Does Storing Paint Cans Upside Down Actually Work?

Updated: Sep. 18, 2023

Here's a way to avoid that crusty mess on the rims of your paint cans. Check it out.

How to Store Paint

It’s inevitable: You finish a paint project and you’ve got some paint left over. Rather than wasting it, it’s a good idea to keep it in case you need it for touch-ups or for another project later. But what’s the best way to do that?

We’ve covered tips on storing paint cans a hundred times before. But this particular tip comes to us from a house painter with thousands of paint jobs under his belt. Rather than spending time trying to sop all the paint out of the rim, he punches four small holes in the valleys and lets it drain as shown. Then he stores the cans upside down. He swears it works like a charm.

Storing your paint cans this way will help the paint last longer. So if you need that exact shade for touch-ups, or you’ve got a project to use it up on, you won’t need to run to the store last minute.

Keep rims clean

The key to this tip is really clean rims. If there’s any paint left on the rim, the lid won’t seal properly, and you’ll be left with a mess instead of some nicely preserved paint.

Take the time to be thorough, because the tip only works if the rims are perfectly clean.

Puncture and drain

hammer nail into side of painty paint canTMB Studio

No matter how careful you are, you’ll probably get paint in the rim. It’s just a byproduct of the painting process. You can try to sop it up, but that will take time and can be difficult. Instead, try this:

Use a small nail to drive four holes into the rim of the can. Let the paint drain back into the can and seal the lid with a block of wood and a hammer. You can add a layer of cling film under the lid for extra protection, after you’ve thoroughly cleaned the rim.


With the lid tightly sealed, flip the can upside down. This should prevent air from entering, which in turn should keep your paint from drying out. You’ve now got multiple barriers keeping air out.