How Long Does Paint Last? Useful Tips You Need to Know

Sometimes, you can’t avoid having leftover paint at home. You can’t throw it away as you can still use it for touch ups and repairs. The problem lies not on how to use leftover paint, however. The problem lies on “how long does paint last”.

There are numerous factors that could affect the life of paint, and there are also various ways to prolong it. With the proper storage strategies, you will eventually reduce your expenses and extend a paint’s lifespan.


You don’t want excess paints to turn to waste; therefore, you have to know the various factors that could affect the lifespan of paint to improve the storage practice.

Paints have different components and the processes that they were created. These are the primary factors that can affect the life of a stored paint.

The types of paint affect your stored paint


The temperature inside your storage room greatly affects the condition of your stored paint.

If the location has suffered from freezing and extreme heat, then your paint might be ruined.

Paint components may separate when exposed to extreme temperatures, making them unusable and eventually turn into a hazardous material.

tips - temperature

The temperature affects your stored paint

Quality Of Seal

Paint should be sealed properly in order to prolong its shelf life. There must be no exposed opening or holes so that the paint won’t create lumps.

the quality of the seal

If It’s Unopened - How Long Can You Keep Unused Paint?

The shelf life of unused paint may last for a couple of years depending on the storage facility that you have as well as the storage practices that you observe.

Since paint varies from one kind to the other, they also have a different shelf life.

Paints that are solvent-based can last up to 15 years while latex and water-based ones may still be usable for up to 10 years.

The paint should be stored in a dry and cool place, safe from extreme temperature conditions like freezing or direct sunlight, in order for them to remain in great condition.

If It’s Opened

If opened paint is sealed tightly, it can still last for about 5 years.

However, if it is stored under poor conditions, it will be filled with mold in no time.

When you constantly re-open the paint to use it again and again, it will last less than 5 years. You can tell whether the paint is already unusable if it does not mix properly and shows signs that it’s living.

Storing leftover paint is necessary and crucial if you want to keep the paint in great condition.

Here is a rundown of the things you need to remember before putting away those paints:

​​​​Mark Your Cans Or Containers

Before storing the paint, make sure that you have marked each can with the necessary details such as the surface it was applied on as well as the number and name of the paint. Write these details on the can’s body along with a small dab of the paint to identify its color when utilized again.


Paint can remain in usable condition when stored in tightly sealed containers as these have lesser contact with air.

In case you have a little amount of paint left, you can transfer them to jar bottles or smaller packaging materials in order to save space in your storage area while keeping the paint as usable as possible.

Seal the containers properly

Before closing the container, you need to wipe off paint residue so you can seal it properly.

Furthermore, this is also essential so you can open the container easily when you need the paint again.

If you want to create a tighter seal, use a plastic bag as a gasket that will be placed under the lid of the container.

Store In A Dry And Cool Location

Place your containers on shelves or inside cabinets where the temperature controlled.

Keep the containers away from extreme temperatures to avoid separation of components and complete deterioration of the paint.

Avoid Hammering The Lid Of The Can

When closing the can, avoid too much force beating its lid. This may deform the can, compromise the seal and allow air and other contaminants to enter the can.

You can utilize a rubber mallet instead of a hammer to tightly close the lid.

Reuse ​The Paint

When the time comes that you need to use the stored paint again, avoid shaking it before opening so that the paint won’t mix with debris, rust or dust that has been accumulated inside.

Some painters suggest that storing the paint with the container upside down can lengthen its life. However, few problems may arise with this technique, including leakage as well as the mixing of paint skin.

Helpful Tips To Remember

Apart from the storage techniques, here are a few reminders for you in order to make the most out of your leftover paint:

1. Mix Properly

It is essential to mix the paint well by hand or using a mixer before using it again in order to combine all the necessary components that may have settled or separated due to storage. This is important so that the stored paint will match the applied ones.

2. Check For Lumps

Lumps may formulate inside the cans over time. As soon as you have opened the paint, check if there are lumps inside.

If there are any, use a strainer to filter the solid parts and proceed to the painting work afterwards.

3. Correct Disposal

When the paint is no longer valid for usage, proper disposal must be observed to avoid its harmful effects to the environment and other people.

Solidify the paint using cat litter, so disposal will be easier.

All you need to do is to mix two parts of cat litter and one part of paint. Then, wait for it to solidify.

You can also turn to the garbage disposal unit in your area for guidance.

4. Foul Odor

If the paint emits a rancid smell plus there is a presence of mold inside, then the paint is already unusable.

This means that bacteria have already contaminated the can. Spoiled paint requires proper disposal.

5. Color Consistency

Always check if the color of the stored paint still matches the applied ones.

If not, try mixing the paint properly since the color may have settled at the bottom of the can.


Are any of the information above clear to you? I hope that by knowing how long does paint last (both opened and unopened cases), you’ll be able to make better use of your stored paint. Also, let it guide you in storing your paint the right way.

If you have more questions to ask, feel free to leave a comment below.


  1. Double coating the paint will preserve it for a long time. Thank you for all the great advice.

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