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What Is Low Voc Paint?

If the smell of new paint has ever caught your sniffer you are smelling VOCs.


Volatile Organic Compounds. i.e Fungicides, Formaldehyde, Ethylene Glycol, and Benzene. Yum. Not something you’d necessarily want lathering up your walls. VOCs are primarily carbon-containing substances that are commonly found in paint and household cleaning products.

When used inside, they can leak toxic gases and vapors that can attribute to respiratory health issues and long-lasting physical health ailments. VOCs are normally found in products to assist in the quality of application, avoid sticky streaking, and aid in a quick-drying process.

 However, when you use VOCs indoors, these vapors release over a long period of time- even past the painting process – through a system calling off-gassing. What may seem like a harmless warning label, off-gassing can actually be a major red flag for health issues that pop up later in your life.

So, No VOC’s Ever?

A Low VOC paint has an average of 50 grams per liter to meet Green Seal standards. Because there is no government-issued standard, 50 grams is the common number among all Low VOC Products. The solution to VOC paints is a Latex Based paint.

What about Zero VOC?

Zero VOCs are a great option too! Low VOCs and Zero VOCs are virtually the same product. It would be the same as a marketing company labeling toothpaste as ‘Clean’ and the other as ‘Fresh’. But don’t be fooled, this doesn’t mean they don’t skimp out on sneaking it other toxins. Zero VOCs just mean the paint contains like then 5g per Liter. Some of our favorite Zero VOC paints include Behr, Benjamin Moore, Sherwin Williams, and Yolo Colorhouse.

Are Low VOC Paints Bad Quality?

Not at all! Low VOC paints normally have much more thought put into them. They also smell a hell of a lot better without all those extra toxins! Low VOC paints, however, can require more paint applications and patience with layering. Since you’re skipping out on VOCs in your paint, the quick fix drying techniques, and anti-streak properties are also taken out of the equation.

A Better Investment

Although Low VOC paints tend to range towards a higher price point, the longevity in preventative measures towards protecting your health are priceless. Not only are you protecting yourself and your loved ones from possible toxins, but Low VOC paints also tend to last much longer compared to their original counterparts. This means less time retouching walls and more time focusing on the moments you make within those walls.

Where to Start?


Non-Toxic is always the best way to go. Make sure to check for no icky extra solvents or additives and look for the 5g/L VOC GreenSeal Label Approval! Companies are always adapting their products to fit a wider range of needs and you will start to notice more and more plant or mineral-based products on the shelves!

Luckily, if you’re still feeling overwhelmed, don’t feel shy about asking your local paint store’s expertise and they’re sure to guide you in the right direction.

Happy Painting!