Oftentimes, most DIYers ask the question, “Can spray paint freeze?”. This question arises from the desire to paint in any condition, as well as, store paint anywhere.

  • The answer is yes, spray paint freezes and not just spray paint, aerosol cans, aerosol spray cleaners and air fresheners tend to freeze when under certain temperatures.

As direct as the answer is, it raises more questions than one, questions like; at what temperature does it freeze?

  • Why does spray paint freeze?
  • Is spray paint still good when it freezes?
  • How do you prevent spray paint from freezing?
  • How do you thaw spray paint when it freezes?

These questions and more relevant questions are what I will address carefully and thoroughly in this guide.

Let’s roll.

What Temperature does Spray Paint Freeze?

Spray paints typically begin to freeze at 32 degrees Fahrenheit or 0 degrees Celsius. However, I should point out the difference between when water-based spray paint freeze and when oil-based spray paint freeze.

Water-based spray paint, it begins to freeze at the conventional 32 degrees Fahrenheit or 0 degrees Celsius. But for oil-based paint, there is more resistance to freezing and it usually freezes at -4 Fahrenheit or -20 Celsius.

For this reason, if you live in Florida, California, or Los Angeles you do not really have to worry about your oil-based paint freezing, on the flip side however, you may have to worry about it if you stay in places like Alaska, Michigan, or Iowa.

Type of Spray PaintFreezing Point
Water-based paint.32 degrees Fahrenheit or 0 degree Celsius.
Oil-based paint.-4 degrees Fahrenheit or -20 Celsius
Rustoleum spray paint (water-based)32 degrees Fahrenheit or 0 degree Celsius.
Rustoleum spray paint (oil-based)-4 degrees Fahrenheit or -20 Celsius
Epoxy spray paint-40 degrees Celsius

Why does Spray Paint Freeze?

Now that you have gotten your answer as to the fact that spray paint freezes, you may be curious as to why they freeze in the first place.

I mean, can’t those who make spray paint put some ingredients in it to prevent it from freezing?

Lol, well, water-based spray paint freezes because its major content is water and water obviously freeze.

Oil-based paint on the other hand contains an ingredient called linseed oil as it’s medium and it is this oil that freezes at -4 degrees Fahrenheit or -20 degree Celsius.

It is these essential ingredients that cause these paints to freeze at certain temperatures and fortunately, it is why it thaws too.

What Happens to Spray Paint When It Freezes?

When spraying paint freezes, it may affect the emulsion of the paint. This refers to that when it eventually thaws out, the spray paint’s consistency and texture may be sabotaged and even ruined.

But this is not always the case as more often than not, the consistency is usually okay and unchanged even after the spray paint has been thawed, especially if the spray paint has not frozen before.

Factors that Determine How Fast Spray Paint Will Freeze

Factors that determine how fast spray paint will freeze
Type of Paint.
Method and location of storage.


Let’s briefly go through these factors that determine how fast spray paint will freeze one after the other.

Type of Spray Paint

As said earlier, the freezing or not of spray paint is largely dependent on whether or not it is an oil-based paint or a water-based paint.

As you may have deduced, oil-based paint tends to freeze slower than water-based paint, the temperatures in which they freeze respectively have been mentioned earlier for water-based; 32 degrees Fahrenheit, while for oil-based; -4-degree Fahrenheit.)

You should as well double check the freezing point for the specific kind of paint you are using because more often than not, I have noticed that each painting contains its freezing point on its label.

Method and Location of Storage

I have noticed that the manner in which you store your spray paint and the place you store it is a major factor that determines how fast the spray paint freezes.

I recommended that you store them in a well-ventilated and temperate garage or on the shelf in the basement or even in a dark room etcetera.

But I should give you this quick heads-up that if you decide to store your paint in the garage or a dark room, ensure you make an insulated heated enclosure for it.

If wherever you store your paint will expose to cold weather, then it will inevitably freeze faster.

These factors coupled with whether the paint is sealed, and how close it was to your home, put together are what determine how fast or slow your spray paint will freeze.

