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How Long Does Lacquer Smell Last? (Quick Answers)

To protect your furniture and keep them new for a long time using lacquer coating is very essential. We’re sure you already have an idea how lacquer makes your decors resistant to damage and long-lasting.  

But if you’re not a fan of off-gassing smells, you might not love to breathe in a room filled with the odor of lacquer. So you might ask how long this chemical smell of lacquer stays.

We’d like to share our answers and explanation on everything about lacquer including how long can lacquer odor last in a place.

How long does lacquer smell last?

The lacquer smell starts to fade within 48 hours. But it takes at least 7 days and a maximum of 14 days for the off-gassing to become nearly undetectable. Depending on the ventilation of the place and the measures taken to diminish the smell, lacquer odor, in general, lasts from 2 days to 14 days.

Lacquer is used as a coating over wooden or metal pieces and furniture to keep them out of damage such as unsmooth texture, dullness, water damage, etc. It also helps to keep the color vibrant for a long time while protecting the paint from tarnishing.  

There are a few reasons people choose lacquer, mostly for the woods over other coatings such as varnish, or wax. For example, it’s thinner than other coatings, it’s more durable, suitable for many types of paint. But what many people dislike about lacquer is its strong smell.

Lacquer fumes and their unpleasant smell spread all around the place whenever you work with lacquer. Its strong chemical-like odor stays a minimum of 7 days in the place if the place has a good ventilation system. 

If the room doesn’t have proper ventilation the smell can last up to 14 days and even more in some cases.  

So in general the odor of lacquer hangs around the air for 48 hours to 1 week. But eventually, the odor fades less than in a month naturally.

Lacquer fumes stay longer than their’ smell mostly in closed areas like inside the closet or in a tight-spaced room. You may smell lacquer fumes, also known as off-gassing in the air for more than a month. 

However, the process of eliminating lacquer odor and off-gassing can be accelerated by taking some measures such as ensuring better airflow or using vinegar or charcoal.

What does lacquer smell like?

Lacquer has a sharp and chemical-like smell that’s similar to nail polish removers’ smell. The odor of lacquer is also named off-gassing. 

Lacquer is produced by dissolving nitrocellulose compounds along with many other solvents. So it has a very strong foul chemical odor many people find intolerable.

Lacquer smells can be explained best if we compare them with the odor of paint thinner, nail polish remover, or spirit. The chemicals used in lacquer such as cellulose nitrate, formaldehyde, phenols, acetone, xyloid, etc. are responsible for this pungent odor of lacquer. 

But the intensity of the smell can vary depending on how properly the place is ventilated.

The odor of lacquer often triggers headaches, nausea, drowsiness in a lot of people when inhaled for a long time. Lacquer fumes or off-gassing too feels unpleasant as make people sick with dizziness, shortness of breath, or irritated eyes.

Does the smell of lacquer go away?

Lacquer contains a sharp and displeasing chemical-type smell. The smell continues to be in the air even after you’re done with using your lacquer over furniture or decorative pieces.

But gladly you don’t have to live with that odor forever since the smell gradually fades away naturally

The smell of lacquer feels too strong in the first 48 hours but after that, it starts to fade. If the room has a good airflow and ventilation system, the smell of lacquer usually diminishes in 7 days. 

Depending on how much you’ve used, the space of the room or airflow lacquer odor can hang around the air for 30-40 days maximum. 

Even if you don’t try to eliminate the smell by applying different methods the smell of lacquer becomes undetectable after 1 month. However, lacquer fume can be still inside the coated pieces for months.

Is it bad to breathe in lacquer? Is lacquer toxic when dry?

Lacquer since it’s a coating to make furniture durable and glossy contains many chemicals. For this reason, it doesn’t smell nice neither it should be smelled for long.

Lacquer has a strong, pungent, chemical kind of odor as chemicals like urethane, phenols, cyanide, acetone, xyloid are used in its production. These chemicals are dangerous when inhaled from too close or for too long. 

When breathed in these particles can harm the lungs and throat by causing difficulty in breathing, sore throat, or irritation. People might even need medical attention if the duration and amount of lacquer smell inhalation are too much.

But lacquer isn’t too toxic when it’s dried completely. Lacquer fume or smell isn’t much stronger when the coating is not wet anymore. With time the smell too fades. So lacquer isn’t toxic much when it’s dried.

Is the smell of lacquer harmful? How long are lacquer fumes harmful?

Inhaling the smell of lacquer is hazardous. Especially when it smelled from a close distance and much often. When taken with air, the chemicals in lacquer harms different parts of our body by creating dizziness, nausea, or headache. 

When inhaled lacquer odor for too long, a person might experience difficulty in breathing, irritation in the eyes or nose. In the worst case, the compound in lacquer smell can cause severe damage to our organs.

Lacquer fumes are hazardous since it’s the harsh chemicals of lacquer in a vaporized form. But it’s not harmful always. Lacquer fumes are most harmful in the first 30-40 days. Sometimes it takes more than a couple of months to vanish completely.

But usually, within a month, the off-gassing starts to reduce unless there is no proper ventilation for the fumes to pass on.

How long does it take for the lacquer to stop smelling?

In general, it takes a minimum of fourteen days for the lacquer smell to completely vanish. And within 15 days to a month, lacquer stops smelling in most cases.

The smell of lacquer is very strong that stays in the air even after the lacquer has dried. Since lacquer includes many chemicals that have their own odors, the combination of many chemical compounds sharpens the odor of lacquer. 

When being used as a coating, lacquer odor spreads in the air quickly while making the varnished pieces and the place smells like lacquer. The smell can be in the air from 3 days to 14 days if the place has a good air passing space.  

Mostly after 7 days’ the lacquer smell gets unnoticeable and totally stops smelling after 2 weeks. But the duration can be longer depending on various facts.

How do you get rid of the smell of lacquer?

Whether you want to give a glossy finish to your old tea table or planning to make the new sofa durable, lacquer is the best thing you need to use. But what about the unpleasant smell it leaves? 

Well, there are some steps you can apply to fasten lacquer’s smell-eliminating process you can follow: 

Ensure proper ventilation:

The first step is to ensure proper airflow through the space so that the smell leaves your place soon. Keep the windows and doors open as long as you can.

Try white vinegar:

Then, fill a small bowl with vinegar and keep them in places such as inside the closet, drawer, or cabinet. This will help to neutralize the chemical odor of lacquer.

Use cinnamon-orange peel mixture:

Boil orange peel and a few cinnamons together and keep them in the room. This will overlayer the smell of lacquer.

Use Charcoal:

Activated charcoal is the best thing that absorbs any strong odor fast. Put some small pieces of charcoals in every room that has a lacquer smell. Also on the top and inside of lacquer-coated furniture.

Use essential oils:

Essential oils such as peppermint, lemon, rosemary works effectively against foul odors. Try using these oils to get rid of lacquer odor.

Use baking soda:

Put a small amount of baking soda in every place smelling like lacquer. Replace the soda every day. Baking soda will absorb the odor of lacquer and diminish it faster.

Final Thoughts:

The smell of lacquer usually lasts for 2 weeks. It starts to lighten naturally within 2 days after lacquer is applied. but if the place isn’t well-ventilated the smell or fume can last more than 14 days. However, you can speed up the smell-eliminating procedure by trying out some simple hacks.