Household Hazardous Waste Center
Latex vs Oil-based Paints
How do I dispose of latex paint?
The Household Hazardous Waste Center does not accept latex paint. However, completely dried out paint can be safely discarded in your garbage. If your old latex paint is completely dry, then remove the lid and dispose of the entire can in your garbage. If you would like to recycle your paint, more information can be found at ePaint Recycling.
To dry out latex paint, try one of these methods:
- For cans which are less than 1/2 full:
Remove lid and stir in plenty of cat litter. Be sure to stir the cat litter all the way to the bottom of the can. Let it dry overnight. In the morning, the latex paint will be dried into a hard, crumbly rock. It is now safe to place the can in your garbage with the lid off.
- For cans that are 1/2 full or more:
Line a cardboard box with a thick plastic bag. In a safe location, away from children and pets, pour the latex paint into the plastic lined box. Stir in an equal volume of cat litter. Let the mixture dry until it is a hard, crumbly rock. Then, dispose of the plastic bag and dried latex paint in your garbage.
How can I tell if I have latex or oil-based paint?
For latex paint, the label may use the words "Latex" or "Acrylic Latex," "Cleans up with soap and water." On side of label, look for the key word "water" in the ingredients or contents box. This category also includes some varnishes and stains.
For oil-based paint, the label may use the words "Alkyd" or "Oil-based." On front of the label, look for the words "Caution: Combustible" On side of label, look at the Ingredients Box for key words such as "mineral spirits," "soya oil," "aliphatic hydrocarbons" or "petroleum distillates." This category also includes some stains and most varnishes and polyurethanes.