Disposing of Leftover Latex Paint

If the can has just a thin film (less than 1/32 of an inch) on the sides, you can simply throw out the can with your regular household garbage. If there is just an inch or so of paint in the can, simply open the lid and leave it open or cracked in a well ventilated area (where children and animals won't get to it). Within a few weeks, the paint will dry out and harden. Then you can dispose of the whole can with the regular household garbage.

If there is more than a little paint in the can
... a pint or more of paint can take a long time to dry. Below are a couple of suggestions to speed up the process:
  • Line a box with a plastic bag and pour thin layer of paint (less than 1" thick) into the box. Store the box in a well ventilated place, where children and animals won't get into it. When the first layer has hardened, pour in another layer. When you've dried out all the paint, dispose of the box out with your regular trash.
  • Either in the can (if there is room) or in a plastic-lined box, mix the paint with an equal amount of cat litter or oil dry. You will still need to store it until it is fully hardened.
  • You can purchase additives from a hardware store in the paint section to aid in speeding up the hardening process.
What you'll need:
  • Newspaper, drop-cloths, or plastic sheeting to protect the area where you plan to work
  • Screw driver and/or other tools to open the cans
  • Scoopable Kitty Litter
  • Stir Sticks
  • Coffee cans, ice cream buckets, or similar containers with lids (if your paint cans are over 2/3 full)
  • Paper towels
What to do:
  • First, open can up. If more than 2/3 full, pour some of it into a coffee can, ice cream bucket, or similar container.
  • Second, put some kitty litter and stir it up. Start with a cup or two of kitty litter. How much you need, will depend on the nature and condition of the paint.
  • When your paint has hardened you can put it and the metal can out with your regular household garbage/trash.