Do you have a closet full of old paint?

Whether you just moved in, or have lived in your home for years, many of us have a closet, cupboard, or shelf full of old paint.

Unless it has been stored in a temperature controlled area, that paint is likely no longer good.    Do you know how to get rid of it?

Paints and other liquids should not be disposed of in regular household trash.   Once dry, however, latex paints can safely be disposed of.   If you have paint to get rid of, try the following:

Open it to see if it is still good.   Paint in usable quantities can be donated to Habitat for Humanity, or city-run collection sites where it is re-used as primer for various projects.

Small quantities, or paint that has gone bad, should be properly disposed of.   To to this, simply dry it out.   You can remove the lid and let the paint sit until it hardens.  In the summer, that won’t take long.   To speed up the process, you can stir in kitty-litter, floor-dry, or  a paint hardening powder available at Lowe’s or Home Depot.   Mixing these into the wet paint will cause it to harden in an hour or overnight.   Once hard, paint can go with your normal trash.   Another option is to pour the paint across some unwanted cardboard or a sheet of plastic.   Once dry, throw away the cardboard or plastic.

Oil based paints and thinners require special handling.  Contact your city for Hazardous Household Waste pickup options or drop-off locations.   You can also look up disposal options at


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