How to Dispose of Cleaning Chemicals


For the most part, the chemicals we use to clean do not have any special disposal requirements. In fact, most can safely be rinsed down the drain with little environmental impact. That said, there are some cleaning chemicals for which there are certain guidelines for proper disposal. These guidelines have been put in place not only for your personal safety, but for public safety as well.

  • Locate a chart that outlines proper disposal of cleaning chemicals. For instance, Purdue University has published a disposal guide for cleaning products. The guide tells you whether to flush, throw away, reuse, recycle or call for collection on each given cleaning agent.

  • Pour chemicals that can be flushed into your bathroom toilet, it best to flush them because they are being diluted with plenty of water during the process. Only dispose of one chemical at a time. In addition to this, if you have a septic system rather than public sewage only dispose of small quantities of chemicals on your own. Large quantities should be handled professionally.

    Prior to disposing of any chemical cleaning agents in your toilet, it is advisable for you to contact your wastewater treatment facility. This will ensure you can do this in your area, otherwise your chemicals may be released into local waterways untreated. This would include cleaners that are ammonia or bleach based, contain chemical disinfectants, glass cleaners and toilet bowl cleaners.

  • Save items such as drain cleaner, furniture polish, floor wax stripper, metal cleaner, oven cleaner and spot remover for hazardous waste collection. Your local government should be able to provide you information on when collection occurs. Until your items can be collected they should be stored in the original containers, out of reach of pets and children.

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