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How to Dispose of Saline Solution

Updated April 17, 2017

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.

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  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. 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. 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.

  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.

  5. Tip

    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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About the Author

Amanda Goldfarb

Amanda Goldfarb became a freelance writer in 2006. She has written many articles for "Oviedo TRI-Lights," "Cool Runnings" and several other health- and fitness-related blogs. She has also contributed to her town's tri-club newsletter. Goldfarb obtained her Bachelor of Arts degree in English from the University of Central Florida and is currently pursuing a degree in emergency medical services.

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