Ever left paint for future use only to find it dry? That happens to a lot of people. But you can minimize paint wastage by learning how to store it properly.
Most paints can last between 2 to 10 years. The exact duration depends on how well you store it.
You don’t have to buy new paints whenever you need it. Reuse your leftovers. But be sure to check the quality before reusing. If the quality has deteriorated, your paint could peel off quickly.
In such cases, dispose of it. But how do you dispose of paint at home?
We’ll discuss that later. First, let’s see how you should store your paint to make it last longer.
How to Store Leftover Paint?
Storing leftover paint is a good idea. It allows you to touch up areas that get messed up.
Plus, you can always use it for a new painting project. Here are three tips on how to store paint so you can reuse it later.
Seal the Paint in Airtight Container
After completing a painting job, seal the container immediately. Clean the rim or edge of the can and the cover to ensure they fit tightly. Use a rubber mallet to tap the lid back into place. Avoid using a metallic hummer, as it can distort the lid, making it hard to fit.
Some people place the cans upside down to ensure no air gets into the can. The paint blocks any spaces left around the rid. Alternatively, you can place a plastic wrap between the lid and the can’s opening to make it airtight.
Store the Can in a Cool, Dry Place
Store the paint away from direct sunlight. Also, ensure the location doesn’t have too much heat. Room temperature is ideal for paint storage. The garage may not be the best place because it may not have climate control. During winter, the paint can freeze, and during summer, it can dry up.
So it’s better to store it in the basement, closet, or cabinet. Ensure those places don’t have moisture because metallic cans may get rusty. Therefore, place the cans on a shelf instead of a cold floor.
Label the Cans
When you have little paint remaining, you may have to transfer it to a smaller container to save space. And if you create your own mixtures of paint, the original labels on the can won’t help. In such cases, making new labels can help identify the paint in the future.
Use a permanent marker to write the date, the paint’s name, and the room where you used it. It might also help if you use a little paint to dab the surface of the can. That can help you know the exact shade of the paint without opening the can.
How to Tell If Old Paint is Good for Reuse?
After storing paint for several years, it’s better to test it first. Open the lid using a special key designed for opening paint containers. If you don’t have that, use a flathead screwdriver. But be careful not to warp the rim, as that will make it hard to reseal the can.
After opening the lid, remove any debris that falls into the paint. If the paint has separated, try to remix it. It can still work if it has a smooth consistency. But it’s better to try it on wood before painting it on the wall. Below are some warning signs that the paint isn’t reusable.
- Rough finish. Paint on a smooth piece of wood and let it dry. If you get a rough finish, it means the paint has clumps. Using it on the wall will lead to peeling.
- Pungent odor. The paint may have bacteria if it smells like rotten eggs or ammonia. Most likely, the can wasn’t airtight. That happens when the lid and the can’s rim have uneven surfaces due to poor opening methods.
- Mold or mildew. Mold can grow on the edges of the lid if the can is in a humid area. Using such paint can spread mold to your house. The best thing is to dispose of it. Here’s the best way to do that.
How to Dispose of Paint?
It’s advisable to throw away items responsibly, especially if they can harm the environment. Even though latex paint has little harm to the environment, it may contain hazardous coloring and preservative chemicals.
For this reason, some states prohibit disposing of paint in waterways to protect aquatic life. Use the methods below to dispose of paint responsibly.
Take it to a Recycling Center
Oil-based paint is more hazardous, so the best disposal option might be taking it to a recycling center. Check the recycling instructions from your local officials and the manufacturer. If the paint is still usable and you don’t want to keep it, consider giving it away to those who might need it.
They could be your friends, relatives, neighbors, charitable organizations, or places of worship.
Dry the Paint
If you have latex paint which is less harmful, you can dry it and put it in a trash can. That’s a good option if the remaining paint is too little to reuse or its quality has deteriorated. Besides exposing the paint to heat, you can also add cat litter and mix it well. Leave it for an hour, and it will dry up. Once dried, you can throw it in the garbage.
Throw Away Items Responsibly
High-quality paint can be expensive, so it’s worth storing it in good condition for future use. The best conditions for paint storage are inside an airtight container and away from heat. If the container’s lid is damaged, change to another one with a better lid. Then put a label on it for ease of identification.
If you have five-year-old paint sitting in your house, you can reuse it if it has a smooth consistency. But if not, dispose of it responsibly. Let it dry and put it in a garbage can. You can also take it to a recycling center or give it to a garbage collection company for proper disposal.