The product, dubbed Paint Shield, earned certification from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for killing more than 99.9% of bacteria such as Staph, E. coli, and MRSA, Steve Revnew, senior vice president of product innovation for Sherwin-Williams said in an interview.
Applications for the paint could include medical complexes, locker rooms, schools, daycare centers, hotels, homes and cruise ships, says Revnew.
The patented product contains proprietary technology developed by researchers at the retailer and paint maker's Cleveland headquarters.
Revnew the product successfully completed third-party lab tests to validate its health claims and certify safety.
Completion of those tests allows companies to use the term "antibacterial paint" under EPA guidelines, according to the Paint & Coatings Industry trade journal.
Other manufacturers put additives into paints to prevent bacteria from spreading and call it antimicrobial paint. A number of university scientists have made claims about antibacterial paint breakthroughs in the lab.
Revnew said Sherwin-Williams' product is differentiated kills bacteria on the surface after two hours, instead of simply preventing the organisms from corroding the paint as antimicrobial products do.
Sherwin-Williams CEO Chris Connor, in a statement, called Paint Shield “one of the most significant technological breakthroughs in our nearly 150-year history of innovation.”
For paint — a product that people from many centuries ago would recognize — any innovation is significant and can disrupt the market.
Sherwin-Williams, the largest U.S. chain devoted primarily to paint sales, has 11.3% market share in paint manufacturing, according to research firm IBISWorld. That makes the company the second largest paint maker in the U.S., behind PPG Industries at 21.3% and ahead of Valspar at 8.6%.
Paint Shield will come at a premium. A gallon of Paint Shield, which will be available in 590 colors, will cost $84.99. By comparison, an average gallon of interior paint costs at Sherwin-Williams ranges from $29.99 to $79.59.
Revnew, who declined to offer sales projections, says that commercial painters and consumers alike will embrace the product.
“As you can well imagine, there’s quite a bit of need in this market,” he says.
Paint Shield, which was developed after consulting with infectious disease experts, can be applied with a brush or roller, like other paint products. It will be available in the first quarter of 2016 at Sherwin-Williams’ more than 4,000 U.S. stores.
Written by Nathan Borney.
Follow USA TODAY reporter Nathan Bomey on Twitter @NathanBomey.