how to dispose empty disinfectant bottles

How to Dispose Empty Disinfectant Bottles

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  • Post last modified:August 16, 2022
  • Reading time:27 mins read

Disposing of empty disinfectant bottles might sound daunting, but they’re usually not. This post outlines how to dispose empty disinfectant bottles. 

In reality, most cleaning supplies for household use typically don’t require special handling. Sounds time-saving, right? We hate to burst your bubble here, but not really. 

Although it sounds simple, you have to dispose of empty disinfectant bottles with care. In some cases, doing so takes time. But don’t you worry, because we’re here to help.

In this post, we’ll talk about how to dispose empty disinfectant bottles properly. 

What Is a Disinfectant?

To better understand disinfectants, we’ll go a little sciency here. 

People use disinfectants to eliminate any microorganisms that cause diseases and other health issues. They get rid of bacteria, viruses, and the like through chemical processes caused by the potent ingredients.

Disinfectants typically differ from other antimicrobial substances like antibiotics and antiseptics, which kill bacteria on live tissue and inside the body, respectively. 

Disinfectant products have two major types: hospital and general use. Hospital-type disinfectants exist for infection control. Healthcare professionals use them on medical instruments, floors, walls, bed linens, and other surfaces. 

On the other hand, general disinfectants serve as the primary source of products used in households, swimming pools, and water purifiers.

Why Disinfect?

The best reason to disinfect is to kill germs. As you may well know, nasty, disease-causing germs are everywhere. Yes, they’re on anything and everything we touch. They can also make us sick if they get into our mouths, noses, or lungs. 

These pathogens can also spread from person to person through direct contact—for example, sharing food with someone who has an infection or touching something contaminated with fecal matter.

By keeping surfaces clean, sanitized, and disinfected, we help stop these pathogens from spreading in the first place. This is especially crucial for baking businesses, restaurants, or cafes that sanitize kitchen tools and equipment

How to Disinfect

empty disinfectant bottles

Many surfaces and objects around the home and workplace must be regularly disinfected to help prevent the spread of diseases. 

Since high-touch objects carry the most germs, you have to disinfect them regularly using effective disinfectants. Here are the most common high-touch objects you need to clean and disinfect regularly. 

  • Light switches
  • Door handles or knobs
  • Kitchen cupboard handles or knobs
  • Refrigerator or freezer handles
  • Toilet handles
  • Sink handles
  • Toilet seats
  • Steering wheel
  • Dirty kitchen countertops
  • Table tops
  • Toys
  • Mailbox
  • Keys

Once you identified the objects to disinfect, clean them first. Please take note that cleaning and disinfecting don’t work the same way.

Cleaning simply removes dirt and other particles, while disinfecting kills bacteria, viruses, and the like. You can use many products to clean objects such as all-purpose cleaners and soaps. 

Next, disinfect the objects. Use a piece of cloth or paper towel (we suggest the former to be more eco-friendly) and put some disinfectant on the object. Then, let the disinfectant sit for at least five minutes before wiping it off. 

Disinfectant Ingredients 

how to dispose of empty disinfectant bottles

If you use disinfectants excessively or more frequently than advised, overexposure can occur. So, be mindful of the ingredients that your disinfectant has. Here are the most common disinfectant ingredients: 


Alcohol refers to ethyl alcohol or isopropyl alcohol, two water-soluble substances with germicidal properties. 

These alcohols are fast bactericidal rather than bacteriostatic against vegetative bacteria. They also protect you against fungi and viruses.

Chlorine and Chlorine Compounds

Hypochlorites are liquid (e.g., sodium hypochlorite) or solid chlorine disinfectants (e.g., calcium hypochlorite). 

They have broad antibacterial action and leave no toxic residues. They also don’t get affected by water hardness. As a bonus, they are affordable and rapid-acting.


Liquid and gaseous formaldehyde are disinfectants and sterilants. 

Formaldehyde is offered as a 37% formaldehyde solution called formalin. The solution kills bacteria, tuberculosis, fungi, viruses, and spores.


Acidic glutaraldehyde solutions aren’t sporicidal. Only alkalinizing the fluid to pH 7.5–8.5 makes it sporicidal. 

