Paint Smarter™

Store Right

Opening and Closing

Don’t be Reckless with the Rim

When opening a paint can, use a paint key instead of a typical screwdriver or other tool. Screwdrivers will bend, distort, or otherwise damage the lid, making it difficult to put back on. You can pick up a paint key, or paint can opener, wherever you purchase paint.

When putting the lid back on the can, tap it with a rubber mallet instead of pounding it with a hammer.

If you don’t have a mallet, place a piece of wood or a book between the hammer and the lid and then carefully tap it down.

Keep the Rim Clean

If you wipe the edge of your brush on the rim of a paint can, you will end up with a rim full of accumulated paint. If you use up all the paint, that’s not a problem. But if you want to reseal the can and save it for later, you will have trouble getting the lid on tight. Follow these tips to keep the rim clean and clear:

Poke holes in the rim with a medium size nail or awl so that paint drips back into the can and doesn’t accumulate in the rim.

Tape the rim of a paint can into the shape of a “V” or an arrow, to provide a cleaner pour that leaves the rim clearer during clean-up.
Wipe out the rim regularly while you are working and just before putting on the lid.

If paint has dried in the rim, you can try to pry it out before replacing the lid. Be careful not to drop any dried paint into the can.

While You are Working

When you are using a brush, pour paint from the original can into a paint tray. This will also allow you to close the original can while you are working and keep air from drying out the paint.

Try securely strapping a rubber band around the top of the paint can. This can be used to clean the edge of a paint brush, making a more efficient painting experience.

Closing Up

Cover the opening with a piece of plastic wrap before putting on the lid. The plastic will act as a gasket, creating a tighter seal.

You may have heard that you should replace the lid, then turn the can upside down, but it’s not necessary. If the lid is on tight, there is no reason to turn the can upside down. Rather than take a chance that you didn’t put the lid on tight, just check it one more time.

Using an inert gas paint and finish preserver can also be useful when keeping paint and clear coats for future use. During storage, the oxygen or moisture that gets sealed inside your container continues to cure and thicken it, which can eventually ruin leftover paint and other finishes. By using an inert gas preserver, you can purge the container of excess oxygen or moisture, allowing you to safely store your finish so you can use all of it. An inert gas preserver can be especially useful when storing more costly oil-based paint, varnish, polyurethane and other clear coatings that might be kept for long periods of time between uses.

Storage Location

Keep from Freezing

Water-based paint labels normally read “keep from freezing,” but did you know that paint may still be usable even after it freezes once or twice? If you can stir paint into a smooth consistency, it’s still good. If it freezes and thaws several times, its condition will worsen each time. If you stir paint and it stays lumpy and doesn’t get smooth, it’s spoiled.

Keep Out of the Rain or Damp Locations

When cans get wet, they rust and the labels fall off. Even plastic cans have metal lids that can rust. Rusty cans and lids make a mess and fall apart when handled. The rust may fall into the paint, making it unusable. If the label falls off, you won’t know what type of paint or color is in the can. Keep your paint dry.

To indicate the level and color of paint in a particular can, use a brush to paint a line on the exterior of the paint can. Use the same color as the paint that is inside the can. Use a permanent marker to write a note on the side that will tell you when you bought the paint and where you got it. Include a brief description of the room or wall that the paint has been used on, as well. *Note: when it comes to recycling, PaintCare sites only accept leftover paint in original containers with the original manufacturers printed label.