New announcement. Learn more


How To: Protect against asthma and allergies when painting

When planning interior painting, managing asthma and allergies can be a concern.

Unfortunately living with asthma and allergies is a fact of life for many people and these conditions must be properly managed. 

So what should you consider when repainting, if someone in your household has asthma or allergies? 


  • Limit the amount of dust they are exposed to.

Thorough sanding is critical to ensure you receive a smooth and durable paint finish; however dust is an unavoidable outcome of the process.  Dust can make asthma and allergy sufferers uncomfortable and may trigger an episode. 

Several steps can be taken to reduce the risk of a dust induced asthma or allergy reaction:

   - Remove all soft furnishings (such as curtains, blinds and cushions) from the room or area being worked in.

   - Remove all mattresses and bedding items from the room being worked in.

   - Screen off the room or area being worked in to limit the extent that dust travels elsewhere.

   - Dust off all sanding dust before painting the surfaces – this should be part of a quality tradesperson’s processes.

   - Mask all items (for instance built-in cabinetry and furniture) left in the room or area being worked in, and dust them after painting is completed.


  • Choose your paint products carefully

Sensitive Choice® 

Sensitive Choice® is a programme run by the Asthma and Respiratory Foundation NZ to help asthma and allergy sufferers make lifestyle choices that help them manage their condition.

The programme works with companies committed to reducing asthma and allergy triggers. Products are reviewed through the Asthma Foundation formal review process, in conjunction with the National Asthma Council. If accepted, the blue butterfly symbol is awarded. There are several Resene paint products that are Sensitive Choice® approved. 

VOC free and low odour

Organic chemicals are widely used as ingredients in household products. Paints, varnishes and wax all contain organic solvents, as do many cleaning, disinfecting, cosmetic, de-greasing and hobby products.  All of these products can release organic compounds while you are using them, and, to some degree, when they are stored.

These are called volatile organic compounds (VOCs).  In paint products, the VOCs are solvents that get released into the air as paint dries.  VOCs include a variety of chemicals, some of which may have short- and long-term adverse health effects.  These gases can compromise the air quality and be a trigger for asthma and allergies.

Ideally, use VOC free paint products and increase ventilation when repainting.  Both Dulux and Resene stock low VOC paint and Resene has a range of VOC free paint.

If limiting VOC is imperative to you, determine the paint colours available in the VOC free paint product range before you design your new colour scheme.  Not all VOC free paint can be tinted to the full range of colours.


  • Contact The Asthma and Respiratory Foundation NZ to discuss your specific situation.   

The Asthma and Respiratory Foundation NZ is New Zealand’s authority on all respiratory conditions and is a valuable resource for more information on managing them.


If you are planning an interior painting project and want to discuss minimising the impact on the air quality in your home contact Wall Treats Master Painters

Want more tips and inspiration? Sign up for our bi-monthly E-News here.