Aerosol spray cans are extremely useful and for good reasons.
This is why these are now used for holding a variety of liquids like car cosmetics, hairsprays, air fresheners, cleaning agents, roach killers, paints, varnishes, and much more.
Although the spray cans make spraying the fluid much easier, it can sometimes be fairly difficult to get them opened.
This is especially true with spray paint cans.
Rather than making your project quick and easy, the issue makes your spray-painting task much more frustrating and time-consuming.
Because, no matter how hard you try to open the lid by pushing things together, nothing seems to be working to get the cap opened.
So, how you can make the spray paint can open up fast?
Fortunately, if you do it right and follow the right steps it’s pretty easy and fast to open up a spray paint can – without applying too much force.
As a first step, you need to read the instructions provided on the cap of your spray paint can.
You have it all there (on most of the branded products) about how you need to open the spray paint can cap without making the can or the inside nozzle damaged.
Depending on the type of aerosol spray can you will either need to squeeze the cap gently or use a screwdriver to flip open up the lid.
For squeezing use your fingers to gently hold the cap sideways.
Once you hold the cap right, by applying a bit of pressure you can open the can very easily.
In some of the spray paint cans, there is a small square hole, provided on the side of the cap.
By using a flathead screwdriver, you can access this hole and push it up lightly towards the top of the can by applying the pressure vertically.
This will help to remove the cap of the can very easily.
Make sure that you do not apply too much pressure as it can damage the nozzle inside.
How to Open a Spray Paint Can when the Spray is Broken?
It can be quite annoying to have the spray on your spray paint can break or become unusable when you still have plenty of paint left in the can.
Depending on the type of can bottle (like Krylon, Rustoleum, Fiddly Bits, Polyurethane, or others), it may be possible to extract the paint so it can still be used.
What follows are a number of techniques that may be used to pull the remaining paint content out of the broken spray paint can.
What You Need
You will definitely need a spray paint can and a pair of protective goggles before you start your work.
In addition, one or more of these items may be handy to have as well.
- Actuators, Receptacle, or Hammer
- Ice Pick or Punch, Screw or Fishhook
You’ll also need safety goggles to cover your eyes and a mask to protect your nose and mouth.
Be sure that you are not near any open flames or extreme heat sources.
Once you have the items needed, you can now try one of the following methods.
1- Replacing a Functional Actuator
Remove the actuator which is the tip located at the top of the can.
If there is only a hole and no tube, then it is easy to replace the actuator itself.
However, if the actuator is broken you will need to use another method.
The same is true if there is a tube sticking out of the top of the spray can bottle.
Some hardware stores carry actuators, although you can use one from a used can of spray paint.
Replace and it should be ready to go.
2- Replacing a Broken Actuator
Here, you’ll need the fishhook or thin screw. Insert it just a little into the broken actuator at the top of the can.
Now, pull the broken actuator out of the can.
You can take the broken actuator to a hardware store to find a replacement.
Once found, you can fit the new tip on the spray can bottle.
3- Outie Can
An Outie can is when the spray paint canister will have a tube sticking out with an intact actuator located at the bottom.
You’ll need to find a place to do the work where you don’t mind splattering paint.
Hold the can upside down, and press the exposed tube into the ground. If you see paint, stop and get something to catch the paint.
Repeat until you get all the paint.
However, if no paint comes out, then you’ll need to use a drill or screwdriver that has a thin screw.
Drill through the tube until you hear the distinctive hissing sound of paint escaping.
Stop the drill and let the propellent get out. Once that has happened, you can pour the paint into a container.
4- Punch a Hole
If all other methods fail, then you will need to get an ice pick or similar tool along with a hammer.
Brace the can in an upright position. Then, place the ice pick at the top of the can where it meets the body of the can.
Gently at first hammer the pick into the can.
Your goal is to puncture and make a small hole so the propellent can escape. Once it is gone, pour the paint into a receptacle.
The Bottom Line
Spray paint aerosol cans are easy to open with a screwdriver if you know the right technique.
However, these pressurized spray cans are tricky to deal with if you find the nozzle or a tip broken.
Hopefully, with the above steps and strategies, you can easily open the defective piece and get the paint out of a spray can.
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Jack Luis is a semi-retired painter who loved painting his clients’ ideas on their walls.
He had worked as a painter for over a decade serving customers in areas such as Charleston, Mount Pleasant, Beaufort, and Georgetown, SC (South Carolina). Today in his free time, he likes to read and write about the newer techniques implemented in his profession. You may read more about him here or get in touch with him here.