Creating a whole new look for your home may be as simple as applying a new coat of paint.
Just changing the color will create an entirely new feel for a fraction of the cost compared to remodeling or replacing your furnishings.
Of course, choosing the right type of paint is just as important as selecting a new color.
One of the options is Eco-friendly paint that offers the same desirable elements of traditional paint but provides greater protection for the health of those living inside.
If you want to know more about these types of paints, below in this article, I will be discussing what they are, and what are the best buying options for you on the market.
So, without any delay let’s start with the basic question…
What are Eco-Friendly Paints?
As in the name, it’s an Eco-paint that is environment friendly and safe for all.
Sometimes called natural paint, this is a type of paint that has removed most, if not all of the volatile organic compounds or VOCs for short.
Compared to traditional paints, eco-friendly paint contains little to no VOCs.
This is due to a filtering process that removes the volatile organic compounds during the manufacturing of the paint.
Although trace amounts may still exist, the danger they present is minimal compared to paints with higher amounts.
In general, this type of formaldehyde-free paint offers several benefits compared to traditional paint that you find in the store.
1- Lasts Longer
One interesting effect is the inclusion of soybean-based properties instead of petroleum-based which is where most VOCs are generated.
Although petroleum properties have their benefits in terms of durability, soybean-based paints last longer, are more dirt-repellent, and the paint dries even harder which means that it maintains their colors for longer periods.
2- Natural Elements
Because eco-friendly paint is made from natural products such as seed oil, bee wax, or lemon peels, it does not create any harmful emissions that might affect the health of those who live inside.
This not only protects you and your family but those who work in factories that manufacture paint made from natural products.
Plus, such natural products are renewable and use items that are not commonly consumed. This means a lower impact on the environment.
3- Saves Money in the Long Run
It’s not just what you pay today, but tomorrow as well that dictates the cost of the spray paint.
While most eco-friendly paint may be more expensive compared to traditional paints when they are purchased, the real savings come in the reduced health risks which means a far lower chance of requiring medical treatments based on the paint itself.
Plus, with some eco-paints lasting longer, you will have to paint less often which also saves money as well.
16 Non-Toxic Paints for Walls and Wood
Now that you are aware of the advantages that eco-friendly paints offer, the next step is finding one that best suits your needs.
What follows are some of the best environmentally friendly paint and stain brands on the market today. These are the popular well-known brands in the paint industry that you can trust.
So, make sure you check them out before buying one…
1- Benjamin Moore Natura
It’s little wonder that so many have chosen Natura paint by Benjamin Moore for their needs while still protecting the environment.
Benjamin Moore Aura is also one of the Zero VOCs paint that comes with low odor and mildew-resistant properties.
IMO, these are among the safest interior paints you can use for your home.
A wide variety of colors is just the start of this eco-friendly paint. Plus, it is certified friendly to those who suffer from allergies and asthma.
This celebrated brand offers paint textures in eggshell, semi-gloss, and flat to increase the overall variety.
2- BioShield Paints
It’s a popular brand name that produces paints with no solvents or VOCs.
Created from natural sources, the paints do not contain any toxins, additives, or harmful chemicals.
You might argue that the paint created by BioShield protects the environment by its presence far more than it might harm it.
This is why the company is so popular along with providing plenty of color choices.
3- Clare Paint
One of the more popular eco-friendly paints among house renovators and contractors, Claire Paint does not contain any VOCs and is Greenguard Gold Certified.
Plus, the company uses low-waste methods in their production, reduced the use of water, and even the packaging is recycled.
While Clare paints may cost more, it does bring you peace of mind if your concern is the environment.
It’s great to use this non-toxic eco-friendly outdoor paint for fences, wooden floors, or furniture in your decking area.
4- ECOS Paint
100% free of VOCs, ECOS Paint offers a wide variety of colors for both interior and exterior walls.
Created from organic materials, this paint has become quite popular outside the home and can be found in celebrated places such as the Getty Museum, Westminster Abbey, and even the Louvre.
5- Sherwin-Williams Harmony
What makes this paint desirable for those who want to protect the environment is that the technology used to create the paint actually helps reduce the toxic emissions from other sources such as pets or household products.
The fact is it has no VOCs, is GreenGuard certified for use around children while protecting the air, and the different color combinations the paint provides.
Sherwin-Williams Harmony is therefore an excellent choice if you are looking for exceptional eco-friendly paint for making your home non-toxic.
6- The Real Milk Paint Co.
Created from milk protein instead of oil or water-based paints, The Real Milk Paint Co. offers plenty of color options along with loose pigments which means you can mix your own color scheme.
It also helps that their milk paints are fully biodegradable so they can be safely disposed of without concern over the long term.
7- Earth Pigments
Using minerals and plant-based nontoxic pigments (from Earth Pigments) is another safe alternative.
They offer rich earth tones and paint colors that look beautiful.
