Although it is usually easy to avoid having toxic chemicals in your home, paint stripper can often be necessary, even for small decorative jobs. Knowing how to dispose of the substance safely can offer peace of mind if you find you have some left over.
WARNING: Paint stripper is toxic to touch and to breathe in. Wear protective clothing, gloves, glasses and a face mask while handling it.
Due to the highly toxic nature of paint stripper and the potential damage that it can do to the environment, local authorities will often provide a service for getting rid of it and other similar substances. Contact your local environmental department to determine whether they will collect the substance to dispose of it safely on your behalf. Alternatively, they may provide details of a recycling center in your area where members of the public can attend to deposit leftover materials that would otherwise be harmful to the environment and are unsafe to keep in the home.
Depending on your location and circumstances, it may be best to allow paint stripper to evaporate in the open air. This method is best avoided if you have pets or small children, or do not have an area to store it where it is out of the way. The process of evaporation is aided by giving liquid as much access to the atmosphere as possible, so if the stripper is in a bottle, it would be prudent to transfer it to a large, non-corrosive container. Put the container in place before pouring in the liquid to reduce the risk of spilling it. Find an area of your property that remains shaded throughout the day, as it should never be placed in direct sunlight or areas where there are high temperatures. Try to find a spot which is also protected from the elements, or stabilize the container by placing large rocks or bricks at the sides to prevent it tipping over.
WARNING: Paint stripper is flammable and toxic, so keep it away from any outdoor heat source. Make sure you cordon off the area for several days so pets or children stay away until it's finally evaporated.
Look around your neighborhood to check for anyone who lives nearby who may be undertaking some decoration work–paint stripper can often be overlooked and you may find that your offer of free stripper is a welcomed one. Alternatively, place an advertisement in your local newspaper and online in the home section, which is the first place that buyers tend to look when they are going through a renovation in the hope of finding free or cheap materials. This process will make it easier for you to get a few dollars in return if you do not want to give it away.
Specialist Disposal Firms
Due to the impact that paint stripper can have on the environment, there are companies who specialize in disposing of this and other toxic materials. Peruse local directories and the Internet to determine whether these companies will be prepared to provide a collection service for the amount of the substance that you have. Obtain quotes from several different firms before settling on one.