What Is the Proper Disposal of Cleaning Supplies?

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To protect the Earth's water supplies and keep them free of harmful toxins and contaminants, it is vital for consumers to properly dispose of cleaning supplies. Some products can be safety disposed of in traditional trash receptacles or poured into regular water drainage systems such as sinks and tubs, ande others require discarding at specialized waste dumping facilities.

Water-Soluble Products

  • Any product that mixes with water is water-soluble. These solutions can be safely washed down drains without fear of environmental harm. Laundry products safe to pour into traditional drainage systems include most detergents, fabric softeners, bleaches and pre-washing or pre-soaking solutions. Common kitchen and household cleaners that fall into this category are hand and automatic dishwashing detergents; rinsing, anti-filming and spotting additives; tub, tile, sink and toilet bowl cleaners; glass and counter cleaners; floor and furniture cleaning solutions; water softeners and drain openers and de-cloggers. Pure household ingredients typically used for cleaning such as baking soda, borax and ammonia can also be washed down drains.

Disposal of Solid Products

  • Some of the aforementioned products are frequently sold in solid or semi-solid forms like dissolvable crystals, towelettes, sheets, pastes, disks, pads and sticks. As long as the cleaning products are water-soluble, which should be indicated on the labels, they can be tossed into conventional trash bins. If you are unsure of their water solubility, check with the manufacturer or your local waste disposal agency.

Non-Water-Soluble Waste Disposal

  • If you need to discard products that are oil or petroleum based or contain toxic chemicals, call the manufacturer's toll-free number or check its website for disposal guidelines. Typical products in this category include furniture polishes and rubbing solutions, hard crystal drain openers, oven cleaners and any product whose label indicates it contains non-soluble ingredients. Local waste disposal facilities also can provide advice on how to safely throw away these types of products.

Disposal Guidelines

  • When dumping cleaners into drains, thoroughly flush the system with water after each addition. Never mix products in the drain or in bottles before disposing of them. If getting rid of powdered cleaners, dump small amounts into drains to prevent clogging in the plumbing system. After you empty product containers, rinse them out and place them in designated recycling bins for metal and plastic. To reduce the amount of recycled products, whenever possible purchase concentrated formulas of cleaners and cleansers, which typically provide excellent results in smaller amounts and are packaged in smaller containers.

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