Dispose of Latex Paint Right

Latex paint is 99% water and 1% rubber and is safe to dispose of with your household trash when it's dried out. The Solid Waste District and city service departments do not accept latex paint as household hazardous waste.


Acrylic paints, one of the most popular paint types on the market, are water-based. Emulsion paint is a water-based paint made with synthetic resins, additives, pigments, and water.

[video] Learn how to dry out latex paint

Disposal of Latex Paint

  • Air dry. Remove the lid and allow the liquid to evaporate. This works well for small quantities of paint (an inch or two in the bottom of the can), and can take several days.
  • Use a drying agent. Mix an equal amount of absorbent material into the can and allow the paint to dry. Use cat litter, sawdust, plaster of Paris, Oil-dry, or “waste paint hardeners” found at home improvement centers. The paint could dry quickly, depending on how much drying agent you include in the can.
  • Pour thin layers (about 1" of paint) into a cardboard box lined with plastic. Allow the paint to dry one layer at a time until all paint has hardened.
  • Once the paint is thoroughly dry, place it in a regular trash bag and put it out with your weekly rubbish collection.
  • Dried-out paint cans and other empty containers can be placed in the regular trash for disposal. Learn more about oil-based paint and aerosols,

 Do Not…

  • DO NOT dump the paint on the ground or down storm drains where it will travel directly to the surface and groundwater.
  • DO NOT pour paint down the drain. While small amounts of latex paint can safely be washed down the drain to a septic system or wastewater treatment plant, this practice should be kept to a minimum. Limit this to brush cleaning and other clean-up.
  • DO NOT throw liquid paint in the regular trash. Leaking paint spills out of waste collection vehicles onto city streets making an unsightly mess that's difficult to clean up.

Additional Tips

  • Buy the correct amount of paint for your project. Determine how much paint you’ll need with a paint calculator offered by your local home improvement or decorating store website, or use a mobile app.
  • Not sure if you’ll like a color? Use paint swatches first or purchase a sample size.
  • Be creative and use up any paint that you have left over. Paint a birdhouse, a garage wall, or outdoor furniture.


Donate large quantities of good, usable latex paint to a local theater group, development corporation, homestead, or neighborhood improvement project. 


The paint should not be contaminated with particulates. Also, it should not have gone through a freeze-thaw cycle. See the list of Donation Locations below. Call ahead to make sure that your donation will be accepted.



Looking to recycle, donate, or dispose of other items? Use the dark blue 'What Do I Do With?' search bar at the top of every page of this website. Allow location services or use the city drop-down to find opportunities in your local area.