How to Clean High Density Polyethylene

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Things You'll Need

  • Liquid dish soap

  • Soft cloth or sponge


HDPE can be recycled at the end of it's lifespan.

HDPE is used to make plastic containers, such as milk jugs, soda bottles and laundry detergent containers.

High density polyethylene, abbreviated as HDPE, is a type of plastic commonly used to make milk jugs, laundry detergent containers, soda bottles and floating water tanks. If you wish to reuse a high density polyethylene bottle, it must first be cleaned. Soap and water is all that is need to clean and reuse the bottles. Using any other type of chemical or cleaner can weaken the plastic, causing it to become discolored or cracked.


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Step 1

Rinse the HDPE bottle or container with cool running water.

Step 2

Fill the bottle with a squirt of liquid dish soap and room temperature water. Do not use hot water, as this can weaken the plastic.

Step 3

Allow the water to soak in the bottle for one hour.

Step 4

Pour the water out of the bottle. Fill a sink with room temperature water and a squirt of liquid dish soap.


Step 5

Dip a soft cloth or sponge into the soapy water. Wipe down the outside of the bottle to remove dust and residue.

Step 6

Rinse the inside and outside of the bottle with cool running water to remove all soapy residue.

Step 7

Allow the bottle to air dry.


references & resources

Kallie Johnson

Kallie Johnson began her writing career in 2009, contributing to various online publications. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in English from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. She enjoys writing home and garden topics and considers herself an expert on do-it-yourself home improvement topics.