Thursday, January 16, 2014

Keeping Those Paint Cans Clean!

Am I the only one who gets annoyed by the crusty stuff that develops on the paint can after you've used it a few times?  And then those nasty, dried pieces start falling into the can and you spend half of your painting time trying to remove chunks of paint after every stroke of the brush?  ANNOYING!

I've found a simple, inexpensive way to avoid all of that mess.  

Here are two paint cans of ASCP.  Can you tell which one is brand new and which one is half empty?

Now can you tell?

Yep!  The one on the left has just been opened for the first time!  My tried and true Old White (the one on the right) is about half full and was used to paint 2 dressers, dry brushed a mirror, and used some of it to create a wash on a vintage vanity.  I still have about a half can left...and look at the lip of the can?  NO CRUSTY STUFF.  Look at the lid of the can!  Clean as a whistle!

Some stockists encourage you to turn a brand new can upside down for about a minute to get all of the good stuff off of the bottom.  I've decided, I ain't doin' that!  (I'm such a rebel! Ha!) A lot of paint seeps into the rim of the lid, eventually starts to dry out and then the paint becomes littered with little crusty bits.

Instead, I take some slightly damp paper towel and place it into the groove of the can.

I then stir the can really well (just as you would stir stain, or shellac) with a plastic spoon.  After the can is sufficiently mixed, I start painting....leaving the moist paper towels in the grooves.  Once I've finished painting, I pull up the paper towel, run it around once underneath the lip, and seal her up.  The paint can and lid are both clean, and there is no paint left to dry out and become that nasty stuff.

It's not very scientific or glamorous looking, but it sure does work!

Now if someone has a good recommendation for some amazing hand cream, please share!  My hands are so chapped this winter!  :)

I hope this finds all of you well...Happy Clean Painting!



  1. Thank you, Robin - I don't care for the crusty stuff either!!!

  2. Uh. Now that I know I'm doing it wrong, this probably won't work anymore.

    However, first I follow the advice of professional (house) painters to tap holes into that groove with a nail. All the paint that collects there drains back into the can. I definitely do this with stain cans, too.

    Eventually, I do get the crusty stuff. When I use the paint again, I paint first. When I'm done, I chip the crusty stuff off and throw it back in the can. I add a teeeeeeeeensy bit of water to float on top of the paint and close it up. The next time I shake my can (hahaha) to paint, it's already dissolved back into the can.

    I've also used the dried up stuff to color wax.
    I hope I haven't jinxed myself, but this is working perfectly. CeCe's & ASCP are thick enough a tiny bit of water does no damage at all.

    Just an idea.

  3. Great idea, Robin! I wipe it clean and use a piece of saran wrap over the top and under the lid to keep it fresh. I also hate the old crusty bits and eventually they ruin the lid and it's impossible to close properly.

  4. Another V-8 moment! Best tip yet! I've been struggling with all those bits lately! Thanks!

  5. I love all the ideas! I have more the crusty bits on my cans and can't even get the lid closed. So dumb question, but do you wipe your brush on the side/lip of the can to get the excess paint off after you've dipped it in, or what do you do with it? Thats where I think my excess paint on the lip comes from. I know my stockist says to use a big syrnge and suck the paint out of the can and into something else and not to paint directly out of the can.

  6. I have been watching a TV programme in the UK called Money for Nothing,If you use a piece of masking tape across the paint can and wipe access paint off the brush using the tape without touching the side of the can