Kerosene Illegal in Garbage or Drains Hazardous Waste Never Dump Down the Drain Kerosene is considered hazardous waste and should never be dumped down the drain. Doing so will contaminate drinking water sources. Store in Opaque Plastic Container To store kerosene, keep inside opaque plastic containers and out of direct sunlight. Take these precautions to keep fuel safe from combusting or losing its fuel quality. Ways to Reduce Use an Alternative Oil If you use kerosene for an oil lamp, try using a non-petroleum-based oil instead. Check out these alternative oil options. Did You Know? Kerosene Does Not Last Forever Kerosene goes bad over time. When stored properly, it has up to five years of shelf life. This petroleum-based fuel loses its flammable quality when condensation adds water to the storage container over time or mold and bacteria populations transform it into a sludge-like consistency. How Do You Know When Kerosene Is Bad? You can tell when kerosene has gone bad when it turns yellow or murky, develops a visible mold or sludge, or begins to smell like gasoline or diesel fuel. Do not try to use kerosene that has gone bad.