Accidentally used exterior paint inside [Solved]

In the world of home improvement, mistakes can happen. One such error that many homeowners find themselves making is using exterior paint inside their homes. If you’ve found yourself in this predicament, you’re not alone. But there’s no need to panic. This comprehensive guide will provide you with detailed explanations, practical advice, and best practices to follow if you’ve accidentally used exterior paint inside.

Accidentally used exterior paint inside
Accidentally used exterior paint inside

Understanding the Difference Between Exterior and Interior Paint

Before we delve into the solutions, it’s crucial to understand the fundamental differences between exterior and interior paint.

Exterior paints are specifically formulated to withstand harsh weather conditions like hot summers, heavy rain, and freezing winters. They are UV resistant and fortified with ingredients that protect against mold, mildew, and insect attacks. These defensive ingredients produce high VOCs (volatile organic compounds). VOCs are gases or smells that, while not immediately harmful, can pose health risks if inhaled in large quantities over a prolonged period.

On the other hand, interior paints are designed for the controlled environment inside your home. They also contain protective ingredients, but these produce VOCs in much smaller quantities. This makes them safer for indoor use and less likely to cause health issues.

What Happens If You Use Exterior Paint Inside?

If you’ve accidentally used exterior paint inside your home and it’s completely dry, there’s no immediate cause for alarm. The paint is locked onto the wall, and unless you’re planning on eating or drinking it, it poses no immediate threat. However, this paint can release a smell due to the higher VOC content. If you ensure good ventilation by regularly opening the windows, the smell should not be an issue.

However, caution should be exercised when sanding the dry paint. Always use a mask and goggles for safety. While the paint is not very harmful to the human body, it’s always better to be safe than sorry.

How to Rectify the Mistake

If you’re worried about the exterior paint on your interior walls, there’s a simple solution. Choose any indoor paint and apply a thin coat over the exterior paint. This will cover up the exterior paint and last long without any issue.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is Exterior Paint Dangerous to Health?

While it’s true that some ingredients in exterior paint release toxic smells, the effect on human health is minimal and usually not harmful. However, it’s always recommended to use exterior paint outside and interior paint inside.

Can You Mix Interior and Exterior Paint Together?

If you’re in a pinch and need more paint for interior use, you can mix exterior paint with interior paint. However, this is not always recommended as the ingredients in these two types of paint are different and may react differently.


Accidentally using exterior paint inside your home is not as big an issue as you might think. However, it’s always best to use the right type of paint for the right environment. If you’ve made this mistake, don’t panic. Follow the advice in this guide to rectify the situation and ensure your home is safe and looking its best.

Remember, if you’re ever unsure about the type of paint you’re using or have used, it’s always best to consult with the paint company or supplier.

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