Studio Safety oily rags fire

I am worried about oily rags from wiping my brushes.  What do you do with your oily rags? 

Comments

  • I only use paper towels and I throw them out very regularly.
  • I'm safety conscious bordering on neurotic, so I only use paper towels, put them in a plastic bag, tie the bag up and put it outside in the garbage bin at the end of my painting day. That way hopefully only the bin and/or garage will catch fire , not the house  lol =)
  • I began using rags in oil painting too and switched to paper towels. I use to hang my contaminated rags around the studio on a clothes hanger. Because of fear of fire and contaminated air, when the rags are no longer useful I would soak them in water, then place into a plastic bag and store in the freezer until garbage pick up day. Now I do the same with paper towels at the end of each and every painting session, I prefer this convenience.
  • edited June 2019
    I had a friend who was a construction superintendent. His company was building a new restaurant that had lots of wood finishes inside. They had finished construction and the crew wiped all the wood down with linseed oil. They dumped their rags in a pile on the floor in the middle of the restaurant. Needless to say it burned down that night. Oil will spontaneously combust. If you are concerned with oil rag disposal the best solution is to purchase a safