This Is What Happens When Your Pour Paint Down Your Drain

Improperly disposing of paint can not only destroy the plumbing in your home, but it can also be harmful to your health and the environment. Acrylic and oil paints give off potentially toxic fumes that can cause health issues without proper protective equipment and ventilation, as Healthline explains. They go on to warn that oil-based paints also contain volatile organic compounds or VOCs that can cause symptoms such as headaches, nausea, dizziness, and fatigue. Due to the presence of these hazardous ingredients, it's important to take precautions when painting your home, and afterward when it is time for disposal. 

When paint is poured down a drain, it sticks to the sides of the pipes rather than flowing down. Once it dries and hardens, it has the potential to create untraceable clogs that can eventually ruin your entire septic system, according to Family Handyman. If you realize your mistake right away and mobilize quickly, you can pour a cleaner down the drain to break down the paint, but after it dries there is little that can be done to remove paint from the pipes.

How to dispose of paint

It's been made clear that paint should never be poured down the drain, but you should also avoid rinsing used paint brushes in the sink as well. Family Handyman details how they should instead be washed in a separate container or bucket. The correct way to dispose of your paint depends on the type of formula. Oil and acrylic paints should be taken to your local hazardous waste and recycling center. If you're unsure where to go, search online. Most local municipalities have information on their website regarding where these centers are located.

If you need to dispose of latex paint, however, there is one trick that can save you a trip to the hazardous waste center. According to Family Handyman, you can spread out a roll of painter's plastic and pour the paint over it. After it dries, it can be disposed of in the regular trash. This method is acceptable because latex paints are water-based, whereas oil and acyclic paints contain chemicals that should be kept separate from ordinary municipal trash.