How to Get Rid of Wood Stain Smell?

The wood stain smell might not be harmful if inhaled in a large quantity. A simple way to get rid of the wood stain smell is by letting fresh air in through open ventilation. More about how to get rid of wood stain smell will be discussed in this article.

Let’s get straight to the point:

How To Get Rid Of Wood Stain Smell?

Thorough ventilation is the best way to remove wood stain, followed by distilled white vinegar, which will help reduce the toxic, pungent odor of wood stains. Stain contains formaldehyde and benzene compounds that are harmful to human health, and timely removal is necessary.

Besides that, are you wondering what that unpleasant smell oozing out of your wood stain is? What causes wood stains to smell? Is the wood stain smell harmful? How to get rid of wood stain smell? Sincerely, wood stain smell can be caused by a lot of factors such as the chemical reaction between the component of the wood stain and atmospheric moisture.

How To Get Rid Of Wood Stain Smell

Read on to find out more!

Wood Stain Smell

What Does Wood Stain Smell Like?

Ordinarily, wood stains have a strong and toxic smell. This strong smell is associated with the naturally harmful chemical compounds in wood stains. It abounds especially in oil-based stain & acrylic stains.

These chemicals evaporate from stained surfaces to become volatile organic compounds which when reacted with other atmospheric gases like oxygen bring about that smelly air you perceive from your wood stain. The wood stain smell can be compared to a pungent smell which gives off smoke odors more like fireplace smoke odors.

What Causes the Wood Stain Smell?

Volatile compounds like arsenic and formaldehyde in some wood stains are the major causes of wood stain smell. It is not caused by household odors. It is a natural smell emitted from a stained surface until the wood stain cures. The best way to put an end to this causal factor is to opt-in for water-based stains that do not contain these harmful chemicals or go for stains with ultra-low VOCs.

Hazards of Wood Stain Odor

Are Wood Stain Fumes Flammable?

Yes. Vapors evaporating from wood stain in liquid form and when the stain is curing is flammable. This is the reason it is always pointed out to stain in a well-ventilated environment.

However, after all the noxious solvent gotten from petroleum in the stain has evaporated, your wood stain is cured and no longer flammable.

Is Wood Stain Smell Toxic?

Apart from the strong wood stain smells, they also are toxic to the human body. Some stain labels even point out the level of this toxicity to human health.

Hence, you might see labels such as Carcinogenic, Skin & eye irritant, and the like. Nevertheless, when your stain is completely dried and cured, there is no cause for alarm.

How Long Are Wood Stain Fumes Toxic Last?

Generally, the odor of a wood stain can last from 24 hours to 48 hours or even longer, depending on whether the stain is a water-based or oil-based type.

But to be honest, as long as your wood stain is not fully dried, the volatile and toxic solvent in there will continually evaporate to bring out those offensive smells. And, the drying time depends on the initial staining atmospheric conditions. To get rid of wood stain smell quickly, you can use tools such as a dehumidifier and air conditioner

Wood Stain Fumes Side Effects

The human body system is wired in such a way that exposure to certain harmful substances can be detected with some side effects. The side effects of the wood stain are dependent on the degree of exposure. Every living thing breathes in and out.

However, the quality of air being inhaled can affect an individual’s overall health. Hence, the following are the possible side effect that could result from inhaling wood stain toxic vapors:

  1. Skin and eye irritation
  2. Headaches
  3. Dizziness
  4. Nausea and vomiting

However, this does not rule out the fact that wood stains are not good. All you need to do is strictly follow the stated precautions and instructions.

Also, you should be patient for your wood stain to get dried before use. This is because prolonged exposure to stain smell can cause:

  1. Respiratory issues
  2. Wood stain poisoning
  3. Impaired vision
  4. Nervous system break down, etc

8 Effective Ways To Remove Wood Stain Odor

Thorough Ventilation

This is one of the easiest ways of removing wood stain smell. The more the stain is curing by releasing those vapors, the more the air is concentrated with unpleasant odors.

If the pungent odor is not allowed to escape through ventilation, the harmful odor vaporizes and condenses back on the stain again. Once, this cycle continues, your stained wood will not dry, and the toxic smell remains.

Hence, open all windows for fresh air to come in and purify the strong odors. There should be excellent air circulation. Therefore, depending on your location you can open windows overnight to allow proper ventilation. After 3 to 5 days, the bad smell should have subsided.

Use A Fan or Air Purifier

Furthermore, there are different seasons, and the ventilation method is not suitable to be used in all the seasons. Perhaps, it is the rainy time of the year, and you cannot open all the windows to avoid water touching the drying wood stain. It is quite understandable, alternative methods to use to apply fresh air are air purifiers or fans.

Air purifiers like HEPA filters work to sieve all particles in the air. In this way, as the stain odor vaporizes and spread and smells, the purifier removes the stain vapors thereby, removing the air.

Also, you can use exhaust fans or ceiling fans to get rid of strong odors. The technique is simple, the fans, circulate the smelly vapor and gradually direct them outside.

Use Activated Charcoal

When it comes to purifying the air from pollutants, using activated charcoal has been an effective remedy. It is used in some air conditioners as an air purifier. The reason for this is that just like magnets attract metals, activated charcoal attracts particles in the air. It absorbs odors quickly. This is due to its large surface area containing many particle-trapping pores.

Here is how to get rid of wood stain smell using this method. Put some charcoal in containers and place them inside the stained room. The odor gets removed gradually as you change the carbon charcoal inside the containers.

However, you might need to carry out this procedure between 2 to 4 days for a strong smell. For effective results, use ventilation or fan method before or after it.

