How to Store Paint


If you’re a Morris County homeowner, you’ve probably done some interior painting projects around the house, and if you have, you may have wondered what in the world you should do with all that extra paint. Storing leftover paint always seems to be a dilemma. All too often, what most folks end up doing is closing up paint cans and putting them on the floor somewhere in the garage or basement. Then, when they need to use them again, the paint’s dried up and they have to go out and buy it all over again. Even worse, if the color they used before is discontinued, they have to repaint the whole room from scratch, and nobody wants that. Here are some tips on how to properly store used paint cans that will prevent paint from drying up and reduce hazards.

1) The first thing you need to do is find a dry area of your home that won’t be exposed to extremes in weather and temperature. Any space such as a basement or storage room that is climate-controlled or contains a dehumidifier will provide the best protection from ruining leftover paint. If your garage is well insulated, that will also work well. Never store paint in a place that will get a lot of cold air where it may freeze, as not all paints can be used after they’ve been frozen. Additionally, be sure that you never store paint cans near your home’s hot water tank or furnace, as this practice can create hazards.

2) Find or create a porous surface to store your paint cans on, such as unfinished wooden shelves. Depending on the type of paint, storing on a porous surface will keep the cans from becoming corroded or rusted.

3) Place newspapers underneath paint cans to protect the bottom surfaces from becoming rusted or corroded from moisture. Place a thick layer of newspaper down to ensure moisture doesn’t get through to the cans, and never store paint cans on cement.

4) Because you’re trying to keep your paint from hitting air and drying out, you need to seal lids tightly. Use plastic food wrap to seal the lid by cutting out at least three pieces that are large enough to cover the paint can lid, leaving about three or four inches overlapping the sides.

5) Before placing the plastic wrap, blow into the can to disperse air. Then place a sheet of plastic wrap inside the can and push it down gently so that it makes contact with the paint. Do this gradually, and then press the plastic all around the edges of the can.

6) Place the remaining pieces of food wrap over the rim of the can for extra protection.

7) Next you’ll need to pack the lid down tightly. Take a small piece of two-by-four wood to force the lid down evenly with a rubber mallet. Rotate the wood frequently to gradually force the lid down without making dents in the can. Now you’re ready to store the can in the location you’ve chosen for it.

8) Finally, here are a few added tips when storing paint. When you’re finished with any paint that may still have some left in it, consider donating the extra paint you don’t need to nonprofits in your neighborhood that will appreciate it and will be able to utilize the unused paint. If the paint is finished and you’re ready to throw the cans away, leave the can open for a week or so to make sure the paint is totally dried out, and then throw the empty cans in with the trash. To expedite drying, add in a little kitty litter.

Too many people don’t consider the fact that paint contains chemicals, and that means that paint needs to be stored in a special manner. Just hammering down the lid and throwing the cans in the corner of your garage will not only end up costing you money down the road when you need to do some touchups; it can also create a hazard because paint can spill and pets can get into it. Toddlers can even get their hands into old paint cans and then stick their hands in their mouths. Be sure you store used paint properly in order to avoid hazards and to save on having to buy new paint in the future.

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