One of the most common concerns of homeowners after finishing their rooms, walls, or other sections, is that they don’t know where and how to store leftover paint so that they can reuse it if needed in the future.

Whether a professional painter or an amateur, you always have some partial containers of paint remaining when your job is done; you probably want to keep the leftover paint in good condition. The problem is that it is so hard to store lots of cans of leftover paint in your house. That is why leftover paint cans usually keep in the corner of the shed in the backyard, ending up on a shelf in the garage. However, there are some practical ways you can reuse leftover paint at some point, which we will discuss here.

 1: Be careful about the type of jars and cans you use

Since the lids seal tight, wide-mouth jars and cans are perfect for holding leftover paint. Another reason for using them is you can easily see the colour of the paint. If you want to store paint in glass, try to keep it in a dark area, as light can alter the colour.

jars and cans for storing paint

In addition, it should be noted that to limit air exposure, the storage container for your paint should not be much bigger than the amount of leftover paint.

2: Don’t forget to label jars for storing leftover paint

After your interior home painting project is finished, one of the best ways to organize and store leftover paint is to label the jars that you use for storing your paint.

label paint jars

To label the paint, you have to write the details on a round sticker, including the following:

• Brand of paint

• Colour

• Type

• Sheen/Finish

If you want to mix different paints, it is better to do so in a separate container. In this way, unmixed paint will be stored in the original container.

3: Where to store leftover paint

Store leftover paint in a cold, dry, and dark place. Moreover, be careful to store them away from food and drink and out of reach of children.

best place for storing your leftover pain

Furthermore, please note that almost all types of paint are flammable. So you have to keep paint cans away from flame sources and never smoke while painting. It is useful to find a flammable warning on the packaging label of a paint can.

4: At what temperature should I store my paint?

For most paints, the proper temperature is between 15-27 Celsius. If you store leftover paint in a very hot or freezing place, the paint will change in consistency, getting unusable quickly.

best temperature for storing paint

In particular, some types of paints, e.g. latex paint, tend to separate at extreme temperatures. Too much heat will dry out the paint shortly, leaving a thick skin across the top of the paint, and the remaining paint will turn into a solid rubbery block. On the other hand, one freeze/melt cycle will turn them into a coagulated mess that will no longer blend into usable paint.

5: Resealing a paint can lid

It would be best if you always put back on the lid immediately. After that, make sure to clean the edge or rim of both the lid and the can to get the best deal possible. It is better to place plastic wrap is the better option) between the opening and lid of the paint can have an air-tight seal.

If you keep air from getting at the paint, you can prolong the life of your leftover paint. For best results, you could close the can with a rubber mallet to tap around the edges of the lid until it is completely closed.

reseal your paint can

6: How to make sure you can no longer use the paint

Once opened, most types of paint have a shelf life of two years. In addition, some factors such as environment, temperature fluctuations, and other variables should be considered. Check the technical data sheet for specific details on storage temperatures.

not a useable leftover paint

However, some indicators, like smell and consistency, help to realize whether the leftover paint can be used or not. Using paint that is older than its shelf life causes a lingering sour smell and uneven texture. If the paint is beyond its shelf life, it smells sour and strong. Regarding consistency, there should not be any chunks or jelly-like texture to the paint even after stirring, and it should be smooth.

So, if the paint does not have any bad smells (no rotting egg smell), and has a smooth consistency, it can still be used.

7: Be careful about any contamination

If you want to store paint for later usage, you have to avoid contaminating the paint. For example, while you are thinning water-based paint, you should not use dirty water. Furthermore, you should use a clean tool while you are mixing your paint. You must wash paint brushes carefully if you intend to use them for a different paint product.

contaminated leftover paint


After finishing your painting project, a common question is, “How do I store leftover paint?”. If you’re considering reusing your current paint in the future, Leftover paint storage is an important step. Reusing leftover paint makes any new painting projects more economical and efficient. All you need to do is to follow the steps above and you are all good to go.

We also recommend you learn about how you can choose paint colours for your home interiors which will help you choose the best material and colour equivalent to your needs. Then you can store the leftovers with our tips and reuse them whenever your think your walls need an update.