8 Tips To Properly Store Paint To Prevent Spoiling

By Ken Hyden

When you’re looking for a fresh new look for your home, your fixtures, your doors, or kitchen cabinets and more, a paint job is the easiest way to breathe new life into your living space.

Paint is relatively inexpensive, and you can experiment with as many looks and colors as you want. But if you don’t have a lot of experience with professional paint jobs, you might find yourself wasting a lot of paint, and a lot of cash due to improper storage, damaged cans, and impurities like dust, rust, or that disgusting paint skin that turns up when the paint is stored at the wrong temperature. To avoid all that mess, and having to go out and find exactly the right shade all over again, follow the tips here for proper paint storage and equipment.

1. Be Careful From The Beginning

Proper paint storage begins when you first crack open the can. A dented or damaged can can’t stay air-tight the way you need it to, so be careful when you open the paint can, to make sure you’ll get the best possible seal when it re-closes. Don’t hit it directly with a hammer. Using a block of wood between the can and the hammer makes it easier to open, without denting the can. Don’t use a screwdriver or anything else that will bend or warp the lid when you take it off.

2. Keep the Lid Clean and Warped Free

The lid well can often get gunked up with paint, which dries and prevents your cans from sealing properly. Keep the top clean by wiping down the lid well around the circumference. Use a soft mallet, and pound the seal down carefully all the way around, rather than using a hammer, which can damage the can and cause it to warp.

3. Keep It Secure

Keep your cans in a cool space, stacked neatly and securely. Never shake an old can of paint before you open it. It can cause dust, rust or debris to shift from the interior of the can, into the paint, and lead to it spoiling. Some house painters suggest storing paint cans upside down, but this method might lead to leaks, or a skin forming on the bottom of the can. Once it’s mixed into the paint, it can cause uneven lumps, bumps, and streaks in your new paint job. Best to keep your paints stacked safely upright.

4. Keep Cans Airtight

When it comes to your paint cans, air is your enemy. But there are plenty of ways to keep the seal on your paint cans airtight. Besides making sure to be careful as you open, and keeping the lid well clean, you can take a plastic bag and cut out a circle slightly bigger than the opening, and use it as a gasket under the cover. The plastic reinforces the seal and has the added bonus of preventing metal-to-metal corrosion. So there are no flakes to get impurities into your paint.

5. Rinse Your Tools

Because it’s so easy for impurities to ruin your paint, it’s essential to keep your tools clean as you use them. Thoroughly rinse any paint brushes and rollers, and use trays to keep any dried flakes out of and away from your paint. Ideally, you can opt for paint brush cleaners that will keep them in mint condition and ensures your paint will keep clean as well. When choosing a roller, consider the type of surface you’ll be painting on. And always select high-quality rollers and brushes, so there are no lint flakes in your paint cans or on your finish.

6. Strain Your Paints

It’s almost impossible to remove impurities when they arrive in your paint. You should be stirring paint thoroughly before you use it. But the problem is if there’s a skin, or dust that you can’t see, stirring will hide it, and can even cause impurities to spread throughout the paint. An excellent way to deal with it is to strain your paints of impurities. And all you need is a pair of women’s pantyhose! The mesh is super fine, and it can easily stretch over a paint can or receptacle, to get rid of any lumps and bubbles present in the paint.

7. Stay Cool

Paint needs to stay at an optimal temperature to remain functional. Sticking it in a basement near a boiler, and the heat will cause the paint to split and go bad. Too cold, and the paint will spoil, the can might warp, or even rust over. Keep your paint cans in a cool, but not cold space, dry and air-tight. If your can is less than half full, you’ll need to consider transferring it to a smaller airtight container, like a mason jar or a Tupperware tub, to avoid letting too much air in.

8. Label It

This one’s less about keeping your paint in good condition, and more about keeping things organized for yourself. When you’re DIYing your paint job, it can be easy to lose track of which paint goes into which space. The less often you need to open the paint can, the better it is for the paint inside. So clearly labeling with a Sharpie, by shade, and by room, can help you keep track of what you have. Using a marker on the outside of the can, to keep track of where your paint levels are at, so you’ll know when you should be transferring the paint to a smaller container, and when you may need to pick up more for a touch-up. This organization can help you keep your paint for longer, not to mention keeping your workshop, and your projects in good condition.

Painting is one of the few DIY projects that everyone can get involved with. But if you don’t have experience with painting, it’s easy to waste paint by letting it go bad, or accidentally damaging the paint or the can. There are a few simple tips to keep your paint and your paint cans in good condition, for however long you need it, and however many touch-ups you need.


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