How to Dispose of Household Cleaning Products Safely

It’s all about choices and doing what’s best for the environment is a goal that’s important for all of us! One area where each of us can make a positive contribution is in the way we dispose of cleaning products. And it all boils down to one simple question: “How can I do the right thing in my own home, every day?”


Safe Disposal of Household Cleaners

Follow label directions if provided. If there are no directions, think about how you use the product.


  • If it mixes with water, it’s water-soluble. Most liquid, gel and powder water-soluble household cleaning products can be disposed of down the drain with running water just like when you use them.
  • Most solid products (soap scouring pads, sticks, towelettes, etc.) can be placed in the trash.
  • For other products (such as oven cleaners, crystal drain openers and furniture polishes) call the manufacturer’s toll-free number (or write to them) for disposal recommendations, or check with your local waste disposal facility.

For water-soluble household cleaning products:

In the Trash
(aerosols, crystals, disks, pads, pastes, sheets, sticks, towelettes)
Down the Drain
(liquids, powders, gels)
Laundry Products
  • Fabric Softeners
  • Stain Removers
  • Bleaches
  • Detergents
  • Fabric Softeners
  • Pre-soaks, Pre-washes
  • Water Softeners
Dishwashing Products
  • Rinse Agents
  • Automatic and Hand Dishwashing Detergents
  • Film and Spot Removers
  • Rinse Agents
Household Cleaners
  • All-Purpose Cleaners
  • Bathroom Cleaners/Disinfectants
  • Carpet/Upholstery Cleaners
  • Drain Openers
  • Furniture Cleaners
  • Glass Cleaners
  • Oven Cleaners
  • Toilet Bowl Cleaners
  • All-purpose Cleaners/Cleansers
  • Ammonia
  • Baking Soda
  • Borax
  • Carpet Cleaners
  • Disinfectant Cleaners
  • Drain Openers
  • Floor/Furniture Cleaners
  • Glass Cleaners
  • Multi-Surface Cleaners
  • Toilet Bowl Cleaners
  • Tub/Tile/Sink Cleaners
Personal Care Products
  • Hand/Body Soaps
For safety: Wrap containers in paper before disposing in the trash. When disposing of cleaning products, flush with water and do not mix products.Dispose of powders in very small quantities at a time. This will help keep them from forming lumps in the drain pipe.


Proper Disposal of Containers

  • Empty any unused product.
  • Check with your community recycling centre to see what type of plastic, paperboard and metal containers they accept.
  • Refer to local guidelines for recycling plastics, paperboard and aerosol cans (steel and/or aluminum).

Water-soluble household cleaning products (HCP) usually do not fall into the HHW category because they go safely down the drain or in the trash. So, think before you treat them as HHW — you’ll be saving your community money!


Cutting Down on Trash

We all want to conserve resources and keep waste to a minimum. It’s called waste reduction, and it means cutting down on excess products and their packages at the source.

The soap and detergent industry has been working hard to conserve resources and reduce waste. We’ve developed such innovations as concentrated products in smaller packages, combination products (providing two functions in one product), refillable containers, and we’re also using recycled materials to make new containers. In fact the industry has become one of the biggest purchasers of recycled plastics, giving new life to the plastics you recycle!

Here’s where you come in. By buying concentrated products, refills or containers made from recycled materials and recycling your used containers, you’re keeping excess trash out of landfills. It’s partnerships like these that will provide the long-term solutions. And, by working together, we’ll all be doing what’s best for our environment.