How to Safely Dispose of Turpentine

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Turpentine is a commonly used solvent or paint thinner. It's obtained naturally from trees, mainly those in the pine family. Although it is an organic product, turpentine has the potential to be hazardous, so it should be handled and disposed of with caution. Turpentine cannot be dumped down the drain or into the septic system because it can pollute groundwater. Additionally, turpentine is flammable, so brushes and rags used for turpentine application may catch fire and shouldn't be thrown in the garbage.

Contact Your Local Resource

  • Your local waste collection agency or environmental protection agency will have detailed information regarding the proper disposal of unwanted turpentine in your area. They may sponsor a paint collection event in which residents can participate. Another option is to donate the leftover turpentine to a neighbor or someone else who might need it. Turpentine is reusable as long as it is stored properly in a sealed container away from direct sunlight. If possible, it should be kept in the original container.

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  • Photo Credit Justin Sullivan/Getty Images News/Getty Images
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