How to Store Leftover Paint the Right Way

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If there was a rite of passage in homeownership, it would be some sort of painting project. Windows, doors, trim, furniture, steps, railings, decks, walls, ceilings, it seems like everything in your home needs painting. Even if you hire a painter, once the project is finished there is always the question of how to store and keep the leftover paint.

It’s common to have leftovers from a project and keeping it around is a good idea for the inevitable future touch ups. Paint can be expensive, so storing it properly is important to prevent it from going bad and extending the shelf life. Here are some pro-tips for storing your leftover paint correctly and keeping it fresh for as long as possible.

Reseal the Paint Can Properly

Paint is kept freshest by storing it in an airtight container. Paint cans do this all on their own but damaging the lid when opening can affect the resealing process later when the project is finished.

While screwdrivers have been a popular tool to open paint cans for DIYers, this can dent or warp the lid. It’s best to use an actual paint can opener, which is designed to not damage the lid. When it comes time to reseal the paint can use a rubber mallet to gently tap the edges of the lid into the grooves of the can.

If you are not using the original paint can, or you don’t have much left, you can use a glass jar, like a mason jar with a self-sealing lid. Whatever container you use, make sure you use the information from the can to label the paint with the sheen and paint color.

Where to Store Leftover Paint

When it comes to where you should store your leftover paint, there are a few things to consider, such as climate, temperature, and sunlight.

If you are thinking of storing it in a garage or shed this is where considering the climate comes in. You don’t want it to freeze, and you don’t want it to be baking in extreme heat. Extreme temperatures like heat will dry out the paint, and freezing temps can cause the paint to separate, creating something that resembles curdled milk. With all that in mind, sheds and garages are not typically the best place for storing leftover paint.

You want to keep your paint in a cool, dry place, and out of direct sunlight. You also want to keep it somewhere that the temperature stays between 60 and 80 degrees. For many homeowners, the basement is an ideal choice.

Shelf Life of Opened Paint

Once a paint can is opened, most paints have a shelf life of two years. But it’s important to consider the environment, temperature changes, and other variables that may decrease the shelf life. Different paints may require different storage temperatures so make sure to be aware of that.

How to tell if Paint has Gone Bad

Just like food, a telltale sign that paint has gone bad is the smell. Paint that is no longer fresh can have a strong sour odor, like rotten eggs. If it doesn’t smell, also check the consistency. If after stirring the paint it is not smooth and contains chunks, it’s time to safely dispose of the paint.

If you still aren’t sure, when in doubt, throw it out. It’s always best to start with fresh paint.

About Flowers Painting

Flowers Painting is a full-service interior painting company that services the entire Charlotte metro area including Mooresville, Huntersville, Davidson, Concord, Rock Hill, and more. Call today to schedule your FREE estimate at (800) 699-4558. Flowers Painting provides full painting services including color consulting, interior painting, faux finishing, textured walls, cabinet refinishing, interior stairs, handrails, and more. To see pictures of our finished work be sure to visit our website gallery.