Household Paint

Paint Program

Contact the state for more information. 

There are two main types of paint: water-based latex, and oil-based paint. In the State of Tennessee, it is illegal to throw wet latex paint into landfills. Latex paint is not hazardous and can be dried up and disposed of in landfills. Latex paint is a water-based paint meaning that it can be cleaned up with water. It is better to try to use up the paint or give it away first. If that is not an option, latex paint can be dried at home. Add kitty litter, sawdust, or shredded paper to speed the drying process. There are also commercial hardeners that can be purchased to solidify paint sold at the same places that sell paint. Once the latex paint is completely dry it can be disposed of in the municipal solid waste stream.

*Dumping paint in storm drains or down the sink is illegal. Latex paint can clog pipes and damage sewage systems, causing sewage overflow damaging the environment.

Common Terms for Latex Paint:
Latex Water Content Clean with soap and water Acrylic
Water  Water Clean Up  Ingredients—water Agua or Aqua (water)

Oil-based paint is hazardous and needs to properly be disposed of because it is flammable. Oil-based paint is considered a Household Hazardous Waste when coming from households. Oil-based paint should be used up, given away, or carried to a county paint collection facility (if available). Oil-based cannot be placed in the trash and must be handled properly. 

Common Terms for Oil-Based Paint:
Acetone Lead-based Stoddard solvent
Alcohol Mineral Spirits Toluene
Alkyd Oil Turpentine
Combustible Oil Stain Varnish
Flammable Paint Thinner Volatile
Hydrocarbons Petroleum distillate Xylene
Isopropyl alcohol Shellac  
Lacquer Solvent  

For information on lead-based paint please visit TDEC’s Toxic Substances Program

Ginna McWhirter
Used Oil Coordinator

This Page Last Updated: July 9, 2024 at 6:25 PM