Sustainable Living

A Guide to VOC Free Paint For Your Homes

October 25, 2016

A Guide to VOC Free Paint For Your Homes

On my quest to cover all things environmentally friendly as part of my Interior Design Degree, I discovered a whole new world of VOC free paints. As an Interior Designer, being knowledgeable, and offering sustainable/eco-friendly are important aspects of the design process. If you haven’t heard of these eco-friendly paints before, you might be interested to read on.

Conventional Paints – What You Should Know

You may not know this, and I certainly didn’t before my degree,  conventional paints can contain formaldehyde, heavy metals and other nasties that are known as Volatile Organic Compounds or VOCs for short. These VOCs can shockingly last up to five years in your homes.  To put it into context, professional decorators are said to have a 40% chance of contracting lung cancer, according to The World Health Organisation. And then there is the cost to our environment.  For manufacturers to produce one litre of paint can result in 30 litres of toxic waste!!

Why You Will Be Seeing More Eco-Friendly Paints

As a society, we are increasingly environmentally aware and are often looking to living a cleaner, healthier lifestyle. This is where eco-paints are becoming a popular choice. The main reason why you will be seeing more eco-friendly paints available on the market is due to paint manufacturers having to comply with stringent EU limits on VOC levels. This has actually been in place since 2010.

How To Choose Eco-Friendly Paints

To be honest it can be a bit of a minefield when trying to choose eco-friendly paint. Some companies may label their products as such, but the reality is many still contain VOC solvents, fungicides and chemical pigments. There appears to be a variance of what companies class as ‘eco’. So be sure to check out the label on the tin or their website to ensure it’s not just lowered its VOC levels.

To help you choose from the companies that declare eco-friendly on their tins, but aren’t necessarily so, you need to look for plant-based, water-borne paints. The next best thing to look for is plant-based, solvent-borne ones with natural solvents. Try to avoid those using titanium dioxides, which is a big contributor to environmental problems.

Here are a few fab companies that offer eco-friendly paints that you may want to consider.




A small independent company, Earthborn has been established since 2002. They include their ingredients on the tin so you can actually see what goes in. Earthborn was also the first UK Licence holder of the EU Eco label for eco paints and varnishes. Offering durability, breathability and no nasty smells. With a choice of 72 colours in clay paint or eco emulsion. They also do exterior masonry paint.

Lakeland Paints

Offering a range of solvent free paints made in the UK,  Lakeland Paints are water based, free from solvents, VOCs, pesticide, herbicides and toxins. 7000 times purer than standard low odour paints (EN71:3 compliant). They have won an accolade of awards such as the Allergy UK Seal of Approval, The Millennium Marque, The Glaxo Welcome Responsible Business Award, Daily Telegraph/Natwest Bank Clean Technology Awards, The Ford Conservation Award. Go check out their website for more information and extensive colour ranges.


Offering a wide range of natural breathable paints Auro use organic linseed oil resins, plant and mineral pigments for colour, and chalks for fillers. Auros’ paints are perfect if you suffer from allergies or asthma as they only use natural and plant-based ingredients in their paints. Check out their comprehensive website for more details. Auro also ensures their ingredients, such as the linseed oil, is certified as organic, as well as producing paint in a sustainable ecological cycle. If you need to know what goes into their paints, you can download data sheets from their website.


Manufactured in Iceland and Sweden, Eicó paints use 100% geothermal or hydropower energy in their production process, making it carbon positive. They offer one of the lowest VOC ratings of any paint sold in the UK and has practically no odour to it. Eicó paint is designed for longevity and durability with the ability to wash it up to 2000 times. Great if you have messy kids like myself!

There are, of course, many other brands available. I hope, I have given you some insight into eco-friendly paints. Yes, they may cost more than conventional paint, but when you weigh up the pros and cons to our environment and to our health, they are definitely worth considering.
Thanks for stopping by today, and taking time out to read this post!
Until next time……

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  • Reply Amanda Dodds-Hooson October 31, 2016 at 10:16 am

    I have recently been researching this very subject in regard to historic buildings. Informative :) xx

    • Reply maria November 3, 2016 at 1:22 pm

      Thanks Amanda! I would imagine VOC free paints are an important aspect to consider when designing historical buildings :D xx

    • Reply maria November 3, 2016 at 1:35 pm

      Thanks Amanda! I would imagine VOC free paints are an important aspect to consider when designing historical buildings :D xx

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