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Does Spackle Go Bad? (How Long Last+Restoring!)

Does Spackle Go Bad? (How Long Last+Restoring!)

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Spackle comes in two different forms, the powdered and paste form. The paste form is the most common form of spackle used by many, and its paste-like thickness allows you to patch cracks or imperfections on the walls. But does spackle go bad?  

Spackle has its shelf life which you should consider when reusing it some other time. It can go bad after nine months. However, if you store it properly, it can last up to one year. If you want your spackle to last longer without going bad, follow the manufacturer’s instructions and use it within the recommended lifetime.

Read on and understand more about this.

How Long Spackle Last? (Factors That Matter)

Before you store your spackle, it’s best to know that the compound can dry out or become moldy, making it unusable with time. This depends on many factors like;


One of the components that greatly affect spackle is water. When it comes into contact with water, it won’t stay dry, which maintains the quality of the spackle. The water will prevent the spackle from cracking or drying, not affecting its quality and allowing you to use it again.  

To have the water keep the spackle in the right shape, put it in a tightly sealed container, then cover it with enough water. Don’t use a dirty knife or return the used compound to the container to avoid contamination when you use water to extend the spackle’s shelf life.


Spackle reacts with air and becomes dry after exposure. This makes it hard and unusable. But this takes time as the top layer dries out, leaving the underlying layer usable. Store it well if you don’t want your spackle to undergo air exposure. For example, if you store it in a bucket, let it be tightly sealed to keep air away. Also, don’t open the bucket until the day when you’re ready to use the spackle.

It’s advisable to put the desired amount in a different container if you don’t need to use the remainder spackle. This will prevent air from interacting with the whole batch from air exposure.


Another factor that determines how long the spackle lasts before going bad is mold formation. Mold grows over the spackle if pollutants creep into the container you store it on. It could be that you left the container uncovered, allowing microorganisms in. when this happens, the microorganisms get a chance to grow on the stored spackle.

Note that some spackle compounds prevent mold formation. You can use such for repairing cracks and holes in the kitchen or bathroom where the moisture content is high. It helps keep the surfaces in the right shape reducing your maintenance costs.

How To Know When Your Spackle Goes Bad?

When your spackle goes bad, you can see some notable changes. The changes include;

  • First, it will produce an unusual smell. It will develop a foul smell after it interacts with microorganisms or air.
  • It will also change color or have uneven color distribution.
  • Additionally, it will not hold well on the cracks or holes you are repairing. It will keep falling off from the surface, giving you additional work.

Can You Use Old Spackle?

If the spackle is not expired, you can use it to repair walls. When it dries up, add water to the paste to loosen it. After that, you can use it on different surfaces. It’s advisable to store used spackle well so it doesn’t dry up before the next use.

How To Add Water to Spackle Paste?

When your old spackle becomes harder after use, you can restore it by adding water. You can do that by;

  • Add some water to the dried spackle paste. The amount of water you should add will depend on how dry the spackle is. You can add the water in bits to get the best results.
  • Then break the spackle clumps and mix the two using a power paint mixer.
  • Ensure the water mixes well with the paste. Keep adding water if the paste remains dry. Let the paste be dry and smooth to work well.

How Long Does It Take Spackle to Dry?

The time spackle takes to dry off depends on several factors. Every type of spackle you use has its dry time. Some take less time to dry, while others require more time to dry. The temperature of the area the spackle is used on also determines its dry time. Moreover, the number of layers applied and application area will affect how long you wait for the surfaces to dry.

If you are using the quick drying spackle, it’s best to give it at least ½ an hour to dry before painting or sanding.   

Bottom Line

Spackle can go bad if you don’t store it properly after use. You need to keep it away from air and contaminants that can make it go bad faster. But you can use water to extend its shelf life or loosen it when it dries.

Read More: Can You Spackle Over Paint? (Yes, How to Guide)

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