Storing Paint

Below you will find instructions for storing paint properly.

Now that your interior or exterior house painting project is done, it's time to deal with the paint leftovers.

Here are some helpful tips for how to store paint to keep it fresh until the next use or for occasional touch ups.

How To Store Paint

Storing paint properly will keep it fresh

Before you put your paint away for storage, don't forget to mark each paint can with a permanent marker - write down the color name/code and room/surface it was used for.

Also, make sure there is a paint dab on each can to show you what color is inside for easy identification.

  • First of all, paints must be stored in a dry place, off the ground or concrete floors - to keep the cans from rusting.

  • It's better to store paint in a cool area - but don't allow it to freeze, or it will separate and become unusable.
    Also, keep it away from direct sunlight or other heat sources that will speed up paint's deterioration. The above requirements usually mean that an unheated garage, basement, attic or shed is out, but a utility closet or a laundry room should be fine.

  • Consider storing paint leftovers in canning jars

  • All paint cans are bulky and take up a lot of space, so consider storing paint leftovers in smaller containers - canning jars work fine for that. Besides, paint keeps better in full containers, where it has less contact with air.

  • Before closing a paint can or a jar, be sure to wipe clean all the paint residue from the groove/rim - that will make it easier for you to open it when you need to, and will not allow air in by making the lid fit tighter

  • To create an even tighter air seal and prevent metal-to-metal corrosion, you can take a plastic bag and cut out a circle larger than the opening of a paint can, and use it as a gasket under the lid.

  • Don't hammer the lid directly when trying to close the can - this may distort the lid and disrupt the air seal. Instead, use a rubber mallet, or place a block of wood on top of the lid and hammer the wood block to set the lid firmly into place.

  • When it's time to open the can and use the paint again, always check for paint "skin" that can form on the top, especially if the paint has been stored for too long or hasn't been sealed properly.
    Carefully remove it with a stick or spoon before mixing the paint, or you'll end up with paint full of "skin" pieces and debris.

NOTE: some house painters recommend storing paint cans upside down, but here's the problem with this method: the paint may spill or the paint "skin" can form on the bottom of the cans when they are stored this way. And when you open the can, this "skin" - not visible to you - will inevitably get stirred into the paint, and may ruin your home painting project.

If some of your paint has gone bad or you have paint leftovers that you are not going to need again, it's important that you learn about proper paint disposal methods before just throwing it away.

Paint Color Cheat Sheets
Paint Color Cheat Sheets

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