Be a “Green Painter” by Using Super-Compliant Paints During Peak Smog Season

Low VOC and super-compliant paints are manufactured and sold by numerous companies. Low-VOC paint refers to paints that meet the regulatory limits in South Coast AQMD Rule 1113; however, many manufacturers have reformulated to levels well below these limits, including many near-zero VOC paint formulations. South Coast AQMD refers to these paints as “Super-Compliant Architectural Coatings.”

Here are some tips on how to be a “Green Painter”:

  • Use Super-Compliant paints whenever possible. Visit South Coast AQMD’s list of Super-Compliant Architectural Coatings.

  • If you can't use Super-Compliant paint, avoid painting during peak smog season: July - September

  • If you can't find one of the Super-Compliant Architectural Coatings included on the South Coast AQMD website, use any of the readily available low- and near-zero VOC paints designed to do the job. Not only is low- and near-zero VOC paint good for air quality, but they also emit little to no odors while being applied. 

  • Buy only the paint you need. Visit to help determine how much paint to buy. PaintCare Inc. is a non-profit organization established by the American Coatings Association to implement California’s Paint Stewardship Law.

  • Recycle leftover paint. Take any leftover paint to one of the many drop-off sites run by PaintCare, Inc.

  • Keep lids closed on all paint containers when not in use to prevent VOC emissions and excessive odors. 

  • For water-based paints, clean up with water only. Whenever possible, do not rinse the clean-up water down the drain or pour it directly onto the ground or into the storm drain.

  • Recycle the empty paint can.

  • Look for non-solvent containing stripping products.

  • Use compliant low-VOC cleaning solvents to clean paint application equipment. Visit South Coast AQMD’s list of Clean Air Solvents.

  • Keep all paint and solvent-laden rags in sealed containers to prevent VOC emissions.

  • Use according to manufacturer’s directions.

  • Make sure you provide plenty of ventilation when using paint or solvent products.

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