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How to store leftover paint (and how to get rid of it)

So, you’ve finished the painting job and you have leftover paint. How do you store it so that it is good to use next time you need it for a touch up or another DIY paint project?

Make sure that the paint tin lid is properly sealed. 

You can keep the seal as airtight as possible by not damaging the tin when opening it. The Rolla-wipa painting tool is designed to open the lid without bending or damaging it, so naturally we’d recommend using this.

It is also best for there not to be paint in the groove in the top of the paint tin. While we admit this is hard to avoid, if you can it will help store your leftover paint for as long as possible.

To get a good seal on the tin, use a rubber mallet if you have one, or place a block of wood on top of the lid and hit that with a hammer. Don’t use anything too hard directly on the tin as this could also bend the lid.

Label and store the paint

When you get paint tinted at the store, the paint colour is often written on a sticker in biro. Over time this will wear off, leaving you unsure exactly which colour it is and which paint should be used to touch up that pesky chip the kids made by driving their toy cars along the wall.

With a permanent marker, write the colour and location it was used, e.g. half Boulder - Master bedroom walls. This will ensure you know what’s inside the paint tin after you’ve stored it so well.

Speaking of how to store paint well, we recommend putting it in a cool, dark place. 

How long should I store paint?

The rule of thumb is 2-3 years for a half full tins. It really does depending on what paint it is and how much is left in the tin when you store it.

To know if it has gone bad, open up the tin and pay attention to how the paint smells. If it smells like anything other than paint, it’s probably well past its prime.

Next, test a little bit on a small patch or scrap. If it’s lumpy, then best start with a fresh tin.

Getting rid of unwanted paint

Maybe you have a whole lot of paint stored in your garage and you’ve figured out that you’re never going to get around to that next DIY job, or you’ve decided you don’t like that colour anymore. Or perhaps it’s taken you more than a couple of years and the paint is no longer at its best. So how do you get rid of paint you've stored that you don't need any more? 

A lot of people don’t know that manufacturers are required to take old paint back. So you can return your unwanted paint to any manufacturer's store. Note that this only applies to water-based paint and that this does not apply to resellers, such as general hardware stores. The best thing to do is check with your local paint store to see if they offer this service before you turn up with seven unwanted tins in your boot.

There may also be a paint removal service at your local refuse station, so it’s a good idea to contact them to find out if they can help too.