Don't dump expired alcohol-based hand sanitizer down the drain, EPA warns

ByABC7 Chicago Digital Team WLS logo
Friday, March 17, 2023
Don't dump expired alcohol-based hand sanitizer down the drain, EPA warns
Did you know hand sanitizer expires? If you have a stockpile of hand sanitizer, it is likely past its prime.

The EPA is alerting consumers and businesses that all those containers of hand sanitizer people stockpiled from the pandemic are likely hitting its shelf life, but properly disposing of hand sanitizer isn't as simple as dumping it down the drain or tossing it in the trash.

RELATED: Hand sanitizer catches fire, woman severely burned

Manufacturers produced large quantities of hand sanitizer during the Coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic, and many organizations now have excess hand sanitizer that is reaching or has exceeded expiration dates.

Hand sanitizer contains at least 60% alcohol and is easily ignitable. If it's poured down the drain, it can become very dangerous and the liquid and vapors in water pipes and sewers can create fires and possibly explosions.

How to dispose of, recycle alcohol-based hand sanitizer

Empty hand sanitizer bottles can be thrown in the trash or your recycling bin (depending on the type of plastic the bottle is). But if you have partial or full bottles of hand sanitizer to toss, it should be properly disposed of at a household hazardous waste drop-off location or disposal event for household hazardous waste.

Check out this website where you can input your zip code to find a hazardous waste disposal event: Recycling Center Search -

ALSO SEE: FDA warns consumers about hand sanitizer products containing methanol