Why does spray paint stop working midway through use?


I have two cans of paint of the same reputable brand and same batch that just stopped working whilst I was using them. I unclogged the nozzles with a pin but in both cases they were working 30 seconds earlier. Ambient temp was about 61°F with 95% humidity although with one it had also been warmer. No gas coming out and definitely still paint inside. Could they instantly be too old?

  13 answers
  • Dee Dee on Feb 01, 2021

    Did you shake the paint up really good. Try that first or buy a spray paint handle. The handle makes spraying easier on the hands. If that does not work go exchange the paint in the store you purchased it in. I have had to do that and they hardware stores will do an exchange.

  • Mogie Mogie on Feb 01, 2021

    Hold The Can Upside Down

    If you continue to have problems with blocked spray paint cans, try hold the can upside down and shaking it well. The pressure will transfer to the bottom of the can (or top s it is now upside down).

    When ready, apply some pressure to the nozzle and wait for the can to start spraying its contents. The pressure built up inside the can should push any blockages through and make the can useful once more.

    Alternatively, you can try to remove any small pieces of dry paint or blockages with a pin. Simply pick them away from the nozzle and repeat the spraying method above. Make sure that you do not pierce the can or aerosol. The pressure inside could cause the can to erupt and cause serious damage.

    Clean The Nozzle

    If you have tried all of the above and continue to have problems using your spray cans, try cleaning the spray nozzle thoroughly. This can be done by gently removing the nozzle from the can and adding it to a small solution of lacquer thinner. You can use the can cap as a small bowl for this.

  • Redcatcec Redcatcec on Feb 01, 2021

    Here' some steps you can try:


    This sounds like a lot of messing around with the spray paint can, personally, I would return it to the store.

  • Betsy Betsy on Feb 01, 2021

    Hi Thea: Pull the nozzle off and clean it really well and push your pin into the top of the can - careful - to clean out anything that may be stuck in there. Also, be sure to shake the can really well for at least a minute. Put the nozzle on and it should work. If not, take them back to the store and see if you can get replacements.

    Good luck

  • Chloe Crabtree Chloe Crabtree on Feb 01, 2021

    Here are some tips on how to fix a spray paint can that stop working: https://www.hunker.com/13415569/how-to-repair-a-defective-spray-can-nozzle

  • Vimarhonor Vimarhonor on Feb 02, 2021

    This is quite frustrating. I’ve had it happen with a Bulleye 123 spray primer recently. I called the company and they refunded my purchase price. Still disappointment I am not sure why it happens but you may want to call them to see if they have a customer satisfaction guarantee for compensation.

    • Thea Thea on Feb 07, 2021

      As it happens I got them

      on special because the manufacturer was going out of business.

  • Kathy Gunter Law Kathy Gunter Law on Feb 02, 2021

    I would reach out to the supplier, hopefully they will refund or replace it. If they sit too long on the shelf, the propellant will "give out" before it is empty. Too bad it doesn't have a manufactured date to help you choose wisely when picking up off the shelf. My husband picks them up and shakes them. Then listens for the ball inside. He says the longer it takes the ball to be heard, the older it is. Not sure if that is true but since I've started doing that, I haven't lost any spray paint to the issue.

    • Thea Thea on Feb 02, 2021

      I think you’ve hit the nail on the head. They were half price and it’s a less popular colour.

  • Arrow Arrow on Feb 02, 2021

    Always shake, turn upside down and clear before you start and in between. Buy extra tips. Better than the tips that come with them. Get from art store. Game changer

  • The paint dries in the tip as it sprays out. Very frustrating, I know. If it’s the spray tip, remove it and soak it in acetone. If it’s the metal tip on the can, your time might be better served exchanging them at the store.

  • Johnavallance82 Johnavallance82 on Feb 08, 2021

    Hello Thea,

    It stops because, all the paint has been expelled and only the gas is left!

  • Lindsay Aratari Lindsay Aratari on Feb 28, 2021

    May only have the gas left in the can, rather than the paint