Can Spray Paint Freeze? Unlocking the Secrets of Freezing Spray Paint


Last updated: March 27, 2023

Can spray paint freeze if exposed to harsh weather? Naturally, …

Can spray paint freeze if exposed to harsh weather? Naturally, most formulas tend to freeze if exposed to extreme cold weather.

Can the same be said of spray paint?

As with most regular paint and solvents, spray paint can freeze. When this happens, the paint ingredients separate, transforming the paint into a solid mound or thick blobs that can be difficult to use. 

In this guide, we explain the science behind spray paint freezing, plus tips to keep your paint from becoming frozen.

Can Spray Paint Freeze?

Yes, water-based spray paints will freeze at 32 degrees Fahrenheit, while acrylic and oil-based spray paints can freeze at temperatures below 32°F. Under such low temperatures, both the paint and paint cans will freeze. However, spray paint will retain its natural state and viscosity if stored under normal room temperature.

What Temperatures Does Paint Freeze At?

To understand this question, we must first look at the science of spray paint. 

Spray paint is typically made with a unique solvent that enables it to stay in liquid form until it’s used before the solvent evaporates. 

Water is the primary solvent used in latex paints, while oil-based paints are made from organic compounds. 

Some compounds in oil-based paints are environmentally-toxic if released into the atmosphere during evaporation. Generally, aerosol paints should be stored at average room temperature, away from extreme winter weather. 

Keeping spray paints in the garage may be preferable during summer or in warmer climates but may not be advisable if you live in an area prone to extreme cold.  

The type of paint also determines whether it can withstand cold without freezing. For example, water-based spray paints have the same freezing point as water which is 32 degrees Fahrenheit. 

Your water-based spray paint will naturally freeze within an hour of exposure to such temperatures. The lower the temperature, the faster the paint will freeze. Similarly, acrylic and oil-based paints can freeze at temperatures below 32°F. 

Some spray paints can not be used once freezing occurs. Unlike regular paint, you can’t thaw, thin, or reuse them once they harden.  

If your spray paint freezes before you throw away those expensive cans, confirm if it’s still recyclable and usable. Put the paint in a room at standard temperature and wait for the ice to melt, then shake the can to see if the paint will turn into liquid form. If it remains stiff and rigid, it can’t be used again.

Is Paint Freezing Bad?

When paint freezes, it becomes impossible for the pigments and binders to stay together. When this happens, the paint turns into an uneven and runny texture. Using such paint on your walls may produce a different result from what you expected and may even cause damage to your walls. 

In addition, working with frozen paint may be difficult since as the paint can drip and splatter, affecting the outcome of your desired finish. Even worse, frozen paint may take forever to dry, meaning you’ll have to wait longer than necessary before seeing the desired outcome.   

Does Spray Paint Go Bad If It Freezes?

Yes. There’s a 10% chance you can still use your spray paint once it freezes. That may mean the bulk of that paint will go to waste. As a rule, always store your leftover spray paint properly if you intend to use it for future projects or touch-ups. 

But proper paint storage in winter can be tricky, considering that the temperatures can be extreme and may alter the quality of your spray paint. 

Once the temperatures drop to -35, the chances of your spray paint going bad are higher. This may be costly if you have a large stock of paint stored somewhere in your house or garage. 

This is especially true with latex paints which are more vulnerable to cold than other paint types—the lower the temperatures, the more damage to the paint emulsion. 

The texture of latex paint may be completely ruined when the paint thaws, making it clumpy and ropey. Such paint may have frozen for too long and is dead beyond salvaging. The only option you’ll be left with is to let it dry, then wrap it in a newspaper to be disposed of. 

Does Rustoleum Paint Go Bad If It Freezes?

Most Rust-Oleum spray paints are oil-based and of higher quality. But can Rust-Oleum spray paint freeze? While oil-based paints (including Rust-Oleum) can freeze in extreme weather, they do at a much lower pace than water-based and latex paints. 

