How to Use Dispose of Paint Stripper (5 Easy Steps)

Are you ready to properly dispose of used paint stripper? Great news! We're about to break it down in simple terms right here! 

In this ProPaintCorner guide, you'll discover...

  • How to properly dispose of paint stripper 
  • Health and legal considerations
  • Other factors to keep in mind

And much more!

How to Use Dispose of Paint Stripper (5 Easy Steps)

What Do You Need to Know About Disposing of Paint Stripper?

A successful paint stripping DIY project leaves behind a variety of often toxic scrap materials. 

These include the used paint stripper material itself as well as the old paint that has peeled off or has been scraped away. 

There are many forms of harmful chemicals that you will find in this residue. 

Health factor

All solvent-based materials including paint and paint thinner are toxic in a variety of ways.

Of course, internal exposure to these by way of accidental ingestion is incredibly harmful and potentially fatal in some cases.

Beyond this, inhaling hazardous substances can affect your breathing.

Finally, if improperly disposed of these hazardous materials sometimes seep into the groundwater. If that happened, the local drinking water could become polluted.

Old paint generally contains lead

While not an absolute certainty, it's a good rule of thumb to assume that any surface painted before 1978 likely contains lead. 

Therefore, if you intend to remove paint from such a surface covered in old paint, you're going to want to prepare for potential exposure to lead

This preparation is the same safety preparation procedure that we recommend here including wearing a respirator, rubber gloves, and safety goggles.

Read More >> How Do You Avoid Lead Poisoning?

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Process Takes About 30 Seconds

How to Properly Dispose of Paint Stripper (5-Easy Steps)

  1. Safety Gear
  2. Contain
  3. Secure
  4. Drop Off
  5. Dispose

Step 1: Safety gear

Before doing anything, put on your safety gear. 

This includes a respirator, safety glasses, and chemical-resistant gloves. 

You're getting prepared just as you likely did when you originally used your paint stripper.

Step 2: Contain

Hopefully, you thought ahead or read a useful guide detailing how to use paint stripper and know that it's best to properly protect the work area under and around the piece from which you're stripping paint.

Plastic or paper drop material is best for jobs like this. Save your cloth as it's expensive and will potentially be ruined after one encounter with paint stripper.

If you've decided not to attempt salvaging your paintbrushes, simply throw them in the heap with all your scrap material and residue.

If the area is very wet still with remaining paint stripper, you may want to try sprinkling some cat litter around and over the wet areas.

The flakes from it will absorb the additional moisture making any solvents less likely to seep out of their intended places.

Step 3: Secure

Prepare in advance and all of the old paint scraps that you've already scraped off with your scraper and the remaining paint thinner will all be together in a bit of a mushy heap on whatever you used as your drop material.

Whether that be newspaper, plastic, or paper drop; each will suffice for our purposes. 

Cut, tear, or section off a portion of this drop material that contains your waste material. Then, gather the material in the center of the cut-off section.

Proceed to roll up the drop material such that all of the waste material is contained inside. 

You can roll it into a sort of a tube shape or a ball. The important thing is that all the waste stays inside.  

Step 4: Drop Off

In an ideal world, you can pass the baton to someone more qualified than yourself to manage the last mile of your hazardous waste disposal. 

The best way to determine if this is an option for you is to do a web search including your city or town name and the phrase "hazardous waste drop off."

Check your local government's homepage. 

There you should find details about specific drop-off locations, times, and guidelines. 

Here's an example of how this looks on the statewide website for the State of Oregon, showing its guidelines.

Some cities, such a Philadelphia, host hazardous waste collection events that are posted on the online city information pages. Here's an example of a notice for such an event.

While you're going, considering changing the fluids in your vehicles, lawnmower, and anything else that can be completed at the same time.

Old antifreeze is another material that must be properly disposed of in this way.  

Step 5: Dispose

Hopefully, you found a local household hazardous waste disposal location or event. 

If so, you'll bring your contained waste safety along with you to the advertised location for proper further processing and containment.

If you live in a very rural or remote area without organized waste disposal processes, here's what you do. 

Simply wrap the waste material in a few extra layers of newspaper and put that entire wad into a heavy-duty contractor bag.

At this point, your paint thinner or paint remover waste can be safely thrown in a regular garbage can or dumpster. 

Read More >> What Are The Best Paint Strippers Out There?

Did you know: Paint thinners use chemicals like toluene and xylene to dissolve the molecules in an oil-based paint. This allows you to have more control over the paint's overall texture.

Other Considerations When Disposing Of Paint Stripper

Proper disposal of paint strippers is essential. For your paint stripping home improvement task to be counted as a success, proper cleanup is required. 

Of course, a nicely painted and refreshed surface is enjoyable to the eye and to the touch. 

Yet, there's no coat of fresh paint worth harming someone's health for or worth having an adverse impact on the environment. 

Use common sense, caution, and of course use the information that you've gained here and your solid waste will end up properly contained in a plastic bag, at minimum.

Another smart strategy is to simply ask at your local hardware store where you can bring your waste material after you're done stripping paint.

Generally, they'll know of any least one option in your area that accepts this sort of waste material.

Meet Your Pro Paint Corner Author

RJ Parker

RJ Parker

My first job as a painter’s assistant at the ripe young age of 13 charted a path ahead in my life that would gravitate around painting. Now as a freelance handyman and writer, I paint both with the brush and with words. If I’m not edging-in trim or rolling on a top-coat, you might find me out in the fields tending to a flock of goats. Literally. No lie. Or, perhaps you may catch me engaged in my other favorite pastime, eating. It’s fair to say that I’ve painted outside the lines, so to speak, prior to finding my natural stroke. Now, these misadventures and mishaps that I’ve experienced don’t have to happen to you. My mission at ProPaintCorner is to continue painting remotely through the advice, inspiration, and confidence that I give to my readers.

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RJ Parker

RJ Parker

My first job as a painter’s assistant at the ripe young age of 13 charted a path ahead in my life that would gravitate around painting. Now as a freelance handyman and writer, I paint both with the brush and with words. If I’m not edging-in trim or rolling on a top-coat, you might find me out in the fields tending to a flock of goats. Literally. No lie. Or, perhaps you may catch me engaged in my other favorite pastime, eating. It’s fair to say that I’ve painted outside the lines, so to speak, prior to finding my natural stroke. Now, these misadventures and mishaps that I’ve experienced don’t have to happen to you. My mission at ProPaintCorner is to continue painting remotely through the advice, inspiration, and confidence that I give to my readers.

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