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Properly Storing Paint

Posted by Nolan Painting on July 10, 2015
Paint cans

It lurks in basements, garages and storage sheds. Every homeowner has it…it’s a collection of paint cans.

The real trick is trying to remember what paint goes to which room. Is it interior paint? Exterior? Without proper storage and labeling, one might never know. This proves to be a problem when you need a quick touch up and the paint you originally used is unidentifiable.

Not to worry! Nolan Painting has some simple tips and general rules for storing paint that will save you time and money.

Let’s get started:

  • Label Your Paint Can With Room and Date

    When you purchase paint the manufacturer will typically place a sticker on the lid of the can indicating the color name and formula used to create the color. As paint is stored and begins to settle the elements in the paint can begin to separate. This can pose a problem if you’re unsure of what room the paint was used. Instead of mixing the paint each time simply add a note to the top of the can with a permanent marker indicating the room and date it was last used.

  • Make Sure to Seal the Paint Can Properly

    Proper paint storage is highly dependent on how a can is sealed after use. Full cans of paint store better than cans that have been used because of air seepage. Once the paint is exposed to air, the lifespan of the paint will begin to diminish. For best practice, seal or reseal the can of paint using a rubber hammer to ensure that each side of the lid is properly engaged in the groove of the can. The lid should appear flush with the can when properly sealed. As a general rule of thumb, cans that have been opened and resealed typically last 1-2 years. Full cans of paint that have yet to be opened can last indefinitely.

  • Record the color and type of finish

    Recording the color and finish of the paint you use will not only help you determine where the paint belongs in your home, but also will assist in purchasing a new can if needed. It’s important to remember that finishes are not interchangeable and will show variance on your walls.

  • Storing paint in extreme temperature

    Extreme temperatures can impact your paint, especially in Pennsylvania where temperatures in the winter are at or below freezing. Freezing temperatures can have a significant impact on the integrity of your paint. Garages, often unheated are not always the best place for paint storage. Consider moving your storage to a warmer, temperature controlled environment such as a basement or attic.

  • Disposing of Old Paint

Let’s say there’s no paint left at all in those old cans, or at least, no paint left that you’ll ever want to use. You need to know how to dispose of empty paint cans or nearly empty paint cans safely.

How you will dispose of old paint will depend on what’s in it. If your paint can is almost completely empty, you can remove the lid, let the remnants dry out, then wash it out and recycle it as you would any other can. However, if you have more paint still in the can than you can safely wash off, you should proceed as follows:

  • For Latex Paint: If you have latex paint in your can, add cat litter equal to the amount of paint you have left. Stir it up until it thickens into one mixture and let it sit for one hour. The cat litter should fully and safely absorb the paint, which you can then toss in the trash. If you do not have and would prefer not to buy cat litter, you should be able to find commercial hardeners in your local home improvement store that serve the same purpose.
  • For Oil-Based Paint: Oil-based paints are hazardous waste, so you cannot simply throw them out. You must take them to a recycling center that is designed to take on hazardous waste products. You can take the entire can to the facility. Most of these recycling centers will also take cans with latex paints if you don’t want to go through two different methods of paint can disposal.

Keep in mind that if you have an empty paint can you have managed to completely clean, you don’t need to recycle it. These cans can be used for mixing new paints or for simple storage of random household items.

At Nolan Painting we strive to provide you with the most updated, relevant information that will make your painting experience a successful one. On location we make a point to inventory and clean out your old paint and dispose of it in the most environmentally friendly way possible. You can even lessen the number of paint cans you accrue in your house by contracting interior or exterior painting services instead of doing it yourself. Call our team today at (610) 572-2806 and learn more about how we can make painting your home an amazing adventure.