I've never been happy with the way paint stores over a period of
Whenever I buy paint and store it, I'm always very meticulous about
sealing the can, as well as wiping the lid and the groove for the lid.
It seems like no matter what I do, paint always seems to eventually
rust in the can or just plain dry up. I guess there's nothing that
can be done about the "skin" that forms.
Does anyone have any new or different ideas or some creative ways to
store paint for the long term??
Some people have good luck with cleaning the lid groove well, tamping
firmly in place and storing the can up side down. For oil based
paints, a teaspoon of thinner or Floetrol on the surface will slow
down the skinning over somewhat. HTH
Keep the rim clean so it doesn't get globbies that interfere with
sealing. When I pour from the can, I line the rim with a strip of foil
to keep it clean. When I seal the can, I smack it with a mallet at two
or three spots around the rim. If the can is more than about half gone,
I transfer the paint to another container (be sure to label it). I have
paint that is probably 8-9 years old, still good. Always keep some
rustoleum primer on hand.
We used to use marbles to take up the volume in film developing chemical
bottles. Maybe they'll work for paint cans.
Get your marbles here. $1.50 (or less) per pound.
I've heard about putting marbles in partially used bottles of wine, but
never bothered to try it.
However, I did buy a Vacu Vin vacuum pump and several stoppers a couple
of years ago and it sure seems to work as advertised.
I'm not certain that a paint can would hold up to a hard vacuum even if
you could figure out how to put some kind of valve in a punched hole to
suck the air out through. I'm remembering the high school physics demo
involving steam in a capped off rectangular gallon can collapsing the
can when it condensed. <G>
You can lay a layer of plastic wrap across the surface of the paint in
the can - it effectively seals off the paint from the air in the can.
Marbles? There are lots easier ways - old mayo jar comes to mind. Very
old cans of paint will probably rust away before they dry up, esp. latex.
I painted a client's front door with an old can of latex paint she
provided. I gave it a good shake and stir, then started brushing. After
a few minutes, I mentally kicked myself for dripping paint down the
side of the can onto her concrete porch.
I picked up the can to find a big puddle underneath. The bottom of the
can had rusted through in a pinhole, and the paint had cured around the
leak, forming a scab. My mixing opened up the hole.
I asked the client to leave the puddle in place. Two weeks later, I
peeled it off like a pancake. The only issue was that that spot on her
porch was cleaner than the rest. :-)
Lesson learned: Set paint cans on the plastic lid of my tool caddy.
The first thing I do when I open a new can of paint is poke holes with a
sharpened # sixteen penny nail in a number of times in the bottom of the
groove that the lid seals in to let paint drain back to the can when the
lid is tapped back in place. I also blow my breath in the can before
1) clean can rim
2) put lid on can and tap around edge with hammer
3) put two small nail-holes in the top of the can just large enough to
accept the tube from a can of "caned air" (compressed co2 that is used
to blow dust off computer keyboards)
4) blow canned air into one of the holes in the lid, allowing it to
escape from the other. Use enough co2 to purge the air space in the
5) seal the two holes in the lid with a small amount of plumbers
On the D.I.Y. channel they say to use Teflon tape on the threads of
the jars (where the lid screws on).
I don't understand why they make gourmet cat foods. I have
known many cats in my life and none of them were gourmets.
They were all gourmands!
I'm waiting for one of our chemistry experts to weigh in on displacing
air from a paint can....can't imagine any of the blowing/exhaust
techniques make much difference in the amount of air in the closed can.
People say paint "dries", but it actually "cures".
Sure, some paints dry; poster paint is an example. It's just colored
stuff dissolved in water. When the water evaporates, the paint is dry.
If you wet it again, it redissolves.
Paint for houses cures. Liquid chemicals in the paint combine with
gaseous chemicals in the air, forming new solid chemicals that keep the
colored bits in place. The gaseous chemical in the air is usually
If you can get the oxygen out of the can, the paint at the surface
won't cure. Auto exhaust will blow in lots of carbon monoxide and
carbon dioxide (along with other non-oxygen chemicals), blowing out
most of the oxygen at the same time. Your breath will add carbon
dioxide, displacing some (not all) of the oxygen. The various other
canned gases mentioned will do the same thing, as long as they're not
oxygen or some other gas that happens to react with the paint.
Here's a link to a general description of the various chemistries, if
you want a better explanation:
Paint isn't going to dry or cure until it gives off solvents. The
chemistry I referred to - or, more accurately, the physics - of how much
oxygen is actually displaced by the "blow in the can" method". My bet:
not enough to matter, unless it is a very small volume of paint. In
that case, a smaller container makes a lot more sense. Why leave a
little bit of paint (of what use?) in a large can?
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