How long can you keep paint? Shelf life of an open paint can

by Joost Nusselder | Updated on:  June 20, 2022
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Shelf life of paint depends on various factors and you can extend the shelf life of paint yourself

Paint shelf life is always a difficult point of discussion.

A lot of people keep the paint or latex for years.

How long can you keep paint?

There really is no point in doing that.

Or do you keep it that way?

I walk by the road a lot and see that regularly.

I am also asked if I want to check the ”old” paint and then sort it to see if it can go away.

Before I open a can of paint, I first check the date of the can.

Sometimes it is no longer readable and then I immediately put the can away.

Again it makes no sense to store this for years.

It also costs you storage space in your shed.

In the following paragraphs I will explain what to look out for and how you can slightly extend the life of the paint or latex.

Shelf life paint how to act

In order to maintain your paint’s durability, it is always essential that you follow some procedures that I am going to tell you now.

First, when calculating the amount of paint, you should never calculate too much paint or latex.

I wrote a nice article about this: how many liters of paint per m2.

Read the article here!

It’s a waste of money and where should you put the rest.

Just buy tight.

You can always pick up something.

Make sure you keep the color number well.

Second, if you do have some left over, always pour the paint into a smaller can or, if it’s latex, into a smaller bucket.

Do not forget to write down the color number here as well.

This prevents the paint from drying out.

You actually keep paint because you’re afraid that damage could occur after it and that you can touch it up afterwards.

Do not keep it too long and after two years take it to a chemical depot.

Paint  with shelf life what to pay attention to

To properly manage your paint shelf life, you have to pay attention to a number of things.

First, you have to close the can properly.

Do this with a rubber mallet.

If necessary, cover the lid with masking tape.

Keep it dark and in a warm area.

By that I mean at least above zero degrees.

If the paint or latex starts to freeze, you can throw it away immediately!

Make sure you keep the paint or latex in a dry place.

Also, don’t let sunlight get in.

If you pay attention to the above points, you will certainly meet the dates stated on the tin.

How long can be kept and how can you see and extend the lifespan

If you open latex and it smells awful, you can throw it away right away.

When you open a can of paint, it is often cloudy in color.

Try to stir the paint well first.

If a smooth mixture develops, you may still be able to use it.

You only have to do one more test.

This test is important and so do it.

Apply a coat of paint to a surface and let this paint dry for at least a day.

If it has dried up nicely and the paint is hard, you can still use this paint.

I am now going to give you two tips where you can keep a latex and a paint even longer.

Tip 1: when you have properly closed a can of paint, turn it regularly.

Do this once a month.

You will see that you can then store and reuse the paint a little longer.

Tip 2: With latex you will have to stir regularly.

Also do this at least 6 times a year.

The main thing is that you close the lid properly!

Shelf life of paint and a checklist.

Shelf life of paint and a checklist.

buy paint sharply
pour leftover paint in small formats
after approx. 2 to 3 years of paint residue to chemical depot
extend paint shelf life by:
close well
above zero degrees
dry room
avoid sunlight.
Test paint by stirring and test spot painting
extend paint shelf life by turning regularly
Extend the shelf life of latex by stirring regularly + closing it well

I'm Joost Nusselder, the founder of Tools Doctor, content marketer, and dad. I love trying out new equipment, and together with my team I've been creating in-depth blog articles since 2016 to help loyal readers with tools & crafting tips.