Expert Advice: Improve the Smell of Paint

Painting expert Brian Santos shares his secret for altering paint scent. Read more in his new book, "Painting Secrets."


+ enlarge image Author Brian Santos

Q. I hate the smell of paint -- can you help?

Brian Santos: I've been painting all my life and I still do not like the smell of paint! Here's a tip: To every quart of interior latex paint, add four drops of vanilla extract. You can also use other extracts, such as peppermint, as long as the alcohol in the ingredients is methyl alcohol, which is formulated to mix with water. Do not use perfume or other alcohol-based fragrances; they won't mix properly with water-based paint. Unfortunately there's no similar trick you can use with oil-based finishes.

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