesses.

Pregnancy and Babies

Research is mixed when it comes to the effects conventional paint fumes can have on unborn babies. Most sources state that paint fumes slightly increase the chance of birth defects, but not enough to make it dangerous for pregnant women to paint. However, paint fumes can also affect the mother herself. Pregnancy tends to make the sense of smell more sensitive, so paint fumes are more likely to cause nausea in pregnant women.

Even if paint doesn’t affect an unborn baby, it can make a big difference to a baby once they’re born. This can become a problem if a nursery is painted too close to the time a baby is born. VOCs can linger in the air long after painting is complete, making it even more important to ventilate a space during painting and after.

Quick Ventilation Tips

We can’t overstate the importance of ventilation when painting indoors. Fortunately, keeping an area well ventilated during painting is simple:

  • Keep windows and doors open.
  • Use fans to keep air moving.
  • Encourage cross-ventilation.
  • Keep the area ventilated for at least three days after painting.
  • Be aware of vents that lead to other rooms or units.
  • Take breaks while painting.

At ECOS, we want to help you create a healthier home. That’s why our products are VOC-free and odorless*. That way, you and your household can breathe easier.

Zero VOC - Conforms to CDPH 01350 (VOC emissions test taken at 11, 12, & 14 days for classroom and office use).

Odorless - no traditional paint (polyurethane) odor, which can cause headaches, nausea, and respiratory issues.