Glow In the Dark Paint for Walls (How Long It Lasts & How To Make It Last Longer)

Imagine turning off your bedroom light and viewing the vibrant solar system or seeing a luminescent ocean under the midnight moon on your living room wall.

Utilizing glow-in-the-dark paint in your home is a playful and fabulous way to incorporate design and color into any décor. Once you have decided to use glow-in-the-dark paint, you might wonder how long your glow-in-the-dark wall paint will last.

Regardless if you are using glow-in-the-dark paint for a mural wall or a touch of it to accent a room, the goal is to be able to live with it and enjoy it for years to come.

Most glow-in-the-dark paint brands light up from 4 to 8 hours (depending on the brand) and last for about ten years. Some easy ways to protect this type of paint can lengthen the life of glow in the dark effect.

Glow-in-the-dark wall paint is a unique way to make a design statement. There are two types of glow-in-the-dark paint: Phosphorescent and Fluorescent. 

Read on further to learn about glow-in-the-dark paint, how to apply it, and most importantly, how to maintain your glow-in-the-dark painted wall. You will also find some popular professional painting techniques to get the longest life out of your glow-in-the-dark paint.

How Long Does Glow in the Dark Paint Last

Paint BrandCost (on Amazon)Glowing time/longevity on wall
Aurora by SpaceBeams1.7 fl oz/ $13.99Up to 24 hours/at least 10 years
Techno Glo2 fl oz/ $15.95Up to 10 hours/at least 20 years
Rust-Oleum7 fl oz/ $12.982 to 8 hours/at least 10 years

How to Get the Longest Life Out of Your Glow-in-the-Dark Wall Paint

Glow-in-the-dark paint for walls is developed with phosphors. Phosphorescent glow-in-the-dark paint uses luminescent phosphors mixed with chemicals and then added to the paint components to achieve that stunning glow-in-the-dark effect.

When you pull up the window shades to let the sunshine in or turn on a light, the phosphors in your painted glow-in-the-dark wall are charged by the incoming UV light.

When the lights go out, the activated phosphors glow. The phosphors are derived minerals, including strontium aluminate and silver-activated zinc sulfide, which emit green, yellow, and blue light.

Glow-in-the-dark paint
Glow-in-the-dark paint

Not to be confused with phosphorescent paint, fluorescent paint, also created with phosphoric pigmentation, lights up when you use an artificial UV light (or a black light) directly shining upon the fluorescent-painted object. 

The popularity of glow-in-the-dark paint on walls inside the home has pushed painting manufacturers to broaden the available color palette. Today you can find a range of vivid shades of red, orange, pink, purple, metallics, blue, yellow, and green.

Purely decorative, whatever color scheme you choose will give off a bright pop of color. Your room will be the perfect conversation starter when you host a party, a space to cocoon at home after a long day, and a dazzling place to dream. 

Proper Care Increase Shelf life

Your glow-in-the-dark wall paint won’t be a fleeting effect if you take proper care of it. The quick answer is that glow-in-the-dark paint for walls has a longevity of 3 to 5 years if left unopened in its can. The glow can last 10 to 12 years on the walls. 

How To Make Glow In The Dark Paint Last Longer

There are several aspects to consider when you work with glow-in-the-dark paint to ensure longevity and success. A light-colored, smooth, clean surface, the application process, the type of sealant, and the process of charging the paint will all impact the durability of the paint.

DIY-ers must also contemplate the quality of a paint brand and the type of glow-in-the-dark paint (phosphorescent vs. fluorescent) best suited for their needs.

Start with a Smooth, Clean Surface

Preparing your wall surface is essential for a successful glow-in-the-dark effect. Cleaning your wall will give you a smooth and clean canvas to work on without typical household grime, such as dust and cobwebs.

Clean and Smooth Wall Surface
Clean and Smooth Wall Surface

Start by washing the wall. It isn’t necessary to powerwash your interior walls. You can quickly achieve a clean surface by simply using water and soap.

Fill up a bucket of tepid water and mix in a gentle liquid soap. Use a clean sponge and clean white towels. Professional painters recommend starting at the base of the wall and washing up the wall. 

You will want to work your sponge or towel in a circular motion cleaning small areas at a time. Be sure to let this area dry thoroughly before applying paint.

Apply The Glow-in-the-Dark Paint

Another consideration is the wall you are applying glow-in-the-dark paint. The lighter the wall, the better success your glow paint will have. 

