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Painting techniques: The best ways to dispose of paint


1st Jan 2015 Home & Garden

Painting techniques: The best ways to dispose of paint

After decorating ensure you dispose of left over paint safely and practically, or preserve leftovers successfully for touch ups and future use.

Decant a little at a time

Pouring paint into a paint kettle is a good idea for several reasons. For a start, large full paint tins are heavy to hold for long periods. If you pour just a little paint into the kettle at a time, you won’t waste much if you upset it.

And, if your brush picks up some dirt, it will contaminate only what’s in the kettle, rather than the paint in the tin. Use kitchen foil to line the kettle; it cuts cleaning-up time and delays the build-up of dry paint in the container. 


Foil the formation of a skin

Use a piece of kitchen foil to prevent a skin forming on the top of an opened tin of paint. Using the lid as a guide, cut a circle of foil just large enough to cover the surface of the paint. Press it down gently to exclude air trapped beneath it.


Seal the lid

Tipping a tin of paint upside down for a few seconds before storing it helps to stop a skin from forming. The paint flows around the underside of the lid to form an airtight seal when the tin is turned the right way up. Don’t store the tin upside down—a skin will simply form below the paint instead of on top of it.


Never down the drain

When you finish using a water-based paint, wipe as much of it as possible off brushes and rollers before rinsing them in the sink, so that as little as possible is washed down the drain. Never pour used white spirit or solvent-based paint down the sink or into a drain.

Unwanted water-based paint can be sealed in its tin and put out for the refuse collectors. It’s best to consult your local authority about getting rid of any solvent-based product; it may have special disposal facilities.


Dilute the waste

When you’ve finished painting, use newspaper to remove as much water-based paint as possible from brush bristles and roller sleeves. Then wash them out in running water to dilute the paint before it enters the drains.


Store leftovers in jars

A small amount of paint will keep better if you decant it from the tin into a jar with a screw-top lid. Make sure you have enough paint to fill the jar, or a jar small enough to just take the paint, so there’s little room for air.

Rub some petroleum jelly around the neck of the jar before pouring in the paint; then any that spills down the outside won’t make the lid stick fast. Remember to label the jar for future reference.


Recycle white spirit

Save money by recycling white spirit after using it to clean brushes and rollers. Let the paint residue settle in the spirit container, then strain the clear solvent oƒ into a clean container with a tamperproof lid and label it clearly. Wrap up the hardened paint residue and the dirty container in newspaper before putting them in the dustbin.


Quick way to filter out grit

If there’s grit in the paint, stop it getting onto your brush by tying a piece of material cut from a pair of old tights over the rim of the tin. Use the tip of the brush to push the material down into the paint, so that clean paint rises up through it. The same trick allows you to filter contaminated paint back into a clean container before storing it.

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