Paint Can Cleaning and Sealing Tips

After buying a new can of paint, open the can, and wipe any excess paint off the inside of the lid to prevent it from hardening.

To better seal a paint can and make it easier to open, place a plastic shopping bag over the top of the paint can before hammering on the lid.

Watch this video to find out more.

Further Information

Joe Truini: The very first thing you need to do when you bring home a new can of paint is pry off the lid, then use a paper towel or rags to clean paint off the bottom of the lid, as I did here.

The reason is when they shake the can of paint at the store to blend the colors that’s great, except what happens if you don’t clean after the paint, this is what you end up with. The paint drips from the underside of the lid, it hardens, then these little chips fall of in the paint, then the next time you go to paint, those little chips end up on the wall or the ceiling, and you want to avoid that.

So after you clean off the lid, and before you replace it, use a plastic bag to cover the can. So cover the entire rim of the can with a plastic bag, then put on the lid.

Now, the plastic bag serves three purposes. First, it helps seal out air so the paint will stay fresher. It keeps paint from getting on the underside of the lid, so you don’t have to keep cleaning it. But more importantly, it makes a lot easier to remove the lid, next time you go to paint.


  1. When hammering the paint can lid down, use a small 2×4 block spread across the can’s lid and then hammer the lid down. Rotate several times. This will ensure the lid is on evenly. Just make sure that you do not hammer too hard that you bend the can and lid.

    I have been using the plastic lid trick for many years. Just be careful when removing it so as not get wet paint from it onto anything that you do not want paint on.

  2. I’ve always turned my paint cans over onto their lids after I am finished putting the lid back on. The paint will seal the lid and prevent any air from entering the can, preventing drying paint inside.


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