How to Store Paint Properly — 3 Expert-Approved Tips That Promise to Make Your Cans Last Longer

Storing paint properly will promise the best finish and save you any unnecessary trips back to the store (plus some money too)

blue living room with lots of light and a TV placed in a bookcase
(Image credit: ABH Interiors)

Knowing how to store paint properly may not seem like essential information, but it could be the secret to a better finish on your walls. It's around the time of the year when we're eager to switch up our homes in the name of a spring remodel, and if you're a DIY enthusiast or maybe you're looking for an option that isn't too tough on your wallet, painting your walls may be the solution to your problems. Not only does a fresh coat of paint add a touch of color to your living space but it can truly bring a much-needed change to a tired room, as long as your paint is in good condition.

When it comes to how to paint a room, deciding on a color may be the trickiest task of all, but once you pin down the perfect shade to coat your home, taking care of any leftover paint is often overlooked. This in turn leads to dry paint, rusted cans, and the hassle of purchasing extra paint to replace the tins that have gone bad. Here, we spoke to some experts to find out how to keep our paint fresher for longer and avoid any repurchases altogether.

1. Regulate the storage temperature

A living room painted in a smoky red shade with a fireplace and arm chairs

(Image credit: Farrow & Ball)

Arguably the most important thing to consider when preserving paint is to consider the temperature of the room it's stored in. If it's too warm, your paint is likely to separate and if it's too cold, your paint will freeze. To avoid messing with the consistency of the paint, it's best to store it in a cool spot away from direct sources likely to cause a spike in the temperature. Keeping your paint in top shape will come in handy once you finish painting your home and you're left with a beautiful paint idea.

Andre Kazimierski, CEO of Improovy Painters of North Shore, tells us that the key to successfully storing paint is to keep the temperature consistent and refrain from storing it in direct sunlight. 'The most common place I see paint being stored is in a garage or shed, and these tend to be good options unless your garage is getting either very hot (over 80 degrees Fahrenheit) or very cold (under around 50 degrees Fahrenheit),' says Andre. An interior cupboard, utility room, or loft space will also be a good choice.

2. Moderate the humidity levels

pink bedroom with two tone walls by Gunter & Co

(Image credit: Gunter & Co)

A common rule of thumb when dealing with anything made of steel - or any metal for that matter - is to avoid placing them in areas that have a tendency to get damp, and the same goes for your paint cans. This is especially important for leftover paint in cans that have already been opened.

Paint expert Chuck Reger of Five Star Painting explains that leaving paint cans in humid areas can lead to rusted cans. In order to prevent the paint and its container from spoiling, store your paint tins in a clean and dry storage spot.

If you're a seasoned home painter and you like to go the extra mile, we love this garage cabinet from Amazon. It'll keep your paints protected from the elements or any moisture that might be lurking in your home, plus the lock will keep curious kids away from your supplies.

3. Firmly Reseal the Containers

A small bedroom fully painted in green

(Image credit: frenchCALIFORNIA)

Once you're done painting for the day, it's easy to neglect the paint cans and leave them strewn about. This is a big red flag when it comes to paint storage. Leaving the cans open or partially sealed can lead to dried-out paint. There's also the possibility of dust getting into the can and spoiling a perfectly good gallon of paint.

'The basics for storing paint and stain, both latex and oil-based, are to firmly reseal the can by cleaning out the lid groove and tapping the lid into place,' advises Chuck. 'Make sure you're replacing the lid on leftover paint cans as well to keep them as airtight as possible.' To minimize the air in a nearly empty paint can, Chuck also suggests pouring the paint out of its tin into a smaller container with a strong seal. We like these reusable paint storage pots from Amazon for the job.

The next time you're in the mood to do some decorating, incorporate these simple steps. That way your paints will be as fresh as when you first cracked the can open, offering plenty more possibilities to decorate with color from just one tin!

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Amiya Baratan
News Writer

Amiya is the News Writer at Livingetc. She recently graduated with a Masters Degree in Magazine Journalism from City, University of London and has lent her words to beauty, fashion and health sections of lifestyle publications including Harper’s Bazaar and Women’s Health. Her experience as a research analyst has equipped her with an eye for emerging trends. When she’s off the clock, she can be found reading, listening to music or overanalysing her latest Co-Star update.