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Ask the Readers: Where to donate hygiene and cleaning products?

Today’s question comes from Wendy:

I cleaned out my couponing “stash” recently and realized I have a lot of extra items. Do you, or any of your readers, know any charities which accept non-food items like hygiene and cleaning products?

My church’s drives often specify a particular size/brand because they’re making kits, and I have no idea where to give away unopened things like vitamins (tried one bottle, hated the taste, have another unopened bottle left) or plug-in air fresheners. I could give them away on Freecycle, but I’d rather give them to someone in need if I can.

Suggestions? Thank you! -Wendy

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  1. says

    Ronald McDonald House is a charity close to my heart! If you have one close you can donate some items to them. The cleaning supplies help them keep the facility clean and germ free, which is important when traveling back and forth to an ill child! The personal hygene items can also be donated. This can save time and money from running to a convieninet place to get some toothpaste or whatnot…

  2. Juli says

    Might I suggest bagging it all up and dropping it off at your nearest Catholic Church? Nearly every Church has the St. Vincent dePaul society as part of their parish. I volunteer with ours and we have a “pantry” where someone in need can ‘shop’. I’m actually the person who puts away the food from our monthly drive, and we have a lot of things.

    Occasionally, our deacon will take the hygiene products and drop them off at a local domestic violence shelter that he supports as well. If it can be used, we can use it! And our churches are everywhere….

  3. laura says

    I just took a laundry basket full of toiletries to our local nursing home. They were so excited to get it and took everything I offered except for the drugs.

    Like they said sometimes it just makes you feel good to smell good.

  4. Pat says

    Some places that always have needs including senior centers, hospice, veteran’s hospitals, rape crisis centers, boys and girls clubs, Annies House, Salvation Army, Good Will, CARE, local food banks, and the list goes on forever. You could contact a local fabric store and get ideas from them, too. Pretty much what you believe in helping, ie. kids, teens, adults or seniors, military, mentally or physically challenged folks, there are programs that touch on almost everything/one. What is closest to your heart is where you ought to look first. Thank you for giving to those in need.

  5. Tonya says

    I normally donate those type items and really any extra items I have to the battered women’s shelter and the local homeless shelter. They will greatfully accept anything you can spare.

  6. patti says

    I always donate my extras to the local food kitchen…they give away bags of groceries/health and beauty/household supplies to those in need every day. They’re thrilled when they receive items other than food…well, they’re thrilled when they receive food too, but it’s not as common to receive non food items.

  7. Beckie Semler says

    We go through a website called Adopt a Soldier. http://www.adoptaussoldier.org/
    USPS has a flat rate for shipping up to 70lbs for about 12 bucks. AAS gives you the name and base address of a soldier overseas. It is up to the soldier to tell you anything specific they like. Our told us they like the Wisps so he can brush his teeth on the go and the Atlanta Braves. If you send a lot of something, like deodorant or toothpaste, they can share the extra with the rest of their group.

    Know that a lot of these soldiers are not much more than kids. If you see a sale on something like footballs or basketballs you can deflate them and send a small hand held pump. DVDs are always welcome. Ready to eat and microwaved food is loved. Popcorn, chocolate mix, cereal, ect.

    The main rules of sending stuff to overseas troops. No mass amounts of religious materials, no pork products (watch ingredient lists), and no under pressure containers like spray cans because they are shipped in carrier planes in rooms that are not pressure or temp controlled.

    • Courtney says

      I was gonna suggest the same thing. I am a soldier myself and when I was in Afghanistan, enjoyed receiving care packages. Many soldiers do not have access to these items unless they receive them in the mail.

  8. Dana Boehm says

    If you contact your village hall they will direct you to a local homeless or battered women and children’s shelter.

  9. says

    Yes, I agree, give to the woman’s shelter or crisis pregnancy center! Our local woman’s shelter recently addressed this issue…and asked for such items. I volunteer at an outreach, and giving these items is a great way to help others in their time of need. :)

  10. Sara says

    Another idea is to donate it to a low income school if there is one in your area. I work at a high risk, high poverty school and we are always giving out hygeine items to the kids to take home.

  11. Nina Stokes says

    Wendy, the wonderful Ronald McDonald houses need cleaning supplies and paper products and maybe even vitamins.

  12. Vanessa says

    Another idea might be to donate them to a college dorm or give them out through an area church college ministry. Many kids, especially those that live in dorms, are on super strict budgets. These kinds of simple items can make a huge difference in the ease of the lives of the students. This is one of those situations that can give back to the community exponentially.

