Surfactant Leaching

Surfactant Leaching

Surfactant leaching occurs when the concentration of water-soluble ingredients on the surface of a water-based paint, typically on the ceiling of rooms that have high humidity – showers, bathrooms, and kitchens, for example – can result in tan or brown markings that may also be glossy, soapy or sticky.


  • All water-based paint formulas will exhibit this tendency to some extent if applied in areas that become humid (bathrooms, for example), particularly in ceiling areas.


Wash the affected area with soap and water, and rinse it thoroughly. The problem may reoccur once or twice before the leachable material is completely removed.

When painting a bathroom, ensure that the paint is thoroughly dry before using the shower. Remove all staining before repainting.

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