I always wanted to be a painter. But since my artistic abilities make any picture flowing from my paintbrush look like butt, I have limited my artistic expressions to photography, writing and interior design.. the latter, it turns out, also comes with a paintbrush. One that I can actually use without feeling the need to burn my finished product!
In the past two years I have reviewed quite a few paints, so when the Dutch Boy brand asked if Id like to sample their Refresh line of paint with Arm and Hammer, I was totally down. Sometimes I review items I have little to no experience with and I struggle to give a thorough review due to my inexperience. But paint? I have handled my fair share since we purchased our first home 2 years ago! So bring on the Dutch Boy paint! But first, more about the company and product.
About Dutch Boy Brand Paints
From the Dutch Boy website (click here to visit):
Founded in 1907, Dutch Boy® continues to be an industry leader in delivering innovative and high-quality products and packaging solutions, and is one of the most recognizable brands in the market 100 years later.
The Dutch Boy icon was originally created to symbolize a superior method for creating paint products known as the “Dutch Process”. The “Dutch Process” originated with two chemists in 16th century Holland and set the standard of paint quality and beauty for centuries to come. The legacy lives on with Dutch Boy Paint.
Dutch Boy is very much a heritage brand, with trust and quality at our core. But in recent years, a new vitality, a youthfulness, and the promise of Simple Solutions have also shaped the brand. Our heritage and trust has been brought to life with energy and empowerment, inspiring DIYers and paint enthusiasts for generations to come.
My Thoughts on Refresh Paint
According to the Dutch Boy website:
Dutch Boy Refresh is a premium, self-priming paint that features long-term durability, stain resistance and scrubbability. Together with Arm & Hammer® technology, Refresh Paint contributes to the reduction of odors and creation of a more beautiful environment. Refresh Paint can be applied directly to previously painted surfaces or uncoated drywall without the use of a separate primer.
The highlights and features of the product include:
Arm & Hammer Odor Eliminating Technology
Exceptional hide and durability
Gives mildew-resistant coating
GREENGUARD® Indoor Air Quality Certified
Use on drywall, wood, concrete/brick, new plaster, metal, and colorfast wallpaper
Now first off, the fact that this paint is GREENGUARD Certified is quite impressive, and inspires a degree of trust. GREENGUARD Certification is not easy for a paint to achieve. The certification basically ensures that the product has met some of the world’s most rigorous and comprehensive standards for low emissions of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) into indoor air. If you are unsure of what VOCs are, allow me to quote myself from an old blog post of last year:
Volatile organic compounds – or VOCs, as they’re commonly called – are chemicals inside paint that are released into the air as you paint. (These are the components that cause you to develop a headache after painting.)
VOCs are organic chemicals that have a high vapor pressure at ordinary room temperature. Their high vapor pressure causes large numbers of molecules to evaporate from their liquid form in the paint and enter the surrounding air.
Although the majority of VOCs leave the paint as it dries, not all of them do. In fact, paint can release VOCs into the air for years following the initial painting, putting your family and pets at risk long after the remodel.
VOCs in paint are known carcinogens. A typical bucket of paint contains chemicals such as benzene, methylene chloride and many others that have been linked to cancer.
When I opened the paint bucket, I was actually shocked at the lack of paint smell. Of the various low and no VOC brands I have used in my home, this paint smelled the least smelly of conventional paints. (Milk based paints take first place for lack of odor and VOCs.)
I should mention that while the paint is formulated without VOCs, it appears that some Dutch Boy tints used in the paint to obtain certain colors and hues might contain VOCs, so the content of VOCs will vary once youAbout the Odor Blocking Technology add color. If you are concerned about VOCs, be sure to inquire as to what colors are low or no VOC before you settle on a hue.
I used my brand new Purdy brand brushes and roller to apply this paint (click here to read my product review on those!) and repainted the walls in my kitchen and hallway (with plans to use this paint in my bathrooms and closets as well). There was nothing really wrong with the color of accent walls in my kitchen (a kind of tan off white), except that the layers of paint over the years were peeking out behind every replaces light fixture and wall art. See? Yuck.
