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Paint Storage, Clean-Up and Disposal

Now that your paint project is over, you're probably wondering what to do with all the leftover paint. We've outlined some ideas that can serve as a guide to help you finish your project.

Proper Clean-Up

Clean up as you go - the longer the paint sets, the more difficult cleaning up will be. Before you remove the dropcloths, wait at least three hours for the paint to completely dry. Don't re-hang pictures for at least a day.

Brushes and rollers can be re-used if properly cleaned. For latex paint:

  1. Scrape away as much paint as possible from the brush/roller using a paint stirring stick.
  2. Immediately soak the brushes/rollers in water (remove the roller from the frame before soaking). Use a brush comb to remove additional paint.
  3. Squeeze the brushes/rollers to remove excess water.
  4. Clean with warm, soapy water.
  5. Rinse thoroughly and squeeze out as much water as possible.
  6. Hang the brush/roller up to dry.
  7. Wrap brushes in paper towels to help keep the bristles in good condition.

For oil-based paint, soak rollers and brushes in paint thinner and follow steps 2 through 5.

Storing Leftover Paint

When you're done painting, clean all excess paint from the rim of the can. Then tap the lid tight with a hammer and block of wood.

Label the cans of paint so that you know which paints you used in different rooms of your house. It's always a great idea to have touch-up paint handy.

Store solvent-based paint cans upside down to prevent a skin from forming. Keep all cans of paint in areas that won't be affected by extreme heat or cold.

Disposal of Paint

Disposal methods vary by community. Check your local environmental, health and safety laws. Get more answers to your disposal questions at paint.org.

For more DIY house painting tips, tricks and instructions for your new home, visit Lowe's Painting section.

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