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I left a 10ltr tin of smooth masonry paint outside last year I went to open it yesterday and discovered a crack in the lid,and when I opened it it was full of foul smelling water sitting on top of the paint I poured off as much as I could but needless to say some went into the paint, if I paint my walls,will the smell go away or is this paint beyond saving?look forward to your advice. I have heard white vinegar could help but not sure..

  • Note that if the paint is a water-based paint, and was left outside where it could freeze, then the freezing has probably destroyed the paint. – Hot Licks Jul 14 '17 at 11:38
  • This doesn't answer the question, but next time store your half-empty paint tins upside down. That will guarantee you don't get any evaporation if the lid doesn't fit perfectly. It also makes the lid easy to remove in future, because it doesn't get stuck to the tin by a layer of dried paint. – alephzero Jul 14 '17 at 19:41
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TLDR: Don't use dodgy or bad paint, it will cost you way too much in your time to fix the result.

The foul-smelling water is part of the paint, and you just wrecked the paint. It is foul-smelling because it contains things other than water, which perform a necessary function to curing the paint. It won't work without it. It is normal for paint components to separate out, leaving watery stuff at the top and solids at the bottom. So your reflex should never be to "dump it off".

Although realistically, if you had a crack in the lid, the essential volatile chemicals in that paint will have dried out regardless, even if they were replaced by rainwater -- it is now no longer functional paint.

Also, do not leave paint where it will freeze or get hot from the sun, and if you did, throw it out because it will not be reliable.

Alternately, you have low-VOC latex paint which has turned moldy (the VOCs, now outlawed, did a pretty good job of arresting mold). Anytime you get stinky paint, Do Not Use It because the stink will not go away. We have plenty of questions like "I painted my house with stinky paint, now my house smells disgusting and it won't go away, I've tried everything, what do I do?" The solutions are not easy. In most cases, their motivation was to save money.

People forget the big cost of a paint job is not the paint.

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    I would add that if you've never seen paint separate its liquid stuff from solid, perhaps you've never opened a can of paint that's sat for a year, and are more in the habit of using new paint. Either your paint store has high turnover, or unbeknownst to you they're putting it on the paint shaker before handing it to you. (or it's a custom color which MUST be shaken.) – Harper - Reinstate Monica Jul 13 '17 at 18:13
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    if a can of paint is stored correctly and settles, is it ok to stir back up and use it? The factory seal is still intact and the paint doesn't stink. (Asking this question for others, as I've already had the paint shaken and put on the walls) – self.name Jul 13 '17 at 19:03
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    @self.name That is a different question. The answer is yes: if the paint has only settled and not spoiled, that is a normal thing. Take it to a paint or hardware store (ideally the one where you bought it) and have them run it through their paint shaker. – Kaz Jul 13 '17 at 19:47
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    @self.name it better be, because when they sold you the paint, they took a settled can off the shelf, added pigment, and shook it. There is also a thing called a "paint stick", which combined with forearms and time, will allow you to duplicate the effects of a paint shaker at home. Not to be confused with a "stick shaker", the use of which you should aim to avoid. – Harper - Reinstate Monica Jul 13 '17 at 20:45
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    "There are mixers for power drills" ... indeed there are, but before you attack the paint, make sure the mixer is not going to spray it all out of the paint tin and onto everything nearby - including yourself! A piece of wood and some "elbow grease" works just as well as a power tool, with less risk of an accident. – alephzero Jul 14 '17 at 19:38

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