Once activated, these solutions have a 14-day shelf life due to glutaraldehyde polymerization at alkaline pH values. Polymerization blocks glutaraldehyde’s biocidal active sites, helping the product kill microorganisms. 

Hydrogen Peroxide

Hydrogen peroxide is bactericidal, virucidal, sporicidal, and fungicidal. However, there are certain types approved by the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) for disinfecting. 


Iodine solutions or tinctures have long been used as skin antiseptics. Iodophors act as antiseptics and disinfectants. 

An iodophor combines iodine and a solubilizing agent or carrier that releases modest amounts of free iodine in an aqueous solution. Povidone-iodine is the best-known and most extensively used iodophor. This product and other iodophors retain iodine’s germicidal activity but are nonstaining, nontoxic, and nonirritating.

How do I know if a container is “empty”?

According to the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency), an empty chemical container is one from which all the liquid or materials have been extracted using the conventional methods of “pouring, pumping, or aspirating.” 

Containers for liquids must also not include any additional liquid. Those that have previously contained solid or semi-solid hazardous material are only deemed empty if any remaining content cannot be scraped or chipped away.

Do I need to save my cleaning products for hazardous waste collection days?

No. In the quantity that homes dispose of, cleaning products don’t affect the environment. Most cleaning chemicals are water-soluble and acceptable for municipal or residential wastewater treatment. 

Household hazardous waste programs also handle materials that could cause problems if disposed of in the trash or down the drain.

What’s the best way to dispose of a household cleaning product?

Using it up makes environmental and economic sense. If you can’t, give it to someone who can. Keep the product’s original container and label intact as well. 

In addition, most household cleaners can be flushed. The same processes treat them as other household garbage.

What should I do if i can’t use the product up or give it away?

Read labels and instructions before using and disposing of cleaning products. If no disposal instructions exist, consider disposing of it the regular way (e.g down the drain or flushing down the toilet).

How widespread is the recycling of plastic cleaning product bottles?

dispose empty disinfectant bottles

You can also recycle the empty disinfectant bottles by giving them to waste plants that recycle such containers.

Good news! Plastic recycling has tripled since 1989, with hundreds of thousands of communities collecting plastic bottles. Cleaning product makers usually use HDPE (high-density polyethylene) and PET (polyethylene terephthalate), the most recyclable plastics.

HDPE comes from ethylene gas. It creates high-strength durable plastics like drums and shipping containers. On the other hand, is a clear phthalate- and BPA-free (bisphenol A) plastic approved by the FDA for food and beverage container use. 

Is disposing of cleaning products down the drain safe?

Under normal household use and disposal, cleaning solutions won’t kill the microorganisms that keep septic tanks working. So, disposing of water-soluble products down the drain safely works. 

Moreover, water-soluble cleaning chemicals are compatible with septic tank systems used by most houses. For instance, a homeowner may pour a gallon of disinfectant bleach into a septic tank in one day without killing the microorganisms.

Are cleaning product packages a major contributor to solid waste problems?

Less than 1% of our nation’s packaging trash comes from cleaning goods. So they’re not technically considered a major contributor to solid waste problems. 

In addition, manufacturers of cleaning products continue to reduce their impact. They’re known for technical advances that achieve material reduction, reuse, and recycling without sacrificing package safety and product integrity. Hopefully, the impact of cleaning product packages becomes small enough to be negligible. 

What about recycling aerosol cans?


A growing number of localities accept empty steel aerosol cans for recycling. Read the can’s disposal instructions and contact your local recycling coordinator for more.

What is the best way to dispose of empty cans of harmful chemicals?

The best way to dispose of empty cans of harmful chemicals depends on the material. Metal containers must be air dried after being triple-rinsed with water or another suitable solvent. The container can be disposed of in the ordinary laboratory garbage if it doesn’t contain any dangerous chemical leftovers. If not, it needs to be disposed of as medical waste.

How do you dispose of disinfectant spray?

You can dispose of disinfectant spray through reputable hazardous trash collection and disposal firms or your municipal waste collection program. Never put harmful substances down a drain or sink. However, in most cases, you can dispose of water-soluble sprays by pouring them down the drain or flushing them down the toilet.

