Paint Problem Solver
Surfactant Leaching


Surfactant leaching appears as blotchy, sometimes glossy, tan or brownish spots on the surface of latex paints. Surfactants are a necessary ingredient in making paint. They evaporate and are not part of the paint film; their appearance does not harm it any way. In most cases, the leaching occurs slowly and is washed away by weathering before even being noticed.


  • Painting in cool, humid conditions, or just before or after rain. The longer drying time caused by these conditions allows the paint’s water-soluble ingredients to rise to the surface before the paint thoroughly dries.
  • Exposing the freshly painted surface to mist, dew, fog or other moisture.


  • Do not paint if temperatures are below 50º F in the late afternoon and if cool, damp conditions are expected in the evening or overnight.
  • If the surfactant leaching occurs in the first few days after the paint is applied, the blotches or stains can usually be rinsed off with a strong stream of water from a garden hose. A month of normal weathering will remove even stubborn cases of leaching. Surfactant leaching does not affect the ultimate durability of the coating.

Please note that these suggestions are provided as a service to you. We are unable to guarantee or be responsible for the results obtained by these procedures. If you have additional questions, ask any of our expert sales associates.