Fume-free paints

Pocket-friendly prices, a rainbow of colors, and a finish for every surface are finally making zero-VOC paints the obvious choice

Fume-free paints
Photo: Jeffery Cross


VOC (Volatile Organic Compound) Organic chemical compounds that vaporize under most normal temperatures ― resulting in that “wet paint” smell. VOCs are associated with a range of health issues, from nausea and dizziness to respiratory problems and cancer.

Zero-VOC paint An industry standard generally referring to paint with less than 5 grams of VOC per liter. At the store, be sure to ask if the colorants used to tint the paints are also zero-VOC.

Low-VOC paint Generally referring to paint that contains less than 50 grams of VOC per liter.


Mythic: A one-coat option offering even, consistent, high-performance coverage. Look for vibrant new palettes by HGTV’s Color Splash star, David Bromstad, due out this summer. INFO: 10 finishes, 1,232 colors, custom color matches ($16/qt., $46/gal.; 877/714-9422)

Old guard
AFM Safecoat: AFM paved the road for toxin-free paints 25 years ago (long before most people knew what VOC was) and is still a reliable choice. INFO: 3 finishes, 930 colors, custom color matches; most zero-VOC, a few low-VOC ($15/qt., $42/gal.; 800/239-0321)

Bang for the buck
The Freshaire Choice: Sold exclusively at the Home Depot, Freshaire offers a limited, mostly muted palette at an affordable price. A great choice for neutrals and whites. INFO: 3 finishes, 66 colors (from $34/gal.; 866/880-0304 for stores)

Super natural
Green Planet Paints: Produced in Phoenix, these interior wall paints are based on soy resin, clay, mineral pigments, and other natural materials. INFO: 3 finishes, 48 colors, custom color matches (from $48/gal.; 520/394-2571)

Natura: All of Benjamin Moore’s colors are available in Natura, the company’s first residential zero-VOC paint line, now in wide distribution. INFO: 3 finishes, 3,500 colors, custom color matches ($19/qt., $50/gal.; 800/672-4686 for stores)

Yolo Colorhouse: Though it’s not the only zero-VOC paint company with limitless color matching, Yolo’s nature-inspired custom palettes set it apart. Its new Color of Hope collection is 36 bold and energetic hues meant to create positive, comfortable spaces. INFO: 3 finishes, 127 colors, custom color matches ($15/qt., $45/gal.; 877/493-8275)

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