How to Dispose of Old Cleaning Products

Things You'll Need

  • Rubber gloves

  • Sponge or paper towels

Some household cleansers may lose their potency over time.

According to the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, over 100,000 tons of hazardous household products are thrown into residential trash cans every year in New York state alone. Across the country, these careless disposal techniques cause environmental damage and pollution, and in some cases are toxic to animals and humans. Those marked with the words "danger," "poison," "warning" or "caution" may contain toxins and will require special handling. Take these basic steps to properly dispose of any old or unused household cleaning products.

Step 1

Read the manufacturers' labels on each product to identify potential hazards or toxins. If current disposal instructions are provided, follow the instructions exactly. Check the manufacturers' websites for additional information if needed.

Step 2

Dispose of water-soluble cleaners and detergents by pouring these products slowly down the drain while wearing rubber gloves. Keep the water turned on and running while you pour out the product. Wash off the sink and surrounding surfaces with a sponge or damp paper towels to remove any traces of spilled or splashed product.

Step 3

Contact your town or county waste disposal department to get the schedule for local hazardous products collection programs. Local government phone numbers are located in the blue pages section of the local phone book; some municipalities also have websites listing official departments and how to contact them.

Step 4

Store hazardous, corrosive or acidic cleaning products safely until they can be properly disposed of through the hazardous waste collection program in your municipality. Put on rubber gloves and carefully stand the tightly sealed containers on a garage shelf away from excessive heat. This category includes toilet bowl, oven and drain cleaners, some corrosive bleaches and ammonia, among others.


Use up all cleaning products to avoid having to dispose of them. Select non-hazardous or recyclable products and materials whenever possible.


Do not flush old cleaning products, medicines or other hazardous materials down the toilet. Some products may damage plumbing fixtures and many may pose environmental dangers.

Do not mix hazardous cleaning products; the resulting fumes may be toxic.