How Long Does It Take for Spray Paint to Freeze

Type of Spray PaintHow long it takes to freeze
Water-based spray paint.About an hour at 32 degrees Fahrenheit or 0 degrees Celsius.
Oil-based spray paintAbout an hour and a half at -4 degrees Fahrenheit or -20 degree Celsius.

This is a technical question that cannot be given a direct answer largely because most spray paint cans contain on them the freezing point of the specific type of spray paint.

This in turn puts a difference between how fast or how slow it will take the paint to freeze.

Nonetheless, in my personal opinion and from experience, most water-based spray paints tend to freeze in about an hour at 32 degrees Fahrenheit or 0 degrees Celsius. However, it gets faster at a lower degree, say maybe 20 degrees Fahrenheit.

For oil-based paints, it usually takes about an hour and a half to be completely frozen at -4 degrees Fahrenheit or -20 degree Celsius, and you can guess it, it will freeze faster at a lower degree.

How to Prevent Spray Paint from Freezing

As the popular saying goes, prevention is much better than cure, although we will deal with how to thaw spray paint later, first let me give you some professional tips on how to prevent spray paint from freezing in the first place.


  • Sealing the paint can properly
  • Storing and keeping in a cool and dry place.
  • Keeping the spray paint in a sealed container.
  • Keeping the spray paint in a temperate room.

Now, let’s discuss these steps more elaborately in order for you to know how to go about the procedures.

Preventing Spray Paint from Freezing

  • Step 1

Sealing the Can Properly

One thing you must ensure you do is to ensure the spray paint can is tightly sealed. If for instance there are any cracks or holes in the container, the paint will most definitely freeze.

Let me give you a professional tip for keeping your spray paint at a normal temperature in the can.


Adding insulations around the spray paint cans. Doing this will go a great mile n preserving the paint’s temperature.

  • Step 2

Storing and keeping in a cool and dry place.

As you may already know, if you store your paint in a place below room temperature, the molecules in the spray paint will begin to clump together and the spray paint will start to freeze.

I strongly advise that you don’t store or keep unused or leftover spray paint in the attic or in the basement under cold temperatures, especially during winter as these areas of the house are usually susceptible to extreme temperatures, be it cold or heat.

What I suggest you should do is to try and find and spot you can store unused or leftover spray paint in a well-ventilated, temperature-regulated room. It could be an extra bedroom.

I have found out that this is a better option and will help in preventing your spray paint from freezing.

  • Step 3

Securing the Spray Paint in a Sealed Container

Putting the spray paint in a sealed container before storing it is a better option to prevent the paint from freezing. You could either go for a box or a bag.

However, I recommend you build a warm paint box. Doing this will actually make it possible and feasible to store the spray paint in your garage without having the fear of it freezing.

The question that’s most likely in your mind is, ‘how on earth will I build a warm paint box?’.

  • The first step is to get all the necessary essential materials like a heat lamp. Depending on the material you want to make your box out of, some cardboard, wood, or foam insulation.

It’s much better and easier to make your box out of cardboard, it is much easier and faster to make. You need cardboard and some paper tape.

Plus, following this route will save you some money because these items are relatively inexpensive.

However, if you want a much more potent and durable option, your best bet is to use foam insulation.

  • The second step is building your paint box. You easily use foam insulation to build a small and portable box around your spray paint cans. But ensure you don’t forget to leave room for hanging your heat lamp or placing your heat tape, whichever one you choose.

If you are using cardboard, you can make a square-shaped or rectangular box for your spray paint cans while carefully hanging your heat lamp or placing your heat tape in it.

Voila! Your paint box is ready.

And please, do not be afraid to be as creative and innovative while building your paint box.

  • Step 4

Keeping the Spray Paint in a Well-Ventilated, Temperature-Regulated Room

This is another means to prevent your spray paint from freezing, but it should serve as a complement but not a replacement for the other steps I have mentioned.


Place the spray paint cans on a shelf or any raised platform in your garage or wherever you are keeping it. In addition to this, you can install heavy-duty foam insulation to your garage walls and doors to keep a stable temperature.

How to Thaw Frozen Spray Paint

Although like I said earlier, prevention is much better than cure, there arises the need to thaw frozen spray paint when these preventive measures were neither known nor put in place.

