Paint Disposal and Household Hazardous Waste:

Throughout October’s clean-up events, the Department of Public Works received many questions regarding how to prepare paint for disposal and what to do with oil-based paint and other household hazardous waste. Read on to find out the answers.

Household Hazardous Waste (HHW) is any product labeled as toxic, poisonous, corrosive, flammable, combustible, or irritant when disposed of improperly and poses a threat to human health and the environment. Common HHW products can be found under the sink, in closets, workrooms, basements, tool sheds and garages. HHW materials should not be placed in the trash, poured down the drain or into storm drains, or burned.

The Prince George’s County Household Hazardous Waste Acceptance Site provides Prince George’s County citizens and residents with an opportunity to properly dispose of their home-generated hazardous waste. Materials should be brought to the site in their original containers or packaging. Location: Brown Station Landfill, 11611 White House Road, Upper Marlboro, MD 20772 on household hazardous waste days which are Thursday, Friday, and Saturday from 8:00 am to 3:30 pm. County residents must present valid identification in the form of a driver’s license and/or vehicle registration. Non-commercial vehicles only.

Acceptable HHW that the County accepts: Poisons, Cooking Oil, Fire Extinguishers, Gas Grill Propane Tanks, Cleaning Agents, Solvents, Varnishes and Stains, Oil-Based Paint, Acid Car Batteries, Helium Balloon Tanks, Household Batteries, Insecticides, Herbicides and Fertilizers, Automotive Fluids and Fuels, Driveway Sealers, and Swimming Pool Chemicals.

Unacceptable HHW: Commercial, Industrial or Medical Waste, Radioactive Materials, Asbestos, Explosives, Large Oxygen and CO2 Tanks, and Large Propane Gas Tanks.


Residents should dry out latex paint and stains and put it in the garbage with the lid off, using one of several methods:

  • Air: Remove the lid and let the paint dry out in the can. Protect from freezing and rain as well as curious children and animals. This only works when an inch or less of paint is left in the can and is most effective in the warmer months.
  • Cat litter: Mix latex paint with an equal amount of clay-based cat litter. Stir in completely and wait about ten minutes to let the paint dry and litter harden. If the paint is still soft or runny after the ten minutes, add more litter and repeat until the material is very thick. Sawdust, dirt, and shredded paper can be tried as alternatives to cat litter. If there is not enough room in the paint can to stir in enough cat litter to dry it all out, pour off paint into any plastic or cardboard container that is large enough to hold the material, including a yogurt container, plastic tub, shoebox, or other convenient container.
  • Paint hardener: Mix latex paint or stain with commercial paint hardener according to the directions. At the end of that time, paint will have a tacky, oatmeal-like consistency that will not spill out.
  • Other ideas of using up latex paint or stains: Use the paint when painting a garage, doghouse or use as a primer coat for another painting project. Donate excess paint to a school, theater group or non-profit agency.
  • Be sure it is latex paint or stain! Look on the label for the word “latex”, or for directions to clean up or thin with water. Once the latex paint has hardened or solidified, place the can with the lid off in your trash cart. The trash crew needs to see that the paint has been solidified.


Oil-based paint is defined as household hazardous waste, and should be brought to Brown Station Landfill, 11611 White House Road, Upper Marlboro, MD 20772 on household hazardous waste days which are Thursday, Friday, and Saturday from 8:00 am to 3:30 pm for proper disposal.