Home » How To Dispose Hand Sanitizer

How To Dispose Hand Sanitizer

Picture this: You’re in the middle of a bustling city street at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. People are cautiously navigating around each other, masks in place, eyes alert. A bottle of hand sanitizer, your trusty germ-fighting companion, is always within arm’s reach.

How To Dispose Hand Sanitizer

This humble bottle, potentially a lifesaver in the face of the virus, had become as essential as our keys and wallets. In fact, according to a study by Grand View Research, the hand sanitizer market size was valued at $2.7 billion in 2019 and is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 22.6% from 2020 to 2027.

Now, as we adjust to our new normal, a question emerges: How do we dispose of these bottles properly? The answer is more critical than you might think.

How to Dispose of Hand Sanitizer

Hand sanitizers come in various forms, each with its unique characteristics – gel, liquid, and foam. All are effective, but each requires a slightly different approach when it comes to disposal.

General Guidelines for Disposing of Hand Sanitizer

Regardless of the type, hand sanitizers typically contain alcohol, which is classified as flammable. It’s essential to follow some general guidelines when disposing of hand sanitizer:

  1. Never pour hand sanitizer down the drain, as it can contaminate water sources and harm aquatic life.
  2. Always check local regulations and waste disposal facilities for any specific disposal instructions.
  3. Follow the manufacturer’s guidelines for disposal, if provided.

Specific Instructions for Each Type of Hand Sanitizer

  • Gel Hand Sanitizer: For small amounts of leftover gel sanitizer, it’s best to use it up before disposing of the empty container. If you have a significant amount left, place it in a sealable plastic bag, and then throw it in the trash.
  • Liquid Hand Sanitizer: As with gel sanitizers, use up any remaining liquid before disposing of the container. For large amounts, contact your local waste disposal facility for proper disposal instructions.
  • Foam Hand Sanitizer: Foam sanitizers can be more challenging to dispose of because they may expand and cause spills. Use up the remaining product and follow the manufacturer’s guidelines or consult your local waste disposal facility for further instructions.

Tips for Minimizing Waste: Making the Most of Your Sanitizer

To minimize waste, consider using your sanitizer more efficiently. According to a study published in the Journal of Water and Health, using a “pea-sized” amount is just as effective as using more.

Additionally, recycling empty hand sanitizer bottles is a great way to minimize waste. Many of these bottles are made of recyclable plastic, so they can often be placed in your recycling bin. Always check the recycling symbols on the bottom of the bottle to ensure they can be recycled in your area.

Environmental Impact of Hand Sanitizer

Like all products, hand sanitizers have an environmental impact. The production, use, and disposal of these products contribute to resource depletion, emissions, and waste.

To minimize this, consider purchasing hand sanitizers in bulk and refilling smaller bottles for personal use. This practice can reduce both the amount of plastic waste produced and the energy used in production.

The improper disposal of hand sanitizer can lead to contamination of water sources, harm aquatic life, and contribute to plastic pollution. In that case, follow the disposal guidelines outlined in this article and always recycle empty containers.


The COVID-19 pandemic has taught us the importance of hand sanitizers in our daily lives. However, the proper disposal of these products is equally critical. By following the guidelines above, we can ensure that our efforts to stay safe don’t harm our environment.


How do you dispose of hand sanitizer?

To dispose of hand sanitizer, use up as much of the product as possible. If it’s expired or unusable, consider taking it to a hazardous waste facility. Never pour it down a drain or toilet due to its flammable alcohol content.

How do you dispose of hand sanitizer with benzene?

Hand sanitizer with benzene should be treated as hazardous waste. Do not throw it in regular trash or pour it down the drain. Instead, take it to a local hazardous waste disposal facility for safe disposal.

Does hand sanitizer evaporate?

Yes, hand sanitizer does evaporate because it is primarily made up of alcohol, which is a volatile substance. However, it’s not advisable to rely on evaporation as a method of disposal due to the potential for flammable vapors to cause harm.

Was this helpful?

Thanks for your feedback!