What’s the Best Way to Store Leftover Paint at Home?

It’s easy to overestimate how much paint you need for a job – and to find yourself with a partial can left over. So, what do you do with leftover paint? Are there any tips for storing paint?

First, why bother keeping paint – especially since paint cans can quickly clutter your storage space? The first reason is that you might need it for touch ups. The second is that you might be able to use it for another project and save yourself the time and money of buying new paint.

The good news is, paint is durable if it’s stored properly. Here are the best ways to store paint.

Store it in a Climate-Controlled Area

Most people naturally gravitate toward storing paint in a garage or shed. And while those spots work for most things, they don’t for paint. That’s because paint becomes unstable at extreme temperatures. Instead, store it in a climate-controlled area, like a closet or cabinet. The darker, dryer and cooler the storage space is, the better. That way, the paint stays fresh and ready to use.

Move Leftover Paint to Smaller Cans or Jars

Gallon buckets are great for transporting paint from the paint store to your house. But storing used paint in them can shorten your paint’s lifespan, not to mention leaving you with a pile of half-empty paint cans.

To preserve the paint, transfer it to a smaller container. Storing it in clear, labeled jars can help you easily find the paint you want.

Then, make sure the new container is properly sealed to keep out any extra air, so the paint doesn’t dry out too quickly. If there’s more than an inch gap between the paint and the top of the jar, you can create an airtight seal by putting plastic wrap between the paint and the lid. You can also store the paint upside down, which also creates an airtight seal.

And don’t forget to label the containers. Even if they’re clear and you can see the paint, you’ll want to know the color and paint company, in case you need to reuse the paint or get more later.

How Long Will Paint Last?

When stored properly, leftover paint will last for years. Here are typical the shelf lives of certain paints:

Chalk paint – One to 5 yearsLatex paint – Between two and 10 yearsMilk paint – Up to a weekOil-based acrylic – Up to 15 years

Properly Dispose of Leftover Paint

If paint turns lumpy, smelly or chunky, you know it’s gone bad. Then it’s time to get rid of your leftover paint. But don’t just dump the containers in the trash, because that can be hard on the environment. Instead, pour cat litter or sand into the can to soak up the paint, then take it to your town’s waste collection center.

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