Can RV Antifreeze Be Dumped on the Ground?

RV antifreeze is an engine coolant solution used to keep the temperature of a working engine at normal levels. It can be manufactured in pure form, but it is always premixed with water before being added to the engine.

Engine coolants must be replaced every three to five years, but can RV antifreeze be dumped on the ground?

This is an important question since improper disposal of an antifreeze solution may lead to undesired effects.

Let’s have a look!

Can RV Antifreeze Be Dumped on the Ground?

Even though you may think that dumping RV antifreeze on the ground is harmless, it’s quite the opposite. RV antifreeze is highly toxic, especially if it consists of Ethylene glycol. This type of antifreeze tastes sweet, making it appealing to children and animals.

Dumping RV antifreeze on the ground can have both environmental and legal implications.

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Environmental impact of dumping RV antifreeze on the ground

Antifreeze disposal on the ground is terrible for the environment. It can produce multiple negative results:

Contaminate and damage plant life

One of the dangers of dumping antifreeze on the ground is that it will contaminate the environment and damage plant life.

Like any liquid, antifreeze infiltrates deep into the ground, reaching plant roots. If it seeps deep enough, it can reach a groundwater source and potentially contaminate safe drinking water.

Dumping RV antifreeze outside and into a drain is also harmful, as it may get to the ocean or river, poisoning fish and other underwater species.

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Can melt permafrost

Permafrost is a frozen underground layer of soil. This layer is called permafrost if it has been frozen for over two years, although many are thousands of years old.

The permafrost layer is essential for the entire ecosystem, as it prevents global warming, protects the tundra environment, and provides access to biological history.

Dumping antifreeze on the ground can cause it to penetrate and reach this layer, mixing with it and causing it to start melting.

Doing this process once may not cause significant damage, but repeatedly dumping antifreeze in the same place for extended periods may lead to permafrost melting.

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Poison animals and children

If you dump antifreeze on the ground, you risk poisoning animals and even small children. Since antifreeze tastes sweet, it can draw animals, such as stray dogs, into drinking it.

Even though ingesting small amounts of antifreeze may be harmless, I suggest taking precautions and visiting the local doctor or veterinarian.

If you decide to store your old/new antifreeze, make sure it is in a tightly sealed container and a hidden place away from the reach of children.

Cause fires

Antifreeze consists of alcohol, making it highly flammable. It can self-ignite on a hot enough surface. If antifreeze leaks on the surface of the engine, it can cause a fire inside the engine bay.

Leaving antifreeze on the ground on a hot sunny day can also be a fire hazard, which is another reason you shouldn’t dump it.

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can antifreeze dumped on the ground?

Legal regulations for dumping RV antifreeze on the ground

According to laws in different countries, dumping antifreeze on the ground may have legal implications. These laws state that antifreeze can contain high levels of heavy metals such as lead, chromium, or cadmium, making it a hazardous waste.

That is why laws recommend that you properly dispose of your RV antifreeze or recycle it to protect yourself and the environment from legal action. Here is how the states in America regulate the dumping and disposal of antifreeze.

Alternatives to Dumping RV Antifreeze on the Ground

Since you cannot simply dump antifreeze onto the ground, there are alternative ways to dispose of it properly.

How to properly dispose of RV antifreeze

You may hear from people or read articles online that disposing of antifreeze in the drain is not harmful. The truth is, it depends.

Suppose you live in a highly developed society and a large city, where the sewer and drainage system is made to deliver wastewater directly to a water system treatment plant. In that case, disposing of antifreeze in the drain is safe.

However, if your city’s old plumbing system may lead the wastewater into a river, then dumping the antifreeze into a drain is a bad idea.

So, if you’re unsure how your community’s waste disposal works, you can store the antifreeze in a tightly sealed container. Then you can contact your RV manufacturer or other car shops and ask them if they can safely dispose of the antifreeze for you.

You can also reuse the antifreeze that was left over from the last time you changed it in your RV. Antifreeze in a tightly sealed container has no expiration date.

Read more: How to Winterize an RV?

Recycle your old RV antifreeze

Another alternative way to safely dispose of an old RV antifreeze is to take it to your local waste management facility. They will recycle and reuse the antifreeze for you. It all depends on where you live and how your country regulates the proper disposal of such chemical materials.

Facilities that recycle RV antifreeze break it down to its core compounds and use those ingredients in other industry sectors like cosmetics, construction, etc.


As you can read in this article, disposing of RV antifreeze by dumping it on the ground can negatively affect the environment and the health of people and animals.

You must properly dispose of your old antifreeze solution by storing it in tightly sealed containers or taking it to a recycling plant to be reused.

I strongly advise you to follow the tips for proper disposal of antifreeze in this article and avoid long-term adverse effects that may even have legal repercussions.

What do you think? Can RV antifreeze be dumped on the ground, and do you agree with the tips I mentioned? Tell us your opinion and experience in the comment section below.

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