How to Store and Dispose of Leftover Paint

In order to get your paint to last as long as possible, you should store it properly. It’s also important to learn how to dispose of old paint correctly since it can be toxic to the environment. Here are a few things you should know about how to store and dispose of your paint.

Paint Storage
Keep these things in mind when you’re storing paint;

Seal It
Seal the paint can properly before you put it away to keep the paint from drying up. If any paint has gotten in the grooves of the paint can, wipe it with a clean rag. Use a rubber mallet to tap the lid down securely. Don’t use a hammer because it can dent the lid, making it more difficult to securely seal the can. If you don’t have a mallet, you can cover the can with a piece of wood and then hammer the lid closed.

Store paint in a cool, dark location, like a basement. If you do store it in the basement, make sure that it’s on a shelf. Moisture from basement floors can rust your paint cans. If you don’t have a basement, place cans in a cabinet or closet in your house. Extreme hot or cold temperatures can ruin paint. Cold weather can cause latex paint to separate, making it unusable. Heat, on the other hand, can dry it out. The combination of very hot temperatures and oil-based paint can even trigger a fire.

Space Savers
If you have cans that are half or almost empty, transfer the remaining paint into quart cans or large jars. Use labels and a marker to list the brand, paint name, date of purchase, mixture number and the room you painted. Place a small dollop of paint on the top or side of the can so you can easily identify the color. If you have more than one color for a room, such as wall color and trim, keep them together. If you’re feeling especially organized, you can also use a label maker and mark each room on the shelf front.

Reopening a Can
Opening a paint can after it’s been sealed for a long time can be difficult. Avoid using a screwdriver to open it. The lid can become warped, and it’ll be difficult to seal in the future. Use a key that’s specially designed for opening paint cans. Lowe’s will give you one with your paint purchase.

Can Paint Be Stored in the Garage?
Storing paint in the garage is generally not a good idea, especially if you live in a climate with extreme weather conditions. When paint goes through repeated cycles of freezing and thawing, it can become lumpy. If this happens, it’s best to simply dispose of the lumpy paint and replace it with new paint.

Does Paint Go Bad?
Latex or water-based paint typically has an unopened shelf life of 10 years. Solvent or oil-based paint can last up to 15 years unopened. You can test the paint to see if it’s still good by doing the following:

>> Latex Paint: First, smell it. If it smells rancid, it’s gone bad. Second, check to see if the paint is separated. There will usually be a thin skin on top with a layer of liquid underneath. Remove the skin and use a paint stick to stir the paint. Make sure that the paint isn’t hard on the bottom or the sides. If the paint blends together smoothly and appears to be the original color, then it can be used. If you’re still unsure, brush some of the paint onto a piece of newspaper. If the paint comes out rough and lumpy, you need to dispose of it.
>> Oil-Based Paint: If the paint hasn’t been exposed to extreme temperatures and was sealed properly, then it typically isn’t as susceptible as latex is to going bad. Just remove the layer of film across the top and stir it well before painting.

How Long Can Paint Be Stored Once Opened?
Generally, an open can of paint can last anywhere from two to five years. If you store it carefully, your open can of paint could last longer than that. Both opened and unopened latex paint has a shorter life span than oil-based paint. A can of oil-based acrylic paint that’s been properly resealed can potentially last up to 10 years in storage. However, it’s important to note that oil-based acrylic paint can dry out quickly if the can isn’t completely resealed. As it dries, this type of paint releases flammable fumes into the air that can become a fire hazard. You need to exercise extreme caution when resealing and storing this type of paint.

Paint Disposal
Paint can be toxic and dangerous to the environment if it’s not disposed of properly. Follow the general steps, listed below, for disposing latex and oil-based paint that you no longer need, but different areas may have different requirements and restrictions. Follow the paint-disposal procedures in your area.

How to Dispose of Latex Paint
Here’s how to dispose of latex paint without taking it to a recycling center.

Step 1: Combine It With Cat Litter; Mix an equal amount of cat litter into the latex paint in the can. If you have more than half a can, you can also pour the paint into a lined box or trash can. Then pour in the cat litter.

Step 2: Allow the Mixture to Set; Stir the cat litter into the paint until it thickens and won’t spill. Allow the mixture to sit for one hour.

Step 3: Throw It in the Garbage; Throw the dried paint in the can into the garbage. Be sure to remove the lid from the can.

How to Dispose of Oil-Based Paint
Oil-based paint is considered hazardous waste and must be taken to an appropriate disposal or drop-off center. Check with your local officials for information and instructions about where to dispose of the paint safely.

Contact Bay Hauling today for any further questions regarding disposal of leftover paint…

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