Storing Paint

1. Cover the opened paint can with plastic wrap

With the can of paint opened, clean and cover the can with a plastic wrap.

2. Put the lid of the can back.

Be sure to seal the lid securely onto the can. You may want to use a small hammer to tap on the edge of the lid.

3. Label and place can upside down

Be sure the can is securely sealed. Write down the date. Then place the can upside down


Leftover Paint Disposal

Leftover Paint:
Six Ways to Deal With Your Leftover Paint

What do you do with your leftovers? At a restaurant, you probably bring them home in a doggie bag to enjoy again at another meal. At home, you carefully wrap your leftovers so you can keep them fresh for later. Did you know that what’s good for food is also good for paint? Many people don’t, because far too much perfectly good leftover paint ends up in our nation’s landfills. It doesn’t even need to be an issue for our environment at all, because leftover paint isn’t a waste product, and, when stored properly, it stays fresh for years.

That is why you should know about the National Paint and Coatings Association’s Six-Point Program for Leftover Paint. It helps the environment, and, it saves you money. What could be better? So, we hope you’ll join us in our commitment by following these six simple steps:

  1. When getting ready to paint, buy just the amount you need to do the job. When you avoid buying too much at the start — what’s called “source reduction”there’s less chance that leftovers land in the trash later.

  2. If you do have leftover paint, store it so it lasts for years. Just cover the opening with plastic wrap, and make sure the lid fits securely so the paint doesn’t leak. Then store the paint can upside down! This creates a tight seal, and keeps the paint fresh to use again.

  3. Use up all your leftover paint. It’s great for touch-up jobs and smaller projects. You can also blend and mix smaller quantities of similar colors of latex paint to use as a primer on larger jobs, or jobs where the final finish is not critical. Make sure you read and follow all label instructions when applying paint.

  4. After you use up the paint, what next? Always recycle the empty paint can, of course, following the can recycling procedures in your community. Plastic paint pails and containers may also be recycled in some areas, so check your community’s guidelines.

  5. If you just can’t use your leftover paint, donate it or exchange it. Community groups, theater groups, schools, churches and others can use your leftover paint, and you may even be able to take a tax deduction! And you can participate inor organizea neighbor-to-neighbor or community-wide paint exchange/paint swap. Some communities hold these as part of household waste collection events.

  6. As a last resort, if you need to dispose of your leftover paint, make sure you do it properly. Let your leftover latex paint air dry away from children and pets. One method is to pour the latex paint into a paper box or bag, and add absorbent material such as shredded newspaper and cat box filler to speed drying. Recycle the empty can, and then throw the dried paint away with your normal trash. (Note: If you live in California, Washington or Minnesota, your state may require special disposal considerations for latex-based paints, so be sure to check.) Air drying liquid solvent-based paint is generally not recommended, but if the paint has already solidified in a closed can, you can dispose of it in the regular trash. Liquid solvent-based paint should not be discarded with normal trash. Instead, save it for a special paint collection program or household hazardous waste program in your community.

Working together, we can make sure that leftover paint stays out of our landfills…and that’s good for our communities, our nation and our environment!

Information courtesy of the: National Paint And Coatings Association


-Z- Painting Terms

Zinc Phosphate Coating- A thin, inorganic deposit formed on zinc treated with phosphoric acid.


-Y- Painting Terms

Yellowing- Development of a yellow color in white, pastels, colored or clear finishes.


-X- Painting Terms


-W- Painting Terms

Washability- The ability of a paint to be easily cleaned without wearing away.

Washing- Erosion of a paint film after rapid chalking.

Water Spotting- Defective appearance of the paint surface that is caused by water droplets.

Weathering- Paint film deterioration as a result of exposure to the weather.

Wet Edge- The length of time during which a paint can be brushed before it becomes too dry to flow out and blend together.

Wrinkling- Ridges and furrows that develop in a paint film when the paint dries.


-V- Painting Terms

Varnish- A liquid composition that dries to form a transparent or translucent finish.

Varnish Stain- Varnish that is colored with a dye. It does not have the same power of penetration as a true stain, and it leaves a colored coating on the surface.

Vehicle- The liquid portion of a paint. The vehicle is composed mainly of solvents, resins and oils.

Velvet- A gloss range between flat and eggshell.

Venetian Plaster- A surface coating, that creates a smooth surface in both depth and movement.

Vinyl-A resin with poor adhesion but good hardness, flexibility and resistance. Vinyl is used in plastics, wallcoverings, wood adhesives, swimming pools, tank linings and marine equipment.

Viscosity- The fluid thickness of a product. Viscosity is often referred to as consistency.

Voids- Holidays, holes.

volatile matter The portion of a coating that evaporates after application.


-U- Painting Terms

Underatomized- Not dispersed or broken up fine enough.

Undercoat- For unpainted surfaces, the coat between the primer and the topcoat. For previously coated surfaces, the undercoat is applied directly to the old paint.

Uniformity- Not varying in gloss, sheen, color, hiding, or other property. 

Urethane- A product resulting in a tough, chemical-resistant finish. Urethane requires mineral spirits for thinning and cleaning up.


