Cleaners/ Disinfectants in Dental Offices

Waste Disinfecting Solutions

Disinfectants, cleaning solutions, chemiclave solutions and cold sterilants may designate as dangerous waste depending on their ingredients and concentrations. The Washington State Dental Association and Ecology encourage the conversion from chemiclaves to autoclaves, especially as old equipment needs replacement.

Solutions of Concern

Use up cleaning products, and don’t pour it down the drain to get rid of extra product, especially if you have a septic system. If you have unused or expired product to dispose of, collect it for disposal by your dangerous waste management service provider.

Vacuum System Cleansers

Flush the vacuum system with disinfecting line solution before changing the chair-side trap.

Do not use bleach or solutions that contain bleach. 

Recent research has suggested that some types of line cleansers, such as those that contain bleach, may solubilize mercury from amalgam particles. This would increase the release of mercury into the dental wastewater. According to the Naval Dental Research Institute, the following line cleansers do not appear to dissolve mercury from amalgam and are alternative disinfectants to bleach:

E-Vac Purevac
MAXI-EVAC Vacu Cleanse


Super Dent Gobble Plus
Evacuation Cleaner ProE-Vac  Sani-Treat Plus
Turbo Vac Line Flush VAC-U-EZ


Green and Clean

The best method is to flush the line with an appropriate line cleanser at the end of the day, and then change the trap the next morning before the suction is used. This method will allow the particles in the trap to dry.

An alternative method is to flush the system with a cleaning solution according to the product’s directions; then remove the lid from the trap and allow air to pass through the trap until the contents are dry (usually not more than five minutes).

Related information

Dentists reminded to keep mercury out of their waste water is an Ecology press release from 2005.

Amalgam Separators is a section on the Web site of the American Dental Association.

Fact Sheet - Mercury Use in Dental Amalgam from the Interstate Mercury Education and Reduction Clearinghouse (IMERC).

Mercury-Dental Topic Hub™ from the Pollution Prevention Resource Exchange offers pollution prevention resources to dental offices.