Solvents (principally from parts washers) are typically the largest hazardous waste stream generated by vehicle repair shops. Solvent use (and waste) can be reduced by reducing solvent cleaning requirements (if possible), extending solvent use and on-site recycling of spent solvent. Recycling can be achieved via lease/purchase of a parts washer that filters and recycles the solvent.

  • make sure you understand the chemical properties of the solvent you are using and whether safe (non/less hazardous) solvents are available
  • use solvents with the lowest possible Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) content
  • find a multi-purpose solvent that can serve a variety of uses. This will increase the recycling potential of the spent solvent
  • install drip racks, pans or other devices to prevent spillage
  • extend the life of solvent baths. Pre-clean parts with rags/brushes, use old solvent as a pre-soak, use fresh solvent only for final cleaning.
  • consider on-site solvent recycling; e.g. distillation, filtration or decanting
  • read DO's and DON'Ts for Mineral Spirits Parts Washers
  • clean unnecessarily
  • overclean part
  • mix hazardous and non-hazardous solvents
  • discharge any solvent into septic tank, sanitary sewer, storm drain, surface water, or ground surface.

For more information concerning the proper handling of solvents, contact the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, Bureau of Solid and Hazardous Waste ( or the Hinkley Center for Solid and Hazardous Waste Management ( This information is offered only as guidance. Specific requirements may vary with individual processes and/or businesses.