Dispose Of Wood Stain

How to Dispose of Wood Stain


Image Source


The earth is full of waste which we humans have produced and dumped. Our oceans, forests, mountains, and every area of natural beauty is full of plastic, styrofoam, cans, pet bottles, and whatnot. It is mandatory for us to be environment-friendly and dispose of leftover wood stain and paint cans responsibly. Untreated waste remains in the layers of soil even after hundreds of years polluting the soil and water.

Wood stain is a type of paint that is used to make the wood look attractive. It has colorants dissolved in chemicals, and hence disposing of them properly is extremely important. After completing the coloring work in our homes, we often wonder- how to dispose of wood stain.

Wood stains, oil-based paints, wood varnish, water-based paints, wooden primer, or any other material used for coloring furniture or walls at home contain many chemicals. If you are not careful in disposing of them properly, then it will create environmental pollution. In most advanced countries, it is illegal to dispose of chemicals incorrectly.

Let’s not get concerned about what the environmental law says, and let’s focus on saving the environment. Hence, read on if you want to know how to dispose of wood stain correctly.

Mandatory Waste Management

When you will start off with DIY projects, you might make mistakes in making the correct estimation. Hence you might end up buying excess wood stain and paints. However, when the project is over, it poses the big question- how to dispose of wood stain.

A study done by Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) found that the USA alone produces 69 gallons of leftover paint, varnishes, and stain every year. If we look at the population of all the countries across the globe, the amount will be more than a few thousand gallons.

This much leftover wood stain and paints can be used by many other people. Since the disposal of woods stain and paints is regulated by community and state laws, it is better to be aware of the regulations.

Under any circumstances do not pour the wood stain, wood paint, wall paint, or any other kind of paint down the drain. Do not dump it on the ground or any open land area either.

Step-by-Step Instruction – How to Dispose of Wood Stain

Step 1- Read the Label

Read the label of the wood stain or wood paint can. In the label, the names of the chemicals which are included will be mentioned. Make a list of all those chemicals in a notepad before you start the process of disposing of all the cans.

If the label states that it is organic in nature, follow the instructions, solidify the content, and dispose of it.

Read Label 202161715920

Image Source

Step 2- Contact Solid Waste, Public Works Department/Waste Management company

Most of the cities across the globe which has a local municipality system also has a waste management department. Since they deal with the waste management process and are experts in this field, it is a good idea to give them a call to understand the process better. Inform them about the ingredients which you read in the labels of the cans.

They will inform you about the protocols of disposing of wood stain, varnish, wood thinner, and all the other leftover materials you have. Just follow the guidelines and take care of the remains. In case you live in an area where these authorities are not available, just use the internet to your benefit and look for some easy solutions.

So now you are halfway through the problem of how to dispose of wood stain.

Telephone Call 202161717657

Image Source

Step 3- Dispose of Your Wood Stain Cans

If your county or state has a designated area where the wood stain, varnish, distemper, paints, etc. can be dumped, then it will be easy for you. For example, in Concord, Massachusetts, USA residents take all the cans of wood stain, wood primer, varnish, cement paint, etc. to a paint recycling area which is located at the town’s composting site. Even in Montgomery County, Maryland, USA, the residents have access to a designated hazardous waste dumping yard where they can take all their leftover paints and varnishes.

If you live in a city that has this facility, then the problem of how to dispose of wood stain is resolved very easily.

Dumpyard 202161715722

Image Source

Step 4- Recycle/Donate

In the US, there are many non-profit organizations like PaintCare, and Habitat for Humanity that accepts leftover wood paints, varnishes, wood stain, cement paints, etc. and recycles them. Check out earth911.com and find out similar outfits in your area.

You can even donate the leftover paints to orphanages, community theater groups, schools run on government aids for children from backward communities, etc. Check the internet and look for the requirements which they might have. You can even check out local furniture stores that might need these items all the time.

If you live in some other country, try Facebook communities that can help you with this.

