Does Acrylic Paint Expire?

Does Acrylic Paint Expire

Among the prominent families of paints, there is acrylic paint. Acrylic paint has many advantages, including a more natural composition (sometimes even ecological) and good covering power. In contrast, acrylic paints are generally more durable than other types of paint. But does acrylic paint expire? This is one of the most commonly asked questions by painters and craft-makers. 

Here is a quick snapshot of what I’ve found:

Does Acrylic Paint Expire?

Acrylic paints do expire, but if stored well and under the right conditions, they can last for more than ten years, with manufacturers marking the shelf life directly on their products. Acrylic paint can deteriorate over time after opening the tube or jar. However, dried acrylic paint can be recovered with water and reused.

In the rest of the article, we’ll tell you what you need to know about the lifespan of acrylic paint.

So, let’s get going!

Does acrylic paint go bad?

Yes, acrylic paints can go bad with time after the tube or jar has been opened. After it’s opened and closed back, acrylic paint can go bad if it’s not completely protected from air, in a humid environment, if it’s mixed with another paint and stored or if it’s turned into another container. 

Manufacturers indicate an expiration date directly on their products. However, an unopened can of acrylic paint will last for at least 10 years before going bad.

How long does acrylic paint last once opened? 

The paint can be kept for 5 to 10 years if the jar is well-closed and stored once opened. Ensure you seal the jar hermetically and keep it away from frost, sun, and humidity.

Can acrylic paint grow mold?

Acrylic paint in tube form or larger containers can become moldy over time when not used for a long time and in a humid environment with foreign contaminants. 

What does expired paint look like?

An expired paint may smell sour, acrid, or like rotten eggs. Other signs of bad paint are mold growth. The paint may also dry up may no longer be mixed. 

Is expired acrylic paint toxic?

Old, expired acrylic paint should be disposed of quickly and professionally because chemical and microbiological changes have already taken place here. 

Is expired paint still usable?

If the expiration date is approaching and your paint is in shades of white, you can use it as a primer. Also, if the paint has only gotten dry, you can simply add little water, mix and reuse. 

What happens if you use expired paint?

Expired paint may have a poor coating, stain, delaminate, crack, or fail to create the coating initially intended to produce. 

How do I restore and use old acrylic paint?

  • If the paint is old, it may have a plastic layer. So, cut off the hard top layer with a knife.  
  • Close the bottle again and shake it vigorously. You can also use a mixer for this. 
  • If you see that the paint has lumps, strain it through a cheesecloth or strainer to get rid of them.
  • Add water and mix well, as acrylic paint is water-based, .
  • In the same way, if you mix with other new paints, make sure they are of the same composition and base. 

What to do with expired paint?

If the paint has expired and only got dry, you can mix it with water and reuse it. You can also mix with a jet of turpentine, which will help you recover the paint.

If you are not going to recover and use it, dispose of the paint safely in an ecological way. They definitely should not be disposed of in the sewage system or together with other household waste. Take them to a local waste disposal point. 

There are hundreds of drop-off points that pick them up for free. 

How to store and extend the shelf life of acrylic paint?

There are a few rules to follow to ensure optimal storage.

1. Protect it from the air

The most important thing to keep the paint for a long time is to avoid its contact with the air. Before closing the lid, cover the jar with plastic wrap to avoid contact with air.

2. Avoid storage in a humid environment

Paint abhors damp environments. Moreover, it can cause its container to rust. If the corrosion gets into the paint, you should discard it. 

3. Keep it in the original container

Many people mistakenly believe that pouring the paint into another container (smaller) will extend its life. A glass container allows light to pass through and deteriorates the liquid. In contrast, a plastic jar is not made to store a chemical product such as paint. The paint is stored better in the container in which it was sold.

4. Storing your paint container upside down

It is ideal for storing your paint container upside down. In this way, the paint seals the container properly, preventing air from entering. However, you have to make sure you have closed the lid perfectly before putting it upside down. To avoid damage, it is better to add protection. For example, place the container on a cardboard box if there are leaks.

5. Keep it away from cold

It’s essential to keep acrylic paints, mediums, and varnishes away from cold environments. The texture will become grainy, lumpy, or rubbery if they freeze up. And, even when you try bringing it back to life by reheating it and removing the deposits, the paint will be irrecoverable.

6. Mixes don’t mix

Are you left with two non-identical yellow paint that looks very similar? The mistake would be to put them in a single container before storing them. Despite their similarities, these paints probably do not have the same components, resulting in an aesthetic disaster when used. 


How long does acrylic paint last outside?

If you have the surface treated and the paint sealed, acrylic paint can last for 5 to 10 years outside. 

Does spray paint go bad if it freezes?

The texture may change when frozen and make them unusable in that condition. However, once they’re reheated and returned to room temperature, you should be able to reuse 

Why is my acrylic paint chunky?

If the paint has gone chunky, it may be that it’s expired, been improperly stored, or is drying up. You can recover the paint by simply adding some water or thinner and then remixing. 

What can you do with bad acrylic paint?

Acrylic paint that’s expired or dried up can be mixed with water and reused. If it smells, looks bad, and you think it’s irrecoverable, you can dispose of it at the local waste disposal center. 

Final Words

Acrylic paint does expire. However, expiration isn’t the only reason they can go bad. Acrylic paint will go bad if stored in a humid or cold environment if it’s exposed to too much air or you try mixing it with another paint that “seems similar”. However, a well-stored acrylic paint should last for 5 to 10 years after first use and when properly stored. Unopened acrylic paints should last more than ten years. 

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *