How to make leftover paint last?
Some of you may be kicking back and relaxing on the Thanksgiving long weekend, while others may take advantage of the extra time off to do some chores around the house. Painting is something many folks tackle on their own, but how do you make sure your leftover paint will won't spoil when you need it again?
Consumer Reports says if you store latex paint correctly, it can last years, and you can use it again for touch-ups or new projects.
“Here in our lab, we have paint that’s over 10 years old, and because we stored them properly, we can still use them,” said Rico De Paz, paint expert for Consumer Reports. “You only want to keep water from evaporating from the paint and keep microorganisms from getting into the can.”
Here’s how to keep it fresh, when to throw it out, and how to do that safely.
Creating an airtight seal is key. First, get all of the paint out of the channel where the lid locks in. A wet cloth wrapped around a flathead screwdriver gets the job done. Push it into the channel and drag it around the whole can several times. Then, gently hammer down the lid.
If you only have a small amount of paint left, it’s better to transfer it to a clean jar with a screw-on lid. Choose a container that’s not much bigger than the amount of paint you have to avoid extra exposure to air. It's recommended you label your paints by project so you know what they are without having to open the containers.
Store your paint out of direct sunlight, anywhere from 50 degrees to 80 degrees Fahrenheit – 10 to 27 degrees Celsius. Extreme temperatures can ruin the paint, so avoid putting it where it can freeze or get too hot.
When it’s time to use that stored paint, try it out on a piece of cardboard first. It should go on easily and be uniform in color, smooth, and free of visible particles.
If you’re not sure about a can of paint, there are some signs to look out for, like a bulging can or puffed-up lid.
Paint that doesn’t mix well or has a rubberlike film on top probably needs to go. If you need to dispose of your old paint, take it to a proper recycling facility.
With files from Consumer Reports