Proper storage & disposal of paint thinner

Written by rebekah richards
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Paint thinner is a solvent used to thin oil paints and varnishes. Like oil paints, paint thinner emits toxic fumes and is considered a hazardous material. Storing paint thinner properly reduces the risk of accidental ingestion, inhalation and fire. Disposing of paint thinner properly -- instead of pouring it on the ground, down a drain or sewer, or throwing it in the garbage -- keeps the solvent out of the environment and water supply. Recycling or donating paint thinner is even better for the environment and your community.

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  1. 1

    Store paint thinner in a cool, dry, well-ventilated area away from sources of ignition, pets and children.

  2. 2

    Recycle used paint thinner by pouring it into a glass container and sealing it tightly. Clearly label the container as "Paint Thinner: Toxic" and place it in a dry, well-ventilated area for several months. After the paint sludge settles to the bottom, pour the clean solvent off the top into the original solvent container and reuse. Use kitty litter or newspaper to absorb and dry the paint sludge before disposal.

  3. 3

    Donate unwanted paint thinner to a local theatre group, religious organisation, school, home rehabilitation program, friend or family member. These groups usually accept extra paint, too.

  4. 4

    Dispose of unwanted paint thinner at a hazardous materials collection facility.

Tips and warnings

  • If paint thinner gets on your skin, wash it off immediately with soap and water.
  • Do not use a glass beverage container to store used paint thinner, because someone might mistake it for a drink.
  • Never reuse paint thinner containers for other materials because paint thinner residue is toxic.

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