How Can I Get Rid of Old House Paint?

 How Can I Get Rid of Old House Paint?

Nobody likes the idea of sending items to a landfill. However, sometimes there is just no good option to reuse, recycle or upcycle. In the case of old house paint, it is important to see if you can find a recipient you could donate it to, but if that fails, what do you do with it? How do you get rid of unwanted interior or exterior house paint?

The key is to dry it out, and there are several ways to do this. But before we discuss that process, let's see if anyone else might want your old house paint!

Donating Old House Paint - Who Wants It?

If there is enough paint left in the can to be worthwhile, try asking your local schools if the drama department would like the paint. Often it comes in handy for creating sets and painting props.

Another place that may take the exterior or interior paint is a discount building supply location. For example, the Habitat for Humanity Re-Store (or a similar location) might take your unused paint. As they say, one person's trash is another person's treasure!

What if there is not enough house paint left in the can to be worth it? Or what if the paint is too old, so that it is stringy, goopy, o partially hardened?

How to Throw Away Latex/Acrylic Paint

Most paints used by homeowners and by house painting companies these days are latex/acrylic paints. These house paints, often called water-based paints in the past, are not considered toxic. In order to throw them away with your household trash, you simply need to dry them out first. Here are a few ways to do it:

  • Take off the lid and wait for the paint to fully harden. With a small amount of paint, this won't take too long. However, if the can is more than a quarter full, you probably want a faster method.
  • Pour the paint onto large sheets of cardboard so that it can dry. Don't do too much at once, or it will run off the edges. Also, make sure children and pets can't access the drying location, or you will end up with a big mess!
  • Add a drying agent to the paint in the can. You could stir in a paint hardener powder (available online or from your local home improvement store), or get some cheap kitty litter and pour that in.

You will probably need some heavy-duty trash bags to throw away the cardboard and the dried-out paint cans when you are done, unless you are only disposing of one or two cans.

How Can You Dispose of Oil-Based Paints?

Unfortunately, there is not an easy answer for what to do with old oil-based paints. These are considered hazardous waste, and thus there are more regulations for how to dispose of them. The best way to begin is to contact your local landfill or transfer station. They can inform you of the proper disposal method for your region.

Some counties have a monthly hazardous household waste disposal time, when oil-based house paints, household cleaners, and similar materials can be dropped off.

Other counties allow oil-based paints to be thrown away with household trash if they are dried out. Sadly, it is not as easy to do this as it is with latex/acrylic paints. Paint hardeners may work, but they might not. Kitty litter is a more dependable option, though it may take quite a bit. You can also just remove the lid from the can, but this means you will be smelling the evaporating chemicals for quite a while. Don't do this inside your home!

Williams Professional Painting

If you have any questions about house painting, whether it is interior or exterior painting, Williams Professional Painting would be delighted to help! We have been serving the Washington, D.C. region for more than 40 years, and generations of customers can now attest to our exceptional customer service and unbeatable craftsmanship!

For a free estimate for your next interior or exterior painting project, use our online contact form or simply call our office. We also offer carpentry, molding installation, kitchen cabinet painting, drywall repair, and much more. We look forward to hearing from you!

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