Still, freezing can cause permanent damage to your paint texture, giving it a strange, uneven consistency. Even after thawing, using such paint may result in clumpiness and an undesirable finish. 

How Can You Keep Your Paint From Freezing?

The painful reality that your spray paint can freeze in cold weather is now more apparent. Since spray paint isn’t cheap, freezing can be too costly, and that’s not what you want to deal with. Fortunately, you can keep your spray paint from freezing with some practical hacks like the ones outlined below: 

Carefully Shut and Seal the Can

Ensure that you close the paint can shut and seal it in its original container to prevent all moisture and contaminants from getting in. 

Check if the container has cracks or holes, as this is one of the quickest ways freezing will occur. Use plastic covers to seal the can to prevent air particles from entering the paint. Also, add insulation around the cans to increase warmth. Checking the paint cans periodically is also advisable, as it helps ensure they’re not leaking or rusting.

Store in a Cool, Dry Place

Storing spray paint in a cool, dry place is a standard procedure that’s often ignored. Once the paint is exposed to cold, the molecules start slowing down before the paint clumps and finally freezes. During winter, consider storing your spray paint in the basement or a warm storage cabinet with temperatures of 60 to 80 degrees F. 

The attic and garage are popular storage locations, but not during winter, which is why you should find alternative storage spaces apart from the attic. You can still store your paint inside the house and adjust the HVAC system to maintain the recommended room temperature. Or, if you can keep the garage warmer in winter, you can conveniently store your paint there. 

Secure the Paint In a Sealed Container

A rubber mallet comes in handy in this step. Securing your aerosol paint cans helps ensure no leakage and that every air particle or pollutant is locked out. Also, think of wrapping up the paint can in newspaper or paper towels and keeping it inside a box or bag to provide insulation for the paint and prevent freezing. 

Heat the Room

Still on proper storage. How about storing your paint in the garage? Instead of leaving them to the elements, you can install heavy-duty foam insulation on the garage walls and doors to maintain a stable temperature.

Or you can invest in high-quality and durable oil-based paint for winter projects. Oil-based paints are less susceptible to cold weather than water-based paints since they’re highly moisture-resistant. However, such paints require you to be extra careful since they contain harmful VOCs, which means you must wear protective equipment when handling them. 

Use a Freeze-thaw Stabilizer

A freeze-thaw stabilizer is another method to keep your spray paint from freezing. This chemical additive is usually added to spray paint and acts as an anti-freezing agent that helps the paint maintain its original quality even in cold weather. 

Can Spray Paint Freeze?

Can I Thaw and Reuse Frozen Paint?

Yes, in some cases, paint can be thawed and reused. To successfully achieve this, follow the steps outlined below: 

Let the paint thaw, then check for lumps. Do this by placing the frozen paint in a warm room to let it thaw out completely. Refrain from using a heater or dryer and let it thaw by itself to retain the quality of the paint, which may be altered by too much heat.  

If you find more clumps, your paint is unusable and should be disposed of. But if it turns out fine after testing the spray paint, consider using it on a different object or allow it to stabilize appropriately for a few more hours before using it on a nice piece of furniture or object.

Note that frozen paint may not retain the original color, quality, or texture once thawed, so if you want to use it on something precious or to create a beautiful glossy finish, you’ll need to buy a new spray paint. 

Can I Use Spray Paint After It Has Frozen?

Absolutely. Frozen spray paint can be recycled and reused. Once the spray paint is frozen, you can warm the can and adjust it to room temperature to make it usable. 

However, if a spray paint can is exposed to cold weather for an extended period, the temperatures may compromise its quality and shelf life. And if the spray paint can is frozen multiple times, it can be impossible to reuse. 

What Happens When an Aerosol Can Freeze?

Contrary to popular perception, aerosol cans do not explode from exposure caused by cold weather. The extreme temperatures may cause the paint to solidify significantly, but that does not mean the can will expand under the weight of frozen paint or explode.  

Instead, when the paint propellant freezes, it loses its vapor pressure. Typically, aerosol cans tend to implode when they freeze. They don’t explode even when the temperature levels are at their lowest.

