If you’ve had enough of scuffs and stains on walls in the high-traffic areas of your home, then a washable interior paint might be the solution. Available in many colours as well as classic white, these modern iterations have special wipeable and scrubbable formulas that allow you to remove kitchen splatters, muddy pawprints or kids' drawings with ease.
Fortunately, choosing a washable paint isn't all that different to picking a normal one, but it's still wise to brush up before you buy. This guide will go through everything you need to consider before sharing our picks of the best matte and silk emulsions, featuring trusted products from Johnstone’s, Crown and Dulux's EasyCare Washable and Tough range.
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Table of Contents
In this section, we’ll be looking at the main factors you should consider when buying washable paint, such as the type of finish, how much coverage you can hope for per tin and what to expect from drying times. Let's get started.
Firstly, you'll want to decide which finish you want. Matt paint is the most popular for a reason – it delivers a smooth and subtle look with little to no sheen, making it excellent at covering imperfections on surfaces. It's also super easy to apply consistently. It is, however, known to hold dirt, so you might find yourself wiping the walls more frequently.
Satin paints, meanwhile, offer a pearl-like sheen when dry. As they reflect light, they can be a great choice for naturally dim rooms, and they're known for taking a scrubbing a little better too. Therefore, they’re a solid option in high-traffic areas such as kitchens and bathrooms, as well as in kids' rooms. The downside is that they won’t hide a wall's bumps or blemishes half as well.
Finally, we have chalky paint. Popular with DIYers and those who like to upcycle, it works for both walls and ceilings and furniture that gets a lot of use, such as sideboards or tables. Other advantages are that it doesn’t need any preparation and it covers practically anything. Its finish will be very matt, though, so keep that in mind.
Next, you’ll want to think about the unit count (the term for a paint's volume in millilitres or litres) as well as how much coverage it offers per unit. A common size for washable wall paint is 2.5 litres, but there are smaller options if you're just looking to do some touch-ups as well as 5 or 6-litre tins for larger areas or multiple rooms.
A paint's coverage is measured in metres squared per litre, which you'll see written as something like 7 m2/L. It's important to bear in mind here that although two tins might be the same size, they won't necessarily coat the same surface area – in some instances, those with a lower unit count may offer more.
In our ranking, we have options ranging from 10 to 15 m2/L, and indeed, choosing one that covers a greater surface area will save you money in the long run. Nevertheless, there's also no point in buying more than you need. A tin of opened paint usually has a shelf life of around two years, so if you’re not planning on any future re-touches, it might be worth sticking to only what you'll use.
Another concern when painting the walls of your home is the drying time. This will indicate how long you have to wait in between coats and tell you how long a specific room will be out of action for, so it's definitely handy for spaces you want to get back to using ASAP like the kitchen or living room.
Usually, washable paints will take between 2 and 4 hours to dry. In the tables beneath each product, we’ve indicated the longest duration specified so you can err on the side of caution. One thing worth mentioning is that the temperature and humidity can both affect the rate at which it dries, so consider these when you’re painting.
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Easycare Washable & Tough Matt Emulsion Paint
High-Quality Paint at Competitive Prices
Wall and Ceiling Paint Silk
Make Your Spaces and Rooms Appear Bigger With a High Sheen
An Ultra-Matt Option Made in the UK
Walls & Ceilings Matt Emulsion Paint
Extraordinary Coverage for the Money
Silk Smooth and Creamy Emulsion Paint
Chroma Technology Offers Smudge Protection
Designed for Homes With a Heavy Footfall
Easyclean Kitchen Emulsion
Paint on Any Surface With This Versatile Finish
Farrow & Ball
Estate Emulsion Paint
The Luxurious Option With a Rapid Drying Time
Washable Matt Emulsion Bathroom Paint
Great Protection Against Bathroom Mould and Even Heat Loss
The Little Greene Paint Company
Intelligent Matt Emulsion
The Best Eco-Friendly Washable Paint
Dulux is one of the country's most trusted paint companies for two reasons. Firstly, you can rely on the tones of the colours, which takes a lot of stress away from shopping online. Secondly, they produce high-quality formulas that stand the test of time at competitive prices, meaning anyone can have the home they deserve.
One of our favourite aspects is that it's said to be 20 times stronger than your average emulsion, giving it plenty of armour against smudges – and apparently, spills will just bead off it! You can pretty much have your pick of colours, finishes and unit sizes too, so the only question is, what works best for your home?
If you're looking to make a room or space appear larger, then you're going to appreciate the high-sheen finish of this satin-silk formula. It's available in a range of different colours and unit counts, meaning that you're almost certain to find something for your DIY needs.
