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How to Paint Without Harming the Environment

We all could use a fresh wall color every now and then. Walls scuff, chip, and fade with years of wear and tear, and so does style. The new project will take some work, and you’re ready to go to the store to look at paint swatches. Is all paint bad for the environment? Do you need to use any chemicals? No and no, if you choose the right materials.

Green Painting Materials

First up is paint. You will want a latex based paint, which is the most common. This paint will wash with soap and water. You will also want to look at the VOC, or Volatile Organic Compounds, in the paint. This information is typically located on the back of the label. There are several paint companies who make 0 VOC paints, one of which is Olympic Paints.

After you find a paint, you will want to find good painting materials. Avoid cheap plastic brushes or rollers. Buy a high quality angled brush. If properly cleaned, a good brush can last 20 years. High quality rollers can also be cleaned and used multiple times. Check for shedding nap with painters tape.

Instead of buying plastic drop sheets, use an old bed sheet or invest in a canvas drop cloth. These will also last years. Make sure the paint cannot soak through the material before using.

Green Cleaning

Before the walls get painted, make sure to wash any dirt or debris off. This can be done with water and a small amount of dish soap. If the walls have been exposed to cigarette smoke, you may need a heavier detergent. Instead of using TSP (Trisodium Phosphate) look for a phosphate-free alternative. These are better products to have around the home.

Read the Directions

This is a common mistake that can cost you hours. If a cleaning material needs to soak for 30 minutes, let it. If the paint recommends a drying time of 1 hour in between coats, wait the full hour. This will ensure proper adhesion, which will probably reduce chipping in the future.

Take Your Time

Painting can be difficult. If you are not good at cutting edges with a brush, take the time to tape off areas. Realize that brush strokes look different than rolled areas after drying. A good tip is to paint the trim first and then roll as close to the trim as possible.

If there are some smaller areas that are difficult to roll, try buying a 3 or 4 inch roller. These can also be cleaned and saved.

If you would like to see more articles about environmentally conscious home improvement, check out

Clay Miller
the authorClay Miller
I am the creator/writer of and I'm an advocate for oceans, beaches, state parks. I enjoy all things outdoors (e.g. running, golf, gardening, hiking, etc.) I am a graduate of the University of Kentucky (Go Wildcats!!). I'm also a huge fan of the Pittsburgh Steelers. I was born and raised in the beautiful state of Kentucky.

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