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How to dispose of rubbing alcohol

Updated February 21, 2017

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.

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  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.

  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. 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.

  4. Tip

    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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Things You'll Need

  • Sink with water tap

About the Author

D. Laverne O'Neal, an Ivy League graduate, published her first article in 1997. A former theater, dance and music critic for such publications as the "Oakland Tribune" and Gannett Newspapers, she started her Web-writing career during the dot-com heyday. O'Neal also translates and edits French and Spanish. Her strongest interests are the performing arts, design, food, health, personal finance and personal growth.

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