How to Dispose Empty Disinfectant Bottles


Here’s how to dispose empty disinfectant bottles:

  1. Read the label for proper disposal.

    Can’t sell your cleaners? 

    Cleaning products can usually be thrown away with ordinary trash. Before discarding, check the label for disposal instructions. Many antibacterial cleaning products contain triclosan, which can promote antibiotic resistance in bacteria.

    The American Cleaning Institute encourages considering how you use the product if the manufacturer doesn’t disclose ingredient information. Extra laundry detergent or liquid disinfectant can be poured down a running drain.

  2. Always recycle.

    Once you’ve discarded extra cleaning supplies, recycle the containers. Most cleaning supplies come in recyclable containers. 

    Because municipal rules differ, contact your local recycling service if you have questions.

    Here are some recycling facts to keep in mind:

    PET and HDPE (sometimes called plastic #1 and #2) are easy to recycle and used for cleaning product containers.
    Growing numbers of local recycling programs accept aerosol cans used for disinfectants, glass cleaners, and furniture cleaners.
    Boxes for dishwashing or laundry detergent powder can be recycled with other paper products like cake boxes.

  3. Use it up or give it away.

    Using up or giving away unwanted cleaning supplies is the easiest solution to your problem. If you’re traveling soon, you can’t take the cleaners with you. 

    You can also donate unused cleaning supplies to a charity, church, or homeless shelter.

    Donating dishwasher detergent, surface cleansers, and bleach can help those in need. Tell people what you’re giving out because someone will likely want your products. When giving things, ensure that your extra disinfectant solutions are in their original containers.

How to Choose the Best Disinfectant for Your Safety

The best disinfectants, as the name implies, effectively disinfect objects and surfaces.

HICAPS offers a wide range of disinfectants and liquid soaps for food safety. All products effectively clean and disinfects your kitchen so you can grow your business without compromising the health of your employees and customers. 

Here are the products that we offer: 

ALLSTAR Premium All Purpose Cleaner 30mL 

SAFECARE Hand Soap Pearlized Lavender 5L 

SAFECARE PLUS Antibacterial Hand Soap Lemon 5L 

7-Star Plus Disinfectant Cleaner 4L

SAFECARE PLUS Antibacterial Hand Soap Unscented 5L 

SAFECARE Bactofree Unscented 500mL 

safecare bactofree 5L

ALL STAR Premium All Purpose Cleaner 4L 

ALL Star Premium Cleaner

SANIPLUS PH Bleach Disinfectant 4L 

Frequently Asked Questions 

How do you dispose of disinfectant bottles?

Cleaning supplies are frequently used up by people rather than being disposed of. Then, you can dispose of empty disinfectant bottles by recycling or throwing them away with regular household rubbish. Usually, cleaning product leftovers can also be thrown away safely in the trash or down the drain.

Where should you dispose empty bottles of chemicals?

You can dispose empty bottles of chemicals by throwing them out with regular trash if the chemical is not on the list of acutely hazardous waste.

Can you pour ammonia down the drain?

Yes, you can pour ammonia down the drain because it is water soluble. Just be sure to use a lot of water to flush it.

Can I pour perfume down the toilet?

No, you can’t pour perfume down the toilet. Many perfume brands contain substances with the potential to skip the water treatment process. They also wind up on the surface and groundwater if not disposed of correctly (for example, dumped down the drain or into the toilet).

How do you dispose of empty isoflurane bottles?

You can dispose of empty isoflurane bottles by throwing them out with other household rubbish. However, isoflurane bottles should not be thrown into broken glass boxes or biohazardous waste containers. If you’re not sure what to do, contact your municipal waste office so they can guide you. 


Contrary to popular belief, you don’t have to always dispose of your disinfectant bottles through your community’s hazardous waste collection program. Just make sure you follow the guide above to dispose empty disinfectant bottles properly.

Hope we helped. Happy cleaning! 


Over the years, HICAPS has helped bakers and businesses make delicious products by offering ingredients like ChiffonAide Cake Oil, Magic Whizk Whipping Cream, Red Velvet Flavor Emulco, and Instabake Brownie Mix

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