How to dispose of rubbing alcohol

Written by d. laverne o'neal
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How to dispose of rubbing alcohol
Rubbing alcohol should be disposed of properly. (Toxic hazard flag image by Stasys Eidiejus from

Rubbing alcohol is such a familiar sight around the house, put to so many different uses, that you do not tend to think it requires special handling for disposal. It may even be used to clean the thermometer you place in your mouth, so how can it be considered toxic? However, rubbing alcohol typically contains 70 per cent isopropyl alcohol. Overexposure can lead symptoms such as headaches, dizziness, nausea, and vomiting. Happily, disposing of it safely is simple.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Sink with water tap

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  1. 1

    Turn on the water. Start running the water before you even open the bottle of alcohol to dispose. This will help dilute the alcohol even as you begin to pour.

    How to dispose of rubbing alcohol
    Start the water before you start pouring the alcohol. (water in a sink image by terex from
  2. 2

    Pour the alcohol down the sink. Ideally, choose a sink in a room that is well ventilated, to avoid inhaling fumes as you pour.

  3. 3

    Run plenty of water down the sink. Even after the bottle is empty, continue to run the water to be sure the alcohol does not linger in the pipe.

    How to dispose of rubbing alcohol
    Continue running water to flush alcohol through the pipe. (tap image by Dr.Loop from

Tips and warnings

  • If you use a septic tank, you should get rid of the alcohol in small amounts over a period of days.

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