Spring Cleaning Dumpster Tips: How To Handle Old Engine Oil And Paints In Your Garage And Basement

Posted on: 14 March 2016

The warm weather moving in across the country signals the start of the spring cleaning season. One of the best ways to get rid of stuff like old carpeting, worn out furniture, and stacks of newspapers is to rent a dumpster. Many municipalities have rules against leaving big piles of garbage on the street curb all at once for pick-up by their regular garbage trucks, and it could take most of the summer before you can get rid of everything you want to throw out. Renting a dumpster lets you clean your house of unwanted items in a weekend and let's you throw everything out all at once.

However, you have to be careful with hazardous wastes like old engine oil and paints as the dumping stations rental companies use to dump out their dumpsters filled with old household items often don't take hazardous products, and you'll have to make other arrangements to dispose of them. Here is how you can get rid of old engine oils and paints considered to be too toxic to put in a dumpster that you're renting for a spring cleaning job around your home.

Engine Oils

If you are the type of person who likes to change their own oil on cars, lawnmowers, and snow blowers, chances are you've been gathering a considerable amount of old oil in used containers. Those old oil containers shouldn't be thrown into a dumpster.

There are two options you can use to get rid of the old oil: take it to an auto service station and see if they'll let you pour the oil in their waste drums for old oil (many will, but they might charge you a couple of dollars to dispose of it), or see if you know anyone who uses a waste oil heater to keep their work building warm on cold spring days and give it to them.


The first thing you should do is check to see if the paint is bad. Unopened cans of paint can last for up to 15 years even if they have gotten a little rusty on the outside. Paint sitting in previously opened cans should be checked before deciding to dispose of it. Here is how to check if the paint is good or not. Open the can and mix it with a stirring stick. Some paints may have a film over the top of it in the can. Just take the film off and then stir the paint – don't try to stir the film into the paint. If the paint stirs easily and mixes together nicely, the paint is in good shape. If the paint doesn't mix well, you should discard it.

Many municipalities have drop-off days at a local facility to dispose of things like old paint. You should call your local sanitation department and find out when the next one is for your community. If your community doesn't have an old paint drop-off day, call other sanitation departments nearby to see if they have a day when you can take your old paint to them. You should expect to be charged a few dollars as a non-resident to get rid of the paint.