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Common Dangerous Wastes for Dry Cleaners/ Garment Care

Many materials in a garment-care facility can cause hazards if they are not properly handled. Below is a table that covers many of these materials.

Common Wastes in Garment Care


Where / Why

Waste Code

Absorbent materials Absorbents contaminated with dangerous waste may become dangerous waste. Code depends on materials absorbed

Cleanup materials from spills of unused perchloroethylene, U210

Aerosol cans Propellant is most likely ignitable, and the product may be dangerous waste. Characteristic: D001. Test to determine the waste code of contents
Contaminated Wash Water contaminated with perchloroethylene Listed: F002
Detergents and cleaners These are not usually dangerous waste. Some may be state-only waste for toxicity.  
Hangers Solid waste, not dangerous, often recyclable  
Lint contaminated with perchloroethylene Listed: F002
Spotting agents

See Solvents
May contain dangerous constituents, like perchloroethylene or trichloroethylene Characteristic: D0011

Listed: F002

Machine filters Often characteristic-toxic waste due to perchloroethylene or halogenated organic compounds. Filters should be tested. Test to determine waste code—usually F002
Mercury - containing light Bulbs/lamps

(Fluorescent bulbs

Bulbs and tubes can be characterized as toxic, due to mercury, but they can be handled as a universal waste. (See Universal Waste.) Not needed, if handled as Universal Waste
Muck contaminated with perchloroethylene  Listed: F002

Separator Water

contaminated with perchloroethylene Listed: F002
Shop Towels/Rags Contaminated with Dangerous Waste Shop towels soaked with dangerous waste may become dangerous waste.  However, non-dripping rags/ towels are not considered dangerous waste if they are:
  • Laundered at an appropriate facility
  • Stored in containers away from a source of ignition AND
  • Not mixed with other waste.
Code depends on materials absorbed. Not regulated as hazardous waste if properly accumulated and laundered.


Sludge or “bottoms” from solvent still that recycles solvents Listed and often ignitable waste:  Still bottoms from a still where the solvent blend contains, before use, 10% or more of solvents such as, toluene, and MEK.  The mixture also has a flash point below 140°F. Listed: +F002 for perchloroethylene sludge or still bottom

Characteristic: D001 


Related information

Shop Guide for Dangerous Waste Management is an Ecology publication and guide to handling many types of common shop wastes.