These pigments are usually harvested from the earth and may require you to mix some additional materials.
Although the process may be time-consuming, the end result and safe environment you get are worth the extra effort.
8- Green Planet Paints
Green Planet Paints, according to its name, promotes a healthy planet by developing a non-toxic paint that is safe and natural.
Their products are formulated with zero VOCs and preservatives with mineral pigments. Plus, they also do not contain any harmful biocides.
The ingredients they use in their paints are basically clay-based and plant-based such as soy-based resins. Most of these are also sustainably sourced.
9- Anna Sova
Anna Sova is a brand that makes natural paints that contains zero toxins and VOCs.
The products are particularly food-based which means that are made from ingredients such as:
- food emulsifiers
- milk casein as found in milkshakes
- food-grade bamboo cellulose that’s found in fiber bars
- natural fungicides, mildew-retardants & natural preservatives as in chocolates
10- Behr Premium Plus
Behr has been offering inexpensive zero-VOC and low-odor interior paint options like Behr Premium Plus since 2012.
Their self-priming products are also low VOCs and are effective at sealing uncoated or previously painted surfaces.
They also offer mildew-resistant finishes that are acrylic based and have a quick drying time.
Plus, they also have a range of other products that are highly versatile and are designed to meet standards for low chemical emissions.
11- Earth Safe Finishes
Earth Safe Finishes is a firm based in South Carolina that produces VOC-free paints for almost two decades.
They have a wall paint line for inside and outside usage, including the one that they claim to be as extremely safe for babies and pets.
The company is also known to design no-VOC water-based varnishes, zero-VOC stains, sealants, and pigments that are ideal to use on furniture, decorative objects as well as various arts and craft projects.
12- AFM Safecoat
AFM SafeCoat manufactures products that are ideal for people sensitive to chemicals.
Particularly for commercial spaces such as hospitals, schools, and offices where there are small kids or vulnerable groups of people to allergies, the low VOC and no odor of AFM products make them a top pick.
All of the company’s building materials, according to them, are designed to meet high-quality performance standards while minimizing toxic off-gassing.
13- Earthborn Paint
Earthborn is a UK-based brand and its paints are available in a variety of colors, sheens, and sizes.
They offer low-VOC and no VOC options, as well as paints that are zero emissions for those who are looking for the most natural product possible.
Their paints are mostly clay-based, oil-free, and acrylic-free, which also means they meet strict standards for low emissions.
14- Magnolia Home Paint
Magnolia Home Paint line by Joanna Gaines is not only toxin-free but they are also known for its pretty looks, shades, and textures.
The paints have low VOCs, are odor-free, and have a matte finish.
Their products are usually made of acrylic and are designed with a simple, relaxed, and timeless style, especially for those who are looking to create a modern rustic look in their homes.
15- Backdrop Paint
It’s a relatively fresh brand that was co-founded by husband-and-wife team Caleb and Natalie Ebel.
They were actually concerned about the health of their children and wanted to provide families with a safe alternative to conventional paints and that’s where the idea come up.
Their products come with fun creative names. They are low VOCs, odorless, and Greenwise certified which is a strict third-party testing organization.
What’s special about the brand is that they give back to The International Rescue Committee with every purchase you make.
This is also the reason why their paints are becoming increasingly popular with time.
16- Homestead House Paint Company
Homestead House Paint Company not only offers no VOC paints for the interiors and exterior but also a primer and ceiling paints that are 100 percent acrylic-based.
With the brand, there are various different palettes to choose from, including Early Victorian and Craftsman.
All of these are based on modern and popular design trends and can be used on a variety of surfaces without any prep work.
Besides the above, there can be a few more house paint brands available based on your locations.
If you need to compare or do more research, you may check them out before buying one.
Low Voc vs. No Voc Paint
You may have heard of “low VOC” or “no VOC” paints, but what does that mean?
VOCs, or volatile organic compounds, are chemicals that evaporate easily at room temperature and can be harmful to your health.
Paints with high VOC levels can cause respiratory problems, headaches, and dizziness, and can aggravate allergies and asthma.
So which is better for you and your family: Low VOC paint or Zero VOC paint?
The answer depends on your needs and preferences.
Low VOC paints have fewer harmful chemicals than regular paints, but they still contain some VOCs.
No VOC paints are completely free of harmful chemicals, but they may not be as durable or have the same color options as low VOC paints.
If you’re looking for the safest option for your family, go with no VOC paint.
But if you want a paint that will last longer and has more color choices, low VOC paint is the way to go.
Are These Paints Safe for Your Pets?
If you are considering something to paint a DIY dog bed, dog house indoors, or a wooden kennel in the backyard, non-toxic paints are good to start with.
But remember, some paints, although nontoxic, have a strong scent that can trigger headaches.
Those fumes in the paint can seriously harm if used around pooches.
If your puppy lick or chew the paint (fresh or dried), it can also show side effects like dizziness, hair loss, breathing issues, etc.
