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Cleanup and disposal...
without polluting the environment

Cleaning paint equipment

This system is based on the use of two containers in which brushes, roller sleeves and other equipment are first washed and then rinsed. By rotating the containers the solids in the paint are separated from the liquid making it easier to dispose of each component.

This system will work well for both waterborne and solventborne (oil or alkyd) paints. For solventborne paints use mineral turpentine and any other paint solvent recommended by your local Resene ColorShop or Reseller.

Follow these steps:

In the case of waterborne paints:

By morning the paint solids in the first container will have settled down to the bottom of the container. The clear water from this container may now be poured onto the garden or any grassed or open area away from streams, rivers or lakes, where it can be absorbed into the ground.

Cleaning paint equipments

Now to dispose of the paint solids at the bottom of the first container.

Scrape the paint solids out onto absorbent material, such as old rags, shredded newspapers or cardboard boxes. Allow to dry, then place in a plastic bag and dispose of with household rubbish or take directly to the nearest council tip.

The second container now can be used as the first wash. Use this rotation system until the job is completed.

In the case of solventborne paints, follow the same procedures as for waterborne paints but with these exceptions:

  • Use solvents to wash equipment.

  • Allow the first container to stand at least 24 hours as it will take this long for the paint solids to settle.

  • Do not pour the clear solvent onto the ground - use it to top up the second container or decant and keep for future use.

  • Use the least amount of solvent.

Allow solids from turps to settle then re-use

Never allow waste water or chemical solvents from washed paint equipment to enter household or stormwater drains or sewers. The waste may find its way into natural waterways where it can reduce oxygen levels and threaten the survival of fish and other aquatic organisms.

It’s a good idea to keep a container of ‘dirty turps’ on hand for cleaning purposes. Kept in the original container and in a safe place, you will be able to reuse the solvent time and time again. Remember not to shake it up as this will disturb the paint solids, which will have settled to the bottom of the container.

Tips for dealing with spills

If paint is accidentally spilt, clean it up as best as you can with a cloth or newspaper. Then treat with Resene Emulsifiable Solvent Cleaner and rinse with water. By treating the spilt paint with Resene Emulsifiable Solvent Cleaner before washing down you will save solvent and give yourself less work to do.

EnviroWise Disposal and Spill Kit

If you spill paint, pour EnviroWise absorbent material onto the spill to absorb the paint, then collect the mixed material, allow to dry and dispose of it in your household rubbish... view label (PDF)

Moving between worksites

A plastic pail with a tight fitting lid is ideal for the short term storage and transport of brushes and roller sleeves. Fill this pail about halfway with water so that brushes etc are covered. This will save you from having to clean brushes and rollers whenever work is interrupted.

Wrapping a paintbrush in cling wrap will prevent the paint drying on the brush while you take a lunch break. Similarly put your roller into a plastic bag and tape it around the handle or submerge the roller in the paint in your roller tray to keep the paint moist during your break.

Be WashWise

Resene has contained wash systems available for trade contractors. See the Resene WashWise brochure, or your Resene ColorShop for more information.


Buy good quality paint

Lower quality paint while cheaper in the short run is a false economy. It will break down quicker necessitating a repaint earlier. The biggest cost of any painting job is the labour – whether this is a painter you hire to do the job for you or your investment of time. It is better to spend a little more on the paint and get a longer life from it than to try to save a few dollars and take years off the paint finish.

Similarly, if you buy a lower quality paint with an expected life of 4-5 years, this means over a 8 year period you will probably have to paint twice. In contrast if you bought a high quality paint with an expected life of 7-8 years you would only need to paint once during this period. The burden on the environment is considerably less with the higher quality paint.

Save unnecessary washing up

Wrap your brush in plastic wrap or place your roller in a plastic bag, squeeze out the air and tie the bag securely around the handle of the roller using a rubberband or tie top. This will keep the paint fresh while you are taking a break and will save you having to rinse out brushes and rollers repeatedly.

Painting tip - wrap paintbrush between sessions
Wrap brush between painting sessions

Be PaintWise with Resene and we’ll all benefit from a healthier environment.

Resene PaintWise

Bring unwanted paint and paint containers into selected Resene ColorShop and let us take care of them for you. Resene will offer good quality paint to community groups for reuse and recycle packaging materials that are recyclable.

Selected Resene ColorShops have been designated as Resene PaintWise collection centres. Drop off your unwanted paint and paint containers to these designated Resene ColorShops at any time during their opening hours. Full Resene ColorShop address and phone details are listed in the Resene PaintWise brochure or on the Resene website.

You are welcome to bring back paint and paint packaging no matter what brand. Resene branded paint and paint containers are free to return. A small charge applies to non-Resene branded product to help offset the costs of the PaintWise programme. The Resene PaintWise programme is run by the non-profit Resene Foundation funded by contributions from Resene, a small levy on retail paint purchases and trade returns.

When dropping off paint and paint containers:

Due to safety requirements, paint and paint containers will only be accepted at the designated Resene ColorShops during normal store hours. Sorry, paint and paint packaging returns cannot be accepted by any other Resene ColorShops. See the Resene PaintWise acceptance list on the Resene website or in store to see what you can return to the Resene PaintWise service.

Further information

Visit or ask your local Resene ColorShop staff for more information.

In Australia, the Paintback service accepts residual unwanted paint and paint packaging. See for details.

For more information check out these pages:


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