Paint Surfactant Leaching

Latex surfactant leaching, when it occurs, is most frequently seen on ceilings in bathrooms, but it is possible to experience this unsightly condition in other areas in the house in Nashville.

Instead of drying uniformly to a nice sheen, the drying paint may appear blotchy with clear, shiny patches. Some of the blotchy areas may even peel from the newly painted surface.

What Is Happening?

What is happening is that the latex paint hasn’t been able to dry quickly enough, and the surfactants, which are very important parts of the paint formula, leach from within the paint film and onto the surface.

Surfactants are intended to be encapsulated in the paint, and when that paint dries properly, they flash off during the normal drying process.

Exposure to high humidity before the paint film is completely cured is the normal cause of paint surfactant leaching. If the paint is exposed to cooler temperatures when it is drying, that too slows the drying time, and latex surfactant leaching can occur. Watch for it when painting during unseasonably hot and high humid days, in an un-air conditioned room.

Can It Be Fixed?

Sure, no problem. Simply wait until the paint is thoroughly dry and then gently wash the surface of the paint with a light mixture of household dish soap and warm water. Use a soft sponge and gently wash from side to side, or top to bottom. Do not wash in a circle as this may cause visible paint wear.

Rinse thoroughly with clean water, and allow the surface to completely dry. Re-wash stubborn spots if any are present, being careful to apply just enough pressure on the sponge to clean the surface. Wait until the weather has cooled and the humidity has lessened. Repaint. If all this sounds too much work, you can always hire professional Nashville painters to do it right.