The Right Way To Dispose Of Wood Stain

Furniture flippers and home renovators alike have probably used their fair share of wood stain on projects. As the name implies, wood stain is used to stain wood and either restore its color or give it an entirely new one. The product is applied to clean, sanded wood, such as floor planks, furniture, or shelves. It richens the existing color while keeping the grain visible and intact, according to Wood Improve.

While wood stain is safe to use, it is known to be incredibly flammable when wet. Since most wood stains are oil-based, they have a low flash point, and rags or other flammable materials soaked in the liquid can "spontaneously combust" when left in the heat (via Consumer Reports). Cans of wood stain have the same combustion potential. The product is also a carcinogen and known skin irritant, as noted by A Butterfly House.

With all of this in mind, it's clear that simply dumping out liquid wood stain is a bad idea. In fact, many local governments deem it hazardous waste and prohibit certain disposal methods. If you have wood stain-soaked items or leftover product you need to get rid of, make sure you do so in compliance with local safety regulations and have a general knowledge of hazardous waste disposal.

Dispose at a hazardous waste facility

If you are disposing of large amounts of wood stain, you should seek out a hazardous waste disposal facility, according to Woodworking Clarity. A simple internet search should help you find one close to you, but trash and recycling facilities should also be able to help point you in the right direction.

Before bringing in your old wood stain, call the facility to see how and when they want you to do it. For example, if the can has been opened, the facility may have packaging and labeling instructions or questions about ingredients, expiration dates, etc. They may ask you to bring it in or prepare to have it picked up. Alternatively, consult the label on your wood stain can. There may be instructions on how and where to dispose of excess or expired products. There will also likely be a phone number you can call for any questions or specific guidance.

Dry out wood stain soaked items

If you have a small amount of leftover wood stain in your can, there are a few ways to safely dispose of it without leaving home. According to Woodworking Clarity, if there's less than an inch of product left in your can, feel free to let it air dry in a cool, dark environment away from pets and children, and then seal up and toss it in the trash. You can also use cat litter or other absorbent items to help soak it up. Then, allow the litter to dry and wrap it tightly before throwing it away.

The bigger threat with disposing of wood stain is getting rid of combustible items, like rags or brushes, that have been used to apply the product. Since the flash point is low and the items are highly flammable, there's a serious risk of combustion. To safely dispose of wood stain-soaked items, find a cool, dry area away from children and pets to hang rags or dry out the brushes. Once the items are completely dry, they are no longer a fire risk. Add them to an airtight metal container and toss them in the trash.