Use Orange, Lemon

Do you know you can use those citrus fruits to remove that unpleasant stain smell? All you need is the peels of oranges, and slices of lemon. Do you want to know how? For the orange peel, the number of peels you need depends on the size of the room.

However, for a start, peel 3 large-sized oranges. Put the peels in a bowl and place them at the angles or sides of the stained room.

Leave it for a few hours. As each hour passes, the smelly odor reduces. For lemons, cut them into moderate slices and put them into opened flat plates. Then place them on the sidewalls of the stained surface for a few hours and replace them. These methods are best used in an enclosed arena.

Use Onions

This sounds like an irony right, because you think the onion itself has a kind of smell. Nevertheless, they can be used to remove stain smell. You can never use onions secretly, the smell will always give it out. This is because onion vegetable likes to give off their smell to absorb odors. The smell releases and then neutralize the air.

Here is how to get rid of wood stain smell using this vegetable. Cut a bulb of onion into four equal sizes. Place each of them in a bowl, then pour inside each bowl a liter of water.

Then, put these bowls on the wood surface. You should allow the onions in water to do their work for 48 hours and above. Although you can repeat the technique every 24 hours.

Use Baking Soda

Baking soda, also called bicarbonate of soda is a basic substance that has been used to absorb odors for a long time. It is a traditional method of removing odors. From basic science, the chemical reaction of a base and acid is called a neutralization reaction.

Similarly, the baking soda which is a base, combined with the toxic acidic wood stain odor, neutralizes it thereby removing the wood smell.

To use, you either sprinkle it directly on stained area or mix it with water in the ratio of 1 to 3 and put it inside the stained area overnight. Sprinkled baking soda might be hard to remove, therefore use the second option.

Use Vinegar

There are more than seven types of vinegar. However, the one to use to remove wood stain smell is white vinegar. This distilled white vinegar contains acetic acid. The acetic acid has a characteristic of vaporizing to mix with particles in the atmosphere, thereby removing bad odor.

There are different ways of using white vinegar. You either mix it with water or not. Pour a little quantity of the distilled white vinegar into three different small containers, then place it inside the stained area.

Or, to steady the way at which the acid evaporates, you can place a nylon lid with holes on the vinegar-containing bowls. This way you adequately get rid of wood stain smell by vinegar smell.

Apply Encapsulating Sealer

This encapsulating sealer comes in handy when you have tried all you could to get rid of wood stain smell but the smell persists. At this junction, I will advise applying coat encapsulating sealer.

However, it is good to remember that this method is quite stressful because you will have to do some woodworking again. An encapsulating sealer can be used because the chemicals therein are not toxic, and do not smell.

All you have to do is apply a coat of the sealer, and it seals the wood stain smell and toxicity. However, remember that the reason stained furniture smells is that it hasn’t completely dry. Hence, you have to wait for your stained wood to dry before applying the sealer, or else you will wet your wood again.

Tips To Avoid Toxic Wood Stain Odor

The following information is helpful for you to know how to prevent wood stain smell the next time you are staining wood furniture. The first thing to note is that not all stains are formulated with toxic chemicals derived from petroleum. Hence, you might want to choose one for your next staining project.

Another thing to note to avoid toxic wood stain odor is the staining time. If you are working with stains containing toxic solvents, the best time to stain is during the dry season when there is adequate ventilation to dry it. If you stain when the relative humidity is high, ensure you make use of the necessary tools to dry your stain until cured.

Also, using exterior stain for staining wood outdoors on interior surfaces should be avoided as this could lead to longer drying time, thereby smelling. Lastly, properly clean your staining pieces of equipment before storing them.


Are wood stain odors harmful to dogs?

The sense of smell of dogs is said to be sharper than that of man. Therefore, wet stain vapors are twice as harmful to dogs and pets generally. If ingested, it could lead to coughing and nasal congestion. This is more of the reasons pet supply stores should utilize pet-friendly stain

Is water-based wood stain toxic?

Just as the name implies, stains whose solvents are water and do not contain toxic compounds. However, water stains can sufficiently be termed as non-toxic only after it has been cured. This is because some water-based stains still contain a small number of a volatile organic chemical that gives off a strong smell. That is, they have ultra-low VOCs compared to oil-based stains.

Is wood stain toxic after drying?

Ordinarily, a stain is no longer toxic after it is dried. This is simply because the harmful volatile compounds would have evaporated into the atmosphere. This however is polluting and damaging the atmospheric air.

Hence, to preserve our climate and environment, stains should be formulated with less of those harmful compounds.

How to get rid of the Minwax stain smell?

Still, thinking of how to get rid of wood stain smell oozing out of your Minwax stain? It is time you got to work and use some drying techniques stipulated above. The first thing you need to get rid of the Minwax strong wood stain smells is excellent ventilation during the day. After which you can use home remedies like baking soda over the night

How do you get rid of stain odor fast?

I would say the ventilation method combined with activated charcoal, a good adsorbent will remove wood stain harmful odor fast. During the day, open all windows. Use exhaust fans and ceiling fans to direct the odor out the window. Let this be for at least a couple of hours during the day. Then at night, you apply the charcoal which swiftly absorbs odors.


I hope you now have a knowledge of how to get rid of wood stain smell. Out of all the odor removal methods, I really can’t say this is the best method. However, since the volatile acid in white vinegar escapes by combining with particles in the air to remove them. Therefore, I recommend the method of applying white vinegar combined with complete ventilation.

Nevertheless, cross air circulation and proper ventilation are sufficient natural methods to remove those smells if you are patient. Therefore for a prompt result, irrespective of the method you want to use, always ventilate to disperse and dissipated those stain smell.

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