What Is The Best Gloss Paint That Doesn’t Go Yellow?

Used by many homeowners on woodwork or metal, gloss paint is one of the most popular paint products in the UK. You can often spot it on window frames and interior doors, on stair rails and even on furniture or decorative objects.

Gloss paint comes in a range of colours but white is the most popular. This traditional hue blends with either classic or contemporary interiors but it has a major drawback – it usually turns yellow over time.

Yellowed gloss paint has an unappealing shade and with a huge number of homeowners complaining about the outcome, most brands are focusing their efforts into creating non-yellowing gloss paints.

To help you deal with this issue, our experts have disclosed a few tips on choosing the best gloss paint that doesn’t go yellow. Check them below.

What Causes Gloss Paint To Go Yellow?

Gloss paint is nowadays available in water-based and oil-based formulas but until recently, this product only came in oil-based variants.

As we all know way too well, oil-based paint is toxic due to the solvents included in the formula. The quantity of solvents is expressed by the organic volatile compounds (or VOC) value displayed on the product’s package.

Because VOCs are harmful to both people and the environment, a UE normative in effect since 2010 foresees the gradual reduction of the volatile organic compounds in oil-based paint products, including the popular gloss paint.

The reduction of solvent in the paint, however, caused manufacturers to replace it with something else, namely with drying oil. This substitution was meant to keep the paint liquid in the tin but apparently, nobody bothered to check how this change will impact the quality of the paint.

The result is that most paints renowned for their long-lasting results have started to disappoint, turning yellow after a few months or, in some cases, a few weeks after application.

This issue has affected all paint manufacturers, including many of the established brands. To address this problematic situation, most brands are now proposing water-based alternatives that dry to a gloss finish.

Water-Based Vs. Oil-Based Gloss Paint 

Gloss paints can be partially or totally covering and are composed of a binder, pigments and a diluent.

The acrylic paint often used to paint furniture in shabby chic style, is a mineral product made of lime and water that dries to a range of finishes from matt to high-sheen. Acrylic paint is characterised by an excellent breathability, an outstanding covering power and a remarkable fungicidal action that makes it perfect to use in particularly humid environments.

Gloss acrylic paint often comes as spray paint. It’s easy to use and it dries quickly.

Natural or synthetic resin paints, often called solvent-based or oil-based paints, are the alternative to acrylic. They also comprise three components, a film-forming substance composed of resins, oils, and a range of other synthetic compounds, pigments and solvents.

Oil-based paints are designed to create an elastic protective film on the surfaces and the solvent has the role to make the product thin enough to allow the application. The evaporation of the solvent results in the formation of the protective film.

The main difference between one product and the other is the formula. Water-based paints are non-toxic and environmentally friendly, whereas oil-based products are toxic and harmful for the environment.

As they lack oils in their composition, acrylic paints don’t go yellow over time. That being said, some people still prefer oil-based paint due to its resistance and durability.

Which Is The Best Gloss Paint That Doesn’t Go Yellow?

As highlighted above, the only gloss paint that doesn’t turn yellow is acrylic paint. There are many brands to choose from but in broad lines, acrylic paint has a poorer resistance than its solvent-based counterpart.

How To Prevent Gloss Paint From Turning Yellowing

Due to its superior resistance, many homeowners would rather invest in oil-based paint and live with the horrendous yellow shades than invest in acrylic paint. If you also prefer oil-based formulas, here are some tips and tricks to prevent your gloss paint from turning yellow:

  1. Expose the gloss paint to light. It is a common misconception that sun, or light in general, promotes gloss paint yellowing. In reality, both natural sunlight and artificial light can slow down the process. To prevent yellowing, use oil-based gloss paint only in the rooms that receive a generous amount of light.
  2. Clean the paint with appropriate products. Plain water or a mild detergent is usually sufficient to clean gloss paint. Cleansers containing ammonia, on the other hand, speed the yellowing process.
    If you’re using both latex and oil-based paint in the same project, know that latex paint releases ammonia as it dries, so use latex paint first and let it dry completely before applying the gloss paint.
  3. Choose the painting location wisely. Painting the kitchen or bathroom cabinets in white gloss paint to match their colour with your brilliant white tiles may seem like a good idea but it isn’t. Ceramic tiles and even a latex-painted wall won’t turn yellow in time and they will highlight even the slightest yellowing of the gloss paint.
  4. Environmental factors can also contribute to turning gloss paint yellow. This includes excessive cooking grease and smoke, cigarette smoke and excessive moisture. To maintain the gloss paint as new, fix all humidity issues before applying gloss paint, install and use a kitchen ventilator when cooking and avoid smoking indoors.

In the end, if you’re looking for the best gloss paint that doesn’t go yellow, just invest in a quality acrylic paint. We understand that it’s a matter of preference but know that sooner or later all oil-based products will gain a slightly yellow hint.

2 thoughts on “What Is The Best Gloss Paint That Doesn’t Go Yellow?

  1. ruth

    thank you for your advice.
    we had our house decorated 3 years ago. they put washable eggshell on woodwork. stayed white, but completely worn away on handrail of bannister and picks up all the dirt and doesn’t wash clean. Now re decorating and trying to source what is best white paint to use for woodwork that is very had wearing, stays white and scrubbable. we are also going to paint all walls white again but need something that is very easy to keep clean as have 4 young children in the house.

    what would you recommend please.

  2. admin Post author

    Hi Ruth,

    I would look at something like Dulux Trade High Gloss for the handrail – it has a tough, durable finish that is specially formulated for interior wood. Don’t use it on your walls though! I’d recommend checking out our interior walls guide for our recommended products for walls.


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