Painting your home is always a hassle. If you paint more than one room, how do you know whether it’s safe to sleep in a room you’ve just painted?
You can sleep in a room you’ve just painted if you take the proper precautions. You need to let the paint dry totally, as well as air out the room. If you don’t, the paint fumes can be harmful to your health.
Read on to find out how much time you need to wait to let your paint dry, how to get it to dry faster, and more. After reading through it, you’ll feel safe enough to sleep in a room after painting!
How Long Do You Need to Let Paint Dry?
Paint dries at different rates depending on a few different factors.
Some factors that determine how fast paint dries include:
- Type of paint
Latex paints, the most common paint for households, dries faster than oil-based paint. If you’re looking for fast-drying paint, stick with latex.
If the humidity is too high, paint can’t dry because there’s too much moisture in the air! Temperature also affects how fast paint dries.
If your room is too cold, it will take longer to dry. The ideal temperature and humidity to use latex paint is above 60ºF and below 60% humidity.
At that temperature and humidity level, latex paints take roughly one hour to feel dry to the touch and four hours until you can recoat. While you’re painting and letting it dry, always keep the windows in your home open so that any fumes can disperse.
What About Oil Paint?
Although latex paint is the most common, people use other types of paint for different purposes. For example, oil-based paints are best for high-moisture areas, like a bathroom.
Oil-based paints take much longer to dry, about eight hours until dry to the touch, and another 24 to re-coat.
How Long Until I Can Sleep in a Painted Room?
Now that we know it takes an hour for latex paint to dry and eight hours for oil paint to dry, I can let you know how long until you can sleep in a freshly painted room.
For latex-based paints, wait about one hour until the paint has completely dried. After the paint is dry to the touch, open up any windows in the room to let the fumes escape. Leave the windows open until you can’t smell any paint.
For oil-based paints, wait until it has dried, about eight hours. Once the paint dries, repeat the same process as latex paints. Oil-based paints will take much longer for any fumes to disperse out of your room, so wait longer to be safe.
So, how long does it take until you sleep in a room after painting?
Once the paint has dried, roughly two hours of fresh air flowing through the room will make it safe to sleep in. Even after the room is safe to sleep in, continue allowing fresh air into the room for the next two or three days to ensure proper ventilation.
Harmful Effects of Paint Fumes
All paints contain volatile organic compounds (VOCs). VOCs are harmful to your health if you breathe in too much.
Some of the harmful effects include:
- Eye, nose, and throat issues
- Liver and kidney damage
- Central nervous system damage
Damage to your kidneys, liver, and central nervous system can only occur with high levels of exposure. Cancer caused by VOCs has only been observed in animals, but it’s thought it may occur in humans as well.
The most common symptoms of exposure to high levels of VOCs are headache, nausea, and eye, nose, and throat discomfort. These symptoms aren’t too serious, but repeat and lengthy exposures can lead to much more serious symptoms.
VOC Levels in Latex and Oil Paints
VOCs are present in higher quantities inside a home than outside. Aside from paints, household cleaning supplies, degreasing agents, glues, and other products also contain VOCs.
All of these products make the VOC level inside your home high!
Since VOC levels are already higher in your home, paint manufacturers have tried to come up with less harmful paint formulas. For example, latex paint comes in low-VOC and no-VOC formulas. As you can probably guess, these non-toxic paints have become more popular in recent years!
We measure VOCs by looking at how many grams of volatile compounds are present in the paint per liter.
The average level of VOCs in latex paint is 150 grams per liter. Low-VOC formulas are 50 grams per liter, while no-VOC formulas must have less than five grams per liter.
Oil-based paints have much higher levels of VOC. On average, oil-based paints will have 350 grams per liter. That’s more than twice as many harmful compounds as latex paint!
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Here are some of the most common questions we get asked about painting and sleeping in a room after painting.
What Will Happen if You Sleep in a Freshly Painted Room?
If you wait the appropriate amount of time before sleeping in a freshly painted room, you shouldn’t have any problems. By that point, the high levels of VOCs have dispersed themselves.
If you don’t wait the correct amount of time, the first symptoms of VOC exposure will be a headache and nausea. If you experience these symptoms, leave the room immediately. If the symptoms persist or worsen after leaving the room, seek medical attention.
If you experience more extreme symptoms like those listed above, get medical attention because the symptoms may continue to get worse.
Do You Have to Take Precautions When Painting Your Car?
Whether you’re just painting a hardtop or you’re looking to paint your entire vehicle, you should take some precautions. If you’re painting your car in a garage, it’s best to keep the garage door open. That way, any VOCs from your car paint will disperse outside.
Even if you take precautions, it’s best not to spend too much time in a room with a freshly painted car. Car paints are primarily acrylic, meaning they don’t give off as many VOCs as oil-based paints. That doesn’t mean they’re safe to breathe, though.
What if Your Room Has No Windows?
If you’re painting a room with no windows, it can take much longer to allow the paint to dry and the VOCs to disperse. If you paint a room with no windows, don’t sleep in it. It can take up to three days for the paint to dry entirely and stop releasing VOCs.
If you paint a room with no windows, ensure that other windows in your home are open at all times. By doing so, you’ll make sure VOCs don’t build up to dangerous levels in your home.
Wrap-up on sleeping in a room after painting
So, now you know you can sleep in a room after painting if you take the proper precautions. Although latex paints are less toxic than their oil counterparts, that doesn’t mean you can sit in a room with latex paint and expect to be fine.
You can ensure you’re safe to sleep in a freshly painted room by giving the room adequate ventilation and time. Now that you know, it’s time to start that painting project!