Eco-Friendly House Paint Inspired By The Self-Cleaning Lotus Flower

Lotus flower

The lotus flower springs from the dirty, muddy river bottom, yet always appears fresh and clean. Unlocking its secret grooming habits inspired a new house paint that stays clean without washing.

The lotus flower is a delicate and strikingly beautiful plant, sacred for Hindus, Buddhists and often used as a symbol of rebirth and purity. Centuries of living in muddy lakes and ponds allowed the lotus to develop a flawless method of repelling dirt: when it rains, a combination of microscopic bumps and hairs on the lotus’ waxy leaves cause water droplets to bead up. Then, the leaf’s precise angle causes the balls of water to roll off due to gravity, taking the attached dirt particles with them and cleaning the leaf  without expending energy. Cleaning without energy–now there’s an idea we can all appreciate!

This phenomena has been named the ‘Lotus Effect‘ and, not surprisingly, it has inspired an entire industry of self-cleaning textiles, windows, sprays and other products. One of the more interesting is an eco-friendly house paint called Lotusan. Developed by a German company called ISPO, this exterior paint employs a microstructure modeled after the hydrophobic leaves of the lotus plant to minimize the contact area for water and dirt.

Lotusan, paint, home exterior paint, biomimicry, water repellent, self-cleaning


It’s recommended that you clean your home’s exterior once a year. Over time, most home exteriors become faded or flecked with dirt. On weather exposed sides in particular, microorganisms find an ideal environment for colonization in moisture and nutrients from dirt deposits. Washing a house usually requires a pressure washer. Adventurous home owners may choose to save money by renting one, while most of us hire an expert to do it. Either method will cost you hundreds of dollars and it’s likely that a harsh detergent or even bleach will be employed, which is bad news for your flower beds and the local water supply.

On the other hand, if you’re due for a new coat of paint anyway, covering your house with Lotusan could help you save money and reduce environmental impact. Although it looks and feels completely smooth, Lotusan imparts microscopic bumps and ridges that minimize the contact area for water and dirt, making it naturally resistant to the growth of mold, mildew, and algae.

According to StoCoat, Lotusan is LEED compliant, and ideal for new construction and recoat projects over concrete, stucco, EIFS, and fiber cement board substrates. It’s also available in virtually any color, including custom color matching.

Image: Jeda Villa Bali