Super Washable Wall Paint
Washable Wall Paint TIPS
- Washable paints do work
- Best ones have ceramic microspheres
- WATCH washable wall paint video below
- Read cleaning instructions to avoid burnishing the paint
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DEAR TIM: I have a husband with dirty hands and children who think walls are painting canvases. Recently I purchased an interior wall paint that claimed to be washable.
It was washable to some degree but tough stains did not release from the paint. I really need to be able to wash my painted walls but I don't want a semi or high gloss interior finish.
Is there a magical paint that really does release stains? Susan K., Pottstown, PA
DEAR SUSAN: The quest for a flat washable interior wall paint is over I believe.
Washable Paints Are Reality
I think I've found a paint that will meet your tough requirements and allow you to have clean walls without periodic repainting. The solution to the problem was reformulating some of the components of ordinary wall paint.
Keep in mind that interior wall paints, and most paints for that matter, are simply colored glue. The chemistry of paint is very close to that of regular adhesives.
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Paints = Colored Glue
Paint sticks to your skin, clothes and walls just like any glue. Coarse pigments are added that allow paint to hide other colors and produce a film over the surface you are painting. Traditional wall paints often use extender pigments to help with this task of hiding colors and marks on the wall that is being painted.
Sand & Clay Ingredients
But these traditional extender pigments are porous and are usually made from finely ground silica sand or Georgia Kaolin clays. These particles can be very uneven with respect to size and when viewed under a powerful microscope they look like a coarse sponge.
Unfortunately for you and many other homeowners, this coarse texture is an excellent place for stains to attach themselves.
Washable Wall Paint Video
Watch this pro video about a major brand's washable wall paints. I've used this paint and had great success with it.
Cleaning Cheap Paint Polishes It
When you attempt to remove a stain or mark from paints that contain these extender pigments, a majority of the stain will lift from the paint but a certain amount stays hidden in the deep pores of the pigments.
Vigorous scrubbing will remove the remainder of the stain but it also burnishes, or polishes, the paint making it appear shiny. This shiny spot is often as unsightly as the original stain.
Ceramic Microspheres To The Rescue
A new flat wall paint can be purchased that eliminates this problem. Have you ever used a pencil or a washable marker pen on glazed ceramic tile?
A wet paper towel immediately lifts the marks from this glass-like surface. An ingenious chemist at a paint company decided to incorporate this same principle in a flat wall paint.
He substituted tiny ceramic microspheres in place of the coarse extender pigments. The result is a unique flat wall paint that is indeed washable. I tested this paint's washability characteristics against some of the leading washable wall paints and was amazed at how well the paint performed.
As with any stain, the trick to removal lies in rapid response. The sooner you act, the better your chances of completely removing a stain.
I've had the best luck with certified organic oxygen bleach. Stain Solver is my preferred brand.
Stain Solver is non-toxic, it's made in the USA with US ingredients and it's a pure powder you mix with warm or hot tap water.
Stir until the powder is dissolved and then put the solution in a spray bottle. Spritz the stain, wait about five minutes and wipe clean!
Liquid Soap Not Bad
Mild liquid dishwashing soaps also go a long way in helping to emulsify and lift stains from any interior wall paint. Stains that have dried out need to be rehydrated. This means you need to add water back to the stain.
Soak the stain for a few minutes to bring them back to their original wet or hydrated state before they will completely release from the paint film. I do this by getting a paper towel wet and press it onto the stain like you're hanging wallpaper.
Save Original Paint
In case you can't remove a tough stain from this new or any other wall paint it is a good idea to keep some of the original paint on hand. You'll have to wash the entire wall to get a perfect match. Often you need to paint the entire wall to not end up with a spot where you see the touch-up paint. Sunlight can alter the color of paint.
If you have a partial can of water-based paint, transfer the paint into a container where there will be a minimal amount of air on top of the paint. If you have a gallon paint can with only a quart of paint in it, you'll get a nasty skin on top of the paint.
Always pour a small amount of water on top of the water-based paint in the can before you hammer or screw the lid in place. This water film will often prevent a skin from forming on the surface of the paint while it is stored. If it's oil-based paint, pour some mineral spirits or paint thinner on top of the paint.
Use Stain Blocker
When touching up a stained spot on a wall you may have to use a stain blocking primer if the stain bleeds through. To completely mask the stain, you may also have to completely repaint just the wall and not the entire room.