What Antimicrobial Paint is and How It Works

Antimicrobial interior paints are scientifically proven to resist mold, mildew, fungi, and other unwanted organic growth.

Areas prone to moisture, such as bathrooms and kitchens, benefit most from antimicrobial paint. The dry time is equal to conventional paint and offers matching finishes. So, the added benefits come with no penalty. 

Antimicrobial paint technology is not exactly a new concept, and most paints have a slight resistance to unwanted growth due to the paint’s inherent composition. Added mildewcides help to distinguish a truly dedicated anti-fungus paint application.

What Antimicrobial Means

At its essence, the definition of antimicrobial is a substance that kills the protein in living microorganisms at a molecular level. The substance can be solvent, water-based, liquid, or powder. 


Once the bacteria is destroyed, it can no longer live or replicate, but doing so offers no guarantee for prohibiting new growth without the presence of surface-killing particulates.

Antimicrobial Paint Additives

Natural elements like silver, copper, and zinc oxide nanoparticles infused into paints, lacquers, and other coatings will limit new organic mold and mildew growth. Other added benefits include corrosion and stain resistance.

The best paint for bathrooms isn’t a simple answer. However, when sanitization is the focus, mitigating and killing organic growth is most important. Mold and mildew thrive in dark, warm, and wet conditions, so eliminating those conditions is essential to any mold mitigation process.

Antimicrobial Paints vs. Coatings

Antimicrobial paint coatings are not applied by your everyday painter. Painting your home with antimicrobic-infused paint differs greatly from applying a commercial antimicrobial paint coating. Antimicrobial paint coatings are a unique process that is mostly applied in commercial settings. 

These commercial coatings contain fortified oil-based resins, including various isothiazolinone treatments, zinc pyrithione, silver, and quaternary ammonium compounds. The process requires special equipment and training by licensed experts, as well as compliance and testing developed by the American Association of Textile Chemists & Colorists (AATCC) and other organizations.

Antimicrobial Paint Properties

Household antimicrobial paint such as Sherwin-Williams Paint Shield lasts up to 4 years. It provides surface protection by prohibiting mold or mildew growth. Like some antimicrobial sprays, it can kill up to 99.9% of surface bacteria. 


This product went under heavy research with the involvement of the EPA and helped kill infectious surface bacteria. The basic but essential paint properties, such as abrasion rate, color retention, and ease of use, remain, making these paints highly useful in homes, hospitals, and other commercial facilities. 


Like other paints, antimicrobial is offered in several finishes ranging from eggshell, satin, medium, and gloss lusters. Applying paint to a room using these kinds of products can be achieved on walls, trim, and ceilings for total protection.

The only limitation is that antimicrobial paints are unavailable in metallic or faux finishes. If you are looking for an artsy antimicrobial solution, you may have to insert the necessary paint additives yourself, which could void the warranty.

Best Surfaces For Application

Moisture-prone bathrooms containing gypsum drywall need added protection. Unlit areas are potential areas for mildew growth. 

Baseboards, shoe molding, and matching trim found in below-grade basements should also be painted with antimicrobial properties in mind. Kitchen cabinets, spas, and wet bars are often overlooked areas that should also be considered.

Cons of Microbial Paints

Awareness is always vital to driving a market. It doesn’t cost paint manufacturers significantly more to produce these added benefits. However, most paint manufacturing will remain the same without the demand for the added features that anti-fungi paint offers. 

Leading paint brands are not making this added feature widespread across product lines. In fact, due to a lack of interest, some paint lines have been discontinued.

So, the major drawback is the lack of availability for specific paint applications. 


Antimicrobial paints have been around for a while. These paint applications weren’t generated from a COVID scare, although they have health and safety benefits and have been marketed towards viral prevention benefits.

If a paint product is available for the application needed, antimicrobial paints have their place and will help keep your home or commercial space cleaner and brighter for longer.

Let’s repaint that kitchen or bathroom with the proper paint this time! Contact us for professional interior painting and guaranteed service in Raleigh and the Triangle areas.

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