Should I Repaint Walls to Remove Unpleasant Odor?

Here is a question I received from a homeowner recently:

We built a home in Sarasota and it was completed in August of 2017. We did not move into the home until December of 2017. A few of the closets and the kitchen pantry have a very unpleasant odor. I have tried airing them out with a fan and have also tried using baking soda and charcoal products that are supposed to remove odors, but these remedies have not worked. I thought about repainting the walls in those areas to try to get rid of the smell, but before I do, I wanted to ask you if there is a chance that the closets never dried well or were not aired out after they were painted. I am not using the closets or pantry yet, in hopes of getting this resolved. Thank you for professional opinion so I can get this fixed and can begin to fully enjoy my new home!

Below is my reply:

I am not sure what is causing the smell. It is hard to tell without seeing your home.

What you could do is paint the closets with a coat of Cover Stain oil-based primer, which you can purchase at Home Depot. You can then paint the walls with a coat of Sherwin Williams Harmony a low-VOC paint.

By using the oil-based primer on the ceiling and walls, which forms a vapor barrier and should contain the smell. Then, by painting the ceiling and walls with a low-VOC paint, which has no odors, that should also help with your problem.