11 Safe And Effective Ways To Clear Lungs Of Spray Paint

If you accidentally inhaled a little spray paint during your last project, you might be wondering how big of a problem you have on yours hands as well as how to clear out your lungs of any spray paint. Inhaling enough spray paint could cause damage to your lungs as well as other organs such as the nose, eyes, and throat. You might also experience headaches or dizziness.

The best ways to clear your lungs of spray paint are using steam therapy, coughing up excess mucus, using postural drainage, exercising, drinking green tea, eating anti-inflammatory foods, using chest percussion, using a ventilator, using an air purifier, avoiding smoking, and avoiding drinking alcohol.

Of course the best solution is prevention, but if you are already reading this article we’re a bit past that. Read on to learn more about the potential issues with inhaling spray paint and 11 methods to help get rid of the problem.

How to clear lungs of spray paint?

Inhaling spray paint may cause severe damage to the lungs and other organs of the body. If you’ve already inhaled some the paint, however, these are some things that you can do.

Here are the 11 best ways to clear your lungs of spray paint:

  • Using steam therapy
  • Coughing up excess mucus
  • Using postural drainage
  • Exercising
  • Drinking green tea
  • Eating anti-inflammatory foods
  • Using chest percussion
  • Using a ventilator
  • Using an air purifier
  • Avoiding smoking
  • Avoiding drinking alcohol.

1. Use steam therapy

Steam therapy, also known as steam inhalation, is where you inhale steam vapor to open the airways and assist in removing spray paint from the lungs.

person using steam therapy to remove spray paint from her lungs

Steam Therapy

Looking at a recent study that involved 16 males suffering from chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder (COPD), a lung disease that makes breathing more difficult, researchers found that using steam masks led to significantly lower heart rates and respiration rates than non-steam mask therapy.

So, if you have inhaled some paint, the best way to get rid of them is by using steam therapy to loosen and remove the toxins from your lungs. Make sure that the water is not too hot when you are inhaling steam. Also, use a towel to cover your head while taking steam so that the vapors do not escape. Inhale steam for 5 to 10 minutes and repeat as necessary.

2. Coughing up excess mucus

Coughing is a way for the body to flush out toxins that have been stuck in mucus naturally. The controlled coughing process loosens spray paints from the lungs and moves it into the throat or sinuses.

With a few extra coughs, you’ll be able to get rid of that excess mucus and the spray paint stuck within.

person using controlled coughing to remove excess mucus

Controlled Coughing

Follow the steps below to rid your lungs of the spray paint:

  • You can sit on a stool with your shoulders relaxed, keeping your feet flat on the floor.
  • Place the arms across the stomach.
  • Inhale slowly through the nose.
  • Slowly exhale and lean forward, pressing the arms into the stomach.
  • Cough 2-3 times as you exhale while ensuring your mouth is slightly open.
  • Inhale through your nose slowly.
  • Refresh and repeat as required

After you are done coughing, you will notice that most of the paint is out of your system and the irritation should start to subside. Your lungs will feel less congested, and it will be easier to breathe.

3. Postural drainage technique

Postural drainage is basically done by lying in different positions to utilize gravity to eliminate mucus from the lungs. You can also try this technique to get rid of spray paint in your lungs.

This technique can aid breathing and may help prevent or treat lung infections.

The postural area’s drainage techniques differ based on the patient’s position. You can try this technique in three different positions:

1. On your back

  • Relax on the floor or a mattress.
  • Place pillows on the hips so that your chest is higher than the hips.
  • Inhale slowly through the nose, and exhale out through the mouth. Each exhale should be twice as time as the inhale. This is known as 1:2 breathing. For a few minutes, continue.

2. On your side

  • Lie on one side and rest your head on a pillow or arm.
  • Pillows under the hips.
  • Try breathing in the 1:2 pattern explained above.
  • Continue for a few minutes.
  • Repeat with the opposite side.

3. On your stomach

  • Put a pile of pillows on your floor.
  • Lay down on your stomach and place your feet in front of the pillows. Keep your hips higher than the chest.
  • The arms should be folded under the head to support.
  • Try breathing in the 1:2 pattern explained above.
  • Continue for a few minutes.

Once you follow this technique for a few minutes, you will feel that the spray paint is moving out of your lungs, and it will be easier to breathe. If you want to remove the spray paint completely, you can try this technique in all three positions.

4. Exercise:

Exercise is a great way to get rid of toxins from the body. It helps in improving lung capacity and also strengthens the respiratory muscles. When you exercise, your body gets rid of all the toxins through sweat.