It went on nicely and was extremely easy to use and apply, HOWEVER, it did require two coats. Which isn’t unusual for most paints, but this paint does claim to be a primer / paint with one coat application, and I have to say there is just NO WAY. I was just painting white onto a more different white (as Strong Bad would say) so if my wall required two coats, any other project would be a 2 or 3 coat affair. With a 4 hour recoat time, this could be a problem for people who time their projects around an all in one primer / paint. Here is the new color swabbed on the old color before painting so you can see the difference in the shades of white:
But two coats aside, the paint had just the right consistency to make application a walk in the park, with minimal splashes, drips and spills. This was one of the more pleasant, easy to use and odor free paints I have worked with so far!
About the Odor Blocking Technology
So Dutch Boy has teamed with Arm & Hammer, the baking soda deodorizing extraordinaire, to come up with Refresh paint, which claims to contain a one of a kind odor blocking technology. The paint claims to trap odor vapors upon contact and lock scent within the paint film. Dutch Boy insists that even a good wall scrub won’t release the odors and “the more surface area you paint, the better the odor eliminating technology works!“
Let me just say right off the bat that I don’t really believe that the paint is capable of blocking odors. In fact, if I had to put money on it being a mere marketing ploy for the gullible, or a legitimate odor blocking breakthrough in the paint industry, I would feel pretty confident putting my money on the marketing ploy card.
I so very much wanted to get excited about an air freshening paint. Seriously, cleaning indoor air is one of my weird little domestic housewife thrills. I have a superior state of the art air purifier, the best filters on my AC, the best scientifically proven air purifying houseplants, I open all the windows during rainy days to flood my house with air purifying negative ions, I have decorative activated charcoal, Himalayan salt rocks and beeswax candles, and I minimize sources of indoor air pollution. I even use baking soda to reduce odors in my fridge, closets, cabinets and shoes!
So an Arm and Hammer baking soda paint made me tentatively excited but still skeptical. If this paint is legit, this is seriously the most exciting and effective tool a housewife can pounce on. No joke. So I tried to research the science of this odor absorbing technology, and, well.. I cant find much beyond, “It contains odor blocking absorbing technology.” Oh, and then there is this infographic I found on the Apartment Therapy blog, which is hardly science based:
Here is why I am skeptical about this odor blocking technology. If the secret ingredient to the odor absorption is sodium bicarbonate (which is a safe bet, since that is the active deodorizing ingredient in all Arm and Hammer air freshening products) then this poses a problem on a chemical level.
Baking soda is an amphoteric substance, that is, it reacts with substances that have either strong acid or base pHs. With a pH of 9.0, it can absorb hydrogen ions from an acid (like those present within the vapor of foul odors), in effect neutralizing the acid.
While odor molecules are absorbed into baking soda, molecules are also adhered to its surface. In each case, a chemical reaction occurs, where the baking soda is itself converted into salts – and this diminishes its odor fighting ability. (This is why you have to replace the baking soda in your fridge every month!)
While you may be thinking, “Ohhh, so the odor fighting qualities of Refresh paint only work for a short time…” I would venture to guess that any odor fighting properties are destroyed on a chemical level during the mixing of the paint in the first place!
See, contact with water vapor, like the liquids in the prime pigments, binders, resins, polymers, solvents and additives found in paint, also act to crystalize the baking soda, restricting or otherwise destroying its ability to react with vapor. In other words, when baking soda is thrown into a bucket of paint, the water vapor makes the baking soda lose all deodorizing properties and you are left with, well, paint.
And as I said above, this is a really good paint, with enough going for it in regards to application and finish that it really shouldn’t feel the need to push some (in my opinion) rather dubious claims to air freshening features.
If you are interested in air fresheners, skip the paint and get yourself a good air purifier with an activated carbon filter. But if you would like a good, inexpensive, easy to use paint, this would be a good selection!