View Full Version : How Do You Dispose of Dirty Turps?

09-02-2001, 04:41 PM
I would appreciate some suggestions as to how you dispose of used turpentine.

09-02-2001, 05:46 PM
Hi Les,
How are you? Seems like a long time since we last spoke. I must confess that I am guilty of improperly disposing of my turps myself. I try not to use much of it and I try to recycle it, so I don't have to get rid of it that often. I usually pour it onto some painting rags, which absorb it and then trash it as soon as possible. I know that is not environmentally friendly, but it's a bad habit. A better idea is to keep a large coffee can half filled with kitty litter in the studio. Then pour your turps in there and it will absorb and keep for a long time. It's a neat way of getting rid of the stuff.

09-02-2001, 06:47 PM
Hi Degas!!!

That's pretty much what I do, too. I found some tiny coffee filters and I try to recycle it as much as possible so that I usually end up with a lot of goop - and it's such a mess!! Kitty litter sounds like a good idea. Wish I still had a kitty to go with it!! I was thinking of the environment, too and wondered if there was a better way. I guess no matter what you do with it it winds up being an environmental hazzard.

09-02-2001, 09:19 PM
I got the idea of using kitty litter in an art class and recall the teacher saying that the litter neutralizes the turps so that it is no longer toxic. I couldn't tell you how that happens though.

09-03-2001, 09:06 AM
That would be GREAT! I know nothing about physics but it seems to make sence as it neutralizes the kitty mess. Thanks.

09-03-2001, 09:55 AM
Check with your local fire department. In my area you can drop off flammable/toxic/environmentally unfriendly items on a designated day of the month at various stations throughout the city.

Don't forget linseed oil is HIGHLY flammable (I've been through a studio fire). If you don't have/can't afford a bucket for flammables, drop your oily rags in a plastic bucket of water until you're ready to dispose of.

09-03-2001, 10:20 AM
I would call the turps into your office. Be friendly, inquire about its family, chat about the economy for a bit. Then, firmly and professionally, explain to the turps that you are making some changes in the organization and that you are sorry, but you are going to have to make some cuts which will include the turps. Explain the future options to the turps: if you have included a severance package, job placement or education options. Suggest the Fire Department as a possible place of future opportunity and offer the turps a ride over in a bucket of kitty litter. Do not allow yourself to be swayed or influenced in any way - no matter how much the turps objects, or asks for "just one last brush" - again, be firm but professional.

This is how we have handled turps replacement in our organization "since 1686."

Next month, "Brushes that love too much" and, "Are there Bolcheveks in your ferrules?"


Scott Methvin
09-03-2001, 05:21 PM
Line everyone up in the studio and tell them,

" all art supplies that are planning to stay with the organization

-take one step forward...

not so fast, used turps."

Then light them on fire outside.

09-03-2001, 06:42 PM
O.K. You guys!!!! :rolleyes:

09-03-2001, 07:47 PM
Originally posted by Scott Methvin
Line everyone up in the studio and tell them,

" all art supplies that are planning to stay with the organization

-take one step forward...

not so fast, used turps."

Then light them on fire outside.

Ah the songs we used to sing around the ol'turp fire.... :D

09-04-2001, 11:20 AM
here's what i do:

1) all turps are poured into lidded glass jars after use.

2) used turps are recycled endlessly as brush cleaner.

3) when the goop at the bottom of the can is unmanageable, i pour sand into the jar and let it stand out side so that remaining turps evaporate. then i scoop out the glass jar and recycle it.

4) but most of the turp has already been reused.

the previous poster who suggested disposal of oily rags is right on the money. get a metal, covered garbage can for oily rags so that even if they do burst into flame, the blaze will burn itself out.

09-05-2001, 07:54 AM
I reuse thinner over and over. When it's dirty, pour it into a can with a lid (coffee cans work well) and let it sit. It may take several weeks, but eventually, all the paint, pigments, whatever that stuff is, will settle to the bottom. The top, clean as new, can be poured off. When the can gets too full of goop, open the lid, let it dry. I'm not sure what the proper thing to do with the dried paint is, but would assume that it's safe for the garbage?