How to Fix Rusty Paint Cans That Won’t Seal

Paint cans often times become rusty around the rim or dented making it impossible to reseal. Rather than letting your paint go to waste, here are some tips for fixing rusty paint cans that will plus many paint storage ideas!

How to Fix Rusty Paint Cans That Won't Seal

I have to admit,  I have enough paint cans to supply a small paint store. I blame it on the fact that we’ve moved so much and owned so many houses! In my opinion, painting the walls in a home can make the most drastic improvement! Unfortunately for me, I’ve never liked any of the paint colors that the previous owners in all of our houses, so I’ve painted every wall (and a lot of ceilings) in every home! That’s a lot of painting! And because I hoard all things crafty and DIY, I usually keep my paint cans and move them from house to house. Because we live where it’s super hot and humid, my paint cans aren’t always stored in the most ideal places, so many of them have rusted around the seals. But just because there is rust around the seal, it doesn’t mean that the paint is unusable. So I’m going to share with you today some of my favorite hacks for keeping your paint as good as new!

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Clean The Lid with Hot Soapy Water

If you are using a water based paint this will work. Give the lid a bath with hot soapy water. You may have to let it soak for a few hours to loosen up the dried paint and rust. Cover your paint can with plastic wrap so it doesn’t dry out.

Seal The Paint With Plastic Wrap

When you are finished using a paint can, wipe off the rim with a wet paper towel. Before sealing the lid, apply plastic wrap around the opened area of the can and then hammer on the lid. This helps keep excess air out if there are any dents in the lid or rim. You can also use a plastic grocery shopping bag in place of plastic wrap.

Purchase A New Can

If your old paint cans are beyond repair, but a new can. I remember the very first time I saw empty paint cans at Lowes, it was as if the heavens had opened up and the angels were singing the hallelujah chorus. I mean, who knew that you could buy empty paint cans?? I certainly did not!! They are super affordable and they completely seal up your unused paint so it’s as good as new the next time you choose to use that particular color!

Pour the paint in the new can and seal with a hammer. TIP: When sealing a used can, cover the can with a used cloth or towel, and then hammer. This helps avoid any paint splatter from excess paint filling in the can rim!

How to Fix Rusty Paint Cans That Won't Seal

How to Fix Rusty Paint Cans That Won't Seal

Condiment Bottles Makes for Easy Paint Storage

This is one of my most used painting hacks. I actually came up with this when I was hosting one of my DIY Sign Workshops. I needed everyone to be able to use the paint I had, but I didn’t want paint spilling from the cans all over my house. Insert the genius idea of condiment bottles!! They are sealable, small enough for smaller quantities of paint and they ensure super easy pouring when your’e ready to use it!

condiment containers used for paint storage container

Old Glass Jars

I’m sure that if you open your refrigerator you are bound to find a glass jar of pickles or spaghetti sauce that has expired. Wash it out and use this as a storage container for your leftover paint. The seal provides an air tight seal and will help keep your paint for a long time!


Storing Paint

Paint should be stored between 60 degrees to 80 degrees Fahrenheit. When placed on concrete floors they tend to rust more quickly. Store paint cans on shelves, in low moisture areas. When paint is stored properly, a can of paint can last three to five years.


I would to hear what your tips and trick for fixing rusty paint cans and storing paint! Tell me in the comments! Be sure to PIN this to remember it for later when you end up in a rusty situation! 🙂

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