How to Dispose of Floor Finish Strippers

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Wastewater from floor stripping usually contains zinc from floor finishes.
Wastewater from floor stripping usually contains zinc from floor finishes. (Image: Jupiterimages/Pixland/Getty Images)

Most floor finishes contain zinc, a metal that can damage sanitary sewer systems and the environment. Floor finish strippers typically contain butoxyethanol, monoethanolamine, sodium hydroxide or sodium metasilicate. They also absorb the zinc from the floor finish as they remove it. Most communities have limits on the amount of zinc you may discharge into the sewer system. Some communities have banned zinc discharges and require that floor finish applications are zinc-free. Your county or state can test your floor finish stripping wastewater to ensure you meet the discharge limits.

Things You'll Need

  • Floor stripper
  • List of ingredients in floor finish
  • Information about local rules on disposal
  • Water
  • Buckets

Call your local government officers to determine what limits your community, county or state has established for wastewater discharge from floor finish strippers. Know the ingredients in your stripper, and whether the floor finish you're stripping contains zinc, before you call.

Dilute the stripper solution with water to the maximum you can apply and still effectively strip the floor. You will strip a smaller area with diluted stripper, absorbing and discharging less zinc. Have the diluted discharge tested.

Collect and store your floor finish stripping discharge in hazardous waste barrels if you cannot meet the zinc discharge requirements. Do not landfill the barrels. Contract with a licensed hazardous waste disposal firm to collect and safely dispose of your wastewater.

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