10 Things Never to Do With Your Paint

open cans of paint and color swatches
  • 1-100 hours
  • Intermediate
  • 0-3,000

Even though paint is one of the least expensive ways to create a new look for furniture or give new life to dark paneling, the price of paint still represents an investment, so make it last as long as you can and use it efficiently to get the most bang for your buck. Also keep safety in mind when storing and using paint. For the best results, keep these, “Never Do” tips in mind.

1. Don't Store Paint in the Heat or Cold

Extreme heat will ruin your paint by altering the chemical makeup. At the very least, heat will likely affect the pigments in your paint, leaving you with a different color than you began with. Watch for high temps in your garage or outdoor shed to avoid these issues.

Similarly, storing paint in the cold produces many of the same ill effects. Even worse is storing your paint in an environment that fluctuates from cold to hot. Read the label of your paint for the recommended temperature range and store your cans accordingly.

2. Don't Paint Appliances

Most paints can't tolerate the type of heat appliances such as a clothes dryer or stove produce. There are a select few paints made specifically for appliances, but you'll need to invest some elbow grease to make sure appliance surfaces are meticulously clean and properly prepped for the paint to adhere. Our advice is to skip the appliance paint and add color to other elements of your kitchen instead.

colorful kitchen island with stools

3. Don't Paint Pots and Pans

If your pots and pans look grungy, replace them or use effective cleaners rather than trying to give them a facelift with paint. Typically, the end result will be flaking colors that leave your cookware appearing more shabby and more toxic than before.

4. Don't Paint Furniture Fabric

It might seem like an effective way to update an older looking sofa that still offers good structural support, but attempting to paint fabric furniture is a waste of time and money. Trust us—the result will be a mess combined with a coarse feel to your fabric. That's not to say fabric painting is impossible, it just requires the right technique.

5. Don't Paint Unprepped Surfaces

Preparation is essential to a long-lasting and good-looking paint job. Never slap paint on a wall without first doing the proper prep work. This might include patching holes, sanding, texturing, cleaning the surface, and using a primer. Your efforts will be rewarded—you'll save money since less paint will be required for the project.

dirty wooden surface

6. Don't Paint Over Toxins

Never paint directly over mold, mildew, lead-based paint, or asbestos. Instead, make sure to treat or remove toxic materials and prep the wall before the final coat of paint. Otherwise the dangerous substances can leak through over time and cause serious health hazards.

7. Don't Leave Paint Accessible

Paint can be toxic to pets, children, and anyone who misuses it. Always keep your paint containers out of reach of children of all ages, even those who might seem old enough to know better. Choose a locked cabinet someplace far away from any open flames for your storage.

8. Don't Paint in an Enclosed Space

Paint fumes can cause a host of medical issues, ranging from trouble breathing to passing out. While painting even a small project, ensure the space offers proper ventilation in the form of open windows, fans, vents, or outside work.

Additionally, it's not a great idea to work without some kind of protective face mask, especially when working with spray paints that can blow around, as paint particles can be dangerous to inhale.

man painting a wall with a spray gun

9. Don't Paint Electronics

Sure, the idea of a pink speaker is appealing, but skip the urge to paint it, or any other type of electronic device. The wetness from the paint can cause damage to electrical components, and can also block critical mechanisms like computer vents.

10. Don't Throw Paint in the Trash

Paint is considered a hazardous material and should never be tossed into the trash while in liquid form. To dispose of paint with a small amount left in the can, remove the lid and allow it to dry out. For larger amounts pick up an additive from the paint or home improvement store that will help solidify it. Better yet, use up your excess paint, donate cans to your local Habitat for Humanity, or wait for a chemical round-up event in your area.