Thawing spray paint is not exactly a herculean task. This is because it is very straightforward and easy to thaw frozen spray paint.

To unfreeze spray paint that has been frozen, all you need to do is follow the steps that I will give you now. I must warn quickly that you should follow these steps closely in order to ensure that the spray paint is still usable when you have thawed it.

Items Needed

Items needed to thaw spray paint
A warm room.
Some newspapers or a towel
A piece of wood or cardboard.

Steps to Unfreeze Frozen Spray Paint

  • Put the spray paint can in a room at room temperature.
  • Shake the spray paint can.
  • Test run the spray paint in an inconspicuous area.

Let me take you through the steps more meticulously so you do not make mistakes in the application of these procedures.

  • Step 1

Put the Spray Paint in a Room at Room Temperature

The first thing to do in your attempt to thaw a frozen spray paint is to change the location of the spray paint to a much warmer room.

The reason the paint most probably froze in the first place was that the temperature it was put in was way too cold, so it is only sane and obvious that one should put the spray paint can at a warmer temperature.

This should typically be between 60 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit or 15-27 Celsius.

After putting the spray paint in the room, the next thing to do is wait. I know this may not sound exactly interesting, but it is the best option you have.

You may decide to speed up the thawing process by using a space heater or a hairdryer, but following this route may affect the spray paint’s viscosity. This way it is safer to just allow the paint to thaw out naturally.

This make takes between 2-3 hours and sometimes it takes longer, depending on the quantity of spray paint that was frozen and how long it has been frozen.

When you are defrosting your spray paint, be sure to put a towel or a wad of newspapers under the paint to protect your floor.

  • Step 2

Shake the Spray Paint Can

After observing that the spray paint is completely thawed out, the next step is to vigorously shake the spray paint.

You may have heard that once spray paint or paint generally freezes, it typically has the texture of cottage cheese. This is why you need to shake the spray paint, so it can be completely restored to its former texture.

You can shake the paint manually in a vertical position, however, to be on the safer side, it is better to get a spray paint shaker, you can order one from Amazon.

My personal reason you prefer the spray paint shaker is that it is mechanical and therefore does a better job than a manual method and it saves time and energy.

  • Step 3

Test Run the Spray Paint in a Test Area

The final step is to test-run your spray paint. This is where the piece of wood or cardboard, whichever you decide to use, comes in handy, I use cardboard because of how easy they are to dispose of.

Carefully spray paint the piece of wood or cardboard to observe how well the paint goes on it. You should look out for any visible lumps, grains, or inconsistencies in the paint’s finish.

To know if the paint is back to normal, it should have a consistent color and texture like it had before it was frozen. If the spray paint passes these tests, then it is safe to spray paint it on whatever surface you want, a car, your garage, glass surfaces, or wherever.

But, if the paint does have lumps or shows any sign of inconsistencies, then it is safe to dispose of the paint.

Safety Precaution

I strongly advise that you wear face masks when you are test-running the spray paint, especially if the spray paint is oil-based. Oil-based paint contains VOCs (volatile organic compounds) and they pose to be hazardous to one’s health.

Can Spray Paint be Used After it is Frozen?

While it is practically impossible to use for you to use frozen spray paint, you can always use the paint when it has been thawed out.

Once Spray Paint is Frozen, is it Ruined?

No, in many cases especially with oil-based paints, once they freeze and you unfreeze them, especially following the methods I showed you earlier, which has always worked for me, then your spray paint will be just fine when it’s thawed.

Even water-based spray paint does not get ruined when they freeze, especially if it does not have any history of freezing and it freezes in your possession, once you unfreeze it, you can always still use it.

How to Spray Paint During Winter

While it is not expedient to paint during cold weather, especially during winter, in fact, the best temperature to paint under is between 50 degrees Fahrenheit to 90 degrees Fahrenheit, there are times when the need arises to paint during winter.

When these needs arise, simply follow these steps, I learned them years ago and they have been my go-to guide when painting during winter

Items Needed

Items needed to spray paint in winter
Rubbing alcohol.
Tack cloth.
Face mask and goggles.

