The walls of our house look brand new when coated with paint recently. But sometimes, you find drip marks on the bathroom walls soon after. It is most probably the case of surfactant leaching. Surfactant leaching affects bathrooms, laundry rooms, and kitchens with greasy or glossy stains. There are cases where even the outdoors get affected under the eave. Want to know how to fix this issue? Keep reading!

What is surfactant leaching?

Surfactants refer to surface-active agents added to paint during pigmentation dispersion for stability and to ensure an even spread throughout. These surface agents dry off as the paint cures and seal into it. When they dry in cold, damp, or steamy conditions, these agents rise to the paint surface. They form an uneven film that looks glossy or greasy.

What are the causes of surfactant leaching?

The various causes of surfactant leaching include:

  • Low temperature

The best drying temperature of paints is between 50 and 90 degrees Fahrenheit. It will dry up too quickly above 90 degrees Fahrenheit and too slowly when the temperature falls below 50 degrees.

  • Humidity

If the paint surface contacts high humidity before getting the chance of drying up, moisture interferes in the process, promoting leaching. A hot shower in the bathroom and a running dryer in the laundry room cause high humidity.

  • Dark colors

Dark colors contain surfactants in large numbers. Hence they are more susceptible to leaching.

  • Poor ventilation

The paint cannot dry up properly in air absence, causing leaching.

How can to avoid surfactant leaching?

The following are some tips to prevent surfactant leaching:

  • Ensure that the drying conditions of the paint fall within the temperature range.
  • Use high-quality paints and follow the instructions written in the manual given by the manufacturer.
  • They must have proper ventilation. Use fans or dehumidifiers if required.
  • Do not use the painted areas soon after. Avoid taking showers, especially with hot water in the bathroom, cooking with steam, running the dryer, and subjecting the newly painted area to high humidity.

How to fix surfactant leaching?

If you have mistakenly used a shower or dryer near the newly painted walls, the next thing you will see is surfactant leaching. Can another layer of paint resolve this issue? Unfortunately, no, and it may even worsen the case. Here are some fixes to the problem:

  • Remove the layer of surfactant and repaint 

Adding another layer of paint over the uneven surface will not resolve the issue. First, remove the layer of surface agents that make the surface uneven, and then apply another layer of paint.

  • Wash with soap and water 

Repainting, especially when there are several leached walls, may be costly. A substitute for this is removing the greasy stains with soap, warm water, and a sponge.

  • Weather cures outdoor leaching. 

If outdoor walls get leached, let the weather carry on its course. It may take a month, but the stains will go away naturally.

End Verdict

Seeing ugly patches on newly painted walls can seem disgusting. Repairing it will cause extra time and money. If the walls get leached, you can contact an expert like Yes Paint to fix them because the purpose of painting walls is to make them look beautiful.

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