Does Your Paint Get Goobers?

This week we’re talking about your paint, not about local painting companies philadelphia , but how to keep it from drying out, having flakes of rust in it, and having those annoying little things we call paint goobers. Do you know what I’m talking about with paint goobers – the globs that can form in there when the paint starts to dry out?

I have cans of paint that are three, four, five years old, and they’re just as good as when I first got them. So let’s talk about the paint we use for our projects. You’ve probably heard several things about how people care for their paint, so let’s run over those real quick.

  • We have some people that store their paint upside down to keep the air out of the can. I don’t do that because I don’t like paint on my lid. And to me, it’s just kind of messy.
  • We also have had some people take nails and hammer holes into the edge of the top of the can. So if there’s paint on their lid or if they’ve poured it and then you get paint in the well here, it helps it to drain down in. But the problem with that, at least in my eyes, and why I wouldn’t do that, is it just opens up more areas for air to get into your paint. And we don’t want your paint to dry out.

messy paint cans

<<<< This is NOT what my paint cans look like. I keep mine clean and if you were to look at all of them right now, you’d wonder if they were new and never used. I try to do the same for my paint brushes – but more on brushes later!

Let me tell you about a couple things that I do and I think it works very well because I’ve had no problems whatsoever. I’ve only had one thing dry out on me and that’s because I didn’t follow my own rules when it comes to taking care of my paint.



Don’t dip your brushes into your paint can. There’s a possibility if your brush has anything on it that could contaminate your paint. If you paint right from the can, you will have just added whatever was on your brush to your paint. So keep your brushes out of your paint can. I know, that sounds funny…

Pour (use a spoon, preferably instead of pouring) your paint either onto a plate or cup and use it from there. I use either empty throwaway containers like yogurt cups or my little Daisy snack cups that come with a nifty little lid. If you have some left over, you can pop the lid on it and you’ve got it good to go for however many days it takes you to paint your piece.

I would not pour it back into the can after you’re done painting for fear of contaminating your can of paint.



You will want to have your paint in a climate controlled area. Don’t keep it out in your garage while it’s hot or when it’s really, really cold. Only have it in a room that the temperature is at a decent, livable temperature. Treat your paint like you treat yourself. You don’t want your paint to freeze and you don’t want it to get hot.



When I open up a can of paint, I use my little paint can opener that is made for the job. If you use a screw driver, it could damage your lid and let in air when it’s closed.

I use a popsicle stick or plastic spoon to stir it.

Side note: Sometimes I do shake my paint, but usually I just stir it. That way I know there isn’t any deposited on the bottom that needs to be worked back into the rest of the paint. Try not to touch the paint so your hands won’t contaminate your paint. I saw somebody the other day using their finger to scoop it back in from the little well at the top. I would suggest you just take a paper towel and clean it out if you get paint in there.

I close my lids with a piece of wood and hammer. If you just use a hammer, it can bend parts of the lid, possibly letting in air. I grab a piece of wood, place the lid on the can, lay the wood flat over the lid, and hammer it down over the wood so it is nice and evenly placed back on the can giving it a good seal. Rubber mallets work well for this.



I use shrink wrap to wrap the top of the can to block out air that could seep in under the lid. This is expensive paint and I certainly don’t want to pay $35 for a can of paint and have it dry out on me. So I use shrink wrap.


I use several types of paint. One is Old Fashioned Milk Paint. It is originally in powder form that you mix with water. It does come in an air tight bag but after I open it up, I store it in a glass jar, usually a pickle jar. I cut out the label and tape it on the jar. It will only keep a couple of days once you mix it up, but keeping the powder in glass jar will allow it to last indefinitely, if it remains protected from the elements. I don’t know of anybody that’s had their paint go bad if they’ve stored it right.

rusted paint cans

Paint that comes in cans tend to become contaminated if the can rusts. Since I don’t like the rust falling down into my paint, I transfer it to my glass jars and I wrap those too with shrink wrap and then label it with a permanent marker. I don’t always store them immediately in the glass jars right when I open the can. After I’ve used it a few times, then I end up pouring it into a glass jar before it gets a chance to rust.

Others will use FIFO bottles for their paint, but I prefer to use the glass since it recycles my used jars and I try to save money whenever I can. FIFOs are a good choice, but they do cost.



It only takes a moment to take the proper steps to take are of your tools. You’ll spend time or money you don’t need to if you don’t. That moment when open up a can and find that it’s rusted or dried out, or it’s got those goobers in it – ugh. You could strain your paint, but really, why not just store it right so you don’t have to mess with it?

I don’t know about you, but I hate messes. Back when I was a full-time teacher, I was known as the teacher who didn’t like messes. All of my art was mess-free and I was uber careful to keep things in order and managed in order to save time and clean up. My daughter, who home schools her four kids, is the same way.

What can I say? We just don’t like creating messes – life is messy enough on its own!


>>> Take care of your tools and they’ll take care of you. <<<

To find more paint tips, look for me on Instagram. I post lots of tips there, or you can just grab my free PDF, 100 Random Tips for Furniture Flippers, and join THE DROPCLOTH, my weekly email, for some furniture flipping tips, advice and all around good stuff. THE DROPCLOTH has you covered!

Furniture Flipping Forum is a great place to connect up with others who love to paint furniture and come learn a thing or two about furniture flipping. I have some great things planned over the next few weeks!

Happy painting!

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2 thoughts on “Does Your Paint Get Goobers?”

  1. Thanks for the great tips. I never thought about how dipping a paint brush into the paint can could contaminate the paint, but it makes perfect sense. I sometimes have to get pet hair or dirt off the brush while painting. Also, I have been storing paint in my garage. I hope it is still okay to use.


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