Best Emulsion to use if you have Pets

By Mike Gregory


Easy question to answer really, but as a professional decorator I’m forever being asked “what is the best emulsion to use if you have pets”. I’m going to take you through specific products which all three of the big brands (Crown, Johnstones and Dulux) all do versions of. Make sure you use a good quality Trade product, rather than retail.


The main attribute an emulsion needs to have if you’re using it in a room with pets is durability. This is for a few reasons. Firstly, you don’t want odor to absorb into the walls. Secondly, you don’t want the walls to mark easily and third, you may need to give the emulsion a wipe down every now and again. I’ll take you through the main products I’d consider using now, followed by my recommendations.


Durable Matt Emulsion


Durable matt is a compromise really. You get to keep the matt finish which suits most homes and you gain a bit of durability. No odor will penetrate the walls and they won’t mark as easily as they would with a normal vinyl or contract matt…. Did you notice the first line I used in this paragraph? “Durable matt is a compromise”, well it is. Even though you do gain some durability, you can’t really give durable matt a good wipe down like you can with some of the products I’m about to go into. If you have a dog, cat or donkey that absolutely trashes the walls then you may want to go for something else. If your pets are relatively clean and you still want to keep a matt finish, then go with the durable matt.


I’ll take you through your choices now. Crown have Clean Extreme, Johnstone’s have acrylic durable and Dulux have Diamond. It may also be worth looking at Tikkurila Optiva 5 too. In my humble opinion, Crown Clean Extreme is the best durable matt emulsion on the market, closely followed by Optiva 5.


Acrylic Eggshell Emulsion


Acrylic eggshell is probably the best emulsion to use if your pets are slightly less clean (trying to be polite). If you have a big dog who comes in and leans against the walls after chasing rabbits in a muddy field, then go with acrylic eggshell. It is probably more durable than durable matt and still won’t absorb odors, but you’ll be able to wipe it down too. The sheen level is a lot higher than a matt so you will lose in appearance, but at least you’ll be able to keep your house nice and clean.



Silk Emulsion


Silk is even more durable than acrylic eggshell and used to be very popular. Our tastes seem to have changed dramatically though and looking back, I don’t see the appeal. Silk emulsion only looks good on embossed paper. On smooth plaster it highlights every imperfection and you can see all your brush marks. It can also cause problems with crazing when you come to redecorate.



Kitchen and Bathroom Paint


This is the retail version of durable matt emulsion. Alright if you need to stick to a budget, but as a professional decorator, I’d highly recommend you stick to TRADE PAINT.