Can I Use a Hairdryer to Dry Paint?

Trying to get things done more quickly by cutting corners oftentimes produces bad results. So will attempting to dry freshly applied paint with a hairdryer do more harm than good?

You can use a hairdryer to speed up the drying process of paint. However, care needs to be taken not to apply the heat too aggressively. The intense heat will cause the paint to dry too quickly, which results in significant damage. Keeping the hairdryer a safe distance away is key.

This article is going to show you:

  • How different paints are affected by heat
  • The correct way to use a hairdryer to dry paint
  • Tips for drying paint faster without a hairdryer

Oil-Based vs Water-Based

Oil- and water-based paints react well to using a hairdryer for faster curing, but a dryer can also weaken the paint. Rapid drying reduces the time for the paint to settle and stretch as it dries, putting more strain on the paint, which can lead to cracking.

A hairdryer may still be needed to dry paints if the humidity exceeds 80%. Though even without forced drying, water-based paints are more prone to cracking than oil-based paints.

Oil-based paints take time to dry in cold weather, and a hairdryer will help to evaporate the oils in the mix. A latex water-based paint will have a better chance of surviving the hairdryer treatment than a regular emulsion.

High heat or holding the hairdryer too close to either type of paint will cause burning and thinning as the air pushes the paint away from the surface. To prevent the dryer from damaging the paint, hold the dryer no closer than 10 inches away and turn the setting down to cool.

How Long Does It Take to Dry Paint with a Hairdryer?

In ideal conditions, oil-based paints will take one to two days to dry and water-based paints should dry within half a day. With a hairdryer, you may reduce the drying time down to two hours for oil-based paints and 30 minutes for water-based paints.

The best conditions for drying paints are temperatures exceeding 80°F (27°C), in the shade, and out of the rain. You also want to avoid painting if the humidity is above 85%.

The build-up of humidity in a small room will worsen the problem of a cold room. And oil-based paints and even water-based acrylics need a lot of fresh air to dry. Though a longer paint drying time means more chance of it catching bugs, hair, and fingerprints.

Can I Dry Acrylic Paint with a Hairdryer?

A hairdryer will help with drying out acrylic paint where the conditions are too cold to evaporate the water in the paint. You need to turn the hairdryer down to low-heat as blowing hot air too close to the surface or hovering over a single spot for too long will lead to cracking.

You need to remember that your goal is to finish with a smooth coat of paint, with no flakes, and for it to last at least 5 years. Overheating the paint as it dries will shorten the time it can sink into and adhere to the material.

How to Dry Paint with a Hairdryer

A hairdryer is an effective and tested way of shortening the drying time of the paint. For the best paint results, you need to set up the room and the dryer before you open the paint can. use the following procedures to ensure that you end up with a strong and smooth coat of paint.

Step-by-Step Guide

  1. Ventilation – Maximize the ventilation before you start by opening the window and doors to the outside before starting. Turn off anything that recirculates air, such as air conditioners.
  2. Temperature – Turn the heat setting on the hairdryer down to a temperature that you could hold your hand in front of. And turn the dryer to high speed if you have the choice.
  3. Distance – Hold the dryer around 10 inches away from the surface while you are drying the paint.
  4. Move – Keep moving the hairdryer. Concentrating on one area will push the paint around, thin out the layer, and lead to uneven patches and drying times.
  5. Time – There is a limit to how much drying to apply, and you still want to let the paint settle. Stop drying when the paint goes from wet to tacky.

Safety Tips:

  • Though air conditioners, heaters, and dehumidifiers will shorten the drying time. These machines will trap the fumes in their filters, and you will smell the paint the next time you use them.
  • For a dryer to work, you will need to close the windows, but this can lead to a dangerous build-up of fumes. Even water-based paints emit fumes, which is why you need plenty of fresh air ventilation.
  • Respirators will help with removing dust from the air you are breathing. But if you are painting in the room while it is drying, use a chemical respiratorOpens in a new tab. to filter out the fumes from oil- and water-based paints.

How to Dry Paint Faster Without a Hairdryer

Aiding your paint’s drying time with a hairdryer is fine if you are having trouble, but there are other options. If you have doubts about using a hairdryer on your paint, try one of these alternatives instead:

Thin Layer

You do not want to use too much mineral spirit or water to thin out the mixture, so you would need to make a little paint go a long way. You may be able to shorten the paint’s drying time by using a roller to get the coat as thin as possible.

Though a thin coat of paint is a false economy as you will have to paint even more coats to get to the desired thickness.

Move Between Walls

Natural drying is best, so use the drying time of one wall to paint another wall. If you are painting a whole room, you can move on from a drying wall to a dry wall. This way, you will be giving each wall more time to dry, then you can go back for a second coat.


You should still try to ventilate the room as much as possible while using a heater. And if you do use a heater, use a different one from the heater you have installed in your home.

You can rent space heaters that do not have filters and are safe to sit in the middle of a room for drying paint.

Note: Any heating of the paint will increase the emission of fumes. So, use a respirator and limit the time you spend in the room while the paint is drying.

Air Flow

The ideal situation is where you can rely on the wind blowing a warm summer breeze through your home. But on a still day, you can try setting up free-standing fans to blow the humid air out and fresh air into the room.

Joshua Milton

I want to share everything I know about home improvement in order to help you. Whether you're a home enthusiast or an industry professional, I have the information that you need.

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