Best Ways to Store Leftover Paint

It is a common thing to have paint leftover from a project. Having some remaining paint can come in handy down the road to touch up scratches and scuffs or for other projects where you can use the paint. Paint is expensive, so you don’t want to throw money down the drain (so to speak). But, what is the best way to store leftover paint? At Osborne Painting, we specialize in paint and painting, so we know the best ways to store paint. Our expertise in interior painting, as well as exterior painting, means that we can advise you for buying, using, and storing paint so you can have quality paint for your future needs. Here are some tips when you have paint that you need to store.

leftover paint being stored properly


Find a Cool, Dry Place

Many people store paint in their garage or storage shed. This is not a good idea because of the extreme temperature changes that occur in a garage. Wide fluctuations in temperature will cause leftover paint to become unusable. A garage is subject to getting hot and humid in the summer and really cold in the winter. When paint gets too hot, it dries up. When it gets cold, the paint can separate and curdle. The best place to store paint is either in a basement or a place inside the home like a utility closet. A place that is dark, dry, and cool works best to ensure that the paint stays fresh and is ready to use when you need it. Find a place that is cool, dry, and away from sunlight and where the temperature stays above freezing.

Transfer to Smaller Cans

The gallon buckets paint comes in are bulky and difficult to store. So, if you have a can that isn’t full, you can minimize the space required for storage by pouring the paint into smaller cans. Mason jars are also a good option because you can see the color of the paint inside them, making them easier to organize and locate when you need them.

Keep Airtight

 The paint won’t last as long if there is too much air inside the storage container. A tight seal prevents damage to the paint. You can use plastic wrap to create a seal between the paint and the lid. Or, you can store the paint upside down to create an airtight seal. If you choose to use the can the paint came in, don’t use a hammer to put the lid back because you could dent it which allows air to enter around the edges.

Label Your Cans

Be sure that the containers are properly labeled. Who hasn’t gone back a year or two later to look for paint and has gotten very confused about which paint is which. Whether you use cans or mason jars, when you need the paint it will look different than it looks on the wall. Wet paint just looks different from dry paint. Being organized is key. It’s extremely helpful to label the cans with the brand of paint, the name of the color, and what you used it for. Organizing the containers by room helps you to find the paint as quickly and easily as possible. 

How Can You Tell That Paint Has Gone Bad?

If you haven’t stored paint properly, how can you tell if the paint has gone bad? First, smell it. If it has an odor that isn’t the way paint should smell, it has probably gone bad. Then, try mixing it with a stir stick and see if the paint mixes together smoothly. If it doesn’t, it is probably bad. Lastly, brush some paint onto a test surface and see how it spreads. If it is rough and bumpy, it’s time to get rid of it.

Contact Osborne Painting for Tips 

Not only are we experts at painting, but we can also give you advice on things like storing paint, and other tips that will make your painting project go smoothly. Give us a call at 919-878-6611 or complete the easy-to-use form below.

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