The best brands of natural house paint are difficult to find, in a minefield of confusion for the average layperson. We all know that most household paint is toxic and tested on animals. But how do you choose a trustworthy house paint, without ‘greenwashing’.
This post aims to collate the best green house paints on the market, but the list is not perfect. Some paints are not made in England (so higher carbon footprint), a few companies make some paints with animal ingredients (only vegan paints are listed below) and a few contain ‘virtually no VOCs over zero volatile organic compounds (this is to due with a complicated European law). But overall, these are the best you can get for now. Watch this space, as the list will be updated, as and when information changes. The list below also includes eco-friendly decorating materials and non-toxic wallpaper brands.
Always ventilate the area while painting, even if using non-toxic paints (and keep children and pets out of harm’s way, especially if using squirrel mixers). You can recycle paint at most household recycling centres (for larger amounts, contact Community RePaint that recycles it on to local community projects).
The Best Brands of Natural House Paint
Brands not made in England link to UK online stores.
- Edward Bulmer Paint is as tough and durable as synthetic paint, but with natural breathable ingredients. Endorsed by Renovate Green, these are micro-porous (no plastic film) making them good for old houses. In 85 colours, they are made with artist pigments.
- Graphenstone ticks all the boxes (non-toxic, vegan, high quality) and is sold in white and various colours (you can order a chart). You can also buy Graphenstone Natural Primers & Fillers that give an excellent finish.
- AURO is one of the greenest brands (from Germany). Vegan-friendly options include white emulsion, white clay paint and anti-mould paint. Auro Gloss Paint is based on linseed oil, and tested safe for toys and saliva/perspiration proof.
- Kriedezeit is a German brand of paint made in a carbon-neutral factory. Available in smooth or textured finishes, these clay paints are sold as powders that you mix with water. They apply wet then become opaque when fully dry. You can then safely store leftover powder in the garage, for future use. The primer is not vegan-friendly (casein).
- Earthborn Paints are virtually VOC-free and sold in a range of colours. The range of this popular brand is extensive including special effects and masonry paints, along with varnish. It’s also designed to be more affordable than most. The 3 non-vegan products are Casein Paint, Casein Filler and Furniture Wax.
- The Organic Natural Paint Co not only supplies a wide range of vegan-friendly eco paint and painting materials, but also supplies non-toxic primers and plasters that ensures the paint finishes last longer. Includes fast delivery for all types of paint surfaces.
Natural House Paint & Plaster
Natural builders can buy pre-coloured natural plasters from Clayworks. This Cornish company offers beautifully designed products in a variety of colours, ideal for cob and straw bale buildings, or even conventional walls. Packaging is brown paper bags (no plastic).
Created by England’s top experts in natural finishes, read their book Clay & Lime Renders, Plasters & Paints, which is a detailed guide to all natural finishes available, and how to use them. There is extensive advice on the site on how to use these unique paints (and you can contact them for a list of approved contractors).
Natural House Paint (for nurseries)
- The Organic & Natural Paint Co has a great post on how to paint safely for children’s rooms (they recommend Graphenstone, which can be used for any painting jobs).
- Little Knights is a beautiful range of paints, specifically to paint children’s nurseries (though you could of course use them elsewhere). Independently tested to be free of volatile organic compounds.
- Little Knights Exterior Wood Paint features an anti-bacterial ingredient to prevent mould, lichen and moss. It’s also non-flammable (as an ideal alternative to linseed paint, if it scares you!) It’s suitable for fences, sheds, pet enclosures, beach huts, cladding, barns, stables and out-buildings. Easy to use, it’s touch-dry in 15 to 20 minutes.
- You can buy the range online at Little Knights (their ‘complete kits’ saves money on buying each item individually, ideal for DIY enthusiasts or professional decorators).
- Edward Bulmer nursery Collection comes in 12 soothing colours. Tough and durable as synthetic paint, but made with natural breathable ingredients.
Non-Toxic Varnish & Oil Stains
- Auro One-Off Oil Wax is easily applied to oil and wax wooden surfaces, in one application. You can wipe the surface with a damp cloth, after one day.
- Osmo makes nontoxic finishings, made from sustainably harvested oils. The products are free from VOCs and made from a blend of linseed, sunflower, soybean and thistle oils. The interior products also contain natural vegetable carnauba and candelilla wax.
- LifeTime Wood Treatment is the nontoxic alternative to creosote. This invention from Canada (sold here) claims to be harmless to all creatures (and the planet). Ideal for furniture, outdoor furniture and fencing, this is organic and biodegradable. It’s sold as a powder which you mix with water, so you can safely keep unused items securely in the garage, for future use.
Eco-Friendly Decorating Materials
- The Organic & Natural Paint Co has a post to get rid of black mould naturally.
- Edward Bulmer stocks Auro odour-free primer for zero-emission preparation, along with natural oil thinners and brushes/decorating materials from Eco Ezee (below).
- Eco Solutions sells Home Strip and Trade Strip in stores onlyl The company also sells Grime Go!, a unique surface preparation cleaner for walls. All items are water-based with no harm to the planet. Some of the items are designed especially to remove Artex ceilings and graffiti from walls. They suggest calling a professional before use, if you suspect asbestos in wall or ceilings, for expert removal.
- Eco Ezee offers a beautiful range of painting materials. The quality brushes are made with bamboo handles and recycled stainless steel ferrules (the bristles are a mix of recycled material and synthetic bristles, to avoid animal hair), and they also sell paint kettles and paint trays made from recycled materials (but you can wash them after use). This company also makes dust sheets, made from biodegradable material.