How long are emulsion paints durable?


Modern wall paints are often called "dispersion paints," although this broad term applies to other paints as well. If properly stored, containers that have already been opened can last for many months, sometimes even years. We will clarify whether you can still use your emulsion paint long after your purchase or if it is time to dispose of it and buy a new bucket.

Extend the shelf life by proper storage

Unopened emulsion paints usually have a minimum shelf life of 24 months, some brands are even tendered for up to 60 months. However, if the container is opened, the biodegradation by registered germs accelerates.

Always store opened emulsion paints as cool as possible, but frost-free. Seal the container airtight and do not store any objects such as brushes or rollers in residual color: this way you will contribute to an extended shelf life.

Can I still use my old emulsion paint?

Sometimes a bucket of wall paint stands in the cellar for years before its owner brings it out and opens it again. If the emulsion paint has been stored in the manner indicated above, there is nevertheless a good chance that it will still be usable. How to find out:

  • Stir vigorously the emulsion paint: Do individual components combine to form a homogeneous mass?
  • Pay attention also to solids and dirt in the paint!
  • Smell the paint: A foul odor says you should better dispose of it.

A homogeneous, well-smelling color without impurities is usually still very good for a coat of paint. However, if one of these three aspects is missing, you should better dispose of the emulsion paint and buy a new one.

It is unpredictable how quickly an initial color decays, which is why you are completely dependent on your own senses. The expiry date on the vessel is overridden when the lid is opened.

Tips & Tricks

Water diluted with paint usually breaks down faster than undiluted material. This is because there are always some germs in the water, which then multiply. The storage of undiluted, aqueous paints therefore has greater prospects of success.


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