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F.A.Q. Solvents

The MCMUA operates one of NJ's most comprehensive household hazardous waste (HHW) programs. This F.A.Q. page and information on hazardous materials is intended as a guide about HHW materials as well as the MCMUA's HHW program. This information is a general guide and does not constitute official rule, regulation or law.


  • Thinners and solvents contain volatile organic compounds (VOCs)
  • Thinners and solvents can be absorbed through the skin.
  • Thinners and solvents are flammable.
  • Some solvents are carcinogenic.


  • Keep thinners and solvents in closed and labeled glass or metal containers. Some plastic containers may deteriorate in contact with solvent.
  • Store thinners and solvents away from sources of sparks or heat.
  • Do NOT put leftover product in the trash or down the drain.

Management Options

  • If product is unused, try to give it away to someone else who can use it.
  • If the product cannot be given away for reuse, and the municipal paint collection program accepts it, take it there.
  • Solvents mixed with paint may be reused. First, let solids settle out and pour off liquids for future use as a solvent. Label container clearly.
  • The solids may be disposed of wet at an HHW collection. Alternatively the solids may be dried out by adding absorbents such as kitty litter or vermiculite, in a well ventilated area, away from ignition sources such as appliances with a motor or pilot light and out of reach of children and pets. Dried solids can be disposed of in the trash.
  • Small amounts of used or new paint thinner can be added into oil-based paint. Add to same color paint as that used with the thinner.
  • If the thinner or solvent cannot be reused through the above options, save for the next HHW collection day or take to a commercial hazardous waste facility.