-T- Painting Terms

Tack Rag- A loosely woven woolen cloth that is treated (dipped into a varnish oil and wrung out) to remain tacky. It picks up dust when it is used to wipe a surface.

Tackiness-Slight stickiness of the surface of an incompletely dried film when pressed with the finger.

Tack- The sticky condition of coating during drying at a stage between the wet and dry-to-touch stages.

Tannin blocking- The process of making tannin stains insoluble so they cannot stain the topcoat; e.g., by means of a primer before the topcoat on cedar siding.

Tannin- Soluble natural stain in woods such as cedar.

Texture- The roughness or irregularity of a surface.

Thickener- A substance added to a liquid to increase its viscosity.

Thinner- Volatile liquid used to adjust consistency or to modify other properties of paint, varnish and lacquer. Thinner is used to thin and clean up paint.

Thixotropy- The property of a material that causes it to change from a thick, pasty consistency to a fluid consistency upon agitation, brushing or rolling.

Tint Base- In a custom color system, the basic paint to which colorants are added; i.e., white or accent base.

Tinting- The final adjusting of a color of paint to the exact shade required. Tinting is achieved by adding small portions of colorant to a tint base of prepared paint.

Toner- A color modifier.

Topcoat- A coat designed to provide a “finish” capable of providing protection and color. (Previous coats are referred to as primers and undercoats.)

Touch-Up- Improving imperfect spots in a paint job.

Trompe L’oeil- French expression meaning, “To deceive the eye” A painting technique creating reality.

TSP-Tri-sodium phosphate, a cleaning agent. After the TSP has been dissolved in water, the solution is used in surface preparation. (After cleaning with TSP, the surface should be rinsed.)

TSP Substitute- A biodegradable cleaning agent that can be used instead of TSP.

Tubercule- Nodule; pimple.

Turpentine- A paint thinner (now replaced by mineral spirits) obtained by distilling pine tree secretions.


-S- Painting Terms

Sags- Runs or sags in paint film that flows too much during application. Sags are usually caused by applying too heavy a coat of paint or thinning the paint too much.

Sandpaper- A sheet of abrasive-coated paper that is used for smoothing rough surfaces.

Sash Brush- An angled brush used for cutting-in.

Satin Finish- Gloss level measuring 7-22% reflection using a 60 degree meter.

Scaling- Process of delamination.

Scrubbability- The ability of a paint film to withstand scrubbing and cleaning with water, soap, and other household cleaning agents.

Sealer- A coating used to prevent excessive absorption of subsequent coats into a porous surface.

Seeds- Small undesirable particles or granules other than dust that are found in a paint, varnish or lacquer.

Semi-Gloss- A degree of gloss that is glossier than low lustre but not as glossy as high gloss. Gloss level measuring 40-60% reflection.

Semi-Transparent- A degree of ability to hide the underlying surface greater than transparent but less than opaque or solid color.

Set Up- The quality of a film that has dried until it is a film. The film is said to have “set up”.

Settling- Paint separation in which pigments and other solids accumulate at the bottom of the container.

Sheen- The degree of luster measured at a 85 degree angle.

Sheen Uniformity- The even distribution of luster over a dried paint film.

Shellac- A natural resin, usually in the form of thin flakes, that is derived from a resinous substance called lac. Shellac is used to seal and finish floors, seal knots, etc.

Skin- A tough covering that forms on paint when the container is not tightly sealed.

Solids- The solids content of a paint that is left over after the solvent evaporates. (Same as nonvolatile.)

Solvent- The volatile part of oil-based paints that evaporates during drying. Solvent-based thinners are used for thinning and cleaning up oil-based paints. In latex paints, water performs similar functions.

Spackling Compound- A material used as a crack filler for preparing surfaces before painting.

Spalling- The cracking, breaking or splintering of materials, usually due to heat.

Spar Varnish- A very durable varnish designed for exterior surfaces.

Spatter- Small particles or drips of paint that occur during the application of paint.

Specular Gloss- Mirror-like reflectance.

Sponging- A faux painting technique using a sponge to form tanslusent layers of glaze.

Spot Priming- Application of primer to spots that require additional protection because the old paint has been removed.

Spraying- A method of application in which the paint is broken up into a fine mist that is directed onto the surface.

Spreading Rate- Coverage.

Stain- A solution designed to color a surface without hiding it. Solid color and latex stains are available. Stains may be latex or oil-based.

Stippling- Is the technique of using small dots to simulate varying degrees solidity or shading. Also known as “Pouncing”.

Streaking- The irregular occurrence of lines or streaks of various lengths and colors in an applied film. Streaking is usually caused by some form of contamination.

Strie- A glazing technique for achieving a subtle mix of fine stripes by pulling a wide stiff bristled brush through wet glaze.

Strip- To remove old finishes with paint remover.

Stucco- A masonry finish that is usually applied to the exterior surfaces of buildings in place of siding or other materials.

Substrate- The surface that is being painted.

Synthetic Brush- A paint brush with filaments that are made from a non-absorbent plastic material such as polyester or nylon, rather than animal hair. Synthetic brushes are usually used for latex paint.