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While different paint compositions dry at different speeds, you can use these tips to make all interior paint dry faster. On average, interior paint takes 6-8 hours to dry. Environmental conditions like humidity and air circulation affect drying times. Other factors include paint thickness, layers, and surface preparation.

How Long Should Paint Take to Dry

It may take between 1 and 8 hours for interior paint to dry. The type of paint, temperature, humidity, and thickness affect the drying time.

Latex or water-based paints are the most common option for painting the interior of a house and take 2 to 4 hours to dry. Oil-based paints may take 6 to 8 hours to dry.

Make Interior Paint Dry Faster

What Affects the Drying Time of Interior Paint?

The drying time depends on temperature, humidity, additives, air circulation, and more.

Temperature and Humidity

Temperature and humidity impact the drying time of paint. When the temperature is low and the humidity is high, interior paint takes longer to dry because it absorbs excess moisture in the air.

Since hot air holds more moisture, the paint absorbs less, making it dry faster. The temperature conditions for making interior paint dry faster range from 50°F-90°F. You should also target an indoor humidity level of 40%-50%.

Air Circulation

Proper air circulation, natural or by fans, extracts moisture from the paint’s surface to the air, allowing the paint to dry faster. Less air circulation results in a slower evaporation rate. Air circulation also helps end toxic fumes and makes the indoor temperature even.


Mixing paint with additives, like a coalescing agent, for instance, makes it thicker and dry faster. It’s suitable for low-solvent and low-VOC paints that take longer to dry.

Ethylene glycol mono butyl ether (EGBE) is a coalescing agent used in many types of paint. Defoamers are also useful additives that reduce the size of foamed bubbles. Foamed bubbles prevent paint from achieving an even, dry coat.

The common paint defoamers are non-silicone-based. They include polydimethylsiloxane, dimethicones, and ethylene oxide-modified polypropylene glycol. Accelerators like ammonium salts, alcohols, and glycols also make the drying process up to 40% faster.

Type of Paint

Types of paints have different drying times. Latex paints tend to dry faster. Oil-based paints have a slower drying rate due to their composition. When using a primer, wait for at least 12 hours before adding a second coat of paint.

Paint Thickness

A thicker coat takes longer to dry because its surface area needs more air circulation to evaporate the solvents. Too thick layers also trap moisture which leads to a longer drying time.

Surface Condition

Besides the paint application method, surface preparation determines how it will take a coat of paint to dry. Proper surface preparation improves paint adhesion. (Discoloration or patchy fading are signs of poor adhesion.)

The paint will take a shorter time to dry if the surface is smooth and dust-free. Using a primer helps create a uniform surface for the first coat.

How to Make Interior Paint Dry Faster

There are a few tricks to make interior paint dry faster. These remedies are easy to achieve with the right tools and environmental conditions.

  • Tweak the Room Temperature: Temperature affects a paint’s drying time. Paint tends to dry faster in warm air, so consider raising the temperature to around 70 degrees.
  • Apply Thin Coats of Paint: One thick coat may get the job done faster. But thicker coats of paint take longer to dry. Consider a thinner coat.
  • Enhance the Interior’s Ventilation: Opening doors and windows helps dry paint. Proper ventilation allows fresh air to circulate throughout the entire space. You can use a fan to speed up the drying process.
  • Lower the Indoor Humidity: Humidity affects the drying time. Consider calibrating the indoor humidity level. Run an air conditioner or dehumidifier, and avoid painting on humid days.
  • Consider a Water-Based, Low-VOC Paint: Water-based interior paints dry faster than oil-based paints. Paints with a low amount of volatile organic components also tend to dry faster.
  • Paint When the Weather Is Warm: Cooler weather can slow down the drying process, so it’s best to paint when it’s warm and dry. 
  • Use a Dehumidifier: A dehumidifier reduces the air’s moisture and speeds up the drying process. Use a dehumidifier that’s powerful enough to cover the entire area.
  • Try an Accelerator: Some paint brands offer specific additives to speed up drying.  Follow the directions on the accelerator’s package to maximize its effects.

Dry Time vs. Cure Time: What’s the Difference?

The dry time is the duration a coat of paint takes to dry. Temperature, humidity, and type of paint affect the drying time. High-gloss paints have longer drying times than medium-gloss coats.

Curing time is the period a coat of paint takes to achieve its full chemical and physical properties. These include optimal adhesion, color, durability, and more. Curing time is more often longer than drying time. It may take some days or weeks for the curing phase to lapse. Oil-based paints take longer than water-based paints to cure.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)FAQ

Can you dry oil paint with a hair dryer?

Paint experts don’t recommend drying oil paint with a hair dryer. It may cause the coat to crack. Hair dryers also lead to the evaporation of paint thinners and mineral spirits. These paint additives release toxic solvent fumes into the air. Leave the paint to dry through an oxidation reaction. Oxidation is a natural method that may take days or weeks. The drying time via oxidation depends on the environment and thickness of the paint.

How long does satinwood take to dry?

Satinwood paint gives walls and trims a glossy finish. While it’s easier to maintain, the paint requires longer drying times. It takes between 2-4 hours to dry, depending on temperature, humidity, and airflow in the room. Satin paint takes 24 hours to cure. Make sure to check what the manufacturer recommends on its drying and curing times.

Can I use a paint accelerator or drying agent to speed up the process?

While accelerators and drying agents are practical, manufacturers don’t recommend using them. They speed up the drying process but may deteriorate a paint’s finish and color. The coat is also prone to cracking or forming bubbles.

How Can I Make Paint Dry Faster on Wood?

A hair dryer or heat gun on the lowest temperature setting would suffice. A hairdryer circulates air around the paint, increasing the evaporation rate. Applying a thin coat of paint on wood also shortens the drying time. Opt for oil-based paint and make sure there’s proper ventilation.

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