How to Dispose of Saline Solution

Written by amanda goldfarb
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How to Dispose of Saline Solution
Saline solution packaed in small vials are used to dilute medication. (medicine vials image by fafoutis from

Saline solution is a combination of salt and water in different concentrations, depending upon the intended use. In the medical field, saline solution is administered intravenously to increase fluid volume, dilute medications and for wound care. At-home use for saline solution includes contact lens rinse, nasal spray and mouth rinse. Once you are done using saline solution, you will need to dispose of any leftover. Since all of the substances found in saline solution are natural, disposal is a simple process.

Skill level:


  1. 1

    Pour unused portions of the saline solution down a drain. Single dose vials of saline must be disposed of after each use; even if some solution remains in the vial. Large multi-dose bottles should be discarded two to four weeks after the initial use. Saline solution should not be used past the expiration date.

  2. 2

    Place the packaging in an appropriate trash receptacle. Saline solution is usually packaged in a plastic bottle or vial. Check your local recycling regulations to determine if the packaging can be recycled.

  3. 3

    Rinse any non-disposable containers with warm water. Containers used for storing contacts are an example of a non-disposable that are commonly used in conjunction with saline solution.

    How to Dispose of Saline Solution
    Contacts are stored between uses in a case similar to this. (contact lens case image by Sandra Henderson from
  4. 4

    Wash your hands with soap and water. Prolonged contact with saline solution can irritate your skin. Irritation is caused because the salt draws moisture from the skin.

Tips and warnings

  • Since the packaging is closed, saline solution packaged for intravenous use may be placed in a trash receptacle without requiring you to drain it.
  • To prevent injury, spilt saline solution should be cleaned immediately.

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