Paint thinner is a common household item used in construction or renovation projects. If you don’t dispose of it correctly, it is dangerous for your health and the home environment. Don’t throw it away with your household trash because the thin synthetic chemicals can contaminate groundwater.

It is also dangerous for causing a fire hazard. Paint thinner is a hazardous waste and you must dispose of it correctly. Here are some useful ways and tips you can use to dispose of paint thinner.

Use Fireproof Containers

When you soak rags in paint thinner, it can catch fire because they are combustible. You must keep them in air-tight containers. Make sure you fill water in the containers. These containers that contain thinner-soaked rags with water is easy to dispose of at a waste collection site.

Make smaller rags in case you don’t have sealable containers. Next, dry the rags in an open area. Once the process of drying completes, you need to place the rags in a fireproof container. This way, you can easily dispose of paint thinner. Here are the steps to dispose of paint thinner.

1.    Extract Clean Paint Thinner

Most people throw away the thinner after using it. This is not a good practice. Instead of doing this, you can pour the thinner into a glass container. Leave it for some time. You will see that the contaminants settle at the container’s base.

Remember, the separation process takes quite enough time – i.e. from 3-5 weeks. However, it mainly depends on the intensity of thinner contamination. After completing the process of separation, you need a strainer, and using it, you must pour some clean thinner in a container that is free from contaminants or any other substances.

Don’t fill the new containers to the brim. It is always good to leave some space. The important thing is to place the lid tightly on the container. Also, you must label the container. This helps you know which one has the clean thinner and vice versa. Don’t forget to wear safety gear while carrying out this procedure.

2.    Dry the Thinner

The next step is to leave the remaining paint thinner in the container. Place the container in a ventilated area. For your information, this is the container that contains the contaminated thinner.

Anyway, to speed up the process of drying, we recommend adding some cat litter, sand, or sawdust. This will boost the drying process. For safety, you must place the container somewhere safe so that it is out of reach of children. Don’t smoke in that area.

3.    Wrap Up Dry Thinner

It is important to dry and solidify the remaining paint thinner. Once you have done this, it is time to wrap up the paint thinner. You can use an old newspaper for this task. Add the dry thinner in the newspaper and wrap it.

Next, put the wrapped newspaper in a plastic bag and close it tightly. The next step is to throw away the bag in the trash can. The garbage collection trucks will pick the trash and transfer it to the disposal or recycling center.

4.    Get rid of the containers

After you have thrown the dried thinner in the trash or garbage can, you need to get rid of the empty containers that previously contained the paint thinner. According to the regulations, there is no harm to dispose of it with your regular household trash if the residues left in the container are less than an inch. These containers must not go into recycling. Likewise, take the container to the waste disposal site if there is liquid inside it.

How to dispose of excess paint thinner?

If you have any excess paint thinner, which is of no use to you, then, you can give it away. For example, you can give away the paint thinner to your friend or someone in the neighborhood.

You can take the excess paint thinner to the waste disposal facility. These are zones designed and constructed for disposal of hazardous waste material. You can search for such sites online or ask someone about them.

The majority of these sites accept the thinner material contained in metal containers or air-tight glass. If you have a large amount of excess thinner that you need to dispose of, you can contact the waste disposal facility and tell them about the thinner.


Wrapping up, when you opt to dispose of the paint thinner, you must follow the above steps and tips. Besides, if you have a strong thinner, it is important to store it in an air-tight container.

Make sure there is no leakage. Don’t keep it near the heated objects or anything that can cause a fire. Lastly, you need to neutralize the fumes of the thinner after completing your DIY painting project.

Can I pour paint thinner down the drain?

Paint thinner, or mineral spirits, is commonly used to clean oil-based paints and stains from brushes and tools. Never pour solvents or paint sludge down a sink drain or into a street gutter.

Is paint thinner hazardous waste?

Paint thinner and similar solvents can contaminate groundwater or cause a fire if thrown in the household trash. Most jurisdictions classify them as hazardous substances, and require residents to dispose of them safely and carefully to protect the environment and themselves.

