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Why Does Mod Podge Smell?

Mod Podge is a great product for sealing your paintings. It creates a hard, clear layer over your painting to protect it from the elements and strengthen the paper. You might notice that Mod Podge has a slight odor sometimes. 

So, why does Mod Podge smell? Mod Podge has a smell because of the formula that is used to make it. The smell will vary by brand as each brand uses their own formula. It is water-based and non-toxic, so you don’t have to worry about the smell impacting your health at all.

When you use Mod Podge regularly, you will get used to the smell. You will also be able to distinguish between a normal smell and an unusual smell. An unusual smell might mean that the Mod Podge has gone bad and is potentially growing mold. In this article we go over why Mod Podge has a smell to it, and how to tell if it’s gone bad. Let’s read on!

How Long Does Mod Podge Smell Last?

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When you add Mod Podge to your art, there is going to be a slight smell. You might notice that it smells a little bit like glue, and this is normal. Most paint products will have a smell when wet that goes away when it is dry.

This is the same for Mod Podge. When you apply it wet, you will be able to detect the smell. As it starts to dry, the smell will start to go away. As soon as the Mod Podge is completely dry, the smell should go away. This means that the dry time impacts when the smell will disappear.

If you paint thin layers of Mod Podge and let each layer dry before adding the next one, it will dry at a much faster rate. The top layer should be dry within just a few hours, and the smell should be gone by then. If you paint heavier or a larger number of coats, it could take longer.

When the layers are thick and aren’t provided proper dry time, it will take the product longer to dry. You might notice the smell of Mod Podge for anywhere from three to five days after you add the last layer. This is because it takes much longer for all of the layers to dry completely and seal the smell.

Leave your art somewhere dry and avoid from moisture while it is drying. The moisture can prevent the Mod Podge from drying properly, meaning you will notice the smell for longer. With the proper environment, the Mod Podge will dry at a faster rate. The typical dry time is about 4-12 hours, depending on how many layers your applied.

Can Mod Podge Go Bad?

Mod Podge doesn’t have a set expiration date, but that doesn’t mean it won’t go bad. If the container is opened, the product will stay usable for anywhere between three and five months. If it hasn’t been opened, then it can stay usable for years. This is due to the fact that no oxygen can enter the unopened container.

Storing your Mod Podge properly will make all the difference in how long it stays usable. When you open the container, you need to close it as tight as you can get it. If the lid isn’t closed properly, this will cause the product to dry out faster and you won’t be able to use it anymore.

If your Mod Podge does go bad, you will easily be able to tell. It will become lumpy and have a change in consistency. In some cases, it might even start to turn yellow. The product can even begin to separate after a period of time. It is not often that Mod Podge goes bad, but it is possible. 

When your Mod Podge separates, it can be tempting to try and fix it so you can use it longer. Unfortunately, this isn’t likely to work out in your favor. If you are able to mix the product back together, it won’t stay that way.

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You can try to fix separated and dried Mod Podge with hot water. While this might work for a minute, the Mod Podge will go back to being dry and clumpy as soon as the water cools down. The new solution will also take a long time to dry and won’t stick well to any surface.

If your Mod Podge has gone bad and is dried out, it is best to avoid using it. It is best to throw the Mod Podge out and get a new container. This will save you time and frustration of trying to fix the Mod Podge with a process that won’t work.

Is Mod Podge Toxic?

Mod Podge is water-based and non-toxic. The smell of Mod Podge shouldn’t irritate your respiratory system at all when it is wet or drying. It is commonly made from the same ingredients that you would find in children’s glue, but different brands have different formulas that they use.

Mod Podge doesn’t produce any volatile or toxic fumes when wet or during the drying process. However, it is still recommended that you use the product in an area that is well ventilated and has plenty of air flow. The smell does have the ability to cause light-headedness if used in a closed area by those with sensitive respiratory systems.

Check out my other article that talks about Mod Podge being toxic. It’s worth a read if you have pets, kids, or if you have sensitive skin.

A common question that is asked is if Mod Podge is food safe and able to be used on things like plates or glasses. There is a dishwasher-safe Mod Podge, so this question makes sense. While the product isn’t toxic, it has not been approved by the FDA. This means you should avoid using it on items that you will eat off of or drink out of.

If you want to use Mod Podge on a plate, it is highly recommended to purchase a clear paint, apply your painting to the bottom of the plate, then put the Mod Podge on. This will allow you to still add art to your plate without needing to paint on the part you eat off of. 

I use this Dishwasher Safe Mod Podge on my painted ceramic mugs and plates, that I intend on washing. It protects the paint, and it can handle some water pressure. You should definitely get this Mod Podge if you plan on getting your painted item wet.

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If you want to paint a glass and use Mod Podge to seal it, you should only paint the bottom half of the glass. This will ensure that the Mod Podge doesn’t come in contact with your mouth at all when you are drinking out of the glass. 

While it won’t likely do any harm in small amounts, it is best to avoid using Mod Podge on any surface that will come in contact with your mouth. It can cause stomach aches when too much is introduced into your system. Even though the product will be washed, the Mod Podge will still be on the surface.

Final Thoughts

If you are new to using Mod Podge, or you have used it for a long time and are curious, you might be wondering why it smells the way it does. Mod Podge has only a slight smell that is similar to that of children’s glue. This is because the two products are often made from similar ingredients.

While Mod Podge has a slight smell, it will go away once it has completely dried. This can take anywhere from 4 to 72 hours depending on the brand and the thickness of the coats you applied. This smell might be annoying, but you don’t have to worry about it being toxic.

Make sure to follow all my tips and recommended products to ensure your Mod Podge project turns out great. Also, don’t forget to check out my other articles for all your painting Q&A’s. Happy painting! 

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