What is the best washable and scrubbable matt paint?
Questions like these can be subjective. After all, it depends on which quality you put more emphasis on. Some might think the best is the one that is the most durable whereas others might think the best is a paint that CAN be washed but ultimately should look good first and foremost.
With so many opinions, we decided to add a bit of basic science to the debate. Of course, we’re talking about taking 136 professional painters and decorators, asking them which washable and scrubbable matt paint is the best and tallying up the results. OK, it’s VERY basic science but it sure is effective.
With the results in, we’ve listed the top 5 along with their vote share and added our opinions and thoughts based on our own experience with these paints.
With that being said – let’s take a look at which paint the pros decided on.
1st: Johnstone’s Acrylic Durable Matt (35% of the vote)
2nd: Crown Clean Extreme (19% of the vote)
3rd: Dulux Diamond (16% of the vote)
4th: Tikkurila Optiva 5 (10% of the vote)
5th: Tikkurila Optiva 3 (8% of the vote)
Best Washable and Scrubbable Matt Paints
1. Johnstone’s Acrylic Durable Matt
With 35% of the vote share from the 136 participants in our poll, Johnstone’s Acrylic Durable Matt is a clear winner, getting almost twice as many votes as 2nd place. To be honest, this doesn’t totally surprise me.
Over the last few years, I’ve noticed more and more professional painters embracing Johnstone’s new products with the Aqua Guard (satinwood) being another favourite of tradesmen. So what’s all the fuss about?
Johnstone’s durable matt is pretty much any professional painter’s dream paint. It goes on interior walls and ceilings like a dream which means you don’t need to worry about any unevenness or brush marks. It’s also very low odour which is a particular selling point, especially if you’re working with paint all day.
It’s also an incredibly versatile paint. It is suitable for use anywhere around the home and due to its remarkable durability, it can withstand many washes as well as withstand the environmental demands of kitchens and bathrooms.
- Washable without having to worry about damaging the paint
- Very low odour
- Resistant to condensation
- Resistant to yellowing
2. Crown Clean Extreme (19% of the vote)
One of the best features of this paint in our opinion is its thickness which in turn gives it fantastic opacity. When I say that one coat of a light colour can almost completely cover a dark colour, I’m not joking. 2 coats and it’s game over. This is a considerable advantage over retail paints like Dulux’s Easycare which can, depending on the previous wall colour, take 3 or 4 coats.
So why do professional painters opt for a trade paint like Crown Clean Extreme over ‘washable’ retail paints? Well, you will reduce overall maintenance costs in labour and material due to the longevity and prolonged aesthetics of the paint over a longer period. So whilst the initial cost of a paint like Crown Clean Extreme might seem high, overall it will provide you with more value over the long run.
- Withstands thousands of washes
- Is a dream to apply to walls and ceilings
- Has superior covering power vs retail paints
3. Dulux Diamond (15% of the vote)
Taking 3rd place as voted for by 15% of the professional painters and decorators we surveyed is Dulux’s consistently reliable Diamond Matt. This isn’t all too surprising to us. Dulux’s Diamond matt has a good reputation among tradesmen as a reliable, durable and stain-resistant emulsion.
From our experience, it’s easy to get a great finish that lasts with the Diamond Matt although it’s slightly too thick to work with straight out of the can. My preference is to add around 5-10% water to the product which makes it a bit easier to apply to walls and ceilings.
It’s worth noting that Dulux’s Diamond Matt is one of the quickest drying paints on the market. For this reason, you’ll need to cut and roll straight away to avoid the ‘framing effect’ which basically means it’ll make your wall look like it’s got a big frame around it.
Perhaps the best feature fo the Diamond Matt (apart from it being washable of course) is the smooth finish you can achieve. Due to the consistency, it’s very rare that you’d get any brush or roller marks, especially if you’re using decent equipment.
- Can withstand many washes
- Very easy to apply
- Easy to get a smooth finish without brush or roller marks
- Slightly too thick – might need to add some water to thin it out
4. Tikkurila 5 (10% of vote)
Taking the 4th and 5th spots are Tikkurila 5 and Tikkurila 3 with the professionals seemingly at loggerheads as to which one is the best washable matt paint.
