You open up your supply cabinet – you know, the one in the back of the house that you never ever check – only find an army of old bottles and spray cans staring at you.
They’re full of old, unwanted cleaning products, and you’re full of questions.
Here’s one big one that may have crossed your mind: “How do I get rid of this stuff?”
Maybe you’ve found a scent you like better. Perhaps you’re trying to move out. Maybe you just want to cut clutter. Whatever your reasons, here are a few things to keep in mind when it comes to getting rid of old cleaning products the right way:
Always Check the Label
When in doubt, consult the bottle! Most cleaning products today will include information about how to properly handle and dispose of the product right on the label (even if you may have to peer at some pretty fine print to get the message).
If your cleaner of choice does come with disposal instructions, be sure to follow them as closely as you can! The label may tell you how to get rid of the product, as well as the packaging. There may also be a phone number or website listed, which you can contact for even more information.
Look for the recycling symbol on the bottom of plastic bottles, and always take care if the label says that you’re holding a “non-refillable” container.
Give It the “Water-Soluble” Test
One rule of thumb to keep in mind comes to us from Healthy Cleaning 101, which urges you to “think about how you use the product” when you’re considering how best to get rid of it.
This might sound obvious, but it’s a very useful test!
Think about the cleaning products you use. If they come in the form of a gel, powder, or liquid, and you can safely mix them with water when you use them every day, then these are “water-soluble” materials, and are probably safe to wash down the drain in most cases. Your local water systems are used to carrying away these types of products since they’re used for cleaning so often, and they aren’t likely to cause any harm to your plumbing or septic systems.
Common water-soluble cleaning products you may wish to dispose of include bleaches and detergents, glass cleaners, toilet cleaners, dish soaps, and most other forms of “all-purpose” cleaner or disinfectant.
In most cases, you can dispose of solid household cleaners and wipes by throwing them away. As we mentioned before, though, always be sure to read the label of the product before tossing it out.
Recycle Whenever You Can
Remember to think sustainably and recycle whenever you can!
Most of the aerosol cans, plastic bottles, cardboard boxes, or glass containers used to hold cleaning products are recyclable, as long as they are clean and empty. Again, be sure to check out the fine print on the packaging, which might give you some guidance as to what materials you can recycle, and what needs to be thrown away.
When in doubt, we also have a handy guide to recycling in Chicago available right here!
And remember that it’s often best to fully use up cleaning products, rather than dumping them. This way, you make sure that nothing goes to waste. Even if you no longer want them, you may be able to pass off your unwanted solutions to a neighbor, or turn them over to a local organization who can find a use for them.
Depending on where you live, you may also be able to get in contact with a waste management authority, who will help you safely dispose of unwanted or hazardous chemicals like paint, oils, toxic cleaners, or pesticides. If you live in Illinois, you can find out more about hazardous waste collection here, thanks to the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency.
Take Safety Precautions
It never hurts to be overly cautious! If you have any doubts about how to safely dispose of a cleaning product, your best bet may be to reach out for help directly to a local waste management organization.
And remember that even the most benign household chemicals can cause harm to you or your loved ones if you handle them the wrong way!
Here are a few ways to help keep yourself safe when getting rid of cleaning supplies:
- Wear goggles and gloves, and cover as much of your exposed skin as you can
- Make sure your home is well-ventilated, and avoid breathing in fumes
- Never, ever mix chemical cleaning products together – get rid of them one at a time
- If you are disposing of a cleaning solution down the sink drain, only get rid of a little bit at a time, and always be sure to have the water running
- Keep flammable materials away from heat sources
- Always read the packaging or label to see if it has instructions you can follow for proper disposal
Looking for Help?
Here at Sweeping Dimensions Cleaning Service, we always make a sweeping effort to make life less stressful! Whether you’re looking for a deep clean or some light housekeeping, our professional home services can take away the stress of cleaning, and give you back time for the most important things in your life.
With a professionally trained and uniformed staff, all of our cleanings are fully customizable to meet your unique needs. We bring all of the cleaning supplies and equipment needed to clean your home, with a focus on green, environmentally sound cleaning products.
Want to get started? Have any more questions? Be sure to get in touch today for your free estimate!