Paint Overspray on Interior and Noxious Chemical Smell

My 2005 Honda CR-V got rear ended. Minor damage, - I did not see any damage beyond the bumper cover being bashed in and the rear mounted tire cover banged. I brought it to the repair shop, they replaced the bumper and they called me to say that they had to spray the side of the car into the to feather out the damage (which wasn’t evident beyond the grey bumper cover.

I got the car back. It smells really bad, a nasty chemical smell that gives me a headache when I drive it. My kids wouldn’t get in the car because it stinks. I couldn’t figure it out. Finally I realized what had happened - and confirmed it when I opened the front passenger door and found overspray on the lower portion of the inside door panel that they clearly couldn’t remove. – They sprayed the car with the front door open, and got overspray all over my interior, and then cleaned it up with some noxious chemical.–

I brought the car back to them and they hemmed and hawed and said that they “don’t use chemicals”, but also said that they fired the guy who worked on my car. They took the car back for the day (they had also mounted the emblem in the wrong place) to “clean up the smell”, but all they did is vacuum/shampoo and douse the car with orange smelling crap which on top of the chemicals made the car unbearable.

I went away for vacation for ten days. I was going to drive down to Florida and back in this car (from Maryland), but instead I took another car. I left the car in the garage with the windows open for the week.

Now my garage smells like chemicals, and the car, while not as obviously pungent as it was before Thanksgiving, still smells and gives me a headache when I make my 32 mile round-trip commute. Geico says that I’m covered and my deductible is $250 (I’m stuck - the jerks at the auto body shop claim little responsibility and the insurance company for the person who rear ended me says it is the shop’s responsibility). What do I ask the new repair company with Geico to do and what else should I do? I suspect that the paint (a dark blue metallic) was on the carpeting, fabric seats, maybe headliner, and is clearly still on the interior door panel. How do I identify what chemical was used? Going on the web I find that there are chemicals called Naptha/DX330/ lighter fluid Goof Off and/or Acrysol that might have been used to take off the paint. Is there a way to figure out where the chemical was used so I can get the awful smell out of my car? Are there any Maryland lawyers who can give me info on my recourse?

any thoughts much appreciated…


I have the same problem in Arkansas. Our 09 Saturn Vue was rear ended and now we have a paint smell when it is warm and a ‘clean’ smell they used to mask the odor the rest of the time. headaches when i drive my 15 minute commute to or from work.
We’ve had them ‘detail’ it (really the vacuumed and hid air fresheners in the spare tire compartment), change the HVAC filter and remove the floor mats. Any help would be appreciated.

How about closing the windows and putting some opened boxes of baking soda or activated charcoal in the car?
It works in getting rid of food smells in fridges - maybe it works with paint as well.