How to Get Rid of Old Paint?

how to get rid of old paintNearly every house has some corner or cabinet, some dusty nook or messy shelf full of old paint cans from past projects. While it is always a good idea to save leftover paint, what are you supposed to do with it when it’s no longer good? Rest assured, you’re not the only one asking that question! Really, it’s not very hard to get rid of old paint (unless it’s oil-based… but that’s not too bad either).

How Do I Know If My Paint Is Still Good?

Before you begin to get rid of old paint, you want to make sure it’s still good. Open it up and take a look: if it is partially hardened, or has lots of “strings” or residue in it, you’ll need to throw it out. If you stir it, and it does not quickly come back to a uniform, smooth consistency, it’s probably too old. If you can feel thick sediment on the bottom of the can with your paint stirrer, and you can’t stir it back in, this can has outlived its purpose.

So It’s No Good… How Do I Dispose of the Old Paint?

If your old paint is latex/acrylic/water based, you’re in luck! All you have to do is let it dry out completely, and you can throw it away with your household garbage. There are a couple ways to get it dried out:

  • Leave the lid off the can and put it in the sun. Or…
  • Add kitty litter to the paint can. This will dry it out quick! Or…
  • Pour out the paint on flattened cardboard. This is quicker than option A if you have a lot of paint.

Once it’s all dried out, just dispose of your old paint the way you would any other garbage.

How Do I Dispose of Old Oil Paint?

Oil-based paints are considered a hazardous material, and they cannot be thrown out with your regular trash. You can often bring this to your local dump, who will have a way to safely dispose of the paint. Otherwise, keep your eyes open for a hazardous waste collection event in your neighborhood. Often they will be hosted at schools or other community locations, giving you an opportunity to get rid of old oil paint and other similar materials.

What If the Paint Is Still Good, But I No Longer Want It?

Maybe you have changed colors in your home, and you no longer need those old cans you saved for touchups. In that case, try calling some local schools, churches or non-profits to see if they would like some donated paint. Often they’ll be glad to take it for use on small projects or on the sets of plays, etc.

A.G. Williams Painting is a residential and commercial painting contractor, serving Connecticut and New York. We work in Pelham, New Rochelle, White Plains, Hastings-on-the-hudson, Larchmont, Rye, Harrison and many more surrounding communities. If you have any questions about painting, or if you would like a free house painting quote, please give us a call!