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How to Safely Store or Dispose of Your Old Paint

How to Safely Store or Dispose of Your Old Paint

The satisfaction of completing a DIY home or small-business painting job arrives with the final brush strokes or spin of a roller. Sometimes, the celebration can be tempered by the subsequent cleanup. What should you do with your leftover paint?

Cleaning up a successful project can prove taxing. Guidelines for proper storage and/or disposal of old paint can be buried within the paint can’s fine print. Fine print that may be further obscured by dribbles of dried paint that have run down the paint can’s sides.

If you’re not quite sure how to store or dispose of your old paint, Naples, Florida-based FCI painting has a few tips. Successfully wrap up your project with environmentally friendly practices.

Shelf Life and Storage Considerations

The first consideration with storage or disposal of unused paint is the type of paint and its potential shelf life. If stored properly water-based, or “latex,” paints have a shelf life of up to 10 years. Oil-based paint should last up to 15 years. Proper storage begins with sealing up the paint to ensure that it does not dry.

Tips for proper sealing and storage include:

  • Transferring paint from half empty or less cans into smaller cans or large jars so as to limit air space.
  • Cleaning any paint from the paint can lid grooves with a clean rag.
  • Tapping the lid down securely but gently with a rubber mallet, so as not to distort the shape of the lid or the can’s rim, which could allow air intake.
  • Storing paint in cool, dark spaces where they will not be affected by extreme heat or cold, both of which can ruin the paint
  • Avoid concrete floors, which can rust the bottom of paint cans
  • Properly marking paint containers with type, brand, mixture number, date of purchase, and places used (consider adding a small brush stroke of the color to the top or side of the container for easy identification).

Old Paint Disposal Options

Water-based and oil-based paints need to be properly disposed of. Both are both toxic and environmentally unfriendly.

Of the two, water-based paints are not as dangerous to health or the environment once dried. In fact, smaller amounts of dried out latex paints can be thrown out with the regular garbage. If you only have small amounts of latex paints you can leave the container in the sun to let it dry. Otherwise, add in kitty litter or newspaper to soak up the paint, which will speed up the drying process. For larger amounts of paint, you can purchase paint hardeners at your local home improvement store.

Oil-based paints should be taken to your local recycling center or hazardous waste drop-off point (if separate from your recycling center.) These facilities will typically also accept water-based paints. There are five recycling and household hazardous waste drop-off locations in the Naples, Florida area, with their addresses and disposal conditions listed here

Another convenient and environmentally sound way to dispose of old paints is to consider donating them. If not approaching the end of its shelf life, and in sufficient quantities, some organizations might appreciate free building improvement supplies. Think of churches, charitable organizations, local theaters, and schools. Be sure to put out the word about your extra paint to friends and relatives. You never know who might appreciate the cost savings of using leftover paint. 

Don’t Worry About Paint Disposal With FCI Painting

If you would like to avoid handling excess paint and other painting project cleanup details, consider letting Naples, Florida-based FCI Painting tackle your home or small-business paint job. With more than 25 years of experience in helping thousands of southwest Florida businesses and homeowners paint their exterior and interior spaces, we provide expert service in all elements of every painting job. To learn more about how FCI Painting can help you with your painting project, contact us online or give us a call at (239) 435-1001.

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6 Stars

The entire process from start to finish was professional. They did a great job and left everything clean. Ryan wouldn’t leave until everything was perfect. The entire team was so responsive. I would recommend FCI to anyone. I would give them 6 stars if I could.

Bruce G

Reasonably Priced & Very Detailed

We have a three unit, two story condo building that needed an exterior painting job we awarded to FCI Painting. Their proposal was reasonably priced and very detailed. Richard Foden’s came to estimate the job and took the time to explain the process, answer questions and provide recommendations (that help us in our process). We received four proposals and FCI’s stood out making our decision straight forward. FCI crew was professional and the foreman ‘Eduardo’ exceptional. On a daily basis’s he communicated what to expect, what they would be achieving and the crews next steps. Crew was courteous and cleaned up the grounds every evening. We highly recommend FCI Painting company. Thanks

Leo G

Incredible Service

I honestly cannot recommend this company enough. I was attempting to find painters in Naples while I was still in Canada. Richard and his team were so helpful in the process, going above and beyond what I could have ever imagined. They were thorough, professional, and one of the best prices I found in the area. Incredible service.

Jeremy S

Definitely Use Them Again

Richard and his team were great to work with. They were polite, cleaned up and did an awesome job! I have already recommended them to people and would definitely use them again.

Helen R

Ahead of schedule

Very professional, prompt… even ahead of schedule. I will always use them from now on.

Brittany K

Can’t Recommend FCI Painting enough

I can’t recommend FCI Painting enough! Owner Richard Foden runs one of the finest painting companies I’ve ever had the pleasure to work with. When my business moved into our new office, we started researching painters in Naples, FL and FCI came highly recommended. The commercial painters that Richard works with are prompt, thorough and professional. After working with them in a business setting, I’ll be certain to give Richard a call next time I’m in need of house painters as well.

Martin V

Professional & Friendly

Had my condo painted by FCI Painting and they did an outstanding job! They were professional and friendly.

Eileen F

Competitive & Fair

FCI Painting did an outstanding job for us and we are more than pleased with the results. We found the pricing to be competitive and fair. Our painter, Chris, was an expert craftsman, patched several areas of drywall that needed attention and helped us work through a problem we had with one of the colors we chose. We would definitely recommend FCI painting for anyone looking for a quality job at a fair price.

Donna C

Way Above Expectation

Big thanks to FCI, I had them paint my house inside and out and they did a fantastic job, way above my expectations, there employees were punctual and polite, and the work was completed 2 days before the scheduled completion date. Would not hesitate to recommend A++++++++++

Neil S

Highly Suggest Their Work

FCI Painting did a fantastic job on my driveway. They were swift, neat, and very sharp eye on quality. I would highly suggest there work and I would call them again.

Tom D

Pleasure to Deal With

FCI did a great job painting our home! Job was done on time & on budget, no surprises! Rich was a pleasure to deal with & was very prompt when responding to a question or request. Chris, our painter, was on-time each day, always prepared, cleaned up every afternoon, worked at a good pace & super friendly. Would definitely use them again & recommend them highly!

Christine C

Always an Outstanding Job

My family has used FCI in our homes and businesses. They have always done an outstanding job, neat and clean and Richard is wonderful accommodating owner to work with. I would highly recommend this company to anyone.

Valerie G

Great Company, Great Results

Great Company, Great Results! We use FCI whenever we can!


Easy to Deal With

Pleasant and easy to deal with. Did exactly what they said they would, when they said they would do it. Would highly recommend.

Christopher G

Beautiful Work

Beautiful work and very friendly respectful employees. Couldn’t be happier.

Tiffany K