Paint is a toxic substance, which is why you need to make sure you dispose of it the correct way. You also need to store leftover paint properly so that it is still good to use later. Follow these steps to dispose of and store paint the right way. 


Seal It

To prevent paint from drying up, you must store the paint can properly. Wipe any paint that has fallen between the grooves of the can with a clean rag. Use a rubber mallet to tap on the lid and close it securely. Do not use a regular hammer as it can distort the metal lid, making it more difficult to seal the can. If you do not have a rubber mallet, put a piece of scrap wood on the can and then hit it with a normal hammer to close it. 


Keep paint stored in a dark, cool place like your basement. If you do keep it in your basement, make sure it is on a shelf as moisture from the floor can cause paint cans to rust. If you can’t put your paint cans in a basement, keep them in a closet or cabinet in your home. Extreme temperatures can ruin pain, which is why you should not keep it in your garage or shed. Latex paint can separate in cold weather, while heat can dry it out. Extremely hot temperatures can even cause oil-based paints to catch fire. 

Space Saver

Transfer paint in half empty or almost empty full-sized cans into a quart can or large jars. Use a label to write down the paint name, brand, purchase date and mixture number. Put a small dot of paint on the lid so that you can easily identify the colour without having to open the container. Keep colours for the same room together such as a wall and trim colour for better organization and access. 

Reopening Paint

It can be difficult opening a paint can that has been sealed for a long time. You should avoid using a screwdriver to open it as it can cause the lid to warp, making it more difficult to seal in the future. Instead, you should use a key specially designed for opening paint cans. 

Shelf Life

Latex or water-based paints can usually last for up to 10 years. If you find that the paint has separated, use a stick to stir it. If the paint is not hard on the sides or the bottom and it blends back together again smoothly, it should be okay to use. 

Oil-based or solvent paints can last up to 15 years. It is not as susceptible to going bad as latex paint if it has been sealed properly and not exposed to extreme temperatures. Just be sure to stir it well before painting. 


Follow these steps to dispose of latex paint properly:

  1. Add an equal amount of cat litter to the paint in the can. You can also pour the paint into a lined box if you have more than half a can and then pour the cat litter in. 
  2. Stir the cat litter and the paint until it thickens and will not spill. 
  3. Let the mixture sit for an hour.
  4. Throw the dried paint in the can or box into the garbage, making sure to remove the lid. \

*Oil-based paints are hazardous waste that must be taken to a waste disposal facility. 

To ensure your next paint job is done quickly, thoroughly and safely, contact Demiri Painting & Decorating. Our team of experienced painters will make sure your paint waste is disposed of properly and leave your home pristine condition so that you do not have to worry about any cleanup. Call us today for a quote.