How to Properly Dispose of Chlorine

Written by Michael Dean
February 7, 2024

disposing pool chlorine

Chlorine is the most commonly used chemical to sanitize swimming pools across the USA and around the world. It is an important chemical necessary to ensure safe and clean swimming. But what happens when you need to dispose of it? After all, chlorine does expire, so knowledge about proper disposal methods is crucial.

Improper disposal can be hazardous, cause groundwater contamination, and harm your community and environment. That’s why, today, I will tell you how to properly dispose of chlorine, alternative methods, and answer other pressing questions about chlorine disposal. Let’s dive in!

Main Takeaways

  • Proper disposal of chlorine is crucial due to environmental and health hazards.
  • Options for proper disposal include contacting household hazardous waste facilities, local pool supply stores, or solid waste authorities.
  • Alternatives to disposal include giving chlorine to neighbors, friends, or family, buying in small batches, and safely storing it.
  • Always store chlorine properly in a cool, dark place with ventilation and in original containers.

How to Properly Dispose of Chlorine

Chlorine is a powerful chemical that you can use to sanitize water, and it comes in various forms. It’s the first choice for many pool owners because it effectively kills bacteria, viruses, and other pathogens.

Like all chemicals, chlorine will eventually expire and become ineffective. So, there may come a time when you need to get rid of your expired or degraded chlorine. But, since it’s a chemical, you cannot simply dispose of your chemicals in the trash. That would be a serious health and environmental hazard! Similarly, you can’t flush down chlorine in your sewerage as it would contaminate the groundwater and pose a huge risk. So, what can you do?

Here are the four main methods of disposing of your chlorine.

Method 1: Household Hazardous Waste Management Facility

The ideal course of action is to get help from your local household hazardous waste facility. They will guide you through the disposal process and pick up the chlorine from your property, or you can securely drop it off at their facility. They will help you dispose of your old chlorine and ensure safe disposal as their staff is trained explicitly to handle such types of waste.

Method 2: Local Pool Supply Store

If you don’t have a local household hazardous waste facility, you can contact your local pool supply store and ask them for directions for proper disposal of your chlorine. They are likely aware of how to properly dispose of it in your area. After all, they sell the product, so they probably have experience with expired chlorine.  

Method 3: Local Solid Waste Authority

Contact your local solid waste authority to know when and where to bring the chemical waste for disposal. Some communities might have a local household hazardous waste collection program every few months or so, or they may organize routine drop-offs.

Remember that every state and local municipality has its own rules and regulations to properly dispose of pool chemicals and other hazardous materials. Failure to adhere to them can lead to serious consequences and penalties.

Method 4: Contact the Local Authorities

A final method is to simply contact your local authority. They will have updated information on how to dispose of your old chlorine. Plus, they’ll let you know how to recycle the empty plastic bottles or containers the chemicals come in.

Alternatives to Disposing of Chlorine

What are some of the alternatives to simply disposing of chlorine? Well, here’s what else you can do with the chlorine you have lying around – whether expired or not.

Donate It

Now, this would only work if your chlorine has not yet expired. But if you just happen to have extra that you’re not sure what to do with as the expiry date is near and you know you won’t be able to use it all in time, consider donating! Give the chlorine to your neighbors (if they have a pool), friends, or family. This way, the chlorine won’t be wasted at all and will be put to good use. Alternatively, you can donate the chlorine to your local community pool.

With the current rising costs of chlorine, every little bit would be appreciated!

Buy In Small Batches

You can prevent all this hassle of disposing of your chlorine by not buying pool chemicals in bulk. Instead, buy in small batches. While it might be inconvenient to go to the store frequently, and buying smaller batches of chlorine may cost a bit more, this will prevent you from having a bunch of unwanted and expired pool chemicals lying around in your pool shed. What a waste of money and space!

Safely Store It

You can also prevent your pool chemicals from becoming ineffective prematurely by storing them properly. Here are my top tips for proper chlorine and chemical storage:

  • Always store pool chemicals in a dry and cool place away from sunlight and humidity.
  • Ensure the storage shed is well-ventilated.
  • The storage shed should have relatively consistent temperatures and shouldn’t get too hot or cold.
  • Make sure to avoid any contact with water.
  • Do not mix different chemicals.
  • Keep track of expiration dates.
  • Ideally, store chemicals in their original containers.
  • Monitor the containers to ensure the chemicals aren’t eating away at the plastic.
  • Keep all chemicals out of reach of children and pets.

How Long Does It Take for Chlorine to Go Bad?

Most pool chemicals have a relatively generous lifespan. When it comes to chlorine, the lifespan largely depends on the type of chlorine you have. Notably, liquid chlorine doesn’t have a very long lifespan. It generally starts going bad at the 6-month mark, losing up to half of its potency. Then, it’ll be essentially useless after a year after it’s opened. Granular chlorine fares much better – it has 3 to 5 years of shelf life.

On top of the type of chlorine, a few other factors come into play that determine how long it takes for chlorine to go bad.

Proper Storage

I can’t stress enough that you should store chlorine in a cool, dark place, away from sunlight and humidity. Direct sunlight and extremely high or low temperatures can break down the components of the chemicals, making them ineffective or even dangerous for storage.

Furthermore, store chlorine away from any and all flammable substances, equipment, or heat sources. That includes gas-powered equipment, fire pits, and barbecues. A slight risk of ignition can end up in an accident.

Airtight Containers

Ideally, you should store chlorine in its original container. The original container should be airtight, and by leaving the chlorine there, you don’t risk accidentally mixing chemicals or losing critical information about the chemical on the original label. However, if you need to move it to another container, put it in an airtight container. In doing so, you ensure that the chlorine lasts as long as it can without exposure to the moisture in the air. Also, make sure to label it correctly with the expiry date and other important information.

What to Do with Wet Chlorine?

You should always store chlorine in a safe and dry place. But if your granulated chlorine does get wet, take action quickly! Prevent inhaling any of the toxic fumes that will result from the chemical’s exposure to water, and isolate the chlorine in a well-ventilated area. Of course, use gloves and a mask during the entire process. This will help safeguard your skin and lungs from those incredibly harmful fumes!

While in some cases, you may be able to get away with using the wet chlorine once it’s fully dried out, I highly recommend disposing of it immediately. You don’t want to risk inhaling the fumes while using it. Plus, it won’t be as effective anyway! Instead, use one of the above methods to dispose of it.

Can You Put Chlorine in the Trash?

No, you cannot put chlorine in your trash as it is hazardous for the environment and the garbage collectors, too. Here are the main reasons why you should never simply put it in the trash:

  • It can react with the other trash and release toxic gases.
  • It can also react with various components in the trash, leading to a hazardous fire.
  • If someone is accidentally exposed to the chlorine directly, it can lead to a whole host of issues.

Your local garbage collectors are not trained to safely handle hazardous materials like chlorine, so you must approach your local household hazardous waste facility for proper disposal.

Can You Flush Chlorine Down the Toilet?

No, you cannot! Flushing chlorine down the toilet is the same as disposing it in the garbage can. It is still an environmental hazard, no matter how you do it. It can even cause problems for your plumbing system.

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Always Be a Responsible Pool Owner

Do not dispose of chlorine down the drain or in the trash. It’s incredibly hazardous to you, the environment, and your local community. Instead, it should absolutely be your top priority to dispose of it properly via the right authorities. The same goes for disposing of muriatic acid. Those toxic chlorine gases that may result from improper disposal are no joke!

Do you have any more questions about pool chemicals or anything else pool-related? Let me know! Also, be sure to explore the rest of my pool maintenance advice and pool chemistry help articles.

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