With spring cleaning making your house sparkle and gleam you are starting to notice some things around the house, patio, backyard or balcony, may need a little sprucing up. As good green kids, we want to reuse items as much as possible versus purchasing new ones, so we are looking to freshen some items up around the place as we prepare for even longer, warmer summer days. By no means are we talking full DIY Martha Stewart (let’s get out the sand blaster) renovations or restoration of furniture or rooms, but you know, just a fresh coat of paint.
For patio furniture or freshening up a room (maybe a new accent wall)- check out milk paint. Yup I said it, paint that is created with milk. Well actually the milk protein along with lime is what make up this paint’s main ingredients and also makes it one of the most eco-friendly ways to paint anything in your home.
Now just a reminder about the nasty things that hide in regular paint: VOCs, lead and chromium are the big three. Many paints are made with VOCs (volatile organic compounds) that let off gases that can be hazardous to our health long after we have painted a room (or even in the short term nobody likes those smelly paint fumes). Lead is used in paint that has pigment (or color). Lead is also added to paint to speed drying, increase durability, retain a fresh appearance, and resist moisture that causes corrosion. Chromium is used in primer paint is still widely used for aerospace and auto refinishing applications. Zinc Chromite has been used as a pigment for artists paint, known as Zinc Yellow or Yellow 36. It is highly toxic and now rarely used (but can still be found in some paints so watch out!)
Using a paint that has low VOCs is one step but using Milk Paint (which has no VOCs) can actually help improve the air quality. Milk paint draws in carbon dioxide from the air as it continues to harden, so when painted on interior and exterior walls and siding, it will continue cleaning the air. Milk paint also contains no lead or chromium! Babies and pets are safe.
Milk Paint will come to you as a powder and you mix it with water to create the color. Once mixed, the paint will last you a day or so (you can store it in your fridge to help it last a bit longer). Just think, you can actually mix what you need versus having to purchase set retail sizes! Very eco! Besides being non-toxic, milk paint is odorless when dried! Once dried, milk paint will not chip or peel – so less upkeep. Also, with being more of an alkaline, milk paint naturally inhibits the growth of mold and mildew – so much healthier.
Milk paint has been used for thousands of years and will help you bring that antique look to furniture. Now you can find recipes online to make your own milk paint at home or you can check out Homestead House Paint Company (Canada) and The Milk Paint Company (US) to order your paint online or see where you can purchase it locally (it has not quite reached the popularity of being at Home Depot just yet).