Go into most garages in a home that is a decade or older and you are likely to find a variety of partially-filled cans of paint in various colors and finishes. Often, this paint never gets used, dries up or ends up in a landfill, none of which are good outcomes. There are better ways to store old paint and some creative options to use it that will ensure no leftover paint goes to waste.

Correct Storage for House Paint

There is a good reason to keep extra paint – you may need it for touch-ups. Interior walls get dinged and damaged, while painted siding on the outside takes a beating from basketballs, pets and the weather. It is nice to have some matching paint available to touch-up those chipped or patched walls. Keep in mind that paint does fade, so even the same paint may not perfectly match if it has been several months or longer since you painted.

To keep paint protected when it is stored, start with opening the lid correctly. If you are grabbing a flat-head screwdriver to open your lid, stop. While this may work, it can also damage the lid. Use a paint-can opener that is designed for the job and will keep the lid intact to seal correctly.

Once you are ready to put away your paint, get some kitchen plastic wrap and stretch it over the can. This will add an extra level of sealing with the lid in place. Carefully tap the lid closed – you do not want to dent or damage the lid, just tap around the edges to create a seal. Make sure to label the color and type of paint on top of the lid. Another option is to put small amounts of paint in a mason jar or other sealable containers, taking up less room in your storage area.

For the best storage area, you want a cool, dry room, but off the floor. Paint cans left on garage or basement concrete can rust from moisture, ruining the can and the paint inside. Store on a shelf in your workshop, garage or basement until you have a need for a touch-up or are ready to start a new project.

Creative Uses for Leftover Paint

While it is nice to have some paint for touch-ups, there is often more left over than you will ever use on nicks and coverups. There are some other creative ways to use that paint for projects in your home. Here are a few ideas:

  • Paint an accent piece. Have interior paint you want to use? Paint a table, chair or other piece of furniture to tie the room together with the wall color. This can also be a way to blend two areas in an open floor plan that have different color schemes.
  • Use as primer. You can use old paint for the primer on another project. Light paints for lighter colors and darker paints for bolder colors. Mix same-type paints together to make enough primer for your project.
  • Doors, closets, pipes and more. There are many places that may need a new coat of paint or could blend better when painted. Look for doors, door jams, closets, pipes or other areas in your home that could benefit from a coat of paint.

Disposing of Old Paint

If you have paint from a previous color scheme you will not be using in the future, you want to make sure you dispose of it properly. There are two main kinds of house paints, water- and oil-based. Latex or acrylic paints are water-based, which can be recycled. Check in your local area for paint recycling centers and bring in all your old water-based paints for recycling. You may also be able to dry the paint and dispose of it in the trash but check with your local waste disposal service to ensure it is allowed.

Oil-based paints are considered hazardous waste and should never be tossed in the trash (it is illegal to do so in most areas). Look for a local household hazardous waste (HHW) program where you can safely dispose of any oil-based paints you have accumulated over the years. This is also where you should bring paint thinners and other chemicals that you want to clear out of your home safely.

Atlanta Professional Painting Service

At The Painting Company, we can take care of all your painting needs so you never need to worry about what to do with leftover paint. You can expect the best quality and service when you choose us for your next painting project, whether it is residential or commercial, interior or exterior. Call us to schedule your free on-site quote with one of our painting experts.