Steps to follow while spray painting during winter

  • Clean the surface you are spray painting on.
  • Prime the surface you are spray painting on.
  • Sand the surface
  • Keep the paint cans and items inside until it’s time to use them.
  • Set up a spray painting station in the garage.
  • Begin spray painting.
  • Bring in paint and items between each coat.

Now, let’s go over the steps in detail…

  • Step 1

Clean the surface you are spray painting on

This part is essential to ensure better adhesion of the paint. You are already at a disadvantage for spray painting during winter, as cold temperature affects the paint’s adhesion to the surface.

For this reason, it is crucial to clean the area you want to paint thoroughly and allow it to dry totally.

If you spray paint a hard surface, then I strongly suggest you use rubbing alcohol to wipe off any dust or debris, but if it is a wooden surface, it is much better to use a tack cloth.

  • Step 2

Prime the Surface You Are Spray Painting On

This is to further enhance adhesion. After cleaning, apply a primer to the painting surface. Asides from the fact that primer gives a solid base to the paint to enhance adhesion, it equally enhances the color of the paint too and makes the paint dry faster.

  • Step 3

Sand the surface

After priming the surface, you should sand the surface, because there is high chance that there are there will be some blisters and bubbles on the surface.

Sanding the surface will help smoothen the surface and make it ready to be painted.

  • Step 4

Keep the Paint Can and Items Inside Until You Are Ready to Paint

This is very pivotal because of the temperature in which you are painting. You see, when it comes to spray paint and painting generally, maintaining the right temperature is very critical and even the tiniest fluctuation can affect the paint’s flow and atomization.

In order to prevent this, you should keep the spray paint can and the item you are using inside a well-ventilated and temperature-regulated room.

  • Step 5

Set up a spray painting station in the garage

It is never ideal to paint indoors, it is dangerous and risky. A garage is a more feasible place for your painting project.

What you should do is ensure the garage is well-ventilated while keeping it warm at the same time. You can insulate the windows and doors and at the same time slightly open the windows.

  • Step 6

Begin Painting

After following the steps listed above, you are now ready to begin painting. Do not forget to wear your overalls, safety goggles, and gloves in the process.

  • Step 7

Bring in Coat and Items in Between Coats

After applying each coat, you should take the spray paint and items back into the warm room to prevent the paint from freezing.

Also, ensure the surface you are painting is kept warm during the painting process.

Tips for Storing Spray Paint

  1. Put the Spray Can in A Vacuum-Sealed Jar

    This is a sure way to prevent the spray paint from freezing when you store it. Putting the paint in a vacuum-sealed jar and placing a heat light inside it will immensely help to keep the paint warm.
  2. Avoid Storing Spray Paint in Garages

    I know I said something about storing paint in garages, but that should only be a last resort.If you want to keep your spray paint from freezing, then it is best you find a well-ventilated and temperate room, this is much better compared to a garage.
  3. Insulate the Room

    Another very helpful tip for storing your spray paint is to insulate the room you intend to store the paint.
    Using foam insulation on the doors and windows of the room will help put it in temperate weather conditions.
  4. Store the Spray Paint in a Glass Jar

    This is another very helpful tip in storing spray paint. Glass jars help keep the spray paint in a temperate condition. But when putting it in a glass jar, ensure the paint is in a dark room.I have noticed that storing spray paint in a glass jar and a lighted area usually alter the color of the paint.

Labeling your Spray Paint

This is to organize your spray paint when you want to store them. On this label write the area you painted the spray paint with and specify whether you used it for interior and exterior painting projects.

Does Spray Paint Cans Explode if They Freeze?

No, spray paint cans do not explode if they freeze. Although, some have suggested that the pressure inside a frozen spray paint or aerosol can generally cause it to explode, however, there is no evidence to substantiate these claims.

On the quite contrary, the pressure inside an aerosol can is lower when it’s cold as gas molecules move slower at colder temperatures.

Final Thoughts

While it is good to have the knowledge of how to thaw frozen paint and even paint during winter, I suggest that you avoid both situations totally.

It is much safer to know how to prevent your spray paint from freezing and knowing how to store them properly. This way, you don’t have to bother about unfreezing them.