Seattle Public Utilities Mami Hara, Acting Director

Latex Paint and Latex Stain

To safely dispose of leftover latex paint and latex stain:

  1. With small amounts (1 inch or less in the can), remove the lid and let the paint dry out in the can.
  2. If there is too much paint to dry out on its own, mix 50/50 with kitty litter or mix a commercial paint hardener such as “Waste Away” according to the directions. Allow the mixture to dry in the can.
  3. Put the can in your garbage for pickup on your collection day. Leave the lid off so the garbage truck drivers can see that the can contains only dried paint.

Latex paint and latex stain are no longer accepted at Household Hazardous Waste facilities. Recent research shows that latex paint can safely be put in the garbage, if it’s dry or solidified first. Oil-based paint is hazardous and should be brought to the hazardous waste collection facilities.

How do I know if my paint is latex-based or oil-based?

Check the label on your paint can. Latex paint is also called “water-based.” It cleans up with water and dries on your walls in about an hour. Oil-based paint, also called “alkyd” paint, dries slowly (overnight), and cleans up with solvent, not water.

Links to other sites

Industrial Materials Exchange (IMEX) - If you have large amounts of good-quality latex paint, you can list it for reuse or recycling.
- You can buy reusable latex paint from second-use building stores
Local Hazardous Waste Management Program - If you have questions about paint disposal. You can also contact the Household Hazards Line at (206) 296-4692.