You’ve renovated and painted, but what do you do with the leftover paint? Save it! Consumer Reports says if you store it correctly, you can use it again for touch-ups or new projects. 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. CR says 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. Temperature extremes 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, be uniform in color, smooth, and free of visible particles.
CR says 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. Paint disposal rules and regulations vary by state and municipality, so check the website of your local area or public works department before you toss it.