What Should You Do with Spare Paint?

The easiest and quickest way you can update the different rooms in your home is by painting. But once you finish the work, you’re left with partial buckets of paint. When dealing with leftovers, never dump them in the drain since some paints contain hazardous materials. These harmful paint chemicals can saturate the ground, causing injury to city utility employees or leak into septic tanks and contaminate them. Below we tell you how to dispose of paint the correct way.

spare paint

Hang on to the Leftovers

When stored correctly, paint with an oil base can last fifteen years, and latex lasts ten years. After painting a room keep leftover paint for touching up small scratches and scrapes or if you children practice their art on your walls. EPA recommendations are to keep paint in the original pail and never store in containers meant for food. Always leave the label on the paint container and write on the label what date you open the paint. It’s also handy to write on the label what room you use the paint.

When sealing, the paint can, lay plastic cling wrap on the lid then hammer the lid onto the can. Store the paint out of the sunlight where it’s cool and dry and where pets and children can’t get to it.

When paint goes bad, it gets lumps and turns hard and smells foul, meaning it’s time you dispose of it properly.

Recycle or Donate

When you finish with your project, and you don’t plan on using leftover paint, either recycle the paint or donate it. Ask friends or family if they want the paint or keep what’s left for a craft or refinishing project. Local schools sometimes take leftovers for upcoming art department projects. Other places taking paint donations are companies like Habitat for Humanities Restore where you can donate latex paint for use in their rehabilitation projects. You can also list paint giveaway on places like trashnothing.com or freecycle.com.

Dry the Paint Out Before Tossing it Out

Latex paints are hazardous when wet, so let it dry out. When you only have a little paint left in the can, remove the lid and let the paint set in the sunshine until dry. If there’s too much paint to dry in sunshine, add newspaper or cat litter to soak extra paint up and speed up drying.

For large paint amounts, buy paint hardeners found in stores like Home Depot and Lowe’s. Once the paint dries, check with your city officials for proper disposal. Some cities allow you to place dried paint in with regular house trash.

Finding Disposal Locations

If your city doesn’t allow placing dried paint in your trash, call professionals for recycling. PaintCare, Lowe’s and Habitat for Humanity take paint leftovers for recycling. Look for area drop-off locations for waste and hazardous materials at the website, earth911.com.

Planning Your Future Paint Purchases

When you plan a room makeover or home remodeling project, get an estimate for the amount of paint you need. Avoiding too many paint leftovers is easy with the Benjamin Moore’s Paint Calculator. It’s an easy to use tool for giving you a rough estimate of how much paint you need for your project.