How long before sleeping in a repainted bedroom? Experts say you shouldn't sleep in a newly painted bedroom
Essentially, experts advise on how much fresh air is needed to remove all harmful fumes from painting or remodeling a room.
The fresh air picks up paint toxins and carries them out of your room, preventing you from breathing them in. Think of it like rinsing your cup with fresh water until it's clean enough to drink from safely.
The sooner you can get fresh air in, the sooner you can safely sleep in the room. Without any circulation of fresh air, the waiting time is more than a week. Therefore, increasing the amount of fresh air in your painted room is a necessity.
How long before you sleep in a repainted bedroom: Speeding things up
For one, the best way to bring in fresh air is to place a fan in an open window and blow outside air into the room. A decent fan will blow enough air to reach the cool air goal within 3 days, so you can sleep in the bedroom again.
But be aware that sometimes it is unhealthy to open your window as temperature, humidity, air quality and other issues can damage your home and your health.
Second, the next best tip is to turn on your VMC, that is if you've painted a room that has no windows or it's not safe to open the windows.
Why should you wait to sleep in your newly painted bedroom
Your body is extremely vulnerable when you sleep, so you need to be extra careful before sleeping in a freshly painted bedroom.
Unfortunately, the new mural releases particles into the air called volatile organic compounds, or VOCs for short. VOCs are nasty little particles that float through the air in your home and create problems.
If you sleep in your bedroom right after painting it, you will be breathing in these harmful VOCs for many hours, which will be bad for your health.
VOCs can come from:
- paints, strippers and other solvents
- wood preservatives
- aerosols, cleaners and disinfectants
- moth repellents and air fresheners
- stored fuels and automotive products
- hobby supplies
- dry cleaned clothes
- building materials and furnishings
- office equipment such as copiers and printers, correction fluids and carbonless paper
- graphics and craft materials, including glues and adhesives, permanent markers and photographic solutions.
Numerous studies show that indoor VOCs in the air can cause:
- irritation of the eyes, nose and throat
- headaches, loss of coordination and nausea
- liver, kidney, and central nervous system damage
- possible cancer in animals
- possible cancer in man
- conjunctival irritation (red eyes and discharge)
- allergic skin reaction
- dyspnea (difficulty breathing)
- decreased serum cholinesterase levels (decreased nervous system function)
- vomiting (vomiting) and epistaxis (nosebleeds)
- Fatigue and vertigo
Even further, one particular study focused specifically on how your health will be affected by home decorations, stating that "our data suggest apartment redecorating is associated with the development of acute inflammation."
So be patient waiting the recommended number of days before sleeping in a freshly painted bedroom, your body will thank you later.
It is safer to use paints with low or zero VOC levels
Another way to stay safe when painting your room is to use low VOC paints.
Today, society is much more aware of VOCs and their dangers. So many paint companies are now offering low VOC and zero VOC paints that you can buy!
Low VOC content means there are far fewer dangerous fumes and chemical levels in the paint than in normal paints. Zero VOC means there are almost no harmful fumes and chemicals.
Be aware that you should always wait the recommended number of days I listed above before sleeping in the painted bedroom – even if you buy low or zero VOC paints. This is because the paint will still have traces of the harmful chemicals used.
Remove all furniture and clothing from your bedroom before painting
The next tip is to remove all soft furniture before painting your room, such as: mattresses, blankets, pillows, sofas, rugs, clothes, etc. You should also put a plastic tarp over the carpet if you cannot remove it.
If you don't remove them, VOC fumes and paint particles will be absorbed by these soft surfaces and live there for years. Over time, VOCs are released into your breathing air and harm your health.
Use an air purifier with a HEPA filter to paint your room
Air purifiers are a great way to purify the air in your room after painting it.
The air purifier draws in air, filters it, and then returns it to your room. Regular air purifier filters are usually HEPA rated, which means they are extremely good at capturing bad particles.
For best results, run air purifiers during and after painting the room.
You may even decide to keep the air purifier forever, as it is also good at filtering out dust, pollen, pet dander, and other nasty particles that normally accumulate in your room.
People with asthma should not sleep in newly painted rooms
If you suffer from asthma, you should be especially careful before sleeping in your freshly painted bedroom.
If you only have mild asthma, you should follow all the recommended steps above and also wait a few extra days before sleeping in the bedroom.
However, if you have severe asthma, you should consult your doctor before painting. They'll recommend the right steps to take to make sure your bedroom renovation doesn't cause your asthma symptoms to appear.
Young children should not sleep in a newly painted bedroom
Young children are another VOC sensitive group. If you have young children or infants sleeping in the newly painted bedroom, you should take every possible precaution!
Be sure to follow all the steps mentioned in this article: increase fresh air with an open window and fan, use an air purifier, run your HVAC, use VOC-free paint, and remove all soft furniture . Also, wait several additional days beyond the recommended waiting times above.
In fact, if you're really worried, call your pediatrician and ask them what additional steps you should take to protect your child, as they know your child's health history.
A European scientific study conducted an experiment and found that “the results suggest that household exposure to formaldehyde [a VOC from paint] increases the risk of asthma in children”.
Another scientific study found that infants who slept in a newly painted bedroom “had a more than 5 times greater risk of recent wheezing by age 7” than infants who did not!
Moreover, this experiment showed that soft bedding absorbs VOCs from paint and causes even more damage to the health of infants. Furthermore, that "several birth cohort studies have also found an exposure-response relationship between recent home decoration, including wall painting, and an increased risk of wheezing or asthma."
Thank you for protecting your children from VOCs! Be sure to take all precautions before you or your child sleeps in a newly painted bedroom.