I was just about to do some touchup work in a room when I discovered upon opening the can that the remaining paint had thickened into a much thicker consistency. I think the lid may not have been on correctly.

Can I use it as is for touch ups? Or would it be best to apply some kind of thinner? Do I have to go out and buy paint thinner, or is there something else I could use that would spare me the trip to the store?

Its latex paint, about a year old. From Benjamin Moore.

  • The answer to that depends on what kind of paint it is - can you post more details?
    – MT_Head
    May 18, 2011 at 1:19

5 Answers 5


Latex paint can generally be thinned with plain water... but I'd test with a very small quantity and a piece of scrap wood first. If you can't get a good consistency, there are thinners made specifically for latex - SCL-Sterling makes one called Thin-X Latex that I used a while back, with good results.


You can thin the paint with FLOETROL. You can use up to 1/4 of the volume of the paint to bring it back to a good spreadable consistency.


I had about 1-1/2" of silly putty in the bottom of a 5 yr old gallon of latex paint. I put about 1/2" of paint thinner in a 16 oz cottage cheese tub, then filled the tub about 3/4 full with hot water, then dumped the water/thinner mixture into the gallon can and stirred for a while. Got something resembling paint, easily good enough for touch up, but will need to strain it for my little project.

  • 1
    Have you actually used this yet?
    – Niall C.
    Jul 15, 2013 at 1:59

I too had a similar problem with dried paint. Took a few paint "chunks" out of the dried gallon and let sit in plastic cup with a bit of hot water. After some stirring and the "chunks" had softened, while wearing rubber gloves, carefully spread one of the bigger softened chunks along the touch up area (dent from a chair) then smoothed out with the brush. it worked like a charm!


I put very hot water into a small plastic container which contained the Latex Paint "Putty" that I took from the bottom of the paint can. I stirred it with the thin end of an artist's brush, and I was able to paint with it and use the paint for touch up!

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