How To Stop Gloss Paint Going Yellow

Written By: Edward Bailey | Updated:
how to stop gloss paint going yellow
Edward Bailey/DIY Works

If you’ve noticed that your previously white gloss paint has turned yellow, it can be caused by a number of factors. Whether the gloss has turned yellow on your skirting or door architraves, it can happen on all types of surfaces and it certainly ruins the overall appearance. To help you understand why it has happened, below we discuss everything you need to know about the yellowing of gloss paint as well as how to stop it from going yellow.

Why Does Gloss Go Yellow?

The reason why gloss paint turns yellow is because the oil-based formulation has oxidised. However, the length of time it takes for gloss paint to turn yellow is dependent upon a number of factors.

One of the most common factors is the lack of exposure to natural light (i.e. the sun) and it’s the reason why areas such as behind furniture, inside cupboards and other low-light painted surfaces begin to yellow. However, it’s worth pointing out that if a poor quality gloss has been used, too much exposure can also accelerate the yellowing process.

Another reason for gloss turning yellow is exposure to heat, humidity, smoke and grease from cooking. Additionally, certain types of wood and other materials can cause a chemical reaction with the paint, which causes it to yellow.

How to Stop Gloss Paint Going Yellow

To stop gloss paint from turning yellow, below are three of our top tips:

1. Use High Quality Gloss

If you are going to the effort to paint your skirting boards or any other surface, it’s always worthwhile to invest into a high quality gloss paint. Furthermore, if the area that you are painting is prone to yellowing (i.e. lacks natural light), you can opt for a non-yellowing gloss paint. Over the years, we’ve tried and tested a range of gloss paints and our roundup includes a range of non-yellowing formulas you could use.

how to make gloss white again
Edward Bailey/DIY Works

2. Increase Exposure To UV Light

Low exposure to UV light is one of the main causes of gloss turning yellow but you can actually reverse the effects of yellowing by increasing the exposure of UV light. Although the results won’t be instant, over time, the yellow tinge to the gloss will disappear and you’ll be left with the original painted colour.

3. Improve Ventilation

Humidity is another common cause of gloss turning yellow and in bathrooms with poor ventilation, you may notice the door and frame, architraves and skirting have turned yellow.

Therefore, to help combat humidity in your bathroom and slow down the yellowing process, you could install a powerful bathroom extractor fan and also use a bathroom specific paint that’s designed to cope with humidity.

Before & After

During a recent property renovation of an Airbnb, we came across a door that had turned yellow. Therefore, as it was a gloss painted door that was prone to yellowing, we opted for a high quality non yellowing gloss to repaint it with.

As you can see from the before and after results below, it had made a huge difference and due to the non-yellowing qualities, it shouldn’t turn yellow again for a long time.

why does gloss go yellow
Edward Bailey/DIY Works
why does white gloss go yellow
Edward Bailey/DIY Works

Does Water Based Gloss Go Yellow?

Fully water-based gloss paints are less susceptible to yellowing but many of the paints that are marketed as “water-based” aren’t always fully water based. Therefore, this type of gloss is classed as a “hybrid” due to the combination of both water-based and oil-based ingredients. Therefore, hybrid gloss paints still have the potential to turn yellow over time but they won’t discolour as quickly as a fully oil-based gloss.


To conclude, gloss paint can turn yellow due to the lack off or too much exposure to UV light, heat, humidity as well as chemical reactions with certain materials. Therefore, to prevent yellowing, it’s important that you use a high-quality gloss that’s specifically formulated to resist oxidisation as well as proper painting techniques and maintenance.

If you require further information with regards to the yellowing of gloss, feel free to get in touch and we will try to provide our assistance where possible.

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