How To Dispose Of Varnish 🪑: We talk about the importance of handling varnish and the likes properly to avoid unnecessary harms. Hazardous chemicals such as varnish should be properly disposed of. Do not know how? We have got you! Continue reading this blog to learn how you can dispose of varnish properly.

To provide a protective coating for wooden surfaces, paintings, decorative objects and furniture, we will need to use varnish. This clear, transparent protective coating is usually used in manufacturing processes to, as mentioned already, provide a protective layer of coating and enhance appearances.

Even with all of its benefits, varnish still needs to be handled properly as it is filled with chemical substances. Failure to do so will cause harm to not just humans but also wildlife.

What can you do to get yourself and others out of harm’s way when dealing with varnish? Answer: you must properly store it away from everyone and dispose of it when needed. However, some might not have a clue on how to dispose of varnish the correct way, but we have got you covered!

We have created this blog specifically to provide you with some steps on how you can dispose of varnish the responsible and safe way. Read on to learn more.


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READ: Vacuum Dust Options: Can You Recycle, Compost Vacuum Dust? Waster Answers! 💨


Dispose of varnish the correct way!

Do take note that varnish, either water or oil-based, will go bad over time. So, you cannot store it for a long period of time and use it after, therefore you should dispose of it when you get the chance.

Similar to any other chemicals, they are toxic and can pose a threat to the environment itself. We would never recommend you to just chuck it inside your household rubbish/general waste bin as hazards are usually highly flammable. Obviously, you should not find other ways to dispose of it such as throwing it down the drain as this puts everyone in danger – all humans, plants and animals.

As such, we share to you below how you can dispose of varnish correctly.


Disposing of varnish yourself

There are times when you have to take matters into your own hands. As serious as the previous statement sound, what we simply meant is that it is possible to dispose of varnish yourself in a safe manner.

Actually, we have 2 popular methods on disposing of them: either putting them on newspaper or letting it dry on its own.

We share with you the first method: disposing of varnish using newspaper. This is a good and much cheaper option than using kitty litter (most especially if you do not even own a pet cat) that you can utilise should you need to get rid of lots of varnish.

As time-consuming as it is, this method is worth your time if no other options exist. Take note: you may need lots of newspaper as it does not readily absorbs the varnish.


Steps to dispose of varnish using newspaper

  1. As you place the newspaper on the varnish to let absorption happen, make sure to move and stir the newspaper around to make sure it makes contact with the varnish.
  2. After moving the newspaper around, let it sit for an hour and check every now and then until the can dries up.
  3. If the can is still not dry, add more newspaper into the mix.
  4. If it has dried already, either throw the newspaper into the rubbish bin or ask your local council what to do with the varnish-imbued newspaper.


Another method: letting it dry

This option is good if there is not much varnish left inside the can and you have all the time in the world. You do not have to do much in this method – remember, you only have to leave the lid open and let the air in to dry the can containing the varnish. This could take a while, so you have to leave it and check every now and then. Putting it under adequate sunlight will help.

Also, remember to not leave it anywhere you please and choose a spot where no one can easily go to and access it. We want to emphasise that you should check it frequently, especially if the varnish is oil-based as it is highly flammable.


Dispose of varnish through events

There are various hazardous waste facilities or events near you that you should enquire about to your local council.

Below, we have an example of events/programs that accept hazardous waste such as varnish for disposal.

If you want to dispose of varnish or other types of hazardous household chemicals, and you are located in NSW, then we have some options for you.


For NSW, you have the Household Chemical Cleanout.

Taking advantage of the CleanOut program ensures that you safely and easily dispose of your varnish along with other hazardous household chemicals. This program has events all across NSW on specified dates, free of charge.

Should you want to use this, do take note that you can bring these types of household chemicals to a Household Chemical CleanOut event:

  • Solvent and household cleaners
  • Floor care products
  • Ammonia-based cleaners
  • Pesticides and herbicides
  • Poisions
  • Pool chemicals
  • Hobby chemicals
  • Motor fuels
  • Fluorescent globes and tubes
  • Acids and alkalis
  • Smoke detectors
  • Paint and paint-related products
  • Gas bottles
  • Fire extinguishers
  • Car and household batteries
  • Motor oils and cooking oils

Some reminders: business-related and commercial quantities of chemicals are not accepted.

As the events are usually held in the Sydney, Illawarra and Hunter regions, they are very much open to all NSW residents.

We encourage you to view the NSW EPA website for more information.


SA: free household chemical and paint drop-offs

In South Australia, you can drop off your varnish along with household chemicals for free through Green Industries SA Free Household Chemicals. Here, they provided a list of locations you can go to, so make sure to check the place nearest to you to dispose of your rat poison!

North Plympton: 181 Morphett Road, North Plympton. Opening hours: Monday-Friday 7am-4pm, Saturday 8am-3pm, Sunday 10am-3pm

Campbelltown: 6 Newton Road, Campbelltown. Opening hours: Monday-Friday 8am-3pm

Edinburgh North: Gate 3, Bellchambers Road, Edinburgh North. Opening hours: Monday-Friday 8am-4pm, Weekends 9am-3pm

Heathfield: 32 Scott Creek Road, Heathfield. Opening hours: Monday-Friday 7.30am-4pm, Weekends 9am-4pm

For your nearest free paint drop off location, visit PaintBack’s website:

Accepted items:

  • Acids and alkalis
  • Brake fluid and coolants
  • Motor oil
  • Cleaning products
  • Fumigants
  • Liquid paints – oil and water-based up to 100 litres
  • Gas cylinders
  • Batteries
  • Pesticides, herbicides, insecticides
  • Photographic chemicals
  • Poisons
  • Pool chemicals
  • Solvents, varnishes and stains
  • Fluorescent light globes
  • Other household chemicals

Check out their website to learn more.


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Please call 1300 WASTER (1300 927 837).  You can also email us at if you have any further questions. Find the best deals in terms of waste and recycling pricing and services!


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