Before applying your paint, you should expose the wall to sunlight or UV light for about 10 minutes.

Now that your wall is ready, it is time to apply the paint. Plan on applying 2-3 coats of paint. The first coat is your base. Allow this coat to dry completely. Depending on the thickness, the first layer could take 24 hours to dry thoroughly. 

applying paint in the dark

Between each layer, allow the wall space to dry before applying the next coat, and plan on giving your paint at least 4 hours of light exposure in between coats. The extra light exposure will increase the effectiveness of the paint.

Use a Good-Quality Clear Sealant

A good-quality sealant will help maintain and extend the glow-in-the-dark paint’s pigmentation. When you apply a protective coat to glow-in-the-dark paint, you can expect your unique design to continue glowing for 12 years.

After your final paint layer has dried, utilize a water-based, durable clear acrylic seat. Many glow-in-the-dark paint manufacturers sell a protective sealant that is perfectly safe to use with luminous paint. 

A sealant will assist in absorbing natural UV light and protect the surface from scratches and dirt that often dull the bright glow effect. 

Charge Your Glow-in-the-Dark Paint

Artificial light and natural UV light (sunlight) are the two ways to charge your glow-in-the-dark paint. Artificial light is less effective than natural sunlight. Natural UV light is the strongest and best source for charging the phosphors in the paint.

Glow in the dark paints
Glow in the dark paints

Direct sunlight sends light wavelengths directly to the chemicals in the paint. The phosphors hold onto that energy and produce a glow when it is dark. Sunlight can activate the paint to glow for 6 to 8 hours in the dark.

Artificial light rays, such as black light or your standard lightbulb, can also trigger the glow-in-the-dark phosphorescent pigments in the paint. A UV blacklight can charge the painted space in a mere two minutes giving you the glow effect quickly.

Fluorescent Paint

Fluorescent (a.k.a. blacklight paint) paint pigments are sharper and tend to have that neon appearance. In the daylight, the naked eye can see these bright pigments. However, you need a black light to observe these intense colors in the dark.

Fluorescent paint quickly reacts to any direct UV light in a dark room. The light reflects and releases that light as the perceived color. This paint needs black light rays to maintain its luminosity and will last as long as a black light is shining upon your wall. 

Fluorescent Paint
Fluorescent Paint

Fluorescent paint doesn’t necessarily “glow” like phosphorescent paint. As the black light hits the paint, the colors are reflected in your eye. The only time you can view these pigments in a dark room is when a blacklight shines on your surface.

Phosphorescent Paint

Phosphorescent paint (a.k.a. glow-in-the-dark paint) differs from fluorescent paint. The phosphors infused in the paint need to charge from UV light to glow in the dark without any extra light assistance.

After storing UV light, such as sunlight or even an incandescent light bulb, the paint’s phosphors release brilliant pigments in the dark for more than 4 hours.

Phosphorescent Paint
Phosphorescent Paint

Phosphorescent paint colors are more muted than the neon hues found in fluorescent paint. The quality of the phosphorescent paint brand can affect the glow’s strength and duration.

Which Glow-in-the-Dark Paint is Right for You?

Determining which glow-in-the-dark paint is right for you takes a bit of research and planning. First, understand the room in your house that you want to renovate with paint.

Is there natural sunlight to light up the room, or is this space windowless? Other questions to factor in include the type of glowing effect you are looking to achieve with paint. 

Phosphorescent paint is best for achieving a long-lasting glow without a continuous light source (for example, a black light). This type of glow-in-the-dark paint stays within the yellow-green-blue color scheme. Fluorescent paint is the way to go for a more diverse and intense color palette.

Higher levels of strontium aluminate in glow-in-the-dark paint are often compounded with the chemical europium, which helps to give the paint an even longer-lasting glow effect. Paint products using europium are more expensive than products made with zinc sulfide. 

Professional paint manufacturers suggest using waterproof, acrylic-based paint for optimal results. The good news is that most glow-in-the-dark paint is non-toxic.


When you are inspired to give your home a touch of imagination, check out glow-in-the-dark paints as an option to give your space a little extra flair and a unique personality.

The two types of glow-in-the-dark paint available for interior walls work differently. Phosphorescent paint retains energy from UV light rays during the day to then emit a soft blue or green glow in the dark. Fluorescent paint reflects strong pigment tones when a black light continuously shines upon it in the darkness.

Regardless of what paint you use, the key to experiencing a long-lasting glow depends on correctly applying the paint and storing unused paint. 

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