Does Spray Paint Expire? (Just how long is it Good for?)

Does Spray Paint ExpireSpray paint is one of those items that’s useful to have stored away for any future DIY projects.

However, it can often sit in storage for long periods between uses and you can’t be sure if it’s still ok to use.

So, exactly how long does spray paint tend to last, and can it be used effectively past its expiration date,

If so what are the things you should be aware of when using expired spray paint?

Does spray paint expire?

Spray paint does expire and it does have an expiration date. This is most often found on the bottom of the can, stating the shelf life from date of production. However, the accuracy of these dates is not an exact projection. Many factors can vary into the shelf life of the cans such as the brand, how they are stored and looked after, as well as following careful instructions when using them.

How long are spray paints in cans good for

The usual rule of thumb when it comes to spray paint cans tends to be a shelf life of 2 to 3 years from production date. This can vary between brands, For example some Montana Spray paints have shelf life of 10years. With spray paint, like other products, the better quality you buy, the more likely it is to last. You get what you pay for. The biggest issue with the cans is most often the aerosols themselves, as after an extended period they can begin to lose pressure and the expiration dates given are usually in reference to how long the aerosol lasts in the can rather than the paints expiration.

Do car spray paint cans expire?

Whether the spray paint is for cars, metal, wood, plastic or any other surface, the expiry dates and reasons for them seem to be largely the same. Pressure loss from the aerosol over time. Your car is definitely something you will want to take great care with, so make sure to always read the instructions for best use or enquire with company of the spray paint can for further details if you are unsure if you can still use an old spray paint you had stashed away years ago.

expiration of spray paint cans

Can you use expired Spray paint?

In some cases, you can still use the spray paint past the expiration date given on the can. Make sure to shake the aerosol can upside down for an extended period (2 minutes or so) before use, and always test the paint before using it on your desired object. Sometimes the cause of a seemingly dead spray paint can be down to a clogged nozzle. In this instance, soak the nozzles in thinners and blow it out with compressed air to clear the pathway. If the issue persists and it seems to be a loss of pressure in the can, it’s still always handy to save and store cleaned nozzles for any future issues with other cans.

Related: How Long Can I Leave Paint in A Paint Sprayer

How to use spray paint when aerosol is expired

If the issue does turn out to be a loss of the aerosol pressure, there is still a good chance that the paint inside is still usable. In an effort to save on waste and buying more paint, you can decant the paint and use it with an airbrush or spray paint gun. To decant the paint from the can, very gently make a small puncture near the top of the can with a sharp object. Allow time for excess pressure to escape before cutting the can open and decanting the paint into a sealable jar, or directly into the spray gun jug. Make sure to stir decanted paint to release all gas and propellent that may be still in the paint before using or storing.

Here is a great guide on how to do it:

How should spray paint be used and stored for maximum usable life?

To get the most life out of your spray paints and beyond their expiration date, taking great care when using and storing them will go a long way. Always make sure to read the instructions and give the can a good shake before using, especially if it is older can. Also, if the paint seems thicker and doesn’t flow well after prolonged storage, try setting the can in some warm water for a few minutes to help thin the liquid, allowing it to mix better. When storing the paint, make sure the lid is put back on correctly and kept in a dry spot, away from direct sunlight.

Try to keep it stored at a reasonable temperature. Above 5° C (41° F), and below 30° C (86° F) would be ideal for storage. Exposure to extreme temperature changes can affect the quality of the product. It is not always practical with storage in garages and sheds, but worth noting for getting the most out of your paints.


Most Popular Spray Paints, How Long can they last?

It’s worth researching into what kinds of spray paint you can buy for the kind of projects and work you will be doing. Different brands have unique qualities and it’s good to know what they offer.


This kind of paint is predominantly designed for use on metal. it is rust proof, UV resistant, and fast drying. It works great 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 production date stated on the bottom of the can.


Another paint designed for industrial use as well as domestic DIY, Krylon is also very useful for metal coatings and rust protection. It can be versatile also, such as the ColorMaster cans which is suitable for other surfaces such as wood, plastic and more. The shelf life stated by Krylon is between 3 to 4 years from production date with good care and storage.


This spray paint is popular with street art communities. The high-pressure paint application is designed for graffiti art and murals. Their popular Gold and Black lines with an acrylic based paint for Gold and lacquer based for Black, allows users to choose the best option for their needs. Montana Guarantees a 10-year shelf life of their spray cans from production if appropriate storage is provided.


This brand is also popularly used for street art. Well known for their bright colours, good user control and general value for money. Great 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 less VOC’s (Volatile Organic Compounds) than other brands. The shelf life for the cans are around 2 years from the production date.

Related Questions

How to dispose of expired spray paint?

If your spray paint is expired and no longer salvageable by any of the stated methods, you’re going to want to get rid of the can. Before doing anything else, try to determine if the can is fully empty or not. If it is empty, or you can spray the remnants out until it is, the can will be able to go out with your normal recycling.

Otherwise, it will need to be separated from your general recycling and put aside for any collections your Local authority may have arranged or be taken to a recycling facility to be disposed of correctly. Always check the instructions on the can on how to dispose of them as well as the regulations on recycling in your area.

Related: Can you Spray Paint Swimming Pool Noodles

Is it safe to store spray paint?

Because spray paint cans are an aerosol, they are highly flammable and you should take great care how you store them, not only to prolong their quality and usage, but to make sure any potential risks are kept at a minimum. Try to keep your paints stored out of direct sunlight, in a dry area away from any potential sparks or flames. Avoid extreme temperatures as storing in too cold or too hot an area can affect both the quality of your paint and increase risks of cans exploding or causing fire damage.

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