One of the most commonly used cleaning products is ammonia. Despite being a strong chemical, ammonia doesn’t fall into the category of hazardous household waste.
So, what does that mean? It simply means that it is perfectly alright to have it poured down the drain, as long as you pour with it plenty of water.
If you have a significant amount of ammonia, you might as well have it neutralized before throwing it away.
After your ammonia has been drained away, discard the vessel it was contained in.
Dilute Your Ammonia with Water
When it comes to disposing of ammonia, the first step is to have it diluted with water. The following tips will help you on the way.
Turn On the Water Faucet
If your ammonia solution is concentrated, it needs to be diluted with plenty of water, before disposal. Disposing of concentrated ammonia can be dangerous.
Water tends to dilute concentrated ammonia, thus making it a lot safer. It is always best to use running water to dilute concentrated ammonia.
To make things easy for you, you can even pour ammonia down your toilet, and flush it right away. Make sure the volume is lower than that of water.
However, if there is a lot of ammonia, a sink with running water will do. If you are using the toilet, have the ammonia neutralized first.
Pour It Down the Drain
With the water faucet on, gently pour ammonia into your sink. Make sure there is more water than there is ammonia.
Doing so, you will be sure that by the time ammonia reaches the plumbing, it has been diluted. Diluting ammonia is important for if it is drained concentrated, it will harm your plumbing.
Cover your face with a mask as you drain ammonia. Inhaling concentrated ammonia can affect your lungs, and cause severe breathing problems and allergies.
While pouring ammonia into the sink, make sure to turn on the exhaust fan, to let out all the harmful fumes. If the exhaust isn’t there, make sure the windows are opened.
Post-Disposal Sink Cleaning
After your ammonia has been poured down the drain, the sink should be thoroughly washed.
Chances are that there is some ammonia residue still left in the sink. Splash every bit of your sink with a lot of water, to get rid of any ammonia residues left.
After splashing your sink with water, make sure to wipe the entire sink with a clean tissue paper, or a clean and dry towel, to make sure all the ammonia is gone.
Doing so, you will ensure that you don’t drop any harmful chemicals on ammonia, which could result in something nasty.
Allow the water to run for at least one extra minute. To make the rinsing easier, use a spray nozzle.
Be Careful With Septic Tanks
If you have a septic tank, you need to take extra care when disposing of ammonia. With a septic tank, poring ammonia down the drain might not be such a good idea.
If you know a little about septic tanks, you will understand that they drain wastewater into the ground. If that happens, ammonia will affect your groundwater.
Such a situation can be problematic if you have a well for water supply.
In case you worry about your septic tank draining ammonia into the ground, a better option would be to neutralize your ammonia and discard it with regular house waste.
Neutralize Your Ammonia
As discussed above, with a septic tank on your property, pouring ammonia down the drain is not a safe option. A perfect alternative would be to neutralize ammonia and have it thrown away.
Neutralizing ammonia is a complex procedure, for which we have put together the following tips.
Let’s break it down.
Dry Sand, Cat Litter, and Baking Soda
To neutralize ammonia, you need three simple ingredients, namely cat litter, dry sand, and baking soda. Mix equal part of each of these ingredients with the ammonia you have.
The perfect combination of all these materials will form a dry mixture that will soak your concentrated ammonia.
You can even use this mixture to clean ammonia residues that need cleaning. You can even mix it up with the remaining ammonia that needs to be disposed of.
The mixture comes in handy when you need to discard a lot of ammonia, on an urgent basis.
Sprinkle the Mixture Over Ammonia
Chances are that you have spilled ammonia. Touching it with bare hands won’t be safe. One thing you can do is to sprinkle the mixture that we have discussed in the previous paragraph, over your ammonia.
Continue to sprinkle the dry mix over ammonia, until it completely soaks up all the ammonia. You should only stop when there is no liquid left.
Collect the Mix in a Disposable Vessel
After the mixture has soaked up all the ammonia, it must be cleaned right away. Try not to touch it with your bare hands.
Even if you do, make sure you are wearing latex gloves. To scoop this mixture containing ammonia, the right thing to do would be to use a plastic spoon.
Collect all the material with a plastic spoon, and place it in an empty vessel. By now, if the container is full, place the remaining mixture into a plastic bag, and throw it away.
While cleaning away the mixture, you’ll be exposed to ammonia fumes, which can affect your breathing. Therefore, wear a safety mask, to mitigate the chances of any respiratory issues, caused by ammonia fumes.
While handling ammonia, it is better to ventilate the area using an exhaust fan, or simply opening the windows would do.
Dispose of the Mixture
Now that the ammonia has been neutralized with the dry mixture, it is safe to throw it away with the regular trash.
You can either throw away only the mixture, or even the container containing it. Despite the neutralization, ammonia should not sit in your house for a very long time.
Once it has been neutralized, it must be thrown away immediately.
Throwing Away the Container
Lastly, you need to throw away the container that once contained ammonia. But, it doesn’t need to be thrown directly into the trash, right of the bat.
When disposing of the ammonia container, make sure not to skimp on any of the tips mentioned below.
Remove Access Ammonia
Before disposing of the container, remove any excess ammonia that is left in it, even if the amount of ammonia is very little.
Concentrated ammonia is a hazardous material, regardless of how small its volume is. The fumes that ammonia gives off are as harmful as the substance itself.
The residual ammonia in the container can mix with other substances and material in the trash, thus resulting in a bitter accident.
Clean the Container
After the excess ammonia has been removed, the container must be thoroughly rinsed with clean water.
Clean water, besides removing all of the excess ammonia, will also remove any small droplets left behind. Unlike concentrated ammonia, rise water can be safely poured down the drain.
Neither will it damage your plumbing, nor will it pollute your groundwater if you have a septic tank on your property.
Is the Bottle Recyclable?
Before throwing the bottle in the trash, you need to make sure whether or not it is recyclable. Most of the plastic ammonia bottles are recyclable.
To make things easy for you, tilt the bottle upside down, and check if it carries the recycle sign.
If the sign is there, you should consider recycling this bottle. If this ammonia bottle is recyclable, it can be stored with other recyclable items. You can even take it to your local recycling center.
Throw It Away If It Isn’t Recyclable
If this ammonia bottle isn’t recyclable, it needs to be thrown away, just like any other useless item in your house. Put it with the rest of the disposable items in your house.
To keep it safe, place it in the outdoor trashcan. Doing so, you won’t have to worry about accidental emissions, which in some cases are life-threatening.
Some Quick Tips
- Ammonia is water-soluble and can be thrown down the drain. Just make sure that you pour lots of water to dilute it, and reduce its harmful effects.
- Make sure not to mix ammonia with other products such as cleaners. Each cleaner should be poured down the drain with lots of water, one at a time.
- Never throw concentrated ammonia in the trash. Before you do, have it diluted or neutralized.
- When mixed, ammonia and bleach produce a dangerous gas, which is detrimental to your respiratory system. Make sure not to dispose of the two together.
When disposing of Ammonia, make sure not to skimp on any of the tips mentioned in this article.
Whether you pour it down the drain or throw it away with your regular household waste, make sure it has been perfectly diluted or neutralized, to avoid any unpleasant accident.
Other articles you may find useful: