How to Dispose of Isopropyl Alcohol

Isopropyl alcohol or rubbing alcohol is one of the best household cleaning agents, and it is essential for sanitizers, disinfectants, wipes, and other cleaning products. You will likely find it in every home because of its effectiveness in cleaning and sanitizing different surfaces, especially now that the threat of infections is ever-increasing.

While it is essential to have Isopropyl alcohol in your home, it is challenging to dispose of it. It is hazardous waste; you should not take it to the landfill as other regular waste. However, this post will show you the proper and safe ways to dispose of it.

Ways To Safely Dispose Of Isopropyl Alcohol

safely dispose of isopropyl alcohol

The regular garbage disposal methods do not work with Isopropyl alcohol because of its hazardous nature, but you can safely dispose of it with the following methods:

Flush It Down The Drain

You can dispose of Isopropyl alcohol by flushing it down the drain or in the toilet. But, it would help if you took certain precautions since it contains chemicals potentially dangerous to humans. Also, this disposal method is best if you have a small quantity of alcohol for disposal – say a bottle or two.

Flushing down a large quantity of Isopropyl alcohol down the septic system may be dangerous, and you consider using other disposal methods instead. Here are the steps to take If you have about one or two bottles of isopropyl alcohol for disposal

Also, see how to dispose of hydrogen peroxide

Step 1: Expose The Alcohol to The Sun

Isopropyl alcohols are chemically-concentrated liquids but lose their potency when exposed to UV rays. Therefore, you should keep them in the sun for a few hours to reduce their chemicals. It can be tempting to skip this step, but it is advisable, and it will ensure safe disposal of the chemical since the ray would have minimized its potency.

Step 2: Use A Sink In A Well-Ventilated Room

Again, the danger of handling is glaring; hence it is best to find a sink in a well-ventilated room. Your bathroom or kitchen sink will likely be most suitable if it has fan ventilation or is close to the window.

Step 3: Run Water In The Tap

Run the water tap in the sink before pouring the Isopropyl alcohol. The running water will help dilute the alcohol and flush it down quickly.

It is best to use a warm water tap because warm water will dilute Isopropyl alcohol faster than ordinary water. It will also help you to reduce the accident risks in disposing of Isopropyl alcohol.

Step 4: Pour Isopropyl Alcohol

Now that you have water running in the sink, carefully and slowly pour down the Isopropyl alcohol. You should avoid pouring it hastily so it won’t spill on you.

Step 5: Don’t Turn Off The Tap Immediately

Leave the warm water tap to keep running after you have poured down the Isopropyl alcohol. It is best to leave it running for about 2 to 3 minutes to ensure the Isopropyl alcohol does not remain in the sink or pipe.

You can turn it off when you believe the sink is safe and free from any lingering droplets of alcohol.

Flushing Isopropyl alcohol down the sink is not risk-free, but you can take recommended precautions to keep it safe.

Label And Dispose With Thrash

One of the simplest ways to dispose of Isopropyl alcohol is to thrash it with other regular waste. Flushing it down the sink is safe, but what do you do if you cannot use that method? You can try disposing of it with other household waste, but with certain precautions.

The first step to disposing of Isopropyl alcohol with regular waste is to make arrangements with your waste management company. You should ask if they can take it from you or not. It’s good news if they can, and they can offer professional advice if they don’t. 

Next, you should ensure the bottle cap fits tightly. You do not want the content to spill when moving; therefore, you should cap it tightly.

Label the bottle containing the Isopropyl alcohol to alert other people about its content. You can place the bottles in a container and also label the container. You can write ‘Isopropyl Alcohol for disposal’ and tape it to the bottle and container.

Lastly, place the bottle or the container holding it separately but close to your trash bin. Also, remind the waste management officials that your garbage contains Isopropyl alcohol so they can be more careful.

This disposal method is similar to disposing of glass or mirrors.

Hazardous Waste Sites

No doubt that Isopropyl alcohol is a hazardous waste; therefore, there is no better place to dispose of it than a hazardous waste site.

It is easier if you also want to dispose of old medications, needles, or other household solvents because you can easily set them for disposal together.

Different communities usually have different centers or sites where you can drop off hazardous waste for disposal. This service may be free or otherwise, depending on your location.

The hazardous waste sites have trained officials, and you do not need to worry about what they’ll do with the Isopropyl alcohol once you hand it over to them. You can find a hazardous waste site near you at RCRAInfo Web

Note that hazardous waste sites are perfect for disposing of other harmful wastes like muriatic acidAmmoniamercury, etc.

Recycle At Home

You may want to get Isopropyl alcohol off your hands as soon as possible because it’s dangerous, but you can still recycle it at home for different household use. Let’s check out some of them:

Use As Disinfectant

turn isopropyl alcohol as disinfectant

Isopropyl alcohol contains high chemical and alcohol properties and is perfect for disinfecting surfaces or equipment.

You can use Isopropyl alcohol as a natural disinfectant in a world where several infections keep rising. Just clean the surface you wish to disinfect with it, and you are good to go.

Use As Household Cleaner

Besides using it as a disinfectant, you can also repurpose Isopropyl alcohol as a household cleaner. Here is how! 

Mix a quarter cup of Isopropyl alcohol with a cup of water, then add some vinegar to make a household cleaner.

This method is a fast way to use up large quantities of Isopropyl alcohol, and you can use the mixture to clean windows, floors, or glass surfaces and remove stains and imprints.

You may wipe the liquid off with a cloth after sorting it on the surface you want to clean.

Use As Insecticide

Isopropyl alcohol is also suitable for making Insecticides at home. It is a great way to save money from buying already-made insecticides.

Mix equal parts of Isopropyl alcohol and water, add a little dishwashing liquid to the solution, and your insecticide is ready.

Use As Deodorant

Again, you can repurpose Isopropyl alcohol as a deodorant as follows:

Mix one-part isopropyl alcohol with four-parts water, then add a few drops of any scented essential oil. You can send it into a spray bottle, and the deodorant is ready.

There are several other ways to reuse Isopropyl alcohol, and you can search for more ideas online or check here to see some things you can do with Isopropyl alcohol.

Tips For Handling And Disposing Of Isopropyl Alcohol

The following tips are essential for handling and disposing of Isopropyl alcohol at home.

  • Keep Isopropyl alcohol in a cool, dry place.
  • Ensure the bottle is sealed and unbroken before disposal.
  • Label any bottle without a seal properly.
  • You may wear rubber gloves and eyeglasses when flushing Isopropyl alcohol down the sink. 
  • Do not pour Isopropyl alcohol into the storm sewer.
  • Avoid flushing large quantities of Isopropyl alcohol down the sink.
  • Avoid throwing Isopropyl alcohol in the garbage carelessly.
  • Absorb spills with sand or soil, if there are.

Conclusion

Disposing of Isopropyl alcohol is dangerous but relatively easy. Follow the guide in this post to do it safely.

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