As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

While painting is a great way to update an otherwise out-of-date room, it’s rare that you won’t have one half used paint can. So, what are you supposed to do with this half used paint can? It is destined to stay in that one corner of the basement forever, on the off chance that you may need to touch up some paint in the distant future? There are ways to properly dispose of leftover paint that you’ll never use again instead of it taking up a permanent space in your home. In this article, we’re going to take a look at the ways in which paint can be disposed of, depending on the type of paint you have left over.

Dry It Out Before You Throw It Out

While latex paint is easier to throw out than oil paint, it still needs to be dried up before you can do so. The good news is, once the paint is dried up, it can usually be disposed of with the rest of your trash. explains that you can throw certain types of paint out – but it has to be dried out first.

“Wet latex paint can be hazardous, so dry it up. If there’s only a small amount of paint in the bottom of your can, leaving it out in the sun should do the trick. If there’s a bit more than the sun can handle, try adding kitty litter or newspaper to help soak up the paint and speed the drying process. For larger amounts of paint, purchase a paint hardener, like Homax 3535 3 Pack Waste-Away Paint Hardener ($5, at a home improvement store for just a few dollars. Check your local laws, but in many locations, you can throw away dried-out paint with the rest of your household trash.”

Dispose of Oil Paints as Hazardous Waste

Oil paints are considered hazardous waste and cannot be dumped down the drain or placed in regular trash. Oil-based paints need to be combined with solvents and linseed oil for disposal and disposed of properly.

Dan Shapley from Popular Mechanics tell us why it’s important to dispose of oil paints specifically as hazardous waste:

“For oil-based paints, the best option for disposal is a local Household Hazardous Waste facility. Some communities offer year-round access to these waste-handling services, but others offer drop-off days only once or twice a year. Check with your municipality or waste hauler for details, or plug in your zip code at’s recycling center locator or call 1-800-CLEANUP (1-800-253-2687). Paint Care cautions that “air-drying of liquid alkyd or oil based paint is not considered safe.”

Try To Use Leftover Paint or Consider Donating

The last option is of course trying to find a way to use the leftover paint, or indeed, storing it away for later for other paint projects or touch ups. While you may not normally consider asking around to see if you know anyone who can use a can of half used paint, you never know who might be able to use it for their own project.

TrueValue Paint gives their advice on the best use for leftover paint:


We offer a wide variety of waste disposal options, with services readily available online. Reach out to us to see what we can offer you.

Amazon and the Amazon logo are trademarks of, Inc, or its affiliates.