Does paint go bad?

Yes, it does! I asked myself this question recently when going through old cans of paint looking for leftover of white to freshen up a picture frame. I was amazed at how much paint I had accumulated over the years and decided to get rid of the really old stuff and keep only what was worthwhile. To confirm what to save and what to throw away, I stopped by my local Cloverdale paint store for advice. I asked Romeo, one of the sales associates, “Does paint go bad?” Here’s what I learned…

Paint cansPaint can

How do I do I know if my paint has gone bad?

  • Does it smell off? If it stinks when you open the lid, it’s bad – get rid of it. (see below for how)
  • Is it lumpy? Paint should be creamy and smooth. If you stir it and it’s full of lumps – it’s bad – get rid of it.

Why does paint go bad?

  • Because it’s old – usually Latex paint will last up to 10 years if stored properly.
  • Because the lid wasn’t on tight – the paint dried up or bacteria got into it. In cases where a film forms on the top surface, skim it, stir it, and you should be good to go.

Where to store paint?

  • In the house, or in other heated area.
  • Don’t set paint cans directly on concrete floors (even in your house) because they stay cold and it’s not good for the paint. It’s best to store them on a shelf.

Where not to store paint?

  • In any unheated garage, shed or under your deck where the temperature can vary greatly from hot to cold.

How to dispose of leftover paint?

  • If there’s not much paint left, remove the lid and let the paint dry completely. Once all dried up, it’s safe to dispose of it in the garbage.
  • Take it to a designated firehall – check with the city to find a location.
  • Drop it off at a landfill that has a “household hazardous waste” facility.
  • Don’t pour any leftover paint in the sink, toilet or storm drains. The paint could mess with the water sewage system and end up contaminating the tap water.

Paint can

What’s the best way to close a paint can without making a mess?

  • Since paint always gets in the lip when pouring, go around with a paint brush to remove the excess or use a paper towel or cloth.

Paint goes bad

  • Next, use a rubber mallet or a small hammer and gently tap all around the paint lid to close it, being careful not to dent the can.

How not to close a paint can….A+ though for the matchy pedi and sandals.

Paint can

A storage tip you’ll appreciate: Paint companies put a label on the lid with the paint info so it’s easier for them to make another gallon of the same if needed. Since those numbers don’t always mean anything to us (consumers), I write which room I painted with each gallon of paint I buy. Trust me, you may remember now, but you might not in 2 or 3 years.

Paint can

P.S. Don’t write on the side of the cans because it usually gets covered with paint drips which makes it impossible to read anything.

Paint can

There you go, I hope this info comes in handy when you’re cleaning up your garage or shed this spring. And if you have any related tips you want to share, please do, I’d love to hear from you.

Thanks for stopping by! I hope you’re having a great day.

Liette Tousignant
Co-Founder of Under The Roof Decorating

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