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Interior Paint Problems: Burnishing

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Image of burnished, shiny paint.

               Excessive rubbing can result in burnishing.
            (Photo courtesy of The Paint Quality Institute)

Burnishing occurs if the gloss or sheen of paint film increases when subjected to rubbing or brushing.

Repeated rubbing can cause paint burnishing. You can prevent it by using the proper paint for high-traffic areas that require frequent cleaning.

What Causes Paint Burnishing?

  • Frequent washing and spot cleaning painted walls and surfaces, especially with an abrasive cleanser
  • Using flat paint or paint with low stain and scrub resistance in high-traffic areas
  • Objects rubbing against the paint (furniture, for example)

How to Prevent Paint from Burnishing

  • Paint heavy-wear areas that require regular cleaning (doors, window sills, and trim) with a top-quality semi-gloss or gloss latex paint, which is more durable and easy to clean. Choose a satin or semi-gloss rather than a flat sheen on walls in high-traffic areas
  • Prevent furniture and other objects from rubbing against the painted surface
  • For maximum durability, wait at least two weeks after painting before washing the surface
  • Clean painted surfaces with a soft cloth or sponge and non-abrasive cleansers, and rinse with clean water
  • To remove penetrating stains and marks, carefully use an abrasive cleaner and water, or wash with a diluted solution of household bleach, and then rinse with clean water

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