The Right Way To Dispose Of Paint Thinner

Paint thinner is used to thin oil-based paints and clean paint brushes and rollers. While it is good at its job, it's a dangerous material to work with. Paint thinners are made out of acetone, mineral spirits, turpentine, and toluene. These solvents make it highly ignitable, and because of how flammable it is, it needs to be stored in a safe place and disposed of properly. Containers should be sealed and stored in cool, dry places like basement or garage workshops. While using paint thinners, it's important to be safe because it can be hazardous to the skin, lungs, and eyes.

Improperly disposing of paint thinner is illegal as it can harm people's health and the planet. In addition, the chemical-infused solution should never be poured into the trash or down the drain, according to SFGate. If you'd pour paint thinner into the trash, you could risk starting a fire. Similarly, if you get rid of it by tossing it down the drain or gutters, the chemicals would contaminate the groundwater, causing significant harm to the environment. But then? Read on to find out how to dispose of it safely.

The difference between paint thinner and mineral spirits

Paint thinner is often referred to as mineral spirit, but finding the difference between these two can be tricky because they are essentially the same thing. Paint thinner is the general term for the product's function, while the mineral spirit is an actual product that thins paint. This means that paint thinner can be made of anything that thins paint, like acetone or turpentine. In addition, mineral spirits can be an ingredient in paint thinner, so the two products work interchangeably, according to The Spruce.

Since paint thinner and mineral spirits are interchangeable, many thinners often say mineral spirits on the label. However, both products are petroleum-based and are equally toxic to people and the environment. Because of this, they should be safely disposed of the same way and cannot be thrown in the garbage. The only main differences are that mineral spirits have less odor than paint thinners and have no additives. Meanwhile, paint thinners contain additives.

Drop off at a hazardous waste center

The safest way to dispose of paint thinner is at a hazardous waste center. Local governments have information on where these facilities are for the people in their area. In addition, items like rags that were soaked in paint thinner should also be disposed of at a hazardous waste facility. To prevent them from catching fire, they should be put in a metal tube with a tight lid and covered in water, Impressive Interior Design advises.

However, before dropping off any used or excess paint thinner, there is something you can do so you don't have to visit one of these centers frequently: Any leftover paint thinner can be stored to use again later. SFGate recommends putting the paint thinner you used to clean brushes in a sealed jar and leaving it overnight if you want to reuse it. By the next day, the paint thinner should have separated from the paint sludge. You can reuse it then.