How to Dispose of Ammonia Safely

There’s an extremely good chance that you’ve either heard of ammonia before, or you’ve even used it in your home. So it shouldn’t come as a surprise to find out that ammonia is commonly used to clean sinks, tubs, kitchen countertops and tiles. This is because ammonia is extremely effective at breaking down the grime, like grease or wine stains, that tends to build up on household surfaces. After some time, though, there comes a point when you need to dispose of the leftover ammonia you have or the ammonia that has become dirty and rendered useless. Because ammonia is a strong chemical, you have to make sure that you dispose of it the correct way. If you’re unsure of how to correctly dispose of your leftover ammonia, keep reading.

Discover some helpful tips to know How to Dispose of Ammonia

Diluting Ammonia with Water

You’ve most likely been told once or twice that you shouldn’t pour chemicals down the drain, and while this is typically extremely good advice, it’s not necessarily true when it comes to ammonia (under the right circumstances, of course). Because ammonia is water soluable it can be put down the drain, but only when you follow these directions carefully.

1. Turn On Your Water Faucet

Ammonia must be mixed with plenty of water because it’s a concentrate. Water dilutes the ammonia, making it much safer to put down the drain. Obviously, the most efficient way to achieve this is to use running water.
(You can also use a toilet to flush the ammonia down. Just make sure that there is more water going down the toilet than ammonia. If you’re unsure if there is more water, or you have a large amount of ammonia to dispose of, use the running water from the sink.)

2. Pour the Ammonia into the Running Stream of Water

Using care, slowly pour out the ammonia. Make sure that there is more water going down the drain than ammonia at all times. This will ensure that the ammonia is being thoroughly diluted as it’s going down your drain. If possible, open a window while you’re pouring the ammonia down the drain, and make sure that you never inhale the ammonia as it’s being poured. Doing so can cause you to become sick, so make sure to take precautions at all times while doing this.

3. Rinse Out Your Sink When You’re Done

1. Splash water, or use the sprayer if you have one, all over the surface of your sink to ensure that there isn’t ammonia left over when you’re done.
2. Using a clean towel or rag, wipe off the sides and the bottom of the sink to ensure that all of the ammonia is gone. This also helps to make sure that another chemical isn’t added on top of the ammonia, which can be very dangerous. You don’t want to combine different chemicals in the middle of your kitchen, and you certainly don’t want to breathe in a toxic combination, either.
3. When you’re done, make sure your kitchen sink runs water for at least one more minute to make sure that the ammonia has been properly diluted and eliminated from your sink.

4. BEWARE If You Have a Septic System

As we said before, there are certain conditions where it’s okay to put water down your sink. This is where those “special conditions” come into play, so pay close attention. If you have a septic system at home, then it’s important for you to understand that you should NEVER put ammonia down the sink. Septic systems actually discharge wastewater back into the ground, so if you flush ammonia into your septic system, there’s a good chance that it could make its way into the groundwater in the surrounding areas. This is especially true if you use a well for the water in your home. If you have a septic system or a well on your property, make sure to follow these next tips to properly dispose of your ammonia. If you’re unsure if you have a septic tank because you rent, make sure to speak to your landlord or the homeowner before dumping ammonia down your drain.

Neutralizing the Ammonia

Another beneficial way to properly get rid of ammonia is by neutralizing it. Follow these steps to ensure that you neutralize the ammonia the correct way.

1. Baking Soda, Cat Litter, and Dry Sand

Using cat litter, dry sand and cat litter, create a mixture that will be used to neutralize the ammonia. This mixture can be used to effectively clean up spills or to mix with excess ammonia that you need to get rid of. It’s also especially helpful if you have a large amount of ammonia that you need to discard.

2. Sprinkle Your Mixture Over the Ammonia.

Continue to add the dry mix to the ammonia until all of the ammonia has been soaked up. There shouldn’t be any liquid left when you’re done.

3. Put the Mixture into a Disposable Container

Using a plastic or wooden spoon, scoop the mixture you’ve made into a disposable container. Make sure that you wear some sort of face mask while you’re doing this in order to avoid inhaling the fumes from the ammonia.

4. Throw the Container Away

After you’ve neutralized the ammonia, it’s safe to be thrown away. It can be thrown away in the container that you scooped the mixture into, or it can be thrown away in a trash bag. Either way, make sure that the ammonia is entirely neutralized before taking this step.

Disposing of the Ammonia Container

Once you’re done neutralizing the ammonia, or diluting it and pouring it down the drain, you’ll have to get rid of the container that it was in, as well. Because the container has remnants of ammonia in it, follow these directions on how to eliminate the container the right way, as well!

1. Empty the Ammonia Container

Ammonia can be hazardous in even the smallest of amounts, so make sure that the container is entirely empty of ammonia before you throw it away.

2. Rinse out the Container of Ammonia

Using clean, running water, wash away any ammonia that may be lingering in the bottle. The running water will also dilute any of the droplets that are hanging around inside of the container. It’s safe to pour the rinse water down the sink, so don’t be afraid of doing so.

3. Dispose of the Container

When you’ve finished all of these steps, the container can either be thrown away or recycled.

As you can see, there’s a bit that goes into eliminating ammonia from your life. As long as you follow these steps extremely carefully, then you should have no problems getting rid of the excess ammonia that you have around your house.

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