How to Store Unused House Paint

StoreUnusedPaint-ClaffeysPaintingYou’ve just completed painting your family room…did you use all the paint? Of course not! There’s almost always unused paint when the job is done. So what are you going to do with it? Do you need to keep it, can you keep it, why should you keep it? Most people will make the attempt to store it rather than dispose of it for a couple of reasons…1st) Paint is too expensive to let it go to waste, and 2) it’s a good idea to always have “that” color around for necessary future touch ups. But how often have you gone to get “that” color because your wall got banged up, only to find the paint inside the can was hard and unusable? You might as well have disposed of it in the first place after all.

Use these tips to store your paint and save money.

  • The key to keeping your unused paint is to keep it well sealed to keep air and moisture out.
    • Be sure you have thoroughly cleaned the paint from the rim of the can.
    • Cover the paint can opening with plastic wrap before putting the lid back on.
    • Make sure the lid is on tight – no leaks in or out.
      • Many people will use a hammer to secure the lid, but this is not a good idea because the rim can be bent in the process and prevent a good seal.
    • After the lid is in place, if you will turn the can upside down, the can will be self-sealed by the paint. You can also sore the paint upside down.
  • StorePaintinCoolArea-ClaffeysPaintingChoose the right place to store your left over paint.
    • Store all unused paint in one area for convenience.
    • Choose a cool dry area, such as a basement or a garage.
      • You may have sealed the paint can, but moisture from the surrounding area can cause the metal cans to rust at the lid.
      • Although you want to choose a cool place for storage, you need to choose a location that won’t freeze.
  • You may want to store smaller amounts of left over paint in smaller containers. Canning jars make good storage containers, they seal well, they will take up less space, you can see the color of the paint inside, labels are easily applied, they won’t rust and they’re fairly inexpensive.
    • You can add a few marbles into the bottle for ease in shaking when you’re ready to use it.

Disposing of Old Paint

No matter how well you’ve stored your old paint, there will come the day that it’s no longer needed or usable. Unless the paint has totally hardened, it can’t be thrown away with the rest of the garbage, it needs to be treated as hazardous waste. Most communities have designated days and locations for dropping off left over paint where they will either dispose of it properly or recycle it.

Enjoy this short video by Ty Pennington on how to solidify paint in order to throw it away.


In the meantime, if you have a painting job you’d like done without any effort or cleanup on your part, we”ll even prepare your unused paint for storage,

call Claffey’s for a free estimate – (425) 888-3634

Claffey’s Painting is a full service painting contractor serving Western Washington, Chelan, Douglas and Kittitas Counties. We have painted over 7000 homes and would enjoy the opportunity to help paint yours. We can guide you through all the decision making processes so you get the right paint for the right job, and the professional job you’re looking for.