Will Tacky Paint Eventually Dry If You Leave It?

Although tacky paint is very common, especially for any beginner painters, there really is not much content online going over how to seal with tacky paint or how to recover the paint to get it suitable for purpose. Due to there being so little content online about tacky paint, we constantly see people reaching out with a wide range of different questions.

More recently, one of the most frequently asked questions that we have seen asked time and time again is if tacky paint eventually dry if you just leave it. With there being such a lack of information out there about tacky paint and what will happen if you just leave it, and just leaving it to dry naturally usually being one of the better courses of action to take, we have decided to publish this article.

Our hope is that we will be able to help any of our readers who does have some tacky paint that is not drying as expected. We also hope that we will be able to help you better understand why your paint may be tacky as well as how you are able to best get it to dry without issue.

Will Tacky Paint Eventually Dry If You Leave It?

In most cases, tacky paint will naturally dry if you just leave it but depending on the cause of the tacky paint, this can take weeks and in some rare cases, months. Although there are some things you can try to get your tacky paint to dry quicker, just leaving it to dry naturally is usually our recommended course of action for most people.

Of course, this recommendation is for the average reader who lives in an area that has an average temperature, humidity, and amount of rain or moisture. If you do live in an area that is cold all year round or has above average humidity or moisture then you may have to try help the tacky paint dry by adding a little talcum powder to it.

Although there are other methods that you can use, talcum powder is the only one we actively recommend to our readers but some people do use cornstarch and flour to get similar results. We would actively avoid all other methods that you see recommended online though as some will help you paint dry out faster but then cause your paint to flake or peel within weeks.

How Long Does It Take For Tacky Paint To Dry?

The majority of water based tacky paint should dry between one and seven days with the majority of oil based tacky paint drying within a month. When it comes to oil paint, there are some mediums that you can add that will increase the drying time even further but these are rarely used in home decor so should not be an issue for most people.

Keep in mind that with oil paint, it is very common for the paint to have a tacky look and feel to it for around 48 hours in most cases and this is totally normal with oil paint formulas and to be expected. This does not mean that there is an issue with your oil based paint and there is no reason to worry, over the coming week, the paint should start to rapidly dry and the tacky look and feel should fade.

The majority of water based paint should be in a much better spot after 24 or 48 hours though and if a water based paint is looking or feeling tacky at this stage, there may be an issue. We stress the may in that sentence as there are a number of variables where a water based paint may naturally take around five days for the tacky look and feel to fade.

How Can You Make Tacky Paint Dry Faster?

You can usually try a number of tips and tricks to help tacky paint dry faster but you have to know if you are using an oil based or water based paint prior to trying them. This is due to both paint formulas drying in completely different ways and having totally different methods to help them dry quicker.

The majority of people tend to use a water based paint for their home decor so we would like to bring our article going over how to make acrylic paint dry faster to your attention. You are able to use the methods we go over in that article to drastically reduce the drying time for acrylic, water based paints to prevent them from being tacky.

If you are using a water based paint formula then we have an article going over how to make oil based paint dry as quickly as possible too. As we touched on earlier, the methods in that article are different than the methods in the article for water based paint due to oil based paint drying via oxidisation rather than evaporation but you are able to use those techniques to help prevent your oil paint from being tacky.

Can You Fix Tacky Paint?

In time, the majority of tacky paint will fix itself as it naturally dries over time and the tacky look and feel of the paint fades. There are some situations where this may not be correct, usually due to the surface having constant access to water but for the most part, time will fix your tacky paint for you.

We have a dedicated article going over how to fix tacky paint easily that may be able to help you in the majority of situations when it comes to tacky paint. The techniques in that article can be used to help your tacky paint dry faster than normal and fix the problems with the paint in most situations.

That said though, for the vast majority of our readers, we would just recommend that you wait and leave your tacky paint to dry naturally. In most cases, the paint will look much better if you allow it to fix itself this way rather than trying to fix it a few days quicker than it would normally fix itself if you had just left it to dry.

Should You Remove Tacky Paint?

Although you can often remove your tacky paint to fix the issues causing the paint to be tacky, we usually recommend against it. Our recommendation is that you leave tacky paint for a month before you even consider removing it as in most cases, tacky paint will fix itself if you leave it.

That said, if you do want to try and remove your tacky paint, our article going over how to remove tacky paint will probably be worth checking out. It goes over the best options to take take in various situations to remove tacky paint and allow you to start from scratch to prevent the paint from being tacky.

The thing is, with most methods of removing tacky paint, you usually have a long wait time after actually removing the current tacky paint before you are able to apply a new coat of paint. Due to this, it can often be quicker to just leave the tacky paint to dry naturally and fix the issue itself.


That brings our article going over if tacky paint eventually dry if you just leave it to an end. We hope that we have been able to help you understand that in most cases, you should just leave your tacky paint to dry naturally rather than trying to speed it up or remove it. We have also gone over a number of things that you are able to use to try and get your tacky paint to dry quicker though if you do need the paint to dry as fast as possible.

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