Household Hazardous Waste
Constance Kratzer, Family Resource Management Specialist
College of Agriculture, Consumer and Environmental Sciences New Mexico State University
Proper use, care and disposal of hazardous household cleaning products is important for the user’s safety and for the preservation of the environment. In some cases, alternative procedures can be used to handle common household tasks so that hazardous products need not be used.
The chart below discusses selected household products, alternatives, harmful effects and disposal options. For additional information, contact your local county Extension office.
|Product||Alternatives||Harmful Effects||Disposal Options|
|Drain, Oven and
|Prevent clogged drains by
pouring boiling water down
drain weekly: clean with
vinegar, baking soda,
boiling water; use plunger;
clean toilets & ovens with
salt, baking soda, water &
elbow grease; use small dish of ammonia standing overnight to loosen stains.
|Some can burn skin; mixing ammonia and bleach creates deadly gas; see 1, 2, 4.||Drain & toilet cleaners:
Oven cleaners: A, B.
|Polishes without trichloroethylene, methylene chloride or nitrobenzene; many recipes available including 1 pint mineral oil with 1 tsp. lemon oil (may strip finish).||Short Term: irritate and
damage skin eyes, lungs; cause nausea, poisoning.
Long term: cause allergies, nervous system disorders; damage kidneys and lungs: see 1, 2, 3, 4 in the key.
|See A, B, C.|
|Mothballs||Cedar chips; sachets of herbs such as lavender, bay||Poisonous fumes cause headaches, nausea; see 1, 2, 3, 4.||See A, B, E.
|Latex paint.||Irritate eyes, skin, lungs; cause headaches, nausea; require solvents to clean up tools see 1, 3, 4.||See A, B, C, E.|
|Paint Remover and
|No substitutes for most solvents; instead of paint remover, sand off old paint or use heat gun (wear goggles and mask); never use gasoline as a solvent.||See furniture & shoe polish.||See A,B|
|Soapy water (use 1 Tbsp. of insecticidal soap per gallon of water to kill aphids, mites); citronella to repel many insects; use natural predators; pull weeds; remove breeding areas; keep areas clean and litter free.||Can be absorbed through skin and by breathing; cause headaches, nausea, fatigue, tensions; see 1, 2, 3, 4.||
See A, B, E.
|Used Motor Oil and
|No alternatives available; wear gloves & goggles when handling.||Some poisons in used oil may be absorbed through skin, eyes; see 1,2,3,4 for oil; see 4 for acid.||Oil: re-cycle at gas station
or at store or A; never C, D.
Battery (including battery acid): return to place of purchase or A.
|Baking soda instead of powdered cleansers & ammonia cleaners; nonchlorinated powder bleach instead of liquid bleach, try borax; use 2 tbsp. vinegar & 1 qt. water instead of window cleaners; and elbow grease.||Some can burn skin; mixing ammonia and bleach creates deadly gas; see 1, 2, 4.||Powdered cleansers,
window cleaners: C.
Ammonia cleansers: A, B, D.
Key to Letters and Numbers
IN CASE OF EMERGENCY
Originally written by Susan Wright, Extension consumer education and health specialist.
To find more resources for your business, home, or family, visit the College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences on the World Wide Web at aces.nmsu.edu.
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New Mexico State University is an equal opportunity/affirmative action employer and educator. NMSU and the U.S. Department of Agriculture cooperating.
Revised and electronically distributed November 2002, Las Cruces, NM.