How to Dispose of Mosquito Repellent Safely

Keeping mosquitoes at bay means using mosquito repellent, but what happens when you’re finished with it? The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulates mosquito repellents as pesticides, which means there are guidelines for disposing of them properly.

Place in a sealed container and put in the trash. Don’t pour mosquito repellent down any kind of drain, and don’t mix it with other household chemicals. If you must dispose of it immediately, do so outdoors in a way that won’t contaminate any water sources.

human holding mosquito repellant

Proper Mosquito Repellent Disposal

Proper disposal plays an important role in keeping both people and the environment safe from potentially harmful chemicals. Here are a few tips to help you get rid of mosquito repellent safely:

1) Empty the Container

If there’s any repellent left, pour the mosquito repellent into another container to use later. Be sure to label it clearly so that no one accidentally drinks it. If the contents inside are expired, you can dispose of it by pouring it into the trash. Never throw it down the drain, even with running water.

2) Rinse Out the Container

Ensure that you rinse out the container. This will help remove any residual repellent that might be left behind. To do this, simply fill the container with water and swish it around until the inside is completely wet. Then, dump the water and proceed to the next step.

human washing a container

3) Recycle or Dispose of Properly

At this point, it’s time for you to decide if you want to recycle the container or dispose of it. If you’ve decided to recycle, be sure to check with your local recycling center first. Some facilities might not accept containers that hold pesticides.

Depending on where you live, you might be able to recycle through your municipality’s hazardous waste program.

If you are unsure if your repellent container can be disposed of at your local facility, you may want to bring it back to your local Poison Center or Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) office for disposal. They are equipped to handle hazardous materials.

If you choose to dispose of the container, be sure to do so correctly. Puncture the container several times so that it can’t be reused.

4) Seal It Up

Tightly seal the container before placing it in the trash. This will prevent any spillage and minimize the risk of exposure to children or pets. Ensure that the container is placed in a trash can that has a lid to further reduce the risk.

5) Toss It in the Trash

Finally, it’s time to get rid of the container. The best way to do this is by placing it in your trash can. If you have a curbside pick-up, be sure to put it out on the day of collection. If not, take it to your local landfill or transfer station.

Important Things to Remember When Disposing of Mosquito Repellent

Aside from understanding how to properly dispose of your empty mosquito repellent containers, there are additional things that you should remember. These are safety tips that will help keep you, your family, and the environment safe:

Never Dispose Near a Water Source

This includes ponds, lakes, streams, or any other type of water body. Once the repellent enters the water system, it can contaminate it and potentially harm wild and aquatic life. One common active ingredient in mosquito repellents, DEET, is known to be harmful to fishes. DEET can cause neurological damage, so it’s important to keep it away from water sources.

Don’t Pour It Down the Drain

Even if you think that your mosquito repellent is empty, don’t pour it down the drain. As mentioned earlier, these products are regulated by the EPA as pesticides. This means that there are specific guidelines for disposing of them.

Never Dispose Near Flammable Objects

This is especially important if you’re disposing of the mosquito repellent in an outdoor setting. Be sure to keep it away from any flames or heat sources as this could cause a fire. Most mosquito repellents contain DEET, which is highly flammable.

Always Wash Your Hands

human washing hands with soap

After handling mosquito repellent, it’s important to wash your hands thoroughly. This will help remove any residue that might be left behind. Be sure to use soap and water and scrub for at least 20 seconds. If you have any cuts or scrapes on your hands, be sure to cover them with a bandage before applying repellent.

Check with Your Local Municipality

Depending on the ingredients in your repellent, it may need to be disposed of as hazardous waste. In addition, you’ll want to make sure that you’re not disposing of more than the allowed amount. Too much mosquito repellent in landfills can pose a serious environmental threat.

Always Follow the Label

When in doubt, always follow the label. The manufacturer of your mosquito repellent will have specific instructions on how to dispose of it. These instructions should be followed to ensure proper disposal.

Final Thoughts

Mosquito repellents can be a great way to keep yourself and your family safe from these harmful pests. But, it’s important to know how to dispose of them properly.

Remember to seal the container, dispose in the trash can, and never dispose near a water source. And, always wash your hands after handling mosquito repellent. By following these simple tips, you can help keep yourself, your family, and the environment safe.