A lot of our blogs focus on the “befores” of painting – how to pick colors, how to prep and common problems – but we haven’t talked a lot about what to do after, when your garage is packed three layers deep with hundreds of old paint cans. Well, hopefully not literally hundreds…
Like most people, you probably don’t have any idea what to do with all those old gallons and quarts. Can you throw it away? Should you recycle them? What colors do you need to keep? What does it all mean? Rather than pushing you into an existential crisis, let us help you out when it comes to your stock pile of interior and exterior paint.
First, figure out which paint cans you can ditch
Our advice is this: if it’s up on your walls hold onto it. Your existing project might require touch ups and you’ll want to have the leftover paint on hand to make those go smoothly. If you don’t have a ton left, transfer it into a quart can (which are available at your local paint store) for easy storage. Eliminate the guess work and endless can opening by clearly labeling each of your colors using the product/color name, sheen and color code—especially if you transfer cans.
Once you’ve figured out what to keep, make sure that the cans are properly sealed. Knock the lid down tight so that your paint won’t dry out before you get a chance to use it.
For the rest of your half empty, old, dried out (or drying out) paint we’ve got a few suggestions.
Are your gallons still pretty full?
If so, we suggest recycling. Oregon, California and Connecticut all have built in paint fees (like an alcohol or cigarette tax) which were included when you purchased your gallon/quart. The fees go towards the PaintCare program which provides drop off sites for recycling old paint. Looking for a location near you? PaintCare Oregon has at least 101 drop sites for paint recycling, click here to find the most convenient one.
Are your cans empty?
If they are just dump them in the trash. There’s nothing wrong with putting them in your regular garbage and the recycling centers will not take empty cans.
Do your cans still have wet paint in them, but not enough to recycle?
If you’re left with just a little bit in the can, remove the lid and let it dry out. Once it’s dry, feel free to throw it away just like you would with an entirely empty can.
If you have paints or solvents that PaintCare will not take care of, you can check with Earth 911 to find current drop off sites for all your recycling needs. Hopefully we’ve answered all your questions; but, if not the office staff here at Sisu Painting, Inc. would be happy to assist in any way possible at (503) 646-1211.