If you check google, you will learn that oil-based paints, varnishes, thinners, etc. can be mixed with other fuels and can be used as an energy substrate to run various kinds of machinery and plants. Try to contact such places and they will be more than happy to use the leftover items.

Recycle 2021617171144

Image Source

Step 5- Take up Another Project

This is my favorite step. You can keep the remaining wood stain, wood paints, thinners after securing their caps properly in an airtight condition in your work area and pick up the next project. You can check with your neighbors and friends, and they might have something for you. It will be a good gesture if you can lend a hand in helping them in painting their furniture.

Image Source

Step 6- Allow to Evaporate

In case your leftovers are a large quantity of oil-based paint, then you need not worry too much. Most oil-based paints or wood stain are hazardous when they are in liquid form. If you can find a technique to dry them off, then they will be safe to be disposed of in a normal way. Their toxicity vanishes in the solid form.

  • Using Cat Litter

Drying the paint is an extremely time-consuming process if you just leave it open in your yard or balcony. Get some cat litter and drop it inside the leftover paint can. It is scientifically proven that litters are very hygroscopic in nature, and the oil-based wood stain or oil-based paint will become non-toxic by this method. Once the litter dries up, you can dispose of it off just like normal waste.

Cat Litter 2021617171640

Image Source

  • Using Newspaper

Letting the newspaper soak the oil-based paint or wood stain is another idea which you can use. Allow it to dry up completely and then throw the newspaper along with the cans in normal trash. Ensure that the cans are dried up fully from inside. This step is not only for the environment, but to safeguard yourself. Since the apartment buildings have CCTV cameras, any mistake can easily be traced back to you.

Newspaper Soaking 2021617171928

Image Source

  • Keep the lid open

If the paint or wood stain is water-based, you can leave the lid of the can open on your balcony for a few days. It will evaporate the liquid substance. Then you can dispose of the can in a normal fashion.

Lid Open Paint Cans 2021617172048

Image Source

Step 7- Dispose of the Paint Rags

We take a lot of caution in disposing of the paints, thinners, paint solvents, wood stain, etc. however, often forget about the rags, rubber gloves, brushes, and other items which were used during the process. They are highly inflammable and hence should be disposed of very carefully. Some countries allow them to be burnt and you can follow the same.

Else allow the rags and all the cloth materials to dry off properly before throwing them into the trash can. It will be a good idea to dump all the rags in an airtight container to ensure that they do not come in contact with any flammable objects and catch fire.

Paint Rags 2021617172231

Image Source

Final Verdict

As a community, we are learning how to dispose of wood stains, leftover paints, thinners, and similar materials. You know if they are not disposed of properly, they will reach the groundwater and pollute it. It surely will be hazardous for any community as if the groundwater is contaminated, then the area will become a hub of many diseases.

These chemicals cannot be filtered off using any RO system/regular filtration process, and they will enter our bodies through water and contaminated vegetables and farm produces. They pose a huge threat to marine life if they are dumped in the oceans. Every year we celebrate world environment day, world ocean’s day, however, there is no point in celebrating them if our actions do not speak louder than our words.

Paints and varnishes which contain high VOC (Volatile Organic Compound) cause irreparable damage to the human body. Human beings have spoilt the environment already to a large extent and we see the ill-effects of it around us. Not being able to dispose of paint and paint solvents properly is another addition to that problem.


Since you have learned the process of how to dispose of wood stain, let’s make a promise to ourselves to follow it. Law enforcement agencies can not monitor everything and most of these lapses remain even in the most advanced countries in the globe. We should be driven by our own conscience, not some external agency. It is imperative that we leave the planet in a liveable condition for the next generations.

Let’s create a better and safe environment for everyone around us. Environmental pollution is not the problem of one country or region. Since the entire Earth is connected by rivers, oceans, and soil, the problem of one area spreads to the adjoining regions over the years. Let’s be safe and happy!!