5 Things to Know About Proper Paint Storage

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Certain tips and tricks will help you choose the right paint color and get your home painting project done quickly and correctly, but did you know there’s also an art to storing paint? These tips will help you on the road to proper paint storage, making your painting job much easier the next time you pop open a can!

5 Things to Know About Proper Paint Storage

1. Staying Organized with Proper Labeling

“The bedroom was Dover Grey and the kitchen was Seal Grey, I think. Or maybe it was the other way around. And where did this bucket of Slate Grey come from? What room is painted that color? Why can’t I remember any of this — we only painted a year ago!”

If you’ve ever repainted or touched up a room, you know how frustrating this scenario can be. With proper paint storage that includes labeling your paint, you can avoid confusion down the road. Clearly label each bucket according to which room you painted that color and you’ll never question your memory or your sanity … well, at least as far as paint goes.

2. Where to Store Your Paint

Although we tend to think of paint as pretty heavy-duty stuff (after all, it coats the interior and exterior walls of our homes), it’s actually quite sensitive to extreme temperatures. Paint can especially be negatively impacted by freezing temperatures, which is why proper paint storage involves keeping all new and used paint in a temperature-stable, dry place. If it tends to freeze where you live and you have an unfinished basement or attic, think about storing your paint in an infrequently-used closet on the interior of your house.

3. Maintaining an Airtight Seal on the Can

Whether you’re taking on an exterior or interior paint project, you’re going to have to handle some paint cans — and that includes opening and closing each and every one of them. Do it properly, and you’ll have fresh paint to use later. Mess it up, and you’ll expose the paint to air and it will spoil.

Opening a paint can without damaging the lid is easy; simply use a flathead screwdriver to work your way all around the can, gently prying it up. To close the paint can, put the lid in place and cover the can with a rag. Then use a rubber mallet to gently tap the lid all around the edges. Make sure it taps down fully into place to achieve an airtight seal.

4. Using Stored Paint

When you open a can of paint that hasn’t been used in a while, you’ll likely notice that a thin skin will have developed across the top. It’s important that you skim this off and get rid of it before mixing the paint. If you mix this skin in with the paint, you’ll end up with lumps and bumps that will have you shaking your first and cursing yourself later. Remove the skin, then use a stick to stir up the paint (or close it back up and give it a good shake if you’re strong enough!

5. When Good Paint Goes Bad

Sometimes despite our best intentions, even high-quality, properly-stored paint can turn on us. How do you know if your paint is worth keeping or if it’s time to toss it? Some signs that it’s time to let a bucket of paint go are if it smells horrible when you open it, if it has solidified into something that would put your kid’s science project to shame, or if it has developed exciting new rust-like colors or is growing mold on the surface. When this happens, there’s no saving it; you need to dump it.

Proper paint disposal is just as important as proper paint storage. Paint should never be dumped down the drain or simply tossed in with your regular household trash. Always consult your local city or environmental regulatory agency first on guidance on disposal options.  For latex paint, you can mix it with cat litter (equal parts litter to paint; you can mix it either in the can or in an old box). Mix the cat litter with the paint until it thickens and becomes spill-proof, then allow it to sit and dry for an hour. At this point, the paint is safe to toss in the garbage. Please note that the state of California does not permit the treatment of latex paint waste including air drying. Instead, locate a PaintCare location for recycling your leftover paint or a disposal company.

From using SureSwatch to choose the right color to proper paint storage, having a few painting tips and tricks up your sleeve will help you transform your home with less effort and less frustration. Now get to painting!


Learn more about proper paint storage by visiting our blog!

Find SureSwatch at Home Depot, Walmart, and Ace Hardware.

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