How to Unfreeze Paint – Paint Storage Tips

How to unfreeze paint? Woke up this morning to answer my friend who just had a full box of acrylic paint got frozen overnight. Since acrylic and latex paints are water-based, chances are high that they will freeze in cold winter.

You can thaw the paint and revive it to use the paint. However, it will affect the consistency of the paint hence, may not always do the best finishing you expect.

What happens if paint freezes

The emulsion in the paint can get damaged as it freezes at a lower temperature. Water-based paint get freezes at 32 degrees Fahrenheit while oil-based may survive lower temperatures. Thawing your water paint can revive but not always it can serve the best finishing since it goes through a transformation in texture and quality. You may not like the result of applying acrylic paint that has been thawed. So,  think twice before you jump to do an important project with paint that has been unfrozen. My trick is, to give the benefit of the doubt, and do a little test before going for the main painting.

freeze Paint solution

How to fix frozen acrylic paint

You might be thinking of putting it inside your microwave and everything is gonna be fine like my friend did! But unfortunately, no. You might restore your frizzy paint but there is no shortcut like giving them a heatwave shower. You have to let the paint get in a normal place following some proper steps. So, here is your guide on how to Unfreeze Paint!

Let paint to thaw on its own

If you are not in a super rush to use the frizzy paint, let it thaw on its own by keeping it at warm room temperature. This process is the wisest option because it will do less damage and chances are high that you will have a successful unfreezing done.

Quick fix warm bath 

Those of you who do not want to wait can choose this warm bath process. You have to simply soak the tube inside a tub full of warm water. Make sure that the paint can or tube is completely sealed because you do not want the water to go inside and damage your paint leaving no hope. Keep a heavy weight on top of the drowned paint container. It will take no more than 1 to 2 hours approximately to thaw but it also depends on the amount of paint. Check after 5-6 minutes if it is a tube and 60 minutes for a big container. Remember, the water should not be hot at all, it should be warm.

Stir and mix well after thawing  

The crucial point is to stir and mix the paint after thawing. The element of the paint gets separated as it freezes. Thus, it requires a well stirring to mix up the water and pigment to bring your paint to normal consistency. Mix slowly and steadily and VOILA your paint gets back to life surviving a tour from the ice age!

Check before applying

The frozen paint needs to be checked after unfreezing because freezing can make lumps in the paint. You have to check out thoroughly if there is any lumpy or cottage cheese-like texture that remains after mixing. If you fail to make sure the consistency is smooth before painting, the paint color may come different and the finishing may not be up to the mark.

How to fix frozen acrylic paint

How to unfreeze paint brushes

Unlike paint, unfreezing your paintbrushes are easy. Just put your brushes at room temperature and let them thaw naturally. If that is not what you are looking for, just soak your brushes in warm water, get rid of the water and you are good to go!

How to unfreeze paint brushes

How to store acrylic paint in cold – Storage Tips

The best practice is not to buy acrylic paint more than you need especially if it is winter or you live in a cold hemisphere. You have to store paint and store it mindfully otherwise it may get ruined.

Choose a suitable place for storing your paint. It could be a place which does not get cold or scorching hot. Keep it in a simply cool place, beware, it should not be cold. A dry and dark place like your attic or basement can be an ideal choice but if you have any better option at your place go ahead and select that place.

Always store your paint in an airtight container. Using a plastic wrap over the paint helps make it airtight. Then place the lid cautiously and pound using a rubber mallet. Finally, keep the container upside down to confirm your airtight seal. There should not be any chance left of dripping paint from the container by sealing them perfectly with the plastic wrap and the lid. That’s the way, it does work!


I have got some frequently asked queries answered for you below.

1. Does freezing ruin paint?


Ans. Water-based latex or acrylic paints are prone to freeze and damage in cold. In the case of oil-based paint, freezing may not be damaging. However, thaw your paint properly and check out if the paint seems smooth and has no odour after thawing, give it a go. Use it on a random surface to test if it does work or not because a big project can be ruined by using it. My suggestion is not to depend on the frozen paint for any important project to avoid failure.

2. Can paint freeze overnight?

can paint freeze over night

Ans. It depends on the temperature level. Latex or acrylic paint can start to freeze faster at 32 degrees Fahrenheit. Your paint may freeze in one hour at this temperature. It will take even faster to freeze in lower than 20 degrees. So, yeah you can expect to have your water-based paint frozen overnight if not stored well.

Closing Words

Congratulations if you have been successful in the whole how to unfreeze paint process. But if you are not, and the paint is a waste you have to safely dispose the ruined paint. Your area may have unique laws and rules for disposing of paint which you must follow. You can mix the paint with your kitty litter, allow the combined mixture to sit for an hour and then throw it in the garbage. Finally, Do not forget to put your mask, gloves and glasses on to keep yourself safe during this paint thawing time.

About Emon Hawlader

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