  13. Amy says

    My youngest son spent the first 4 1/2 years of his life in the Children of the Promise orphanage in Haiti. They are specific in their requests because shipping can be expensive but I will link you to their “needs list” in case your heart leads you to donate some of the free toiletries or baby items from your stockpile (if they fit their specified list) in this direction :) I know they love antibacterial hand soap and wipes!

  14. Karen L says

    A Women’s Shelter is great, also try your local united way or homeless shelter. They all have great need for toiletries. I worked for a non-profit agency for years. They were always in very short supply. Very nice of you to consider donating! It will come back to you 10-fold :)

  15. Chandra Morse says

    Also a lot of food pantrys take other items than food and becouse I have had to use these places before I know how much a little extra that you don’t expect means when you are in real need.

  16. Mary says

    These are all wonderful ideas. I work at a food pantry and our cleaning/personal shelf always needs to be restocked since you cannot use food stamps for those items. If we receive any kind of medication/vitamins we take those to St. Vincent de Paul. Thanks so much for donating your extra items – it truly helps a lot of people!!

  17. Jean says

    If you are near western ny our church St. John the Baptist in Lockport, will accept anything: food, appliances, furniture, clothing, hygiene products, dishes, etc. They can even use half bottles of shampoo etc. A lot of people have to clean out an elderly persons house after they pass on. They have brought in bottles half full of shampoo, cleaning supplies etc. We serve thousands of people from the surrounding areas. There is no cost to anyone. Call our Outreach director at: 716-433-5252

  18. kimmie says

    Wow! I must say this truly inspires me. I am so glad this topic has been brought up. I have been couponing and stockpiling for a few years now. I mainly do it for my family but often I do get too much of a surplus and the hubby says I have to downsize.

    I live in Kansas City and I had called a local shelter to see about donating items. They informed me that if they weren’t the travel size that they couldn’t use them but they would however welcome a money donation. I do try to donate money on occasion but times are hard and my budget is tight too. So I was left VERY discouraged. After this posting/blog I think I am going to try again.

    Thank you for all of you postings! They have been so helpful.

  19. Lisa Murphree says

    Our local Salvation Army could use all donations. Our shelter is overflowing with the bad weather and homeless people.

  20. Dawna says

    Be sure to clean out and donate well before the expiration date on the items – otherwise it will just get tossed. Food banks and the like are not permitted to distribute expired goods – at least not in my state.

    I donate certain hygiene, cosmetic and office supply items to “Women of Faith” an Interfaith Service Group operating in my community. There are currently 7 churches involved and, among other things, we prepare hygiene kits for parolees, women’s shelters, and boy’s home and have shipped goods to help families in Afganistan. Check with the nearest Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (Mormon) – the hosting church – to see if there is a similar project operating in your area – or consider starting one.

    Your community might also have a Family Assistance Organization which would be pleased to receive the items.

    You can also sell your excess stuff in your next yard/garage sale. If the items are unopened and not expired, you can easily get 25 cents on the dollar (of usual retail price). That way you at least recover the sales tax that you paid on the free items. Free is not really free, if you have to pay tax.

  21. Lori says

    Ask you local food bank if they accept these type of items for needy families. Our local food bank accepts them gratefully.

  22. Krista says

    we have a local center for low income familiies and they have a Livings supplies closet, a clothes closet and a food pantry to “shop” in once a month. I also do a free coupon class there so coupons are good too. Maybe you have something like that

  23. Cary says

    You can donate any of the items mentioned at any VA Hospital. They take everything from shampoo, toothpaste, deodorant, games, puzzles etc.
    From trial sizes to full size bottles.

    • Shannon says

      If you live in Arizona, they have a fantastic homeless shelter than caters to domestic violence and women/children. It’s called UMOM.
      They need all these items. I’m sure if you google homeless shelters in your area, you’ll find something similar. We’re donating everything to them from now on.

  24. Jane says

    Hi Wendy, I don’t know where you are from, but Camp Joy in Whitewater, Wisconsin is a Christian camp and Retreat Center and they will accept pretty much anything that will help keep their costs down. They are a great place to send your children, or husbands/wives, families, etc. God honoring and Bible preaching :) Beautiful location on Whitewater lake, Whitewater, Wisconsin.

  25. diane says

    I believe when I give things away like this on freecycle, I’m giving them to someone in need. I’ve been doing it for years, and it’s very gratifying. Just because it’s freecycle, doesn’t mean it’s not ‘charity’.

  26. Dorthy Talley says

    We send care packages to our service men and women in Afghanistan. They are very grateful for the items they receive (hygiene, snacks, etc.).

  27. Sue Bryant says

    As missionary/teacher in a small, low-income settlement on an island in the Bahamas, I wish stuff like that could be boxed up and donated to these needy families. They live with so little!

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