Paint Disposal . . .
The Right Way


    General disposal options for latex and
    solvent-based paint products


When purchasing paint remember to estimate the proper amount needed for the job. Buy only what you need. Ask your retailer for assistance.


Always be sure to read the label, which contains important information about the product.


The easiest way for you to dispose of leftover paint is to use it all up. Apply a second coat or touch-up areas which need improvement.


Leftover paint can be given to someone who has a need for the product. Contact neighbors, friends, relatives, churches, theatrical groups, high schools, recreation departments or community service organizations such as Habitat for Humanity.


Latex paints can be left to dry by removing the lid and allowing the leftover product to dry. This should be done in an area which is away from children and animals. Allow the remaining paint to dry completely. In Oklahoma, the container can then be disposed of in your household trash. Leave the lid off the can so your refuse hauler can see that the paint is hardened.


Solvent-based paints (also known as alkyd or oil-based) require special disposal practices. Solvent-based paints are ignitable and present particular hazards. These products should NOT be disposed of down storm sewers, household drains (especially if you have a septic tank) or on the ground. They should be disposed of as a household hazardous waste. Hold for a "Household Hazardous Waste Collection Day." If your community does not have a household hazardous waste program, contact your local or state environmental control official for disposal guidance.


Paint thinners, turpentine, mineral spirits and solvents should NOT be poured down a drain or storm sewer. With a few simple steps, you can reuse these types of products. Let used turpentine or brush cleaners sit in a closed container until the paint particles settle out. Then pour off the clear liquid which can be reused. Add an absorbent (i.e., cat litter) to the remaining residue and let it dry completely. Contact your household refuse collection service, a household hazardous waste program or local or state government environmental officials for guidance on disposal.