Decorating your house is a big deal of fun until you come to a dilemma about the colors on your walls. You definitely do not want to choose strong-smelling, VOCs (Volatile Organic Compounds, a class of chemicals that evaporate readily and easily) and synthetic chemical laden paints to furnish your newly prepared home. The lone idea of breathing in toxic chemicals, released by many common household decorative paints, can be scary.
What is “Natural Paint?” Natural paints are commonly derived from plant and mineral materials, which in turn help to avoid indoor air pollution due to VOCs and synthetic chemicals. Commonly, paint has three main ingredients:
- Pigment: This is responsible for the color of the paint.
- Solvent: The solvent is responsible for keeping the paint in its fluid form and evaporates as the paint dries. Solvent can also be used during painting to help clean and correct mistakes.
- Binder: This ingredient helps to bind the paint together, and is the main body of the paint.
- Filler: This is an optional component. These are used to modify the texture, consistency of paint, and also help to reinforce the paint.
There are a few different types of natural paint:
- Water-based paint (Water-based paints is regarded as the best choice for an environmentally-friendly solvent.)
- Casein or Milk Paint (This paint is often called “milk paint” or “milk-based paint” due to its ingredient origin: A protein commonly found in diary.)
- Tempera or Egg Paint (Similar to milk paint, this paint is instead based on eggs, and is durable and quick to dry with a glossy finish)
- Flour paint (The good side is that you can use this paint of a wide range of household surfaces, while the bad side is that this paint is thick and tough on brushes.)
- Oil-based paint (This paint is commonly made from linseed oil. These paints tend to be durable and finish off with a velvety feel.)
The advantage of natural paint is that it helps to reduce the amount of VOCs present within the house, and hence reduces indoor air pollution. Most natural paints are microporous, and this means that natural paints allow the walls to breathe, and blistering or peeling of paints does not occur. Natural paints also do not use perishable materials such as petroleum, and mostly contain components from sustainable sources. Due to this non-toxic, natural ingredients, most paints are biodegradable, and hence easy to dispose, and in turn reduces the need for rubbish, and helps prevent environmental pollution and disposal costs compared to synthetic paints.
Eco-friendly Paints Other than natural paints, there are also paints known as “Eco Paints”. Defined by its attribute, eco-paints ensure that the environment is not negatively impacted when in use. Eco-paints are also natural paints, and free of pesticides, herbicides, and harmful chemicals. They are generally made with minimally-processed ingredients (that can be organic), and are typically less energy-extensive to produce.
One such example of eco-paint readily available in Singapore would be ECO Paint from Puhua. It is made from diatomaceous earth, and is labelled to be 100% natural and free from chemicals. Diatom is a tiny algae of a few micrometers and is found in deep sea or lakes. It is soft, light and porous, and diatomite is formed from diatom after millions of years of deposition and compression, and with silicon dioxide as its key constituent, diatom is able to carry out photosynthesis. Diatomite can be used as construction material, natural pesticide, cosmetic product and healthcare supplement. Using paint with diatomite ensures that indoor air conditions are improved as compared to using normal paint. Puhua’s ECO paint eliminates VOCs pollutants, and has no smell or odor. It also boasts of anti-mold and anti-bacteria characteristics, is flame retardant, and able to insulate sound and heat well, keeping your house nice and cool, with additional releases of negative ions and infrared ray emission. Most eco-friendly paints would claim of similar qualities, with the parameter of being environmentally friendly, and benign to our health. Again, similarly to natural paint, eco paints are more expensive than conventional paint, but cannot be defined as over-the-top prices – especially when you consider that the paint you are getting consists of natural or organic ingredient with little to low synthetic chemicals and VOCs that is harmful to our health. Eco paints also possess the ability to compost when thrown away.
The Big Conclusion Natural paints and eco paints can by way more expensive that regular synthetic paints, and they may possibly be harder to work with because of the texture, rate of drying and inconsistent colouring from batch to batch. Despite some minor disadvantages, natural, eco paint still remains more environmentally friendly that the usual, store-bought synthetic paint. Unlike store-bought synthetic paints, these eco paints can prevent eye, nose, and throat irritation; headaches, loss of coordination, nausea; damage to kidney and central nervous systems. Sometimes, normal synthetic paint can also cause allergic skin reaction, nausea and dizziness due to overexposure to VOCs. Hence, it might be worth paying that extra buck for natural paint with lesser or zero chemicals. Additionally, Puhua’s eco paint boasts of being economically affordable while 100% natural certified safe, and acts as an anti-dust mite protection with higher effectives than charcoal.
Some natural paint can also be made at home, and making them at home can be more budget-friendly as well. You can search up a DIY paint recipe of your own liking before purchasing the required ingredients. Don’t be too harsh on yourself if the results are not as exceptional as you expected; you’ll need to experiment around with the quantity of each ingredient before you achieve the correct consistency and color. With enough practice, you’ll soon find yourself whipping up your very own, homemade paint.