Latex Paint Disposal

Water-based paints/stains, “latex paints,” should not be poured down any drain.

Paint Recycling – The Department of Ecology has contracted with PaintCare to establish collection points for unused oil-based and latex paints where those products are sold. The PaintCare program launched April 1 with a single collection point at Peninsula Paint Center located at 315 Decatur St., Port Townsend. For questions about the PaintCare program or to find other retail collection points, please visit: or phone (360) 450-1639. PaintCare Washington Launch Press Release.

The PaintCare program is independent of Jefferson County’s Household Hazardous Waste Program which will continue to collect oil-based paints only at hazardous waste collection events.

How to dispose of Latex Paint

Full cans of useable paint may be accepted at used building material stores or donated to theater, churches or other groups.

Otherwise, unwanted latex can be thickened with absorbent to a non-running consistency and placed with the paint can lid removed in the regular trash. (Curbside trash service customers are asked not to exceed 45 pounds per 32-gallon can.)

    • Mix unwanted latex paints with equal parts absorbent such as kitty litter, mechanics floor sweep, woodstove fuel pellets, or dry sawdust.
    • Add enough absorbent to reach an oatmeal-like consistency, then let sit for one hour.
    • After one hour, check consistency to ensure it is no longer a running liquid, leave any lids off the latex paint cans, and dispose of as regular household trash.


Is your paint water-based or oil-based?  A “Flammable” or “Combustible” label warning indicates oil-based.  ‘Clean up with soap and water’ indicates water-based paints.

Oil-based paints are combustible. Visit the Hazardous Waste page for info on where and when to dispose of these.