What to Do If You Accidentally Leave a Can of Paint in Your Garage and it Freezes?

Accidents happen, and you may forget your spray paint in the garage during the winter, entirely at the mercy of the elements. It can be frustrating if you still need to finish an ongoing spray painting project and need to reuse the spray paint. 

What does that mean? Can cans of spray paint freeze? Of course. The spray paint, plus the can, will freeze automatically within an hour. If you dash back to the garage and find that your paint has frozen, you may still salvage it. 

First, check the extent of the damage caused by freezing. If the paint is partially frozen, you can use it without problems. If the paint was left in the garage for several hours or days, you may need to thaw it, but in this case, the quality and texture may be compromised.  

Apply a small portion of the spray paint on a small surface to check the quality of the finish. An uneven and streaky paint finish indicates that it’s too ruined to be reused, and your only option is to get rid of it. 

However, if the finish shows no abnormality, it’s your lucky day; you can still use your paint. However, you should practice better storage methods to prolong its shelf life. 

How to Dispose of Frozen Paint?

Disposing of your frozen and unusable spray paint is risky and requires utmost care and consideration. We’re talking about dealing with formulas containing toxic substances like VOCs, which may harm people and the environment. 

Such substances may even explode if exposed to heat, so you can’t just dump your unused spray paint anywhere. 

To ensure safety and compliance with the proper paint disposal guidelines, call your local waste disposal provider to see if they handle frozen and expired paint. If not, it’s advisable to contact a certified hazardous waste disposal company. 

These professionals have the proper training and safety procedures, making them better positioned to handle such volatile substances. 

Once you find the ideal place for disposal, place the cans in a heavy-duty garbage bag and have them sealed and labeled. The waste disposal service provider or hazardous waste disposal professionals will take it from there. 

They may also offer instructions on how to do it on your own. Just be sure you don’t dump your frozen spray paint with the rest of your trash without professional guidance. 

Of course, these steps will attract a small fee. Still, it’s better and safer than dealing with the consequences of dangerous waste disposal, especially if it attracts the attention of the authorities. 

FAQS: Can Spray Paint Freeze

What temp does spray paint freeze?

Any temperatures above 90°F will cause your spray paint to freeze, and anything below 50°F may compromise the quality of your paint. Extreme cold causes the paint to freeze, while extreme heat can cause an explosion. 

How Cold is Too Cold for Aerosol Cans?

One hundred twenty degrees Fahrenheit is too cold for aerosol cans. Always maintain the temperature range of 50-90 degrees Fahrenheit, whether storing aerosol cans or using spray paint. High humidity levels above 90 will cause freezing, and 120°F is the maximum level your aerosol cans should be exposed to. 

Can spray paint be stored in the garage?

Yes. The garage is a great place to store your spray paint. But you need to ensure the temperatures are conducive for storage. During winter, keep the garage temperatures within the 50-90 degrees Fahrenheit range to curb freezing. 

Can Rust oleum paint freeze?

Yes. Even the best quality spray paints like Rust-Oleum can freeze in extreme weather. An excellent way to avoid this is through proper storage. Ensure the paint cans are properly shut to prevent moisture from getting into the can, which will cause the paint to harden and freeze. 

Will cans of paint freeze in the garage?

Paint should be stored in a cool, dry place. However, during winter, your paint cans may freeze if stored in the garage. So unless your garage has a heater and the temperatures are conducive for storage, you shouldn’t leave them there but should find a warmer storage space. 

Content Summary – Can Spray Paint Freeze??

Can spray paint cans freeze? Anyone whos worked with spray paint has asked themselves this question at some point. If you’re one of them, you’ve come to learn that spray paint and aerosol cans can freeze, and when they do, the paint may or may not be usable depending on how long the paint stays frozen and the type of paint under consideration. 

You now understand why you should store your spray paint in ideal conditions to preserve its quality and lifespan. Otherwise, if left to the elements, you could have more undesirable outcomes and unnecessary losses. 

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