Spray paint is a very popular and accessible way to make art. You can use it for paint application besides using a paintbrush or a roller and is generally quicker, cleaner, and easier to achieve a uniform coat.

Using spray paint allows you to cover surfaces quickly and more evenly compared to traditional paint. It can be an effective way to touch up or apply a new coat of paint for a variety of kinds of DIY projects.

However, as with all things in life, there are some limitations as well as shelf lives for your favorite cans of spray paint. Many people wonder how long spray paint is good for.

Spray paint tends to be good for about 2 to 3 years. But, remember to always read the labels on your paint cans before you use them, since they may differ from one brand to another.

In this article, we will discuss how long is spray paint good for, factors that affect the expiry of spray paint cans, is it possible to use expired spray paint, how long is it good for once opened, and how to store them.

How Long Is Spray Paint Good For

How Long Is Spray Paint Good For

It is standard practice for spray paint cans that you can keep them up to three years after production. Most brands have a shelf life between 10 and 20 years. As with other products, more quality spray paint adds a lot of life.

The Plasti-Kote/Valspar Company guarantees a two-year shelf life on the majority of aerosol paints from the date of manufacture.

Spray paint may be good for about 2 to 3 years. But, people should remember to read the labels on their paint cans before using them. Because they could differ from one brand to another. On average, an unopened one will go bad in 3 years (or 36 months).

For Example:
  1. Rust-Oleum is predominantly designed for use on metal. It is rust-proof, UV resistant, and fast drying. It works well for coating metal surfaces, protecting them from weathering and corrosion with its oil-based composition. Their spray cans also have a patented trigger which provides comfort for long use on projects. The shelf life of Rust-Oleum is around 3 years (unopened) from the production date stated on the bottom of the can.
  2. Krylon is designed for industrial use as well as domestic DIY. Krylon is also very helpful for metal coatings and rust protection. It can also be versatile, such as the ColorMaster cans are appropriate for wood, plastic, and more. The shelf life stated by Krylon is between 3 and 4 years from the production date with good care and storage.
  3. Montana is popular with street art communities. The high-pressure paint application is good for graffiti art and murals. Their popular Gold and Black lines, with acrylic-based paint for Gold and lacquer based for Black, allow users to choose the best option for their needs. Montana guarantees a 10-year shelf life of their spray cans from production if one provides appropriate storage.
  4. Ironlak is also common in street art. Well known for their bright colors, good user control, and general value for money. Ideal for both indoor and outdoor use for a variety of purposes on all surfaces. Ironlak’s paint has the environment is mind as well as the user, so they contain fewer VOC’s (Volatile Organic Compounds) than other brands. The shelf life for the cans is around 2 years from the production date.
Spray paintsShelf life
Rust-OleumAround 3 years
KrylonBetween3 and4 years
Montana10-year shelf life
Ironlak2 years

Does Spray Paint Expire

Yes, it expires. It is essential to be aware of the expiration dates printed on them.

Spray paint can last from a few months to several years, depending on the brand and storage conditions.

Spray paints expire, and you may see the expiration date on the bottom of the container. These paints have the best before date. Usually calculated from the date the paint was manufactured.

However, the expiration date inscribed on the bottom of the spray can can’t guarantee how long is the paint good for, because of storage conditions, heat, and humidity. They can affect the spray paint, making it expire before the date on the container. Also, if you store it correctly, the spray paint can outlast the expiration date on the can.

Factors That Affect To The Expiry Of Spray Paint Cans

Many factors may contribute to the premature expiry of spray paint cans. The following factors influence the quality of spray paint cans and shorten their shelf life. 

Environment

The immediate temperature mostly affects the spray can. If it’s hot outside, the paint may dry and crack.

Cracked paint won’t come out of the can.

Besides that, cold and humid weather also impacts the can, making it go bad before the expiry date.

Relative Humidity

The relative humidity is another reason for the paints to expire before their time.

It affects the chemical composition of the paint can and the moisture in it. That makes the paint inside the can sticky and unusable.

Higher humidity levels make the paint remain wetter for longer. This causes the paint to be lumpy and unable to use. 

Direct Sunlight

When you store paint cans wrongly in direct sunlight, they can go brittle. And lose their color, or dry out before their expiry.

The reaction happens because the harsh light from the sun makes the chemicals break down and go brittle before time. 

Aerosol Pressures

Over time, the spray can lose aerosol pressure if you open the can but don’t use it.

When you open a can but use it less frequently, the aerosol pressure is lost bit by bit. And by the time you need the can again, there will not be pressure left.

Therefore, the paint is still intact, but you can access it without pressure. Over time, without the pressure to keep the seal intact, the paint has a high probability of going bad before the expiry date.

External Impurities

Every time you apply the paint, the external particles (oxygen, dirt, ultraviolet rays) enter the can through the tube.

If these mix with the chemical inside, they create a reaction that can make the spray go bad before time.

Does Unopened Spray Paint Expire

Unopened spray paint may expire, because of the chemical composition inside the cans. There are several paint chemicals, pigments, solvents, and preservatives all compressed inside a spray can.

The variety of chemical features and reactions of these compounds inside the can give spray paint a limited shelf life. Other paints such as latex and enamel last well over 10 years if left unopened, and most spray paints expire in less than 5 years if left unopened.

Generally, unopened spray paints have a shelf life of between 2 years and 10 years. Ironlak and Krylon expire between 2 and 5 years. While brands like Montana last well to 10 years if left unopened and stored properly.

On average, unopened spray paint goes bad in 3 years. You should pay attention that the shelf life of the unopened one.

