If you’re like most of us, you have paint cans of all sizes and colors stacked like a giant Jenga game in your basement or garage. Some are filled with usable paint and staining material. Others, though, are as old as the house, with paint so hard you could saw it into bricks.
It’s time for some spring cleaning. According to This Old House Magazine, here’s how to approach the task:
If the can is mostly empty: If it’s filled with latex paint, mix in a hardener—This Old House suggests Krud Kutter Waste Paint Hardener from Lowe’s—or cat litter. This will dry up the paint, which you can then throw away. Cans of oil-based paint are hazardous waste and must go to a collection center.
If you have enough left for touch-ups: The paint will stay usable longer if you transfer it to a can that’s the right size for what remains. This Old House suggests Behr’s 1-quart Metal Paint Bucket and Lid from Home Depot. Be sure the new can is labeled with the paint brand, the color, and where in the house you used it. Store it in a cool, dry place.
If you have nearly a whole can: Wipe any paint drips from the can with a rag. Then make sure the can is closed tight by tapping the top with a rubber mallet. Remember to label it with the date you used it and where in the house it was applied.
If you have full, unopened cans: If you can’t return them to the store, pay it forward by donating the paint to school theater groups that may need it for their stage backdrops.
To get rid of any leftover paint no longer needed: Go to PaintCare.org. The organization recycles paint and has many drop-off locations throughout Colorado.