Is Kilz Toxic To Breathe? (Assessing The Risk Of Using Kilz Products)

Kilz products come in multiple forms, depending on your household needs. This presents numerous potential hazards for the people living in the households that use them. 

Kilz paints and primers contain substances like titanium dioxide, aliphatic hydrocarbons, mineral spirits, petroleum, and kerosene, all of which are toxic, albeit to varying degrees. In large amounts, these substances can be harmful.

Then there are also Kilz products that are aerosols, which make the product particles airborne for more straightforward application. But this also means they are easier to breathe in and can exacerbate health concerns.

This article will give you more details about the safety of Kilz products and how you can minimize potential risks.

Kilz Products

Is Kilz Toxic?

Yes. On top of titanium oxide, hydrocarbons, white spirits, petroleum, and kerosene, many Kilz products contain magnesium silicate hydrate, silicate, mica, talc, nepheline syenite, rutile, and calcium carbonate.

Though things like silicate and calcium carbonate are not necessarily toxic substances in the same way mineral spirits or kerosene are, they can still be harmful in some circumstances.

Is Kilz Dangerous?

man applying primer while wearing protective clothing

No, Kilz paints and primers are not necessarily dangerous. Even though the paints and primers are made of some toxic substances, inhaling the product in small amounts is unlikely to hurt you long-term. 

The toxic substances we have listed in this article, for example, usually need to be inhaled in very high quantities before they are considered potentially fatal.

Kilz might make you a little uncomfortable, and it might even make you a little ill. However, unless you are experiencing an allergic reaction or have inhaled a lot of the product, you should be fine.

What Happens If You Inhale Kilz?

Kilz products can irritate your respiratory system, cause drowsiness, and make you dizzy, whether you inhale the aerosol version or the fumes from the liquid version. It can also induce a headache. 

The emergence of a headache, regardless of severity, is usually a sign that the product is starting to have an adverse effect on your body.

The harm caused by Kilz is usually determined by how long you have been exposed to it and how well-ventilated your work environment is in your home. Kilz manufacturers advise leaving the room(s) you are in if you get a headache or other symptoms.

The immediate antidote would be to find some fresh air to breathe in. However, if symptoms persist, it would be wise of you to visit a doctor just as a precaution.

You are actually advised against using Kilz if you are not in an environment that is well-ventilated with windows and doors or are not taking any additional precautions like wearing a mask or respirator.

Can Kilz Get You High?

Yes, Kilz can make you feel a little loopy, primarily if you use it in an area that is not particularly well-ventilated and if you use it without wearing something like a respirator. 

The feeling can last anywhere from a couple of minutes to several hours, depending on your level of exposure.

Are Kilz Fumes Harmful?

Kilz Fumes

Volatile organic compounds have been associated with toxic fumes and adverse health issues, both in the short- and long-term. 

This means that they can be harmful to you and your family.

Kilz products do contain volatile organic compounds, even though the manufacturers claim to be making a concerted effort to reduce the amount of VOCs that they use in the production process.

VOCs are more likely to impact your health when used indoors as opposed to outdoors. And anybody who purchases Kilz is probably going to be using it inside their home. 

As such, it’s essential to keep the windows and doors open during and after application to promote airflow.

How Do I Get Rid Of Kilz Fumes?

baking Soda, lemon, vinegar, and water

To neutralize Kilz fumes and the strong chemical odor associated with them, you can increase the ventilation of your home. 

But there’s also more that you can do to dilute the fumes:

Light Candles

Scented candles are essentially designed to break down odor molecules when making contact with them in the air and can effectively eliminate or mask strong odors from primers and paints. 

Ordinarily, when dealing with odor, you would burn the scented candles during the activity that produces the odor. 

But because Kilz is a flammable product, only light candles after you have finished painting and ventilating the area.

Coffee Beans

Coffee beans are highly effective at getting rid of Kilz fumes because coffee grounds contain nitrogen, which will then absorb the odors and fumes.

Baking Soda

Baking soda also absorbs smells from the surroundings. The compounds in the baking soda initiate a chemical reaction that breaks down the molecules in the fumes and neutralizes overwhelming smells.


Like coffee beans, charcoal has strong absorption qualities, which help remove Kilz (or any similar fumes from your living space). 

The thing about charcoal is that it is very porous, which is what makes it better equipped to absorb any odor-causing molecules within the paint products you use.

Water And Lemon

Water and lemon work in partnership to mitigate the impact of odors in your living space. While the water effectively soaks up the fumes, the lemon provides your living space with a fresh scent to mask the remaining odor.

Paint ladder, paint cans, rollers and paint catalogue


While Kilz products do often contain toxic compounds like VOCs, mineral spirits, and kerosene, it’s not inherently dangerous to use the products. What’s most important is following safety protocols like using cross-ventilation and wearing a mask or respirator.

If you find the smell of Kilz products overwhelming, you can pause your project and leave the room for a while or employ one of the methods above, like using lemon water, baking soda, or charcoal to mask or eliminate fumes.