Whilst professionals have loved the Optiva 5 over the last few years, in May 2021 Tikkurila recalled the Optiva 5 due to complaints from many in the trade. The general consensus as of June 2021 is that the Optiva 5 has lost a lot of its quality due to changing the formulation of the paint.
It’s very possible that respondents to our poll hadn’t used the latest iteration of the Optiva 5 so it’s tough to say if the Optiva 5 deserves its place on this list. We asked AS Decorating for some more specifics on whether they’ve noticed a change. Here’s what they had to say:
Yes, I’ve noticed a big difference in it. It used to be brilliant and my go to paint. Now looking at changing again as there’s flashing happening above door facings, had it picture frame (even doing 1 wall at a time) and now showing up the slightest imperfections in walls.
The worst is in my own kitchen where it’s actually chipping off the wall where it was hit by the back of a leather bar stool. It definitely smells different as well. Why on earth companies muck about with something that was working perfectly is beyond me. I know others who feel the same as well about Optiva 5. Just disappointing.
5. Tikkurila 3 (8% of vote)
Whilst the Optiva 5 is causing some headaches for Tikkurila, the same can’t be said about the Optiva 3. As of June 2021, it’s a big favourite amongst decorators due to the ceramic technology within the paint which makes it easy to wash.
Beyond the practicality of the paint, the Optiva 3 has a variety of stunning colours, especially with the current interior decor trends in 2021 (think dark blues and greens). Furthermore, the Optiva 3 has a dead flat finish (compared to the Optiva 5 which has a slight sheen to it) which is definitely “in” at the moment.
In terms of application, it goes on very nicely and has decent enough coverage so a drop of paint goes a long way. It is a pricey product and unless you were going to be painting large areas, you might be better off giving this a miss as smaller quantities are simply too expensive.
Whilst we’ve used the paint a couple of times, we thought we’d reach out to self-employed professional decorator Chris Marsh for his opinion:
Optiva 3 is great paint. I’ve been using it solidly now for about 2 years and used Optiva 5 before that. It’s very durable too.
- Highly durable
- Easy to keep in condition
- Optiva 3 comes in a variety of different, trendy colours
- Easy to apply
- Very expensive unless bought in bulk
Best Washable Matt Paint Honourable Mentions
For all you mathematicians out there, you’ve probably realised that the percentage of votes doesn’t add up to 100. Of course, that’s because we’ve only included the top 5 paints that were voted for. There are some others that garnered a few votes which we’ve listed below along with some quotes from the professionals who chose them as their favourite.
Armstead Durable (Mike Lucas)
I’m an Armstead man through and through and whilst the Armstead Durable is on the thin side which can affect the opacity, it goes on very nicely and is overall superb stuff. 2 or 3 coats usually covers dirty walls.
Macpherson’s Acrylic Matt (Joe Hessey)
I regularly use Macpherson’s Acrylic Matt because it’s ridiculously durable. Yes, it dries with a soft sheen but it’s a good trade off in my opinion. It covers in most colours in 2 coats which is a bonus.
Leyland Hard-wearing Matt (Joe Sexton)
The new baller in town is the Leyland hard-wearing matt. I’ve been using it for the past few weeks and it’s excellent. Excellent finish and is an even better white than Tikkurila. I really can’t tell the difference between this gear and Johnstone’s matt apart from the price.
What’s the Difference Between the Best Washable Matt Paint and Regular Matt?
It should go without saying but the clue is in the question. Washable matt is (obviously) washable which means it will typically be easier to clean than regular matt paints. But that’s not the only advantage it enjoys – washable matt paint tends to be better at resisting stains and grease too so that you don’t have to deal with them in the first place.
So why would you choose washable matt? Washable matt is a preferred choice for rooms such as kitchens and bathrooms where stains and scuffs are more likely to occur. A regular matt typically doesn’t have the sort of durability you need for those environmental demands. It’s also worth going for washable over regular matt if your home contains particularly mucky children and pets.
We should note that some washable paints might have a little more sheen than regular matts which helps with durability so bear this in mind when deciding on which one you want to buy.