How to Dispose of Antifreeze – Things You Must Know!

Are you residing in a region with extreme weather conditions? Then, you must be aware of Antifreeze! Having great property, this coolant is a boon for all the car drivers. It actually prevents the engine and radiator against corrosion and rust. With so many benefits, very few are actually aware that this essential vehicle’s chemical is actually very dangerous. In case, it is spilled, wasted, or contaminated, one can’t even imagine the health hazards associated with it. Therefore, it is crucial here to find out how to dispose of antifreeze.

What Is Antifreeze?

Antifreeze as known as in another name is coolant, is a bright yellow or green liquid that mixes with the water in cars, trucks and other vehicles to keep the radiators from freezing or overheating. Made from either ethylene glycol or propylene glycol, antifreeze and coolant change the freezing and boiling points of water.

For instance, when you mix water and antifreeze with the ratio 50/50 in a car’s radiator, water no longer freezes at 32F but Instead, water will freeze at temperatures colder than -35F. Meanwhile water alone will typically boil at 212F, antifreeze mixed with equal parts water won’t boil until it reaches 223F.

As the temperature outside changes from hot to cold coolant is pumped throughout the engine block to maintain an even operating temperature. Moreover, antifreeze maintains proper fluid levels and also helps to prevent corrosion.

Since the main ingredient in antifreeze is ethylene glycol, which also acts as a lubricant and anti-corrosive agent—a toxic chemical that cannot be poured down the drain, toilet, sewer, or thrown in the trash. So even brands marked “non-toxic” or “less toxic” should be disposed of using the safest practices for handling hazardous waste.

How To Determine If Antifreeze Needs To Be Emptied Or Changed?

As you know antifreeze needs to be changed sometimes, but you should determine if you need antifreeze disposal or not before learning how to dispose of coolant. Even if there is enough antifreeze in the radiator, you should test it to determine if it needs to be charged or not.

Antifreeze is located in the radiator. Therefore, you have to park your car on a level surface and let the engine cool completely. Then, unscrew the radiator cap and look inside to ensure the fluid reaches the top of the radiator. The liquid can be transparent or dyed red, orange, or blue. But regardless of color, the antifreeze should be bright and clear.

You can use a coolant tester which comes with instructions for interpreting results to check the quality of antifreeze. You will stick the hose into radiator fluid, squeeze the bulb to draw in some liquid, read the gauge, an indicator of the lowest temperature the antifreeze will protect against.

Check out the video below to know how to determine if antifreeze needs to be emptied or changed!

Meanwhile the radiator cap is of, you can also look for any oil film on the surface of the antifreeze.It will indicate a problem with the head gasket and should be checked by a professional repair man immediately. Even a tiny amount of oil or gas will ruin radiator fluid. The symptoms of radiator fluid disposal is cloudiness, a strong smell, or particular matter.

The next step, as you know, we will find out what to do with old antifreeze and where to dispose antifreeze.

How To Dispose Of Antifreeze Safely – Let’s Learn The Steps!

Popularly known as coolant among car drivers, this is 50:50 mixture of glycol and water. Guarantying to prevent the fluid in the car from turning into ice, it also helps you in extremely hot weather by regulating the boiling point. Still, when it comes in direct contact with the body or other environmental factors, it has various ill-effects.

So, in case this additive is spilled or turns into a waste, there’s a separate guide to follow for each. And, you should follow it according to the situation, you’re in.

1. Steps to get rid-of antifreeze waste

Find antifreeze disposal/recycling location online

Every nation has a community recycling body for coolant. Contact them and hand over the scrapped coolant for its recycling. Sometimes, there are certain bodies, which don’t accept the waste antifreeze. So, they may direct you where to go for its disposal.

Some of the other places that accept the small amount of this debris include oil change shops, machine shops, and antifreeze disposed factories. You can find their contact information online.

Note: During the recycling process of antifreeze, the certain fee may be charged from you. However, the fee charged will be higher at specialized hazardous waste disposal utilities.

Determine antifreeze giving foul or gas like smell

Usually, the antifreeze smells sweet and is bright in color. But, during the damage to your car, this antifreeze solution is contaminated. Even a point of oil or gas in this solution can taint it. Therefore, it must be analyzed regularly and must be shipped in case found dirty.

Use separate containers to store tainted antifreeze

While removing the coolant from the vehicle, use a separate funnel and drain pan, other than the one that you use for the fluid filling purpose. Also, make sure that the two containers are well sealed and labeled properly, containing contaminated coolant and its waste.

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2. Steps to remove antifreeze

In case you spill the coolant or there’s any leakage in your car, follow the systematic procedure defined here to find the answer to how to dispose of antifreeze.

Drain the radiator of old antifreeze

Firstly, ventilate the area and wear protection and long gloves along with the mask. This way, you can prevent yourself from coming in direct contact with the additive named- coolant. Place a drain pan under the drain valve, then open the valve with pliers. Let the liquid antifreeze drain into a sealable plastic container.

Check your car’s owner’s manual or contact the manufacturer to determine how much replacement antifreeze is needed, or what proportion of antifreeze and water you should pour into the radiator. 

Note: Remember to disconnect the battery before you drain your radiator, this ensures that no electrical damage will occur,

If you spill the antifreeze outside on the ground

If you spill the antifreeze outside on the ground, then, use an absorbent material like baking soda or sand and pour it over the spilled antifreeze. Next, you should cover the layered material with a paper towel that combats the coolant from scattering.

Now, leave it for three hours and after that clean the material by putting another paper towel on it. Next, cover the entire area with a layer of paper towels and let sit for one to two hours. Use more paper towels to collect all the spilled antifreeze (as well as absorbent materials), and toss into a sealable plastic garbage bag.

Followed by this, wash your hands thoroughly by removing the gloves for safety reasons. Then, put the collected debris in the trash and the used gloves and paper towel in the regular garbage. After that, scrub the area using dish detergent and rinse it with water. Lastly, expose the area to air so it can dry quickly.

3: Step to secure and transport the seal bottles safely

The final step in how to dispose of antifreeze is transporting the seal bottles safely. To transport antifreeze disposal in seales or plastic containers, make sure the containers are well secured on the floor of your back seat truck, using a cable to keep them stand in place if necessary.

Use a note paper, write down the date you change your radiator fluid disposal as well as brand/ chemical contents (if you know, if you don’t, it’s okay).Sine the main ingredient of antifreeze is either propylene glycol, ethylene glycol, or methanol, each of which has different toxicity levels. If your old radiator fluid disposal is polluted with gas or oil, make sure you note what chemicals (if known) were added to the coolant.

Remember that only pure, used antifreeze can be recycled; antifreeze with traces of gas or oil must be disposed of at a hazardous waste facility.

Final Thought

Antifreeze is an engine coolant which should be checked regularly especially before the winter.. There are two main types: ethylene glycol (generally green) and propylene glycol (generally pink). Both of them are toxic to humans and animals. So that you should keep the two types of radiator fluid in separate containers.

And do not mix used antifreeze with other products such as motor oil, gasoline, or other fluids. Pets are attracted to the sweet taste of antifreeze. They will lap antifreeze up and may be poisoned. Then, never let this poisonous liquid pool on the ground or drain into the street. In case it is spilled on the ground, follow this article above step by step.

Gaining these essential maintenance tips can now possibly make you understand how to dispose of antifreeze securely. So, next time during any such above-mentioned situation, make use of this guide and develop safe surroundings.