Poisons licence

Business: Licences

    You may need a licence to sell certain household products containing poison

    You may need a poisons licence if you’re selling products containing certain chemicals or ingredients. Poisons licences are issued by your local council.

    The licence runs from 1 January until 31 December, whenever you apply. You’ll be sent a reminder to reapply by 31 May each year.

    The following table shows some examples of the most common poisons requiring a licence.

    Concentration requiring a licence
    Products these poisons may be found in

    Any concentration
    Rodent killer

    10% or more
    Window/glass cleaners, multipurpose cleaners, bathroom cleaners, polishing waxes, drain cleaners, oven cleaners

    5% or more
    Air freshener, fabric softener, carpet cleaner, upholstery cleaner

    Formic acid
    25% or more
    Limescale remover, toilet cleaner

    Hydrochloric acid
    10% or more
    Limescale remover, domestic cleaner, leather processing product

    Hydrofluoric acid and fluorine-based compounds
    Any, apart from 3% or more sodium silicofluoride and 3% or more sodium fluoride
    Stain removers

    Metallic oxalates
    10% or more oxalic acid dehydrate
    Leather and wood cleaner

    0.1% or more
    Floor polish

    0.5% and less than 5% of other phenols
    Liquid disinfectants and antiseptics

    Potassium hydroxide
    17% or more
    Oven cleaner, drain cleaner

    Sodium hydroxide
    12% or more
    Caustic soda, oven cleaner, drain cleaner

    Contact your local council if you’re not sure whether you’ll need a licence for a particular product. You could also contact the manufacturer or speak to your wholesaler.


    You could be fined up to £500 (and an extra £5 for each day you continue to break the law) if you sell a poison not covered by your licence.

    You could be fined up to £500 if you get in the way of a council inspection, don’t allow samples to be taken or don’t provide required information when asked.

    You may need a poisons licence to sell certain household products containing poison - concentrations, apply to your local council, common poisons, renewal