It's worth noting that your walls will need a little preparation before applying this one to ensure that they're clean and not flaky. But once this is done, the paint is easy to apply and has a quick drying time of around 2 hours, so you'll hopefully be able to do a few coats in one day.
Hemway has created one of the best chalk paints around with this formula. It's mixed in Britain and uses natural, eco-friendly materials that are low-odour, non-toxic and solvent-free. This isn't only better for the planet, but also for your household and even your decorating supplies.
The paint goes far too, covering an excellent 15 m2/L, and it's really durable. If you're looking for something to create a super-matt, vintage-style look that you can also use for furniture and other materials, then this could be right up your street – or should we say wall?
One of the standout features of this washable paint from Wilko is that it offers incredible value for money. Covering 14 m2 per litre is extraordinary when you consider that you're also getting 5 litres for around the same price as the regular 2.5-litre options.
This emulsion is also known for being very durable, and with just two coats, you should be able to hide or disguise any unwanted lumps or bumps in your walls thanks to the matt finish. It's available in both 2.5 and 5-litre tin sizes, too.
Next up, we have this smooth and creamy satin paint for walls and ceilings. The formula is water-based, which makes it easy to apply without leaving any brush or roller marks. Plus, it has Dulux's advanced Chroma technology that helps protect the paint from smudges or streaks.
If any dirt does find its way onto the wall, however, then rest assured that the washability is excellent and the finish will not be endangered at all. We've opted for the 6 L unit count here, as it seems that more and more contemporary homes like the white base, but there are other sizes available if you prefer.
According to Johnstone's, this washable paint is ten times tougher than their original matt emulsion. It was developed for busy households with heavy footfall, meaning your everyday marks, spills and scratches are easily cleaned away without ever spoiling the finish.
Moreover, the coverage is relatively respectable at 12 m2/L and the drying time comparably fast at 2 hours. There's a whopping 35 different shades to choose from on the Amazon page too, which is one of the most extensive in our ranking.
The EasyClean range of washable paint from Crown is one of the most versatile options on the market as it works on walls, ceilings, wood and metal. This kitchen variety is both greaseproof and smudge-proof and comes in a brilliant range of colours, so you'll be sure to find something that works with your decor.
However, there is a small problem reported by some buyers – when touching up the paint, the areas they had done so on were somewhat noticeable. With that in mind, you might prefer to use this one for walls that aren't as on-show or to try it out somewhere inconspicuous first.
One of the features that people love about Farrow & Ball is that their paints are often true to colour, so there'll be no disappointment nor need to re-paint once you've got the job done. On top of that, they're easily applied, rarely leaving brushstrokes.
This high-quality, luxury range is known for being one of the fastest-drying options too, typically becoming touch-dry within 2 hours. One thing to note is that the finished wall will be wipeable as opposed to completely scrubbable, so it's perhaps better suited to quieter or child-free homes.
This offering from HQC is a water-based, washable bathroom paint with excellent breathability skills. Not only does it have a quality matt finish, but the formula is also moisture-resistant and will actively work to protect against mould and bacteria.
Furthermore, it has been formulated to reduce heat loss through walls and ceilings due to the clever insulating technology. The only downside is that the tins are only available in a low unit count whilst remaining at the same price as their competitors.
If you're looking for environmentally-friendly washable paint that does not compromise on quality, we recommend the Intelligent Matt range by The Little Greene Paint Company. Made with child-safe formulas and close to zero solvents, they are virtually odourless and kinder to those with respiratory issues.
Suitable for radiators and woodwork as well as walls, you can expect a very matt finish with a beautiful depth of colour and a washability that can simply be wiped clean with warm water. This high-end paint is costly, but well worth it if you're happy to make the investment.
Looking for the best decorating materials too? Make sure your upcoming painting projects run smoothly and efficiently by reading up on which rollers, step ladders and masking tapes are right for the job.
Hopefully, choosing the best washable paint doesn't seem too hard now that you've read our handy guide and know what features to look for. Whether you're painting a busy kitchen, a new nursery or you want something you can also use to give your furniture a glow up, there's an option on our list for you.
Author: Lewis Clark
No. 1: Dulux｜Easycare Washable & Tough Matt Emulsion Paint
No. 2: Johnstone's｜Wall and Ceiling Paint Silk
No. 3: Hemway｜Chalk Paint
No. 4: Wilko｜Walls & Ceilings Matt Emulsion Paint
No. 5: Dulux｜Silk Smooth and Creamy Emulsion Paint
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