Is there anything i can pour into some five gallon buckets of stinky paint that would kill whatever is growing? We have several "base dump buckets" That I hate to throw out but the smell from mold and/or mildew is a problem. Thoughts??
I've experienced this! There are bugs that will start living in that paint eventually. Like actual bugs, not just bacteria. It's because the low VOC paint (that's not as stinky initially) doesn't have all the toxic stuff that would ordinarily kill the bacteria that's now growing in yours. I don't know a way to salvage it unfortunately, but we discarded a few gallons last year that were in various stages of evolution. It's the circle of life.
Some chlorine bleach would probably help, at least for a time until it dissipates. It also conceivably could affect the color and/or other qualities of the resulting concoction. Add it outdoors on the off chance that the paint contains some ammonia (which is pretty doubtful, unless you got it from @MarshallPope, but you never know). I've done that for some ceiling paint at home with some success. Bleach and ammonia are of course a bad combination.
So.. uh... does the paint drying remove any toxic bacteria or toxic waste from bacteria? Do the mold spores get fully contained under the surface of the paint? Do we know for a fact that the bacteria or fungi are not toxic?
If you don't know what the bio-contaminants are, how do you know how to neutralize them?
Not knowing what the possible pathogens are, I'd just bin the lot.
I can speak from experience that when it dries it stops stinking, but the intervening time is unpleasant to say the least. I'm not sure about the toxicity, but like I said we usually pitch it. We buy the cheapest flat latex you can find, so at $16/gal it's not worth us crying over.
I've added bleach and it helps, generally about a cap full per gallon. It has never affected the color noticeably, thought it's almost always slop paint so not generally a worry for us. Scented bleach helps tone down the bleach smell.
Pine Sol is the traditional sanitizer of choice. Ammonia is used, and produced, by Latex paint so I'm not real sure what that would do to the formulation. Bleach, again, Caustic and have no Idea what it would do to the latex solids or how it would interact with the pigments. BTW, PineSol is THE thing to use to clean sap off of tools, saw blades, hands, clothes, or even wood. You can rub down a sappy piece of wood then coat it in shellac to cut down on future leakage.