How Long Is Spray Paint Good For?

Randy Charles
Professional Painter

Randy Charles is the owner of, a website dedicated to providing information, tips, tricks, and news about all things paint. With over 10 years...Read more

Spray paint is a quick, effortless method to add color to any project. It comes in a wide array of colors and finishes. It’s a great way to make any surface personalized. But how long does spray paint last? This article will look at spray paint and its shelf life.


Types of Spray Paint

Spray paint is a type of aerosol paint stored in a container. It comes in a variety of colors and styles. You can use it on wood, metal, plastic, masonry, and wrought iron.

There are two main types: oil-based and water-based. Oil-based paint is made with organic solvents and has high vapor pressure. This helps it dry quickly and form a hard, protective layer. You must shake it before each use.

Oil-based paint is great for surfaces that need protection from rust and wear. Water-based finishes are either acrylic enamels or latex lacquers with reduced VOCs. They provide excellent weather resistance, color retention, and clarity. The nozzle can be adjusted to control the finish. Finer lines mean more coats and less cleanup.

Benefits of Spray Paint

Spray paint is a great and simple way to paint many surfaces. It works on canvas, wood, paper, plastic and more. Here are some of the benefits:

  • Fast Drying Time: Dries in 10 minutes or less. Great for projects that need multiple coats or need to be done quickly.
  • Ease of Application: Easy to use and good coverage with no brush marks. Good for larger projects like fences or cabinets.
  • Superior Coverage: Even coverage with no overlap lines. Gives a professional look.
  • Cost Effective: Cheaper than other types of paint. Longer shelf life of up to 10 years if stored correctly. Great for future project planning.
Old Spray Paint
Old spray paint

Spray paint – perfect for adding a personal touch to your projects! But how long will it last? Before you start, you need to know. Here’s the scoop: how long does spray paint last? Read on to find out!

Factors Affecting Shelf Life

The lifetime of spray paints depends on many elements. Temperature, storage method, and kind of paint all influence how long cans will last. It’s important to store and tag your cans properly.

Like food, chemicals can spoil over time. The temperature has a big role in how long sprays last. If stored in extreme conditions, sprays become useless. To get the longest shelf life, store spray cans between 50-90°F. The manufacturer’s suggested storage temp is usually printed on the can.

What Happens When Spray Paint Goes Bad?
What happens when spray paint goes bad?

User habits also affect a car’s lifespan. People who use sprays more often will use one can faster than someone who uses them less. As a rough guide, use a half-full or full incompletely used aerosol can within 12 months for best performance. Paints beyond this date may still work, but characteristics may be reduced. Unused aerosol cans typically have a 2-year shelf life from manufacture if sealed properly.

Tips for Improving Shelf Life

Spray paint cans usually have an expiry date on the packaging. But, proper storage and conditions can extend or reduce this shelf life. For best results, store your cans in a temperature-controlled space. Keep them away from direct sunlight. High temperatures, like in summer, can make the fuel expand. This causes leaks, and the paint quality decreases. Keeping them in cool or room temperature places prevents the fuel from expanding. This helps them work better for longer periods.

Shake a new can before using it. This helps ensure that all ingredients are mixed for even color distribution and coverage. If you have several half-full cans after a project, use them before expiration. Oxidation can occur if multiple surfaces have been exposed due to partial sprays. This makes the paint leftovers look different than before.

Storing Spray Paint

Storing spray paint correctly is key for optimal quality. How long it lasts and the best way to store it are critical. Let’s learn the best way to store spray paint for great paint projects!

Best Conditions for Storage

Store spray paint in a cool, dry environment like a basement or garage. Temperatures should be between 50-70 degrees. Too hot or too cold can make the paint lumpy or crack. Low humidity is also ideal because it prevents rusting of the nozzle.

Spray paint should be used within two years from purchase. Sealed and stored properly, it may last longer. To test if old paint has gone bad, shake it vigorously. If not, discard it and buy new cans.

