How to Store Paint


How to store paint like a pro

If you are a homeowner, you will undoubtedly end up with leftover cans of pain from various room makeovers.  By taking to time to properly store it, you will extend its life and save money. And save yourself frustration when you need more of that exact shade of purple to touch up your daughter’s room in three years! Chris has some good tips for getting the most out of your leftover paint.


The enemy of paint is extreme cold and extreme heat. Keep your paint stored below 90°F (32°C) and above freezing.  Crawl spaces and basements are excellent choices.


Can I store paint in the can it came in?

Storing the leftover paint in its original can is not the best solution. Often, the rim of the can is caked with paint, preventing a proper airtight seal.


Additionally, a half full can of paint has a lot of excess air space which can cause the paint to form a skin or dry out. Not so mention, it takes more storage space than necessary.

Most paint stores sell empty metal cans, lined with a Teflon coating. If you have a small amount to save from a gallon can, pour it into a quart sized container. The drawback to using these cans is that even with their linings, they can rust.

The solution Chris prefers is to use plastic storage containers, which are also available at most paint stores. They are durable, don’t rust, and best of all: you don’t need a screwdriver or other tool to remove the top.


Label your paint cans and containers

After a painting session, there is a good chance that paint drips will cover the label, possible obscuring important information you may need in the future.  This information is critical if you ever need to take it back to the paint center to get more.

Things to note:

  • Type of sheen (flat, satin, semigloss)
  • Brand and type of paint
  • Color name
  • Color number
  • Where the paint was used (“kids’ room”, “kitchen”, etc.)

Chris uses a Sharpie marker to write this info on the lid as well as the side of the container. This is especially helpful for keeping lids matched to their containers.


Make a drawdown card

Keep a record of the paint you use by smearing a little on an index card and save it in a file. Once the swatch is dry, write down all the paint information (sheen, product, color, number) in the space next to it. This is super handy for taking to the paint store for mixing more.

drawdown card

Don’t forget the paint dab

Whatever container you use, at the very least put a dab of paint of the lid so you can quickly find the can you are looking for!

About Chris Berry

Chris Berry has over 15 years experience as a professional painter. Subscribe to his You Tube channel and visit The Idaho Painter web site.


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