How to Safely Dispose of Muriatic Acid

Written by Michael Dean
February 7, 2024

disposing muriatic acid next to a pool

Muriatic acid is one of the most effective substances for pool maintenance. It is the primary chemical for lowering your pH level and can also be used for cleaning and stain removal. That said, muriatic acid does expire; when it does, you will need to know how to get rid of it safely.

In this article, I will discuss how to safely dispose of the acid, a few safety tips, dos and don’ts, and other necessary guidelines to remember when using muriatic acid.

Main Takeaways

  • Neutralization, hazardous waste disposal, or donating are your best bets for safe disposal of muriatic acid.
  • Always wear protective gear when handling muriatic acid—long sleeves, a mask, goggles, and gloves.
  • Muriatic acid is an extremely strong acid—careless disposal can harm sanitation workers and the environment and damage drain pipes.

How to Safely Dispose of Muriatic Acid

It might be a volatile substance, but several safe methods are available to properly dispose of muriatic acid. Here’s a quick breakdown of each option you can choose:

Hazardous Waste Disposal

The best way to safely dispose of any hazardous chemical is to contact your local hazardous waste disposal. They will offer you the best guidance on disposing of hazardous materials like muriatic acid. 

In my experience, you will generally be instructed to either securely drop off the acid at the facility, or they’ll send someone to pick it up from your property. This is the best option for safely disposing of chemicals, especially in large amounts, as their staff is specifically trained to handle hazardous waste. 

If you also want to dispose of old chlorine, you’ll need to use this method as well.

Ensure the container where you put the muriatic acid is correctly labeled and sealed.

Local Solid Waste Authority

Another good resource for chemical waste, such as muriatic acid, is to contact your local Solid Waste Authority. Contact the local solid waste authority for more information on when and where to drop off the muriatic acid for disposal.

In some cases, some communities may organize a curbside pickup for hazardous waste or organize a routine drop-off. Make sure to get in touch with your local authorities or HOA for more information to see if anything is being organized in the near future. At the very least, they can point you in the right direction.

Local Pool Supply Store

If you’re still at a loss, contact your local pool store. While contacting a local household hazardous waste facility or solid waste authority should be your first course of action, if you don’t have one nearby, call your local swimming pool store. Since they deal with these chemicals all the time, they should know what to do with your expired or unused muriatic acid. If they don’t help you, they’ll, at the very least, let you know your next steps.


If your muriatic acid has not expired, but you no longer have a use for it or won’t be able to use it before the expiry date, donate it! Ask your friends, family, or neighbors with pools if they need muriatic acid. Alternatively, you can contact local community swimming pools, who will always be happy to receive swimming pool chemicals.

Why Is It Important to Safely Dispose of Muriatic Acid?

Muriatic acid is a powerful acid. Disposing it carelessly can be super harmful to sanitation workers and the environment and damage drain pipes and more. If you think about it, acid REALLY isn’t something you want to be haphazard with.

Water Hazard

Dumping muriatic acid onto the ground, the soil, or a natural water body will rapidly pollute the water or groundwater table. This can seriously contaminate your local water sources, killing fish and other aquatic life, and also affect the drinking water supply.

Soil Hazard

Simply dumping acid in your yard can result in severe soil pollution, rendering the area infertile and killing existing vegetation, plant life, and organisms, severely disrupting the local ecosystem.

Health Hazard

Mishandling the disposal of muriatic acid might release harmful fumes and heat into the air. Since it’s a powerful acid, these fumes will irritate the eyes, nose, and throat and may result in extreme respiratory distress, among other health issues. Not only is it dangerous for you, but if you do not safely dispose of muriatic acid, it could be a health hazard to local sanitation workers who may be exposed to this highly corrosive substance.

Fire Hazard

If you aren’t already convinced by the severity of improper muriatic acid disposal, strap in! Muriatic acid is also a potential fire hazard—it can react with other chemicals to produce flammable gasses that can easily ignite. The result could be drastic if you simply put muriatic acid in the trash or mix it with other chemicals.

Safety Tips When Handling Muriatic Acid

Here are my top safety tips when it comes to handling muriatic acid:

  • Wear protective gear, including long sleeves, a mask, goggles, and gloves.
  • Muriatic acid should be tightly sealed in a proper container and stored in a cool, dry space.
  • When handling or storing muriatic acid with other chemicals, be very careful and do not mix with any other substances, or it might result in dangerous chemical reactions.
  • During disposal, follow the recommended safety practices—label your container for disposal, neutralize it if needed, handle it in a well-ventilated area, and work slowly and with care.
  • When working with muriatic acid, keep it out of reach of children and pets

How to Neutralize Muriatic Acid 

In case of a spill, you must neutralize muriatic acid quickly and effectively. Your best options in this instance are baking soda, soda ash, or lime.

Additionally, if only getting rid of a small amount, I typically neutralize muriatic before disposing of it, as it is safer and less hazardous this way.

Whatever you choose, grab a handful of the substance and sprinkle it over the affected area slowly, starting around the edges and working steadily till you reach the center. Once the affected area is completely covered and the substance has stopped fizzing—this should take around 10 to 15 minutes, depending on the alkaline you opted for and the size of the spill—test the spill’s pH with a test strip. The pH should be around 7.

Now you know the acid has been safely neutralized and is safe to dispose of according to your local regulations.

Can You Dispose of Muriatic Acid Down the Drain?

No, absolutely not. I cannot stress this enough! It is dangerous to pour pure muriatic acid down the drain. In an unadulterated, unneutralized form, it is highly corrosive and will damage your pipes, mess up the sewage system, and cause unbelievable harm to sanitation workers who might come into contact with it during wastewater or sewage treatment. It can also react with other chemicals and result in harmful fumes being released via the drainage system, hurting other residents and damaging the environment.

Can You Put Muriatic Acid in the Trash?

No, you should not put muriatic acid in the trash. Safe disposal of muriatic acid means transporting the acid to a hazardous waste disposal facility in a correctly labeled and sealed container to prevent leaks.

However, local regulations for the disposal of volatile substances can differ. So, make sure to check with your local municipality for specific guidelines and requirements in your area first.

What Is the Shelf Life of Muriatic Acid?

The shelf life of muriatic acid is up to 5 years. That said, you should always make sure the muriatic acid is properly sealed and keep an eye on the container. It is definitely possible for the acid to break down the container over time.

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Be Safe When Disposing of Muriatic Acid

While muriatic acid can be useful in several ways regarding pool maintenance, it is an incredibly dangerous substance to handle. And, of course, when it’s time to dispose of the muriatic acid, do it properly by following local regulations and the safety tips I outlined above! Being lax about safety rules can lead to a whole host of issues you don’t want, and there’s no point in risking your health, community, and home by incorrectly disposing of this corrosive acid.

Do you have any more questions about adequately disposing muriatic acid or other chemicals? Let me know; I’m happy to answer anything.

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