Storing and Using Leftover Paint

Your home looks great with a fresh coat of paint! But, now you’re left with a bunch of half filled paint tins. You don’t want to throw them out or waste them, so how do you store them?

The truth is, a huge a mount of house paint goes to waste every year because people don’t know how to properly store it. We’ve put together the best ways to store paint, where to store it, how to use it and how to dispose of it responsibly.

How to Store Leftover Paint

To make your paint lasts as long as possible, you must ensure the container or tin is properly sealed so that no air can get in. Try this method out:

  1. Clean the paint out of the sealing rim. If the rim is clogged with paint, it won’t seal properly. Keep this in mind while you are painting, and try to avoid wiping your brush over the lip of the paint tin.
  2. Cover the opening of the tin with plastic wrap. This will act as a lining, and will improve the seal.
  3. Put on the lid carefully. Do not start banging the lid with a metal hammer, because you are likely to warp it. If the lid is bent, it won’t fit into the top of the paint can, and you will not be able to create an airtight seal. Instead, use a rubber mallet and gently tap the lid in place, or press down with your hand.
  4. Store the tin upside down. The paint will create its own airtight seal.

Where to Store Leftover Paint

Where you store your leftover paint will affect its longevity. When deciding where to store your paint, take note of the following things:

  • Drastic changes in temperature will destroy your paint. Very hot weather or very cold weather will alter the consistency of your paint, making it completely unusable. Latex paint is more sensitive than other paints, and it will separate in extreme temperature conditions. The cold can turn paint into a curdled paste, and the heat will dry out the paint completely.
  • Moisture levels. Storing your paint in a damp area could cause rust to form on the tin. Rust could then fall into the paint and ruin it.

It is best to store your paint somewhere cool and dry, like a cupboard in your house. Make sure the paint tins are not within reach of children. Do not store paint in a garden shed, as they are often damp and exposed to extreme temperature changes.

How to Use Leftover Paint

Before you use leftover paint, it’s a good idea to check its condition. Remember not to shake the tin before you open it. It’s likely that the paint has formed a dry skin. If you shake the tin, the skin will break up and disperse through the paint making it lumpy. If you do this, don’t worry too much. The paint isn’t ruined. Just pass it through a strainer or sieve.

Instead, open the can and remove the skin, then stir the paint thoroughly. Using a paintbrush, paint a small test area. Does the paint look the correct colour? Does it have a classic paint smell? Is the consistency similar to single cream? Does the paint dry in the time specified on the can? If you have answered yes to these questions, then your paint is good to go.

You can then use your leftover paint to touch up your paint job. Paint over any marks or scratches, and your walls will be as good as new.

How to Dispose of Leftover Paint

Paint doesn’t last forever, no matter how well you store it. Paint will eventually turn into hazardous waste, and it is important to dispose of it responsibly. Depending on how much paint you have left, there are two ways to go about it:

  • If you have about 4cm or less of paint in the tin, you can leave it to dry out. Remove the lid and keep it away from children or pets. Once it has dried completely, you can recycle the tin or throw it in the garbage.
  • If you have a substantial amount of paint in the tin, you cannot simply throw it away. Paint contains chemicals and solvents that could potentially harm the environment. There are recycle centres across Australia that accept old, unwanted paint. With a little bit of research, you will find your local recycle centre.

There really is so much you need to be aware of when you decide to paint the interior or exterior of your home. If you’d like some professional help, please do not hesitate to give us a call on 07 3829 5735 or send us a quick email. We’d love to hear from you!

About Louise Kraudelt

We’re a family business and we get a real buzz out of transforming with paint. We can make the old new again. We can change character and mood with colours and textures and we can add capital value to your property. We can enhance and preserve walls, ceilings, floors, doors, decks, windows, ironwork and furniture. It’s rewarding and satisfying work and we love it. Both of us are qualified painters, and we’re lucky to have a fantastic crew of cheerful, experienced and highly skilled painters as our team. Whilst we always have fun when we’re working, quality and service comes first. We operate to our own set of high standards and use inspections and checklists as part of our process to maintain quality control and ensure nothing is overlooked or forgotten.

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