So, if you have inhaled some spray paint, one of the best ways to get rid of it is by doing some exercise. Anything that gets you moving around will work, such as walking, running, jogging, swimming, or cycling. Do whichever exercise you are comfortable with. Start with a warm-up and then do the actual exercises. After the workout, cool down by doing some stretching exercises.

man using exercise to clear paint from his lungs

How to clear lungs of spray paint

The exercise routine forces muscles to perform harder, increasing the body’s respiratory rate and producing a better supply of oxygen to muscles. Additionally, it improves circulation, making it more effective at eliminating toxins from the body. You will notice that the spray paint is out of your lungs after exercising for a few days.

While exercise may be one of the best options to get rid of spray paints from the lungs, it may also become more challenging for those who have inhaled some spray paints and are facing difficulty breathing.

It is recommended that you seek the advice of a medical professional before embarking on a new exercise routine.

5. Drink Green Tea

Green tea is a rich source of antioxidants that can reduce lung inflammation. These substances may also shield lung tissue from the adverse effects of spray paint inhalation.

A study from the past with more than 1,000 adults in Korea discovered that people who consumed at least two glasses of green tea each day showed more oxygen levels than those who consumed no tea at all. The study participants who drank green tea also had a better respiratory function.

green tea and mint leaves

Green Tea

Green tea can be consumed hot or cold. If you want to make iced green tea, brew a strong batch of green tea and pour it over ice. You can also add a slice of lemon for taste. Drink green tea three times a day for the best results.

6. Eat anti-inflammatory foods

Airways inflammation can cause breathing difficulties and make the chest feel constricted and heavy. Consuming anti-inflammatory food items can help reduce inflammation and relieve symptoms.

Foods that can help reduce inflammation include:

  • Turmeric
  • Leafy greens
  • Cherries
  • Blueberries
  • Olives
  • Walnuts
  • Beans
  • Lentils
healthy anti-inflammatory foods

Anti-inflammatory foods

You can add these foods to your diet by including them in your meals or snacking on them throughout the day. These foods are rich in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that can help reduce inflammation and improve lung health.

7. Use chest percussion

Percussion is an effective method to eliminate the spray paint accumulated in the lungs. A respiratory therapist may employ a cupped hand to tap rhythmically against the chest wall to loosen the spray paint that has been trapped in the lung. Combining chest percussion with postural drainage can help rid the lungs of spray paint even more effectively.

Chest percussion is a simple and effective technique that can be done at home.

However, make sure to do it under the guidance of a healthcare professional.

8. Use a ventilator

If you have been exposed to a large amount of spray paint fumes and cannot breathe, it is advisable to seek immediate medical attention.

In these extreme cases, a ventilator could be used to help you breathe and get rid of the toxins in your lungs.

man using a ventilator

A ventilator is a machine that helps pump oxygen into your lungs. It is usually used by people who cannot breathe on their own. It is a life-saving device that can help you get rid of the toxins in your lungs and improve your breathing.

You may need to be on a ventilator for a few days or even weeks, depending on the severity of your condition.

9. Use air purifiers

Using an air purifier can help eliminate the toxins from the air and make it easier for you to breathe. Air purifiers work by trapping pollutants in their filters and cleaning the air. If spray paint fumes are causing difficulty breathing, using an air purifier can help.

Make sure to buy an air purifier that is designed to remove toxins from the air. Some air purifiers also come with HEPA filters that can remove up to 99.97% of airborne particles.

Air purifiers can help you breathe more easily and improve your home’s air quality. However, they should not be used as a replacement for fresh air.

10. Avoid smoking

Smoking cigarettes can make the symptoms of spray paint inhalation worse. Cigarette smoke contains harmful toxins that can damage your lungs and make breathing difficult. If you smoke, it is important to quit as soon as possible.

man smoking a cigarette

If you have inhaled spray paints and facing difficulty in breathing, avoid smoking cigarettes. Cigarette smoke will only worsen symptoms and can even lead to complications.

So, if you smoke and have inhaled spray paint, it is time to quit smoking for good. It can help improve your lung health and make getting rid of the spray paint easier.

11. Avoid drinking alcohol

Drinking alcohol can also make the symptoms of spray paint inhalation worse. Alcohol is a diuretic and can cause dehydration. Dehydration can make breathing difficult and exacerbate the symptoms of spray paint inhalation.

picture of various liquors and mixers

If you have inhaled spray paints, you should avoid drinking alcohol at all costs. Avoiding alcohol will help prevent further dehydration and allow your body to focus on clearing the lungs.

