How to Clean Paint Thinner

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Things You'll Need

  • Funnel

  • Filter

  • Paper towel

Properly disposing of paint thinner is important.

While it's often used to clean brushes after painting with an oil-based paint or stain, paint thinner also has many other uses. You can use it to thin oil-based products and clean up oil sludge. The chemicals in paint thinner are harmful for the environment, so it is vital to dispose of paint thinner properly. Most waste hauling companies do not accept paint thinner, but you can strain it. Reuse the clean part and allow the residue and particles to dry up so you can throw them away.


Step 1

Place the container of paint thinner in a safe place after you finish cleaning your paintbrushes. Place it out of reach of pets and children, and where it will not get knocked over. Let the paint thinner sit for a few days, this will allow for the particles in the paint thinner to settle to the bottom of the container.

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Step 2

Place a funnel in the top of the paint thinner's original container. Pour the paint thinner slowly into the funnel, so the sediment on the bottom does not get mixed up, until the sediment in the bottom is left in the container. Place a coffee filter into the funnel and slowly pour the rest of the paint thinner and sediment into the filter. Let it sit while the paint thinner drains through the filter.


Step 3

Replace the cover to the original paint thinner container. Wipe out the container used to clean the brushes with a paper towel. Let the filter and the paper towel dry, and then dispose of the filter and paper towel.


Contact your local town office for the environmental regulations on disposing of liquid paint thinner.

Wear gloves, a long-sleeve shirt, long pants and a dust mask when working with paint thinner. Paint thinner is irritating to skin and can cause a rash.

Work in a well-ventilated area when using paint thinner. Open doors and windows to circulate the fumes.


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