How to Store Extra Paint, and How Long Will It Last?

 How to Store Extra Paint, and How Long Will It Last?

When you have leftovers from a restaurant, you can take it home in a box and put it in the fridge for later. What do you do with leftover paint, though? How can you store interior house paint so that it will still be good when you want to use it months later? And how long can house paint last once it has been opened?

Storage of extra paint is an important topic, since if you do it incorrectly, you could end up wasting quality products. The main thing you want to keep in mind is minimizing air exposure.

Tricks for Storing Leftover House Paint

Store It in the Can: This might seem like an obvious solution, but there are a couple of helpful tips to make sure you do it right.

  • Use a paintbrush or a cloth to clean as much interior paint as possible from the rim of the can. This ensures that the lid can seal tightly on, and you are not likely to have dried paint keeping the lid on like glue the next time you want to use it.
  • If you have used much of the interior house paint, there will be air inside the can. This causes the paint to dry out and get a film on the top. To prevent this, use plastic wrap or a plastic bag to create an air barrier. Gently push the plastic film down until it forms a flat layer over the surface of the paint. Allow the excess plastic to hang out around the sides of the paint can. Put the lid on, and you're good!
  • Use a rubber mallet, if you have one, to tap the paint lid securely on. This should make it seat effectively, without denting or damaging it.

Store It in a Plastic Container: If the amount of leftover paint is not substantial, you may not want to store it in the can. Partly, it takes up more room. Additionally, the can may end up with flaky or stringy dried paint on the inside, and this can get into your good paint when you try to use it.

Use a funnel, and pour your leftover paint into something you might otherwise recycle:

  • A water bottle
  • A yogurt container
  • A sandwich meat container
  • A pickle jar

Make sure it is clean and dry, and that the lid fits tightly. Try to choose a container that is a similar size to your amount of paint, so that it will have a minimal amount of air inside.

How Long Does Interior House Paint Last?

If latex interior house paint is properly stored, it will usually last at least two years, and often much longer. A can of latex paint that has never been opened could even last 10 years! Oil-based paints last longer, sometimes up to 15 years.

Air is not the only thing that will cause interior paint to go bad. Bacteria can grow in the can, breaking down the paint so that it does not perform as it should. You may notice a harsh smell, observe physical changes to the paint, or see that the paint has fully separated into different substances. In this case, you probably don't want to use it.

Williams Professional Painting: A D.C. Area Painting Company

Whether you have questions about interior house painting, or you would like to schedule a free estimate to have your home interior painted, Williams Professional Painting is happy to help! Based in Alexandria, Virginia, we serve the whole Washington, D.C. region, including Maryland and northern Virginia.

Besides interior painting, we also provide exterior painting, kitchen cabinet painting, molding installation, carpentry, popcorn ceiling removal, and much more. You can use our online contact form to reach us, or call our office directly. We can't wait to meet you!

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