These are the eleven effective methods that you can use to get rid of spray paint from your lungs. If you have been exposed to spray paint fumes and facing difficulties in breathing, make sure to seek medical attention immediately.

Also, avoid smoking and alcohol, as these can make the symptoms worse.

How to protect your lungs from spray paint fumes:

Now that you know how to get rid of spray paint from your lungs, it is important to take some safety precautions to protect your lungs from harmful spray paint fumes.

Here are some tips that can help:

  • Always wear a respirator or mask when using spray paints.
  • Make sure to work in a well-ventilated area.
  • Avoid smoking cigarettes while using spray paints. This may lead to a fire hazard as spray paint fumes are highly flammable.
  • If you are using spray paints indoors, make sure to open the windows and doors to let the fumes out. Ideally, you will use a fan to blow these fumes out of the house and recirculate the air.
  • If you have asthma or other lung conditions, consult your doctor before using spray paints.

By following these safety precautions, you can protect your lungs from the harmful fumes of spray paints. 

What happens if spray paint gets in your lungs?

The most common symptom of inhaling spray paint is coughing. Other symptoms include shortness of breath, chest pain, wheezing, nausea, vomiting, headache, or even dizziness.

If you have any of these symptoms after spraying paint, immediately call 911 for emergency medical care. If you don’t need immediate medical attention, follow the above-mentioned steps to help clear the lungs of spray-paint fumes.

infographic showing the symptoms of inhaling spray paint
Symptoms of inhaling spray paint

What do you do if you inhale spray paint?

In case you have inhaled spray paint, there are several things that can be done to clean out your lungs. The first thing that you should do is to stay calm and relax. This will allow the airways to open up and let the toxins flow out.

Once this has happened, you should take deep breaths through your nose and mouth. You should also avoid talking because this could make you cough more.

You should not smoke while trying to remove spray paint from your lungs, since smoking causes further irritation and inflammation.

person spray painting a skateboard

How to clear lungs of spray paint

You should drink plenty of water to keep yourself hydrated. You should also follow the above-mentioned eleven methods to reduce the effect of inhaling spray paint and clear your lungs.

Remember that clearing the lungs of spray paint is not an easy task. It takes time and patience. However, once you start doing all these methods, you’ll find that you can breathe better, and your symptoms will gradually reduce.

What should you drink after spray painting?

Drinking lots of fluids is very important when cleaning out your lungs of spray paint. Drink plenty of water, and eat fruit and anti-inflammatory foods. Avoid alcohol, which makes the body dehydrate faster.

It is said that drinking milk immediately after inhaling spray paint can absorb the fumes. Drinking milk will only make your dry throat feel better. There is no scientific evidence that milk can absorb paint fumes in the body. 

Also, according to the report of the UN environment program, milk is not the cure for inhaling spray paint.


Spray paint contains volatile organic compounds (VOCs), toxic chemicals that evaporate into the air. VOCs can remain in the air for hours after spraying, posing a risk to those who breathe them in.

Take some breaks while spray painting and go get some fresh air frequently. Also, drink lots of water after spray painting. If you have inhaled some spray paint, then don’t panic. Just follow the given methods, and you should feel better.


How long do spray paint fumes stay in your lungs?

A. The length of time the paint fumes remain depends on the type of spray paint. Standard spray paint can take 14 to 24 weeks for the fumes to completely dissipated. Oil spray paint takes up to two months to cure.

What happens if you inhale spray paint?

A. Inhaling spray paint could cause various health issues, including headaches and nausea, itchy eyes, and a runny nose. Certain spray paint VOCs could also cause nervous system damage and organ damage.

How do you get rid of spray paint inhalation?

A. It is recommended to wear a respirator for spray painting. Respirator masks block many small and smell-free particles from entering your lungs when you are spray painting or renovating.

A respirator mask also protects from chemicals, harmful vapors, and mold spores.

Can you die from inhaling spray paint?

A. Inhaling large amounts of spray paint fumes can cause serious health problems and even death.  This is because spray paints contain VOCs (volatile organic compounds), poisonous chemicals that harm our health.

Why is my chest feeling tight after spray painting?

A. This is because you have inhaled too much of the fumes from the spray paint. The best way to avoid this is to wear a respirator mask while spray painting. If you inhale too much of the fumes, you should go outside and get some fresh air.

How long does spray paint poisoning last?

The symptoms of spray paint poisoning typically last for 24 to 48 hours. However, if you inhale a large amount of fumes, the symptoms could last for days or weeks. If you have any concerns, then you should see a doctor. 

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