Spray paints include a blend of many paint chemicals and pigments. These include colorants, solvents like acetone, xylene, and other paint molecules. The spray also has a host of preservatives that keep the paint from going bad or solidifying inside the can.

All of these chemicals and compounds stay together inside a spray can filled with pressurized air. The reaction of compounds to a variety of storage conditions and the varying chemical features makes the spray paint unstable. This is the main reason spray paints don’t last very long.

Is It Possible To Use Expired Spray Paint

It is good to not use expired spray paint. You can’t tell if it has gone bad. But the chances are you will end up wasting some money on paint that does not work well or at all.

Always, should check the expiration date on the can. When you have a lot of painting to do, it is easy to forget when you purchased them and how old they are.

It’s bad to use paint that has been sitting around for too long or any leftovers from another project. You may give away some spray cans if there is still paint in them.

If you want to get rid of old cans, you should consider donating paint or selling it at a garage sale/yard sale.

You may also try asking around and see if someone else can use the leftovers from your project. If not, throw out any leftover spray paint in an empty milk carton or soda bottle with the lid closed tightly.

However, you may also use expired spray paint. It will be good to shake the spray container for at least 90 seconds before using it. This allows the pea inside the paint container to mix the dead paint particles properly.

Also, test out the spray paint by covering a dispensable area or object first. Then, see how the paint comes out, dries, and how the finish appears before you go ahead to use the paint on the object to be painted.

Spray paint doesn’t expire the same way your groceries do. When it is perceived to have expired, two things might or will have happened.

Firstly, the paint can or might have lost pressure. As explained earlier, spray cans are filled with pressurized air or gas. That dispenses the paint when you press or pull the valve. Expired spray paint could have lost all pressure, meaning that the paint wouldn’t come out when you press or pull the valve. This will cause the nozzle to become clogged.

Secondly, the spray paint might have hardened inside the paint container. It means it can’t be mixed when you shake the spray can. For the first scenario where the paint can doesn’t have any pressure, you can de-can or tear the spray can carefully to pour out and use it.

How Long Is Spray Paint Good For Once Opened

If you open and use the spray can, it has a shelf life of about three years. If you store the product in an excessively hot or cold environment, it may shorten its shelf life to one year.

You shouldn’t open and close the can more than twice before storing it again. This may cause air pockets inside the paint that makes for harder application.

Not just that, opened spray paint is more prone to the elements, especially temperature changes and moisture. This affects the state of the paint inside the paint can. That may cause chemical reactions, paint solidification, and separation inside the paint can.

The reason why unopened spray paint lasts longer than opened one is that the environment doesn’t affect the spray can. This is because the paint is still sealed.

However, if you open the spray can, dry air and other environmental factors like moisture, heat, and humidity may impact the paint. The reason for this is the seal of the spray can have been broken. As the seal is broken or off, the paint will go bad quicker because of the reaction of the paint chemicals to the atmosphere.

If you store opened or used spray paint in a cool room and away from direct sunlight, then it can last longer. You need also to store the paint away from the dusty environment, and moisture, and ensure to seal the cover tightly in place. With proper storage conditions, opened paint last over a year.

How To Store Spray Paints

In general, spray paints demand correct storage, correct usage, and correct disposal. You may store them in different locations.

A good place to store it is on an open shelf or out of direct sunlight and away from heat sources like stoves or heaters.

Moreover, you shouldn’t store the product directly above any light source. Since this can cause malfunctions with the lid, which will make for a difficult application. If possible, you should use a dark storage area for your paint.

The containers the product comes in are also good options for storing it. You should make sure they’re clean and dry before sealing them tight. 

If you do not have any extra cans lying around, ask your local hardware store to purchase some that fit your needs.

Use these tips to keep your can in good condition for as long as possible.

  • Temperature resistant to 170 °C.
  • Store between 5 °C – 25 °C.
  • When not in use, cans must be kept sealed and cleaned appropriately to ensure the nozzle doesn’t get blocked through dry paint.
  • Our custom-colored spray paints have a long life until used and then 12-24 months from usage if they are thoroughly cleaned and stored.
  • Always read and follow SDS, TDS and label instructions for the correct paint type.

Conclusion

If you want your spray paint to last as long as possible, it’s essential to store the cans properly and use them within a year of purchase.

It is important to be aware of the shelf life of spray paint and try not to stock up too much

With proper storage and usage guidelines in mind, we hope this article has helped answer any lingering questions about how long is spray paint good for.

FAQs

How long is paint good for after opened?

Usually, it can last years, up to 10 in some cases. But only if you have kept them well. So, keep them in a temperature-regulated area, or room.

How can you tell if old spray paint is good?

There are a few ways to tell if old spray paint is still good or not. The first and most obvious way is by looking at the can. If the can is dented, rusted, or the seal is broken then the paint is likely, not good anymore.

The next way to tell if old spray paint is still good is by shaking the can. If the paint inside is still liquid and not thick or clumpy then it is likely still good. If the paint is thick or clumpy then it is likely, not good anymore.

The third way to tell if old spray paint is still good is by spraying it on a piece of paper or cardboard. If the paint sprays evenly and looks like normal paint, then it is likely still good. If the paint sprays unevenly and looks clumpy or thin, then it is likely, not good anymore.

Finally, you can also tell if old spray paint is still good by smell. If the paint smells bad or has a strong chemical odor, then it is likely, not good anymore.

How do you store spray paint after use?

Keep them in a room that is far less likely to be flammable. Because they contain hazardous chemicals that contain high burning risk, they can catch fire easily. You should also make sure to clean the nozzle and the tube, before you set it away.