Common hazardous ingredients
Cationic and anionic detergents, phosphates, sodium carbonate, sodium perborate (brightener), various surfactants.
Harmful if swallowed. Mild to severe irritation and burns from skin and eye contact.
Liquid dishwashing detergent is the least hazardous, but powdered detergents may be a safer choice if you have small children in the home since powdered detergents are less likely to be swallowed accidentally.
Use the mildest product for your needs. Liquid dishwashing detergent and laundry soap are mildest, laundry detergent is moderate and automatic dishwashing detergent is harshest.
Keep container lids tightly closed when not in use and store in a secure area out of reach of children and pets.
Best: Use up or give away. Rinse out empty container and recycle or dispose of in the garbage depending on your curbside guidelines.
Second best: Flush small amounts of unwanted liquid detergent down an inside drain (toilet is best) with plenty of water. Contact your local sewer agency to know what is an acceptable small amount for your wastewater treatment plant. Dispose of unwanted powdered detergents in the garbage.
Third best: Take to a hazardous waste facility or collection event.
For dishwashers, use half the recommended amount of automatic dish washing detergent.
For laundry, use white vinegar as a laundry helper. Adding 1 to 2 cups of vinegar to the final rinse eliminates soap residue. Vinegar also breaks down uric acid, present in urine. Add 1 cup of vinegar to rinse water when washing baby clothes. (Never mix chlorine bleach with ammonia or with any acid, including vinegar. When combined, these compounds produce toxic chloramine gas.)