I need to touch up a corner. I'm wondering, what can I use to poor a little latex paint (with primer in it) into to do the touch up? I prefer not to bring in the whole paint canister from the garage but to transfer maybe 100ml into a small container and bring that up to the house.

Can I use plastic? Specifically, I'm wondering if there's a risk of the latex paint and plastic chemically reacting and ruining the paint.

Also, can I throw the latex paint with primer plastic container into the recycle bin after I'm done? Or do I have to clean it first?


  • @BrownRedHawk Please don't post answers in the comments. Post them as actual answers so that they can be voted on and potentially accepted.
    – Niall C.
    Jan 25, 2017 at 17:43
  • For such a small amount, unless you have a big 5-gallon bucket of paint, it's likely easier to just bring the whole can in. Pouring out even a small amount into another container will lead to waste, and you may wind up wasting more than you use in this case!
    – mmathis
    Jan 25, 2017 at 17:45
  • In most of the US, the official way to dispose of latex paint is to dry it out (eg by spreading it across newspapers, though there are dessicant powders that can be added to a can to solidify it), then to toss it into the trash. Check with your town's trash collection office to confirm this. Of course, if it isn't completely spoiled, an alternative is to find something to use it up on.
    – keshlam
    Jan 25, 2017 at 21:13

3 Answers 3


Can I use plastic?

"Paint kettle"

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I have a few of these but I often use an old (but clean) glass jam-jar.

I also clean my used paint kettles.

can I throw the latex paint with primer plastic container into the recycle bin

Hell no! Yikes!

In my part of the planet, liquid paint has to be taken to a household waste recycling centre and placed in the "paint" receptacle there.

If you used the remaining paint to paint some old cardboard boxes or newspapers, after it dries you can place the result in the normal (non-recyclable) rubbish-bin/trash-can. Some people suggest mixing the paint with sawdust/shavings etc to solidify it for disposal, but I didn't find that at all satisfactory.


Any plastic (polyethylene, HDPE, ect.) will do. I've used disposable plastic cups, storage containers, coffee canisters, and many other things without issue. The solvents in latex paint are fairly mild.

For urethane, most of those containers will also work for short-term use. I wouldn't store urethane in disposable containers for any substantial length of time.


Latex paint is quite benign, and you can use darn near anything for a paint cup.

You're right not to paint out of the can. During the extended time you are painting with the can open, you have water and essential VOCs flashing out of the paint, altering its chemistry and thickening it.

Do not recycle any contaminated container... Food, oil, doesn't matter, wash it clean or don't recycle it. If you've been doing that all your life, time to stop. Recycling is an industrial process, where those clean materials are feedstocks into an industrial process which yields new, quality goods. The whole point is that this is much more efficient than starting with virgin petroleum, with all its geopolitical consequences. It defeats the purpose if process batches get contaminated. Of course they try to clean the material, but weird stuff can get by.

Latex paint can be cleaned up with soap and water, and it is not toxic to put down the drain in cleanup quantity -- do not dump paint down the drain. If I don't have potable water, I put the container and brushes in the trash/garbage/bin.

If you have a quantity of liquid paint to dispose of, the best way is to paint it on something you do not want, and throw it away (eventually). I have some old election signs with must be 30 coats of paint on em. Once when I did a cleanup blitz in the city, I painted over every illegal handbill within a block of my house. I didn't hate handbills, I just had a lot of paint to get rid of.

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