House Smells Like Permanent Marker? (We Have A Fix!)
Why does my house smell like a permanent marker? This is the first question that will cross your mind when you notice the smell. However, before you start finding the reasons behind the smell, it’s best to remember that the odor is never a good sign, since it points to a problem somewhere in your house.
Permanent markers are quite handy. Even so, their ingredients contain toxic substances that may leave you feeling dizzy and nauseous, especially if you inhale them for too long. If you notice a permanent marker-odor in your house, the most probable cause is a leak in your refrigerator or HVAC unit. The odd smell could also result from acetone leakage, which is the primary ingredient in permanent marker pens.
Is the Permanent Marker Odor Dangerous?
The permanent marker odor is toxic and requires urgent attention. When you notice the smell, the first thing to do is ask yourself about its potential health risks and dangers. The primary ingredient in permanent marker pens is acetone, a chemical known to have adverse side effects on those exposed to it for too long.
According to a study by Duke University, acetone contains a hormone-disrupting chemical known as Triphenyl phosphate (TSP), which can seep into the body and cause adverse health effects. The chemical is found in most permanent markers and is also used in refrigerators and HVAC systems. The short-term effects of TSP include eye and lung damage.
Check out the following video for more reasons why your house smells like permanent marker.
How to Remove Permanent Marker Odor
Before you even start thinking about removing the permanent marker smell from your house, you should first identify its source. This will enable you to control it better, besides minimizing exposure to toxic chemicals.
The permanent marker smell travels in the air quite fast. Besides, it settles onto surfaces and fabrics fast. If your home has little airflow and poor ventilation, the odor will be even stronger and harder to combat. Even so, there’s always a way to get rid of the permanent marker smell. Here are some tips for combating the odor:
Ventilate Your House
This should be the first step to take when you walk into a room with a permanent marker smell. The odor is often strong because acetone evaporates quickly and spreads easily. Whenever there’s a leak, the permanent marker smell will fill your house fast, especially if the place is poorly ventilated.
An easy way to get rid of the smell is to ventilate your house sufficiently. The acetone molecules will spread out, thus making the permanent marker odor less prevalent. In addition, opening the doors and windows in your house will allow fresh air to flow in, thus dissipating the odd scent in the house.
If your home has a mechanical ventilation system, cranking it up will help eliminate the odor. The ventilator replaces the stale air in your house with clean outdoor air. By increasing your indoor air quality, a ventilator eliminates acetone and other pollutants from the air. To effectively ventilate your home, remove carpets, furniture, and other items that may have absorbed pollutants.
Use an Odor-Removing Spray
Nothing works better than odor-removing sprays when it comes to eliminating the permanent marker odor. An advantage of using these sprays is that you can use them in a specific part of the house, more so the odor source.
However, it’s best to keep in mind that these sprays may not be that effective if the permanent marker smell is caused by a leak in your home’s HVAC system or refrigerator. Furthermore, some aerosol sprays contain toxic ingredients that may affect asthmatic individuals and those with allergies. Therefore, be careful when using them around the house to remove odors.
When using odor-removing sprays, ensure it doesn’t dissolve the permanent marker. If you don’t fancy aerosol sprays, you can still make your own odor-removing spray using water, vinegar, and baking soda. This natural spray is as effective as what you’ll get on supermarket shelves.
Wash the Affected Spot
If acetone leaks to the floor or even garments, an easy way to remove the permanent marker smell is to wash the affected area or items. For clothing, rinse them in warm water first, then wash them using heavy-duty detergent. In case the leakage is significant, protect your skin when washing the affected clothes to prevent skin damage.
If the acetone leaks to the floor, dip a damp piece of cloth into detergent before wiping the affected area. When washing off acetone from the affected, it’s best to remember that this method works best when dealing with low-odor leaks with fewer fumes. Also, seek medical attention in case you experience any side effects from the permanent marker odor.
Use an Air Purifier
If you’re using a permanent marker or there’s a leak in your HVAC system, there will be a strange odor in your house. An air purifier can help combat this chemical odor. The device is designed to get rid of toxic particles from the air, thus purifying them.
There are different types of air purifiers which can improve your indoor air quality. However, you should be wary when using these devices to eliminate odorous molecules from the air. Some air purifiers have significant flaws, and therefore, may not be that helpful in removing the permanent marker odor.
Besides, some air purifiers also emit potentially dangerous byproducts. Thus, ensure you only use an air freshener that can mask strange odors without releasing any toxic compounds into the air. Also, consider an air purifier with an advanced air filter because it will serve you better.
Remove Odor Using Lemon
Lemon is one of the most effective natural remedies for bad odors around your house. Lemons can be used in different ways, either cooked or raw, to eliminate odors. First, slice a few lemons, and boil the pieces in water. Then, allow it to simmer so that the lemon scent permeates the air.
You can also mix lemon juice and water and dab the mixture on the affected area to mask the odor. Another method that works is cutting a lemon into slices before placing the slices near the source of the permanent marker scent.
Use Baking Soda
Baking soda is as effective as lemon in dealing with unsavory smells. It removes offensive smells, including the permanent marker odor. If the ink leaks onto your carpets or upholstered furniture, sprinkle some baking soda on the affected area. Then, allow it to settle in for some time before vacuuming the area.
For smaller items, place them in a sealed bag before sprinkling some baking soda onto them. After a few hours, wipe off the water using water and soap. Acetone can be corrosive, hence the need to tread carefully when dealing with the permanent marker odor.
Vinegar has a strong smell, which can effectively mask the permanent marker odor in your house. Like baking soda, vinegar effectively neutralizes the volatile compounds in acetone and other permanent marker ink ingredients.
To achieve the desired results, leave bowls of vinegar in rooms where the undesirable odor is most prevalent. Also, turn on the fans in these rooms to improve the circulation of vinegar in those rooms. The more the smell of vinegar spreads, the easier it is to eliminate the unpleasant odor.
Health Precautions to Take When Dealing With Permanent Marker Odors
Before you start dealing with any unusual odors in your house, there are several precautions to take. Some health risks are associated with continued exposure to acetone. In case there’s a significant leak, it’s advisable to hire a professional cleaning crew to handle the task on your behalf.
Acetone can trigger allergic reactions, headaches, dizziness, and vomiting. In the long run, it can cause lung problems and other serious side effects. So, when you notice the smell, the best thing to do is minimize exposure as much as possible, especially if you have kids in your household.
Another precaution to take when dealing with permanent marker odor is minimizing the risk of fire. The smell always indicates a leak, and since permanent marker ink is flammable, there’s a high risk of fire. After noticing the odor, avoid flames that may spark a fire in your house. Start by turning off the cooker and other potential sources of fire.
Electrical appliances should be shut down when dealing with the odor. Also, avoid using power tools, candles, and matches while dealing with permanent marker odor. These potential fire sources should only be used after you’ve identified the source of the leak and neutralized the threat of fire.
Having an unpleasant odor in your house is embarrassing. Whether it’s permanent marker odor or the smell of rotten eggs, you can never be comfortable in a house that smells funny. Often, these unsavory smells indicate a more serious issue that needs to be dealt with urgently.
One of the most unsettling odors you can have in your house is the permanent marker smell. As soon as you notice the scent, it’s best to do everything possible to identify its source and deal with it. This will stop the spread of potentially toxic compounds in your home.
We are a team of passionate homeowners, home improvement pros, and DIY enthusiasts who enjoy sharing home improvement, housekeeping, decorating, and more with other homeowners! Whether you're looking for a step-by-step guide on fixing an appliance or the cost of installing a fence, we've here to help.
More by Upgraded Home Team