Is RV Antifreeze Safe To Drink? (For Pets, and Septic System)

Have a little common sense. We are not going to get preachy but with all the weird trends and fads inspired by different social media outlets, we will say it is not a good thing to drink RV antifreeze. Even though it is non-toxic, stick to traditional beverages to cool your thirst.

RV anti-freeze is safe to drink if you accidentally drink small amounts of it. At worst you should only get a little diarrhea when that happens. But it is not a liquid you should consume because not all RV anti-freeze is made from propylene Glycol. Some versions are made from ethanol which is not safe to drink.

To learn more about this activity, just continue to read our article. It has the information you want to know about so you can avoid taking a sip from the RV anti-freeze bottle. Use your head when faced with this decision and not drink it.

Is RV Antifreeze Safe To Drink?


Not all RV anti-freeze is safe to drink. The version that is made from pure propylene Glycol is the only version that you can drink safely, that is in accidental small amounts.

This version is not harmful or toxic and most RV anti-freeze bottles will say non-toxic on the front label. But just because something says it is non-toxic doe sit mean you should drink it. Those words are simply saying that in case you have some accidentally, no harm should come to you.

There is a version of RV anti-freeze that you cannot drink. It is the version that is made from ethanol, an ingredient in some gas products. Even if you drink this accidentally, some harm will come to you or your organs.

Also, watch out for those other ingredients used to make RV anti-freeze. Those can be harmful even when mixed with propylene Glycol.

Is RV Antifreeze Safe For Septic Systems?

Generally, RV anti-freeze is safe for septic systems. Both the ethanol and the propylene glycol formats are very safe to dump into your septic system when winter is over.

But this does not mean you can pour a whole lot of this anti-freeze inside your septic system. Just what you used for winterization should be okay and no damage should ensue.

The type of RV antifreeze you have to be careful with will be the Ethylene glycol version. This version may be in your RV’s engine cooling system so do not confuse the two. One is very safe for pets, the environment, and you, while the other is not.

When you have left over antifreeze, make sure to seal it up tight and store it out of the reach of children and pets. These two groups may not be able to tell the difference between safe and toxic antifreeze.

Is Pink Antifreeze Safe For Pets?


It is difficult to go by color alone. If the pink RV anti-freeze contains ethylene glycol then no matter the color, it is not safe for your pets. It is not so much the color but the ingredients and since different manufacturers use different recipes, you need to check the label first.

Not every pink RV anti-freeze is going to be made the same way by every RV antifreeze manufacturer. They use different ingredients in different amounts making pink anti-freeze unsafe depending on the ingredients.

Read the ingredient portion of the label first before buying. Look at all the ingredients as some extra ingredients will not be healthy for you or your pets. Pure propylene glycol is safe to drink accidentally.

But not all pink anti-freeze is made from pure propylene glycol. Keep in mind that the pink color is just a dye. It is not an indication of safety or toxicity.

Is Universal Antifreeze Safe?

If you understand the color system for anti-freeze, then you know that different colors indicate which chemicals are inside. However, that got confusing to many people and even the universal formats use 2 different colors.

It is hard to keep them straight. This means that you should not go by the color of the antifreeze when you buy it. You never know by the color if it is going to be safe or not.

The way to be sure is to read the label for the ingredients. If the ingredients list states that ethylene glycol was used to make the anti-freeze, then you know it is not a safe product to use anywhere but in your vehicle’s engine cooling system.

In most universal anti-freeze there is what is called organic-acid technology to prevent corrosion. These versions of universal anti-freeze are safe to use. There are also some organic-acid technology extended life anti-freeze so do not drain it out until the regularly scheduled maintenance schedule says to do so.

Is Antifreeze a Hazardous Substance?


This is going to depend on the ingredients used by the manufacturer to make their product. If the company uses heavy metals like lead, cadmium, and chromium, then it could be classified as hazardous waste.

If it is classified as hazardous waste, then you need to follow your state’s rules on disposing of this liquid. The classification does not come from the EPA. That organization does not consider anti-freeze a solid waste so they do not have regulations in place to govern its disposal and use.

However, many states do have regulations and you do need to check with your state’s office to see what those disposal regulations are. Also, it may be illegal in your state to dump anti-freeze on the ground or in your sewer system.

For those who do not want to dump their anti-freeze on the ground, etc., then go to your local dump and dispose of it there.

What Hazard Class is Antifreeze?

According to this website, antifreeze is considered a flammable liquid. The data sheet on that website says:

HIGHLY FLAMMABLE: Will be easily ignited by heat, sparks, or flames. Vapors may form explosive mixtures with air. Vapors may travel to source of ignition and flash back. Most vapors are heavier than air. They will spread along the ground and collect in low or confined areas (sewers, basements, tanks, etc.). Vapor explosion hazard indoors, outdoors, or in sewers. Those substances designated with a (P) may polymerize explosively when heated or involved in a fire. Runoff to sewer may create fire or explosion hazard. Containers may explode when heated. Many liquids will float on water. Substance may be transported hot. For hybrid vehicles, ERG Guide 147 (lithium ion batteries) or ERG Guide 138 (sodium batteries) should also be consulted. If molten aluminum is involved, refer to ERG Guide 169. (ERG, 2020)”

But states will regulate the fluid based on the level of toxicity and may classify ethylene glycol anti-freeze as a hazardous material.

What Precautions Should Be Taken With Antifreeze?


The first precaution would be to call your local landfill and see if they collect used anti-freeze. Then if they do, you can get the instruction on how to handle and dispose of this liquid.

This is an area on this topic the EPA has something to say about disposing of used anti-freeze. That federal organization states- “may not be dumped with regular trash, poured into the sewer or poured onto the ground.”

You must find “a secure chemical landfill or a landfill that has been designated for used antifreeze disposal,” to get rid of your used RV antifreeze. (source- ).

In other words, you should handle RV anti-freeze carefully and according to the laws of the nation and your state. You may not have access to those facilities and need to go through a hazardous waste removal firm to dispose of your anti-freeze.

RV Antifreeze Safety Rules

There are always rules when handling liquids for vehicles. One rule is always to be careful and use common sense. These liquids have a specific job to do and they are not always made to be safe.

1. When not using the anti-freeze, keep the jug sealed tight and up out of the way of pets and children

2. Clean up any spilled anti-freeze as quickly as possible. Do not let it lie on your driveway as pets can lick it up and get sick

3. Handle with care- use a funnel to pour the liquid into the water or engine systems. This will help minimize spillage.

4. Just because it says non-toxic doe sit mean you should drink it.

5. Flush your RV’s water system thoroughly to avoid drinking any anti-freeze accidentally.

Some Final Words

Anti-freeze is a product that helps you protect your RV from the winter cold. If you do not use it, your pipes could freeze and burst. That is if you do not use alternative sources to keep those pipes from freezing.

The most important thing to remember is that RV anti-freeze is for your RV’s water system or engine, and not your body. Use some common sense and if you are thirsty, reach for a glass of orange juice or ice tea.

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