Can I put paint thinner in a plastic container?

Paint thinner can be stored in approved plastic one-gallon containers.

How do you dispose of used mineral spirits?

How Do I Dispose of Mineral Spirits?
  1. Find your nearest hazardous-waste recycler.
  2. Put your used mineral spirits in a plastic bag or stable box to transport them to the hazardous-waste collection site.
  3. Drop them off at your local hazardous-waste collection site.

Is paint thinner and mineral spirits the same?

Generally, mineral spirits and paint thinner are interchangeable products. Mineral spirits sometimes is lower in odor than paint thinners.

Does paint thinner evaporate?

Most paint thinners are highly volatile, so yes they will evaporate. Let them work to absorb odors for 24 hours and then discard. Acetone will soften or lift many types of paint. Mineral spirits and paint thinner are pretty much the same thing.

How long does paint thinner take to evaporate?

If you place it in a can or a closed container, it still evaporates but slowly – usually within a day and sometimes more than 24 hours. If you painted with a mixture of paint thinner and paint, the thinner gets evaporated from the surface.

What temperature does paint thinner evaporate?

But if you aim to get rid of unused paint thinner once a project is complete, be sure to do so correctly. Tossing it in the trash is a serious fire hazard because paint thinner’s flash point—the temperature at which it can catch fire—is only 104 degrees Fahrenheit.

Can paint thinner spontaneously combust?

Simply put, rags that contain residue of oil-based paints and stains, paint thinners, varnishes, or polyurethane can spontaneously combust and catch on fire. Here’s what happens: When oily rags begin to dry, they produce heat. Combined with oxygen they turn into combustible cloths that can quickly cause trouble.

Is it OK to get paint thinner on your skin?

The immediate effects accosiated with paintthinner use include upper respiratory irritation, a feeling of drunkeness, loss of coordination, headache and nausea if inhaled, and chapped, over-dry skin following skin contact. If you do splash some on your skin, whas immediately with soap and water.

What materials can spontaneously combust?

Materials that may catch fire by spontaneous ignition are:
  • Rags and waste with oil and paint residues.
  • Towels and linen, during laundering and drying.
  • Paint overspray or material from a paint spray booth.
  • Coal.
  • Haystacks.
  • Green waste piles and compost.
  • A number of chemical substances, such as cellulose nitrate.

Can oil paintings spontaneously combust?

Oil paint on a canvas dries through oxidation. (Completely dry, solid oil paint does not present a risk of combustion– if it did, oil paintings wouldn’t be safe to hang on the wall!)

Do oil paintings ever dry?

Oil paint dries extremely slowly, and even if the surface feels dry, the paint underneath might still be wet. When using oil-based paint, you should always keep these two rules in mind: 1) paint lean to thick (or “fat over lean”), and 2) never layer acrylics over oil.

How dangerous is linseed oil?

It’s a natural substance extracted from flaxseed, but it’s also very dangerous. According to a recent article from ABC News, linseed oil can generate heat as it dries, meaning oil-soaked rags or papers can be a very serious fire hazard.

How do you dry an oil painting?

As stated above, oil paint dries through a process of oxidation. It actually doesn’t dry as does acrylic paint when the water evaporates from the pigment. Rather, oil paint undergoes a chemical reaction which causes the oil to harden.

Does Hairspray dry oil paint?

Hairspray is for drawings, if you can‘t afford regular spray fixative. It won’t do a thing to fix or seal any sort of painting. And it REALLY won’t help an oil painting to dry faster. It will only put a coat of incompatible material on the surface.

Why is my oil painting sticky?

With excessive use as a temporary protective varnish the solvent of the varnish can dissolve the oil from the lower paint layers (that are not yet dry) and bring it to the surface. If this happens the painting may remain sticky for many months or even years, and will make it difficult to stop dust adhering to it.

Can I use a hairdryer to dry oil paint?

It may seem to be a good idea to use a hair dryer to dry oil paints. But it will not work very well. As oil paints dry because of oxidation reactions the evaporation of water caused by the heat of the hairdryer will not speed up the drying time and may even cause your painting to break.