Tips to Safely Manage Oily Rags when doing Home Improvement Projects

Posted on: 11 July 2016


On several occasions, firefighters respond to fires caused by improper and unsafe storage and disposal of oily rags. These rags are used in woodworking remodeling projects, specifically for staining of the woodwork.  Oil-based stains can be dangerous, especially in poorly-ventilated spaces because they emit fumes. When you want to conduct a staining project safely, have oily rags store or dispose of oily rags properly because they can spontaneously ignite causing devastating fires. There have been many incidents where homes have been burned to the ground, and all possessions lost because of fires caused by oily rags. Here are a few precautions you can take when handling oily rags when doing remodeling in your home.

Avoid Piling Oily Rags -- After using oily rags to stain your wooden furniture, decks, cabin, or floor, never pile them together when they are still wet. Spread all used rags outside in a safe, dry spot to avoid spontaneous combustion inside your house. Wadded or crumpled up oily rags create heat that can quickly ignite leading to a fire hazard. Furthermore, you should not dry the grease-laden rags indoors because of the high latent heat.

Use Appropriate Waste Disposal Containers -- When you frequently use oily rags, it is imperative that you have a hazardous waste disposal container. Have a professional waste disposal firm collect and dispose of the combustible waste as soon as possible. At no point should you dump oily rags in waste bins meant for other domestic garbage. The amount of heat generated in the bin can cause a huge fire capable of spreading and destroying your property if not put out in time. To avoid this predicament, hire professionals to do the disposal on your behalf. If you occasionally use oily rags, store them in a small metallic, non-combustible, airtight container equipped with a tight-fitting lid. An empty can of paint lying around is suitable for this purpose. Fill it with a mixture of water and a detergent that breaks down oil. Insert the rags in this solution and tightly cover with the lid for disposal at the date of garbage collection. Remember to store this container outside of your house.   

Recycling -- If you are the type concerned about the environment, hire professional laundry firms to clean these oily rags. The cleaners use special products to remove the oil from the rags without damaging the fabric. Taking this recycling route will save you the cost of buying new rags every time you have a remodeling project. Make sure you inform the cleaning professional of the contents of the rag since different projects use different oils and solvents.   

For more information, contact a waste disposal firm.