Tips for Storing Spray Paint

Take good care of your spray paint cans to get the most out of them. Storing and handling them properly will increase their shelf life and ensure they are usable. Here are some storage tips:

  • Store reasonably temp: Spray paint works best between 50°F and 90°F. The chemical components can separate or clog the nozzle if stored outside this range. Room temp (around 70°F) is ideal.
  • Avoid sunlight: Sunlight causes the chemical reaction to speed up and the paint to dry out sooner. Store in cool, dry locations that are out of direct sunlight. Sunlight can also cause paints to discolor or fade – keep them in darker areas.
  • Store upright: Don’t lay cans down, or they may leak. Keep them upright as directed by their labels.
  • Check expiration dates: Even with proper storage, cans may lose effectiveness or clog due to particles or dried material inside. If a particular can fails performance tests, discard it. Similarly, discard any unused leftovers after each project.

Disposing of Spray Paint

Spray paint is fun for arts and decorations. But it’s important to think about how to eliminate it. How long can you keep it? How should you throw it away? Let’s take a look!

Proper Disposal Methods

When your project is done, it’s time to remove those spray paint cans. It’s important to discard them properly.

Most aerosol cans are recyclable, but don’t put them in the recycling bin. Instead, put the cans and their lids, caps and other materials in a designated outdoor area.

In many places, waste management companies move and discard the cans separately in approved containers. Never burn the cans, as they contain VOCs, which are toxic. Burning them can cause an inhalation hazard and pollute the air. Even when used, aerosol paint may still contain liquid, considered hazardous waste. According to hazardous material disposal regulations, this should only be disposed of by authorized personnel. Keep a record of the proper disposal for safety.

Alternatives to Disposal

Spray paint can be stored for a long time if properly cared for. Usually, it should be thrown away after 12-18 months. People generally don’t pay attention when disposing of spray paint cans, but the fumes and chemicals can be toxic to the environment.

Instead of throwing it away, you can recycle or reuse the cans. Recycling centers accept empty cans of steel, plastic and paper liners. Art supply stores also accept empty spray paint containers to recycle into other products.

You can also refill the cans with leftover paint or make homemade paint with mica powder, beeswax and essential oils. Adding dye or pigment to clear waxes or lacquers can also give a custom finish. This helps reduce waste in landfills and extends the life of materials.

Safety Precautions

Spray paint is hazardous! Take safety precautions when handling and storing it. As it ages, the paint may become clumpy and hard to use. The smell of it can be dangerous too.

Here’s what to consider for safe spray paint usage:

  1. Always wear protective gear.
  2. Store it in a cool, dry area.
  3. Ensure proper ventilation while using it.
  4. Dispose of old paint safely.

Proper Ventilation

It is vital to ensure proper ventilation when dealing with spray paint, both indoors and outdoors. Ventilating your area will reduce the fumes inhaled. You should also wear protective equipment, such as respirators, clothing, and glasses, to protect yourself from paint particles or other hazardous substances.

Indoors, windows should be opened, or fans turned on to move the air. Additionally, make sure flammable materials are away from the workspace. Also, remember to ground all tools used. Lastly, don’t store spray paint cans in temperatures above 120° Fahrenheit (49° Celsius) as it can harm the containers and make them bust open.

Protective Gear

When spray painting, take safety measures. Ensure you are in a well-ventilated area. Wear gloves, eye protection, respirators, full face masks and long sleeve clothing. This protects from chemicals that could be harmful.

  • Gloves stop ingredients of the paint from entering your system.
  • Eye protection stops splatter from damaging your vision.
  • Respirators filter out airborne particles.
  • Full-face masks protect against inhalation of toxic fumes.
  • If using VOC paint, cover all exposed skin and use breathing masks for nearby colleagues.

Safety precautions protect from dangerous fumes, toxic particles and odors. Enjoy creating art while staying safe!

Expired Paint
Expired paint

Frequently Asked Questions

How long does spray paint last?

Spray paint can last 1-5 years, depending on the brand, type, and storage conditions.

How should I store spray paint?

Spray paint should be stored in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight.

How do I know when spray paint has gone bad?

If the paint has a sour smell or has clumped together, it has likely gone bad and should be discarded.

Randy CharlesProfessional Painter

Randy Charles is the owner of, a website dedicated to providing information, tips, tricks, and news about all things paint. With over 10 years of experience in the painting industry, Randy has become an expert in the field and is passionate about helping others learn more about painting. He has written numerous articles on the subject and is committed to providing accurate and up-to-date information to his readers.

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