Old Paint Cans - Proper Paint Disposal

Proper Paint Disposal ~ Getting Rid of Old Paint

If sealed correctly, latex paint can last up to 10 years, and oil-based paint up to 15. You will be glad to have some extra paint lying around for needed touch-ups. But if you have too much or you no longer have that color in your home anymore what should you do? Don’t dump it down the drain! Paint can be toxic if not disposed of properly.  Here are some ways for proper paint disposal.

Donate it

If the paint is still good we like to donate it.  Consider donating your paint to a community center, charity, place of worship, local theater or Habitat for Humanity. They’re often working on projects with a limited budget and could use the extra supplies.

Find out if you have any friends who are getting ready to paint.  Talk to your local elementary school and see if they have a big art project coming up.  List it on a site like FreeCycle.com or Facebook to see if anyone wants to take it off your hands.   


Companies like paintcare.org take old paint in order to recycle.  Check and see if they are in your area.  You can also search for a hazardous waste drop-off facility in your area at Earth911.com.  Oil-based paints are considered hazardous waste and must be taken to a recycling center. Look for a recycling center in your area to safely dispose of your oil-based paints.

Dry it out

If there’s only a small amount of paint in the bottom of your can, leaving it out in the sun should be enough to dry it up.  If you have more than a little try the ideas below:   

  • Add equal parts cat litter to latex paint in the can. If you have more than a half a can, you can also pour the paint into a lined box or trash can. Then pour in cat litter. Stir the cat litter into the paint until it thickens and will not spill. Allow the mixture to sit. Throw the dried paint in the can in the garbage.


  • There are also commercial paint hardeners that you can purchase if you prefer not to use cat litter. Just follow the manufacturer’s instructions.

Latex or Oil

  • Another option for latex or oil paint is use a piece of plywood and roll out the paint on the plywood and let dry and add coat after coat.  This one is very time consuming


  • If the paint is oil and the plywood option is not going to work.  Oil needs to be disposed of at a recycling or hazard waste place. 



If you have any questions regarding your old paint, please feel free to contact us, we would be happy to assist.

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