So, when picking any of these paints, dyes, varnishes, clear coats, or primers it’s a good strategy to check if they are labeled “dog-friendly” or “pet-friendly”.
These paints are specifically designed for safer use and can be used around cats and dogs without any problems.
Just pick a semigloss or satin finish with a bit darker color as they would be easy to hide dirt and wipe clean when needed.
Can You Make Non-Toxic Paints at Home?
Homemade Eco-friendly paints are simple to make.
In fact, you can make one instantly by using very few ingredients that are completely natural and non-toxic.
I have once tried this recipe and it worked great.
For making a quart of paint you will need:
- ½ cup of linseed oil
- 4 cups (1 quart) of fresh tap water
- 3.5 oz white flour available in your kitchen
- 7 oz of colored pigment (red, blue, gray, or whatever you like)
If you want to prepare the paint for the surfaces outdoor, you will also need to add about 3-4 oz of iron sulfate (available at a store from where you buy your garden stuff).
It will help in withstanding the harsh weather conditions.
After you have collected all the materials, follow these steps…
- Heat 1 cup of water in a saucepan
- Add flour slowly into the hot water
- Stir to make a lump-free paste
- Add rest of the water and keep on stirring
- Add pigment color and iron sulfate
- While still stirring add the linseed oil
- Keep the mixture heating for about 20 minutes
- Let the prepared paint cool down for some time
And that’s it.
You have your homemade natural paint prepared that can be applied using a brush.
For indoor surfaces (such as drywall, furniture, etc.) that are already painted, primed, or prepared a single coat will be enough.
But if it’s an external surface putting up two to three coats will help get you the right finish.
Natural paints for kids’ artwork can also be made using the same process.
For art-works and fun activities, you can even prepare homemade paint for your kids by using certain plants, and natural powders.
- For paint colors like Blue, you can use blackberries, blueberries, or blackcurrants
- For Red color, beetroot, rose petals, cranberries, or strawberries are best
- And for making Yellow-colored natural paint you can use mustard powder, bee pollen, or pumpkin
Since most acrylic paints available on the market are not eco-friendly, you can prepare and give your kids these homemade natural paints for their artwork.
These will be completely safe for their skin as well as lungs.
Are Non-toxic Paints Edible – What If You Eat Them By Mistake?
“Eat” and “Edible” are two common terms that are used interchangeably but they do have different meanings.
In simple terms, something that’s “edible” and does not show any immediate side effects after eating, does not necessarily mean that it’s safe to eat – you should not be eating them for your regular diet.
The same holds true for non-toxic paints.
They are NOT edible and neither they are technically safe to eat.
But since they are non-toxic and are not as dangerous/poisonous as regular house paints, they tend to show a lower level of adverse side effects.
The truth is, all paints come with pigments and some amounts of solvents that can be poisonous to the human body.
Especially for toddlers and pets, if they swallow the chips of old flaking paint or drink paint water by mistake, it can be ingested and digested.
But depending on the paint, it can cause problems like an upset stomach, nausea, or vomiting.
To avoid the problems and sickness, you can try giving them some favorite snacks – immediately after they have licked or eaten the paint which will hopefully lower the adverse reactions to the paint.
Does no VOC paint smell?
No VOC paint does not contain the same chemicals as regular paint, so it doesn’t have that strong, chemical smell.
You may still smell a faint odor when the paint is first applied, but it should dissipate within a few hours.
How do you check the VOC in paint?
The VOC content of paint can be checked in a number of ways. The most common method is to look at the label, which should give you an indication of the VOC content.
Make sure that the paint you are choosing comes with 5g/L or less of VOCs with no extra solvents or additives.
If you’re still not sure, you can also check with the manufacturer or your local paint store for getting paint VOC levels chart and expert advice.
Is low VOC non-toxic paint more expensive?
No VOC paint is usually more expensive than regular paint, but the price difference is usually not more than $5 per gallon.
The extra cost is worth it for the peace of mind that comes with knowing you’re using a safer product.
The Bottom Line
With our planet regularly suffering from disasters, Eco-friendly paint is the real demand of time.
This is the reason why paint varieties like mud paint, chalk paint, clay paint, and other green products are getting much more popular than traditional oil-based toxic paints.
Choosing the best eco-friendly paint brands will ensure that you get the results you want while limiting exposure to harmful VOCs along with other harsh chemicals.
That way, you can enjoy the appearance of the new paint inside your home without concern for the harm that traditional paints may cause both in the short and long term.
Jack Luis is a semi-retired painter who loved painting his clients’ ideas on their walls.
He had worked as a painter for over a decade serving customers in areas such as Charleston, Mount Pleasant, Beaufort, and Georgetown, SC (South Carolina). Today in his free time, he likes to read and write about the newer techniques implemented in his profession. You may read more about him here or get in touch with him here.