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Does Spray Paint Expire? Can You Still Use Old Paints?

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Spray paint is incredibly popular. It has many uses and can really add character to your product with easy application.

Spray paint is great for (legal) graffiti, glass, large canvases, and other projects, such as painting shoes.

Let’s look at how to maintain your paint for the longest time and learn about expiration dates and other influencing factors.

Does spray paint expire? Most spray paint cans are printed with a “best-by” date on the can. The paint will be the highest quality when used before that date, but many will remain usable for longer if stored properly. Store paint in a dry location where humidity, sunlight, and temperature fluctuations will not be an issue.

In the following, we’ll go into more detail on the shelf life and the factors that influence the longevity and quality of stored spray paint.

Want to know how to keep your paint in good shape for the longest time? Read on!

Spray Paint Shelf Life

Spray paint shelf life is important. Most of us don’t have a ton of money to spend, so it’s important to know the most about your product and make sure you understand what exactly affects the quality.

How Long Is Spray Paint Good For?

If you have a large collection of spray paints, it only makes sense to know how long they are good for.

Life spans range anywhere from 2-20 years, but overall quality will be highest in the first few years after the date of manufacturing.

The main factor in finding out the spray paint’s shelf life is the quality. The higher the quality, the longer it can be viable.

Does Spray Paint Come With an Expiration Date?

Luckily, spray paint cans come from the manufacturer with “best-by” dates located on the bottom of the can.

Unlike food foods, the dates on spray cans don’t ensure they will last until that date. It’s best to test the paint once before each use to ensure it still will do the job. 

Factors That Affect the Longevity/Quality of Spray Paint

There are many factors for why one spray paint may last longer than another. Here is a list for you.

  1. Temperature: The hotter it is, the faster the paint will dry and crack.
  2. Humidity: Spray paint is formulated to dry quickly. Humidity affects how the paint dries. Higher humidity can cause the paint to dry slower, causing clumping or lumps in the paint.
  3. Loss of the aerosol pressure: With every use, you let some of the aerosol out. With frequent use, you could end up with a can of paint without enough pressure to spray evenly or at all.
  4. UV Light: UV light can cause chemical reactions with the contents of the can, shortening the lifespan.

Check out this simple storage solution to help keep all your spray paint cans organized!

How Do You Know If Spray Paint Is Still Good?

This is pretty simple. Test the spray and check the finish. If it is spraying well and the paint dries quickly with the desired finish, you’re good to go. 

Just because the paints have a best-by date doesn’t mean they can’t be used after that date, but the environmental factors listed above will affect the can’s lifespan, as will the brand.

More expensive brands typically contain a higher quality of paint. The more kind the cans are to the wallet, the more risk you have of a short life span.

Can I Use Expired Spray Paint?

There are two things to check for. Aerosol pressure is the first one. If you can’t spray the can after shaking and mixing everything, then it may have no aerosol. 

It could be that the paint has hardened in the can as well.

The second thing to do is to test the paint and see how it dries. Check the test product’s finish.

If it’s lumpy, cracks quickly, or doesn’t have the gloss that the can usually gives, your paint is probably not worth using.

While many spray cans are used after their expiration date, some paints can’t be used once expired due to potential toxicity. This occurs commonly in graffiti paint. 

Always do some research, and test your paints before using if they are past expiration.

How To Store Spray Paint for Maximum Shelf Life

How do you get your money’s worth? What’s the best way to store your paint? Here’s a list of things to do to ensure your cans stay viable for as long as possible.

  1. Read the product label! Make sure to read the “best uses” for each brand of paint. Remember that formulas vary from brand to brand, so always use them as recommended.
  2. Shake the can properly before each use. Paint settles at the bottom of the can, so make sure you shake it to get the best product.
  3. Keep an eye on texture! If you notice the paint is coming out too thick, stop what you’re doing, and place the can in warm water for a few minutes to ensure even distribution.
  4. Store in dry conditions. Make sure you store the paint somewhere it can’t get wet. Simple!
  5. Store at an ideal temperature. Room temperature is always the way to go. Avoid storing your paints in outdoor sheds and garages as those are common places where the temperature varies greatly day to day.

Related Questions:

Does Spray Paint Stick to Glass?

Spray will stick to glass, but preparation is key!
1. Clean the glass of all labels, and then wash it thoroughly with a cleaning solution.
2. Most glass has a film-like feeling, so rub it down with rubbing alcohol to ensure better reception of the paint.
3. Set up a well-ventilated area and spray away!

Does Spray Paint Come out of Clothes?

It is possible to get spray paint out of clothes, but it is unlikely you will remove it completely.
1. Scrape off any paint. Remember that if it is still wet, you’ll have a better chance.
2. Pretreat with a stain remover, and let it sit.
Wash with a laundry detergent and more stain remover.
3. Check it before drying. If there’s still paint, you can always repeat the treating/washing process before drying. 
Because the paint may not completely come out, make sure to wear clothes you don’t mind getting stained. 

Grab Your Can and Spray!

Now you have some helpful tips about spray paint expiration and how to make sure your paint lasts for the longest time possible.

Follow the tips for storing, and you’ll have a great paint collection for your projects!

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