Paint technology has come a long way in the last five years. Paint lasts longer and holds up to elements better than ever before. In this article, we will cover how to store paint, how long paint lasts, how to tell if your paint is still good, and how to use it if it is. We will also cover how to dispose or recycle paint if you’re looking to get rid of it.
How Long Does Paint Last
Acrylic paint does not have quite as long a shelf life as oil. If your can was stored in low moisture, at a temperature between 60 and 80 degrees and sealed properly, you can count on 10 years or so for an unopened can of acrylic paint. For oil paint, you have about 15 years. If you’re like most people, you have opened cans. Open acrylic and oil paint stored at these controlled temperatures and covered well will last about two years.
How to Tell if Paint is Still Good
First warning, do not shake up the can! More than likely, a layer of thick skin has formed on top and if you mix it up, you will get debris and globs of paint mixed in that will render your paint useless. Okay, maybe not useless, but you will have to pour it through a strainer to get all the lumps out. Be sure to remove the thick skin before mixing up your paint to use it again.
How to Store Leftover Paint
Be sure to clean your paint can properly before reapplying the lid. Clean it out of the seal so the lid can close as tightly as possible. If you can, do not wipe your brush on the sides of the can as it makes it hard to get the paint off the rim later. For an additional layer of protection, use plastic wrap to keep air out. You can also store the can upside down so the paint creates an airtight seal against the lid.
According to Household Tips Guide, you should not use a hammer to reapply the lid. They recommend a rubber mallet with a gentle touch. A hammer can break the seal or cause deformities in the lid allowing air to seep in.
Be sure to keep paint in an area where there won’t be huge temperature fluctuations. Remember 60-80 degrees Fahrenheit is best.
How to Properly Dispose of Paint
If you can’t save the paint for a later date, but the paint is still good, consider taking it to a recycling center. Here in Breckenridge and most of Colorado, you can take your paint into Sherwin Williams and they will recycle it for you. You can also look here to see if there may be another location near you.
If there isn’t paint worth saving, you can simply leave the can open to the air to dry out. If you want to accelerate the process, you can add equal parts kitty litter or saw dust to paint. You can also purchase waste paint hardener to dry it up in a matter of hours. Once hardened, you can just throw it in with the rest of your garbage since it’s not considered a hazardous material.
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