Whether you’ve recently painted your room, or you’re planning on spending a Sunday afternoon sprucing up your favorite spaces with a lick of new paint, you might be currently asking yourself whether or not it’s a good idea to sleep in your freshly painted room.
Sleeping in a freshly painted room is not safe under any circumstances, and can be particularly harmful to vulnerable people including children, the elderly, and pregnant women. This is because, when you freshly paint the walls or a surface in a room, something known as VOC chemicals are released from the paint mixture.
If a person is exposed to VOC chemicals (especially for a prolonged period of time such as throughout the night) then it can cause a variety of different health issues including allergic reactions, damage to the organs, and even a weakening of the immune system.
For this reason, you should always make sure that you give the paint at least 72 hours to properly dry once painted, to ensure that all of the VOC chemical particles in the air have completely disappeared.
How long after you paint a room can you sleep in it?
After you have painted a room, you should wait around 72 hours before you or your family sleep in the room.
Sleeping inside a freshly painted room is not safe because fresh, wet paint contains something known as volatile organic compounds (otherwise known as VOCs) which can become gasses when exposed to room temperature. These glasses can cause a variety of different health issues, including the following:
Can cause damage to the nervous system
One of the first detrimental effects that exposure to VOCs can have on the human body is damage to the nervous system.
The emission of these fumes caused by the paint chemicals can gather inside the brain as they are breathed in, potentially causing symptoms such as a loss of coordination, loss of memory, as well as even dizziness.
Can cause damage to the organs
The next biggest health issue that exposure to VOCs from the paint can cause is damage to the vital organs. Exposure to VOCs can cause these chemicals to pass through the bloodstream (either from direct contact with the skin or through breathing them in) which can impair the healthy functioning of important organs including the lungs, liver, and kidney, which is the main organ that is vital to being able to rid the body of nasty toxins!
In addition to this, exposure to VOCs can also cause potential breathing problems that may require immediate medical assistance, including throat, nose, and eye irritation, as well as even intense asthma attacks.
Can cause allergic reactions
Besides damage to the nervous system as well as vital organs, another health problem that exposure to VOCs can cause is a potential allergic reaction.
These allergic reactions can range from mild to severe, including nausea, headaches, and even eczema flare-ups for those who suffer from it.
How long do VOCs last after painting?
Though VOCs are present in a variety of household products that you’re likely already using around your home, they are most common in paint. Exposure to VOCs can be very dangerous for people of all ages, although they pose the greatest risks to people who are more mature in age, young children, pregnant women, as well as people who suffer from a weak immune system.
When it comes to freshly painted walls or surfaces in the home, VOCs are usually released into the air during the drying process, in which they often turn into gasses due to exposure to room temperature. As soon as these glasses are released into the air, they will continue to stay there until the paint has fully dried, after which they will usually dissipate without any issues.
However, it’s important to keep in mind that, as VOC volume varies depending on the quality and price of the paint, it can mean that VOCs are able to linger around for quite some time after the paint has fully dried.
For this reason, we recommend that you make sure that your freshly painted room is fully ventilated, as this will help to get rid of stubborn VOCs – especially those that have come from high volume VOC paint!
Does paint dry VOCs go away?
In general, most VOCs that are released from the fresh paint mixture will usually dissipate almost immediately as the paint dries, although this isn’t necessarily always the case.
When it comes to house paint, VOCs will be released into the air during the drying process and pose a risk of multiple different health conditions, which is why it’s so important to make sure that you try and ensure that you totally rid your freshly painted space of them.
How many VOCs that enter the air of the room you’ve painted will greatly depend on what type of paint you are using, as there is both high and low-volume VOC paint available to buy on the market. However, generally speaking, average indoor VOC levels can become extremely condensed and rise to around 1000 times higher than that of outdoor air VOC levels, which is why it’s important that you avoid the freshly painted room until the paint has fully dried, which is usually around 3 days.
However, if you’d like to speed the VOC removing process up, while also ensuring that lingering VOC gasses do not stick around, you should make sure that the area you have painted is extremely well ventilated. By opening a window or two (or even incorporating the use of a fan) you will help to make sure that the air containing the dangerous VOCs is released outside of your home.
Thanks to this, this will mean that after the paint has dried, you will be able to sleep and spend time again in the room with the peace of mind that all of the toxic VOCs have been successfully removed from the air.