Why does my paint smell musky?


I used a brilliant white dulux wall and ceiling paint on my ceiling 2 weeks ago and all was well. I then used it on a small part of the wall behind my headboard and it smells awful like an awful musky smell, like smelly damp socks or something. It was ok on my ceiling. Has anyone had a similar experience?

  9 answers
  • Cheryl A Cheryl A on May 18, 2020


    This seems to be a normal complaint about white dulux wall paint these days. Here is some info that may help you out. https://diy.stackexchange.com/questions/27234/what-are-the-issues-with-using-sour-smelling-paint

  • Kathy Gunter Law Kathy Gunter Law on May 18, 2020

    Never had anything like that happen that quickly. It may be because you are so close to it. Try wiping the wall with OdoBan.

  • Cynthia H Cynthia H on May 18, 2020

    If it doesn't clear up, I would put some sealer on it. I've only had this happen with older paint in a can, but, you might want to contact the company. Good luck and stay safe!

  • Redcatcec Redcatcec on May 18, 2020

    I agree with Claire, it is a problem with dulex wall paint, not sure if it is lot specific or just the nature of the product in general. Take a look at this link and see if it sounds familiar, the people in it had a similar problem with the produce and tried to resolve with different methods, all unsuccessful. They contacted the manufacturer:


  • William William on May 18, 2020

    The paint is old and the odor is from mold spores. Some people put vinegar in smelly paint. Vinegar kills mold spores but no guarantees.

  • Vimarhonor Vimarhonor on May 18, 2020

    Hello. I suggest calling the manufacturer. We have had past trouble with primers Failing to do the job and the manufacturer supplied a different product.

  • Betsy Betsy on May 18, 2020

    Hi Claire: Try washing the walls with a mixture of 1 part bleach to 10 parts water, then rinse with plain water and a clean sponge. That should do it. If you can, open the windows to let everything dry out completely. Good luck

  • Cindy Cindy on May 18, 2020

    Hi Claire. I did a bit of reading on this topic. This is what I learned: the foul smell is from compounds in the paint decaying. It may well have mold and mold spores. It could make you sick. Every post I read said that you should have the walls scrubbed asap. You need to get as much of that bad paint off as you can. Another article talked about the bad smell. The home owner thought he would wait and hope that the problem would go away with time. It never got better and 3 yrs later still smells like day 1. I hope you find this info useful. Lots of luck to you Claire.

  • Recreated Designs Recreated Designs on May 26, 2020

    Hi Claire, did you by any chance add water to the paint? or dip your brush in water and then in the paint? Lots of time when water is added to paint (especially if you are on city water which usually has additives) it will cause the paint to mold fairly quickly. Even if you can't see the mold it may be breaking down already. Sorry to hear your paint has that smell! Unfortunately you may just need to buy new paint :(