eco-friendly paint | Green home coach | marla esser cloos

For the Health of It – 3 Ways Eco-Friendly Paint Can Help Protect Your Health and Your Home

For the Health of it

Our homes are our shelter and refuge and do more than just protect us from the elements.  Our homes are typically a contributor to our health, both our physical health as well as our general well-being.  One needs only to conduct a quick internet search on “healthy homes” to find there are many perspectives on the topic of health and homes. 

Having good health is a basic goal of humanity and impacts our general well-being or even our happiness. Yet our modern, complex lifestyles bring us into contact with many things that may impact our health, often without even knowing it.

Health and happiness – 2 terms that go together like peanut butter and jelly.  While health and happiness are inevitably linked, we often struggle with seeming trade-offs.  For instance, a trade-off between convenience and health.  We enjoy the convenience of many packaged items for cleaning our homes, eradicating pests in our homes, melting ice and so many more things.  A quick read of the label may send us looking for a dictionary to understand the long list of ingredients, many that we can’t even pronounce.  Yet, many alternatives abound.  There are alternative packaged products made with ingredients we can pronounce and often even identify.  Or better yet, especially for the DIYer, we can make our own products. 

How a home is built, remodeled and maintained contributes to its ability to provide a tight, sealed environment to keep moisture, dirt, toxins and pests out.  Cleaning and maintenance regimens, as well as product and material choices for inside the home, contribute to keeping the home healthy and in good shape. 


Healthier Homes Programs and Certifications 

A variety of programs and certifications, including green home certifications, provide practices and material choices for homes, newly built or remodeled, which contribute to the health of the home’s residents.

  • Indoor airPLUS
  • WELL Building Standard
  • National Green Building Standard
  • LEED for Homes
  • Cradle to Cradle
  • Greenguard


In the Shelton Group’s blog “Because Health is Everything”, Suzanne Shelton keys in on the relationship between greener and more sustainable choices and health. “In fact, the prime motivator for most Actives, the greenest consumer segment, to buy greener products is to protect their health and the health of their loved ones.” 

Many are finding that simplifying life, even just a little, provides opportunities to choose a little more carefully, to make choices that align better with what is important to each of us.  Making choices that promote health through our homes is just one way we can improve the health of the people we care about.  Yet, it’s not always easy to find information about the products and materials we bring into our homes and how they may contribute to or impact our health. Companies providing information and transparency about their products helps us to make these choices. 

For some easy ways to amp up the health in your home, check out “Healthy Homes: New Year Healthy Home Checklist in 7 Easy Steps on Earth 911’s blog site.  I’ve found some good books on the topic too. Personally, I’ve found that once I start with a few new practices, I want to do more.   

To wrap it up, there’s the relationship between our own personal health and the health of the world we live in. As we take care of the health of our world, both the planet and the people living on it, our own health can thrive as well.  Impacting our health through our choices in our homes, impacts the health of our world.  That’s a win for all, just for the health of it!


Indoor Environmental Quality is About More than Just Better Air

All of us want to breathe well in our homes.  Yet often, the indoor air quality or the indoor environment may not be allowing us to breathe as well as we want.  It starts with bringing in fewer pollutants. Simply switching to non-toxic, safer cleaners can be a good start. Go a step further and look at fixtures and finishes, such as eco-friendly paint, flooring, and  cabinetry.

The next step is to understand how leaky your home is, as leaks bring pollutants into our homes, as well as leaking the heated or cooled air.  A home professional, such as an energy auditor, to help locate the leaks and advise the best way to address them. As careful as we may be, some pollutants may sneak in and ventilation is key to getting the pollutants out. 


Better, healthier options

Choose finishes, fixtures and materials with natural ingredients or responsible use of ingredients that may have longer term effects. Reducing VOCs (volatile organic compounds) and other toxins found in many home finishes and materials is a first step to better indoor air quality and better breathing.

Low or no VOC eco-friendly paints, flooring, cabinets, adhesives, stains, and glues are readily available and help reduce the VOCs and toxins that may be sticking around your home.  Products and materials should be chosen that do not contain formaldehyde. Many additional options await! Work with your design \ build \ remodel team or do a little research online to work through the many options and selections for a home that looks great and performs well. 

A great resource for equating solutions to problems in homes is found on the Homebuyers tab of the Home Performance Counts website - – a joint project of the National Association of Realtors and the National Association of Home Builders.  I’m happy to recommend other resources as well.


Walls and Ceilings and Eco-Friendly Paint

Ceilings and walls influence the way that the light plays in your home. Light is an important part of health and wellness. Light-colored ceilings and walls help to magnify the light.

Choosing safer, eco-friendly paint, preferably with no or low VOCs, is one way to improve indoor air quality and make your home more you. Independent, 3rd party certifications, such as GreenGuard, help to choose a healthier paint. Numerous options may be found with your favorite paint manufacturer. Or choose Recolor® – a recycled, low VOC paint found at Habitat for Humanity’s ReStore (and other places). 

“Most of what makes a green house green is common sense and quality building practices.” Green Home Coach


Where to Find Better Eco-Friendly Paints for Your Health

  • Big box stores and online – look for the GreenGuard or GreenSeal certification logo
  • Certification lists of products – like the GreenGuard list of products
  • AFM Safecoat 
  • Clare Paint
  • Recycled Paint at Habitat for Humanity ReStore™