How to reduce solvent odours when using oil paint

Let’s face it – solvents can be strong smelling, and with many artists painting within their home or in shared studio spaces, this can seem off-putting. The good news is, it’s possible to reduce this odour.

First, you might want to try Winsor & Newton Sansodor, which gives off a low-level odour during painting. Then, if you’re looking for a low-odour solvent to clean material after painting, the new Winsor & Newton Brush Cleaner does the trick nicely – removing dried oil, alkyd and acrylic colour from brushes. It’s also water-miscible, which means it can be used with water. There are also practical things you can do to keep your space smelling as fresh and odour-free as possible.

Top tips for reducing odours:

  • Make sure your workspace has access to plenty of fresh air, ventilation and circulation.
  • Do not sleep in the same space as your materials if you are leaving them there overnight. In particular, be sure to dispose of unused solvents and dirty rags in fireproof and solvent-proof containers.
  • Store all solvents tightly capped when not in use.
  • Keep your skin contact with solvents to a minimum.
  • It’s a good idea to avoid prolonged inhalation of solvent vapours.
  • Try not to pour out more solvent than you need in each painting session, as it will evaporate into the room.
  • It’s better to use a hand cleanser to wash colour from your hands instead of a solvent.

Want to completely avoid using solvents in your oil painting? Try Winsor & Newton Artisan Water Mixable Oil Colour, which allows you to use water rather than turpentine to thin colours and clean brushes. Artisan has its own dedicated collection of mediums.