Under the right conditions, you can keep unopened paint for as long as 10 to 15 years. While unopened paint cans maintain their chemical balance best, opened paint cans can still be used if stored properly. Here’s how to best store your leftover paint so you can use it for touch-ups and projects for years to come.
How To Best Store Leftover Paint
It makes sense to hold on to paint cans if there’s still a good amount of paint leftover after you’re done with your project. You may want to do touch-ups or paint something else in the same colour. If you want to hold on to your paint, it’s important you store it somewhere where the temperature is mostly consistent and it won’t be exposed to harsh weather. The best place to store your leftover paint is in the basement or a utility closet in your home.
Harsh weather and extreme temperatures can actually alter the chemical makeup of your paint. Hot weather will cause your paint to dry up, and cold weather will cause it to separate and curdle. This is why it’s not a good idea to keep paint in your garage or outdoor shed.
Make sure you tightly close the can of paint when you’re done with it. Wipe the excess paint off from around the rim of the can and the lid. Put the lid on the can and place a towel or rag on top of the can and gently hammer the lid shut. You want to ensure an airtight seal to maintain your paint.
Once closed, take a piece of masking or painters tape and write the name of the colour, its number, and the date of purchase. This way when you find the can of paint 4 years later, you’ll know how long ago you purchased it and what colour it is without opening it. If you only have a small amount of paint left, you can transfer it to a different container, such as a mason jar, and label it the same way.
How To Dispose of Unwanted Paint
If you have good quality paint that you have no use for, consider donating it. Offer it to friends and neighbours who may have a small project that needs painting. Some charities will accept paint, especially those that work with providing home renovations or repairs.
Sometimes despite our best efforts, paint will not keep and it can become unusable. If you want to test if your old paint is still usable, read this article for a simple test. After testing, if find that your paint is unusable, it’s important to dispose of it in the right way. Not taking the proper steps to dispose of paint could result in pollution and contamination of water and aquatic life. One gallon of paint has the potential to contaminate thousands of gallons of water.
For latex and acrylic paints, you may be able to solidify the paint and throw it out with your regular garbage. Before you begin, check the rules in your area. If this is fine to do, you can mix the paint with a clay-based cat litter. Mix two parts litter to one part paint. Once solid, remove it from the can and add it to your regular garbage. If you do use this method, be sure to mix the paint and cat litter in a well-ventilated area.
For oil-based and alkyd paints, you will have to dispose of them as you would other hazardous and toxic products. Check online to see what the procedure is in your location and follow the steps provided.
Now that you know how best store leftover paint, there’s only one thing left to do: paint! Whether you’ve got a DIY project to finish up or you want a room repainted, there are plenty of pros on HomeStars who can help you out. Connect with a handyman or painting company to put that well-stored paint to use! You’ll be happy that you left the hard work to the pros.