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How to Store Leftover Paint

There are plenty of smart and easy ways to store leftover paint once you have completed an interior or exterior painting project. Storing any remaining paint is highly recommended, as it helps to prevent unnecessary waste and can save money on paint-related costs in the future.

For instance, a newly painted room may appear picture perfect at first glance, but often people will find that an extra coating is needed for touch-ups around small or overlooked areas. If you stored your paint properly upon completing the project, this little bit of foresight will save you a trip to the hardware store to buy more paint. You can also tie unrelated projects together by using leftover paint to add colorful accents to other areas of your home or business.

paint cans

Common Places

One of the most common ways to store excess paint requires the following items:

  • Paper towels
  • Plastic wrap
  • Rubber mallet

Once a painting project is completed, you will want to prep for storage immediately so that the remaining paint does not dry. Start by wiping paint off the sides of the can using a disposable paper towel. Then carefully remove any tarps from the floor and discard or store for later use. If you used painter’s tape, remove it slowly at a 45-degree angle to ensure clean lines.

After the initial clean-up is finished, proper paint storage is as easy as 1, 2, 3:

  1. Add a sheet of plastic wrap to cover the open lid area and place the paint can lid on top of the wrap.
  2. Use a rubber mallet to hammer the lid back in place.
  3. Store the paint can upside down in a cool, dry area to prevent air from entering the can

paint brushes


If you consider yourself to be more of the “DIY” type, there is another fun way you can store paint for later use.

Here is what you will need:

  • Clear mason jars
  • Sticker labels
  • Ink pen or marker

Place your uncapped mason jars and paint cans on top of a paint tarp to avoid spills onto the counter or floor. Newspapers will also work in lieu of tarps, but be sure to layer multiple papers on top of each other to avoid seepage. Now that everything is set up, you are ready to begin:

  1. Carefully pour any leftover paint into the mason jars
  2. Place mason lids on top of the jars and spin until the lids are closed tight
  3. Apply a sticker label to each jar and use a marker or pen to note the paint color

If you have a lot of paint, this particular method makes it easier to differentiate between multiple shades of a similar color. It also makes for a more attractive storage option if you want to leave your paint somewhere other than the basement or garage. Not only that, but mason jars also allow for easy supply storage, like for small brushes and sponges.

woman painting a wall

Last But Not Least

Lastly, always remember that safety is key. Keep in mind that paint contains chemicals that can be harmful to curious animals and infants. Always store your paint in a safe area such as a locked cabinet or in a high area out of reach from your little ones.

When disposing of paint, allow the paint to dry with the lid off before throwing it in the trash or recycling bin, and never pour your paint down a drain such as a bathtub or sink.

If you’re ever not sure about something, you can always contact your local interior painting contractors for any questions you may have about proper safe handling and storage.

Happy painting!

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