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Fire Department

Household Hazardous Waste

Every year, many people ask us what to do with common household chemicals that are no longer needed (see some examples below.)

Never place these items in the trash or pour them down the drain. In most cases, this is not only dangerous to the environment, but it may be illegal. Allegheny County provides several resources to help you dispose of these items properly

For additional Information:
Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection call 1-800-346-4242 or visit

Or the Pennsylvania Resource Council website:

Examples of Household Hazardous Waste

·Ammonia cleaners·Motor oil·Mercury
·Oven cleaners·Gasoline·Latex/water-based paint
·Floor care products·Kerosene·Oil-based paint
·Insecticides·Auto body repair products·Turpentine & thinner
·Window cleaners·Windshield washer solution·Paint stripper
·Furniture polish·Antifreeze·Rust remover
·Aluminum cleaners·Diesel fuel·Varnish
·Drain cleaners·Brake fluid·Wood preservative
·Metal polishes·Car wax·Other paint products
· Household cleaners·Lead acid batteries·Muriatic and other acids
·Fuel oil & other oils
·Alcohol-based lotions·Metal polish with solvent·Gun cleaning solvents
·Isopropyl alcohol·Other automotive products·Photographic chemicals
·Expired medicine·Dry cleaning solvents
·DisinfectantGARDEN ITEMS·Lighter fluid
·Permanent lotions·Fertilizer·Shoe polish
·Nail polish & remover·Pesticide/insecticide·Fiberglass epoxy
·Toilet bowl cleaner·Fungicide·Swimming pool acid
·Tub & tile cleaners·Rat poison·Moth balls
·Hair relaxers·Weed killer·Mercury batteries
· Bathroom cleaners·U.P.S. Systems
·Household batteries

Some Common Item Disposal Recommendations

Last Year’s Gasoline —Use it in your car. Yep, just pour the old gasoline directly in a ¾ full fuel tank. If it is more than a gallon or two, spread it over time or in multiple vehicles. 

Latex paints can be left to dry by removing the lid and allowing the leftover product to dry completely. This should be done in an area which is away from children and animals. Deposit the container in your household trash. Leave the lid off the can so that your refuse hauler can see that the paint is hardened. To speed the drying process mix “Waste Paint Hardener” into the can and allow it to solidify. Place the can and solidified contents out for regular trash with the lid open. “Waste Paint Hardener” may be purchased at many local home improvement stores. In a pinch, you can use non-clumping kitty litter.

Solvent-based paints (also known as alkyd or oil-based) require special disposal practices. Solvent-based paints are ignitable and present particular hazards. Do NOT put them in storm sewers, household drains or on the ground. Solvent-based paints should be disposed of as a household hazardous waste. Hold for a “Household Hazardous Waste Collection Day.”

Paint thinners, turpentine, mineral spirits and solvents should NOT be poured down a drain or storm sewer. Let used turpentine or brush cleaners sit in a closed container until the paint particles settle out, then pour off the clear liquid which can be reused. Add an absorbent (i.e. cat litter) to the remaining residue and let it dry completely.

Aerosol Cans—To dispose of aerosol cans, place wadded newspaper in a cardboard box to absorb expelled contents. In a well-ventilated area, without shaking the can hold it upside down and aim the discharge onto the newspaper. After all the propellant has been discharged dispose of the can and paper with the regular trash.