Paint how to: store, reuse, recycle

If you’ve ever done any kind of home improvement project, chances are you have some leftover paint. It’s easy to let it accumulate over time and forget what colours you even have, leaving cans to rust in the garage for years. Paint can keep well, and be reused, as long as it’s properly stored. Here are some tips to help you make sure that you make the most out of your paint:


  1. Buy only what you need. Work with your paint store to get an accurate estimate of how much paint your project requires so you don’t end up with excess to begin with. Make a note of the colour in case you need to buy more for touch-ups in the future.
  2. Gift excess paint to friends, neighbours or local organizations, if they have a use for it.                                                                                                                                                                                         
  3. If you’d prefer to keep your paint, proper storage is essential. If dealing with small quantities, transfer paint to better-sized cans or glass canning jars.                                                      
  4. Clean the opening of the can well before sealing it completely. Use a rubber mallet for a tight seal and to prevent damage to the metal.                                                                                    
  5. Store in a dark place with consistent temperature. If you live in extreme climates, a garage or a shed may not be the best spot for it.                                                                                            
  6. Mark the lid with a brushstroke for easy identification. You may also want to write down where and when the paint was used to have a better reference for how it will look on a surface.
  7. Store out of reach of children and pets.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        
  8. To check if the paint is still reusable, stir it. Lumpy latex paint is likely past its expiration date. You can also try taking your cans to a hardware store where they may stir it for you with an industrial paint mixer. As a guide, properly stored oil paint may remain usable for up to 15 years; opened cans of latex paint should be used within two years.
  9. If the paint is unusable, never pour it down the drain. Paint is considered hazardous waste and must be disposed of properly. You can take your paint to a household hazardous waste depot (municipal Eco-Centre) or to a merchant participating in a recycling program. To find the recycling point nearest you, call your local hardware retailer or check with your municipality.

How to Geek – How to store leftover paint the right way



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