Is Spray Paint Flammable When Dry?

Is Spray Paint Flammable When Dry?

In the fascinating world of aerosols and solvents, an area often overlooked is the flammability of spray paint – particularly, when it’s dry. You might be surprised to know that this seemingly harmless product used to refurbish your home may actually be quite the fire hazard. Understanding this fact can play a significant role in ensuring your safety when handling and storing spray paint. Read along as we unravel the intriguing details about the flammability of spray paint and what happens when it dries.

Is Spray Paint Flammable When Dry

What is Spray Paint?

Spray paint is a type of paint that is packaged in a pressurized canister and released through a valve to create a fine mist when the valve is depressed. This mode of delivery offers a smooth finish, making it a popular choice in various fields like automotive painting, home refurbishing and art creation.


You can think of spray paint as a sort of aerosolized paint that is designed for quick application on surfaces. Instead of using paintbrushes or rollers, you simply depress the valve on top of a spray can to emit a mist of paint. Interestingly, it can cover a large area swiftly without leaving visible brush strokes, ideal for a variety of surfaces such as metal, plastic, wood, and others.


Spray paint is composed of four main elements: pigments, binders, solvents, and propellants. Pigments provide the color and opacity, binders bind the pigment particles together and to the surface, solvents dissolve the pigment and binder to let them flow out of the can, and propellants create the pressure necessary to spray the paint out of the can. Please note that the solvent component is critical in terms of flammability, as we’ll discuss later.

Flammability of Spray Paint

Spray paint is listed as a highly flammable product due to its composition. Both wet and dry, spray paint can be a fire hazard, although dried paint is typically less flammable.

Flammable Components

The main flammable component in spray paint is the solvent. Solvents are necessary for creating a sprayable product, but they are often organic compounds like toluene and acetone which are highly flammable.

Flammability Classification

In terms of flammability, spray paint is usually classified as extremely flammable because it can easily cause fire or explosion. This is due to the mix of chemicals within it, such as solvents and propellants, which have a very low flash point, meaning they quickly vaporize and can set alight or explode when exposed to a heat source or flame.

Factors Affecting Flammability

The flammability of spray paint can be affected by several factors, including the solvent content, surface preparation, application method, and drying time.

Solvents Content

The flammability of spray paints hinges largely on their solvent content. The higher the solvent content, the more flammable the spray paint will be.

Surface Preparation

The preparation of the surface onto which the spray paint is applied can also impact flammability. A poorly prepared surface, for instance, one that is oily or greasy, can increase the risk of a fire hazard due to the addition of more flammable materials.

Application Method

The way you apply the paint can also affect its flammability. Applying too much paint in one area can lead to a higher concentration of flammable solvent, thus increasing the risk of fire.

Drying Time

The drying time also plays a role in flammability. Until it dries, spray paint remains highly flammable; drying reduces the threat as the solvents within the paint evaporates. Therefore, you should take precautions to prevent fire hazards during this drying time.

Safety Measures

Given the flammability of spray paints, there are several safety measures to keep in mind when using them.


Always use spray paint in a well-ventilated area to prevent the build-up of flammable solvent vapors. Enclosed spaces can concentrate these vapors, increasing the risk of a fire or explosion.

Fire Safety Precautions

Avoid any sources of sparks, static electricity, or open flames when using spray paint. Also, equip your workspace with basic fire safety items like a fire extinguisher and familiarize yourself with local fire safety regulations.


Store spray paint cans properly when not in use. Keep them in a dry, cool, and well-ventilated place out of direct sunlight and away from heat sources to decrease the risk of accidental ignition.


Follow proper disposal methods for spray paint cans. Don’t throw them in with regular garbage, especially if they’re still half-full. Many areas have specific facilities for hazardous waste disposal, which is the safer option.

Is Spray Paint Flammable When Dry

Alternatives to Flammable Spray Paint

In case you’re looking for options with lower flammability, you can consider using water-based spray paint or non-flammable spray paint.

Water-based Spray Paint

Water-based spray paints are a good alternative because they have lower VOC (Volatile Organic Compounds) levels than their solvent-based counterparts. They are less flammable, making them a safer choice. Although the finish might not be as shiny as solvent-based paint, they still offer good coverage and durability.

Non-flammable Spray Paint

Non-flammable spray paints are another alternative. These use non-flammable propellants and solvents, making them much safer regarding fire hazards. They do exist, although they may be harder to find and potentially more expensive. In the end, it’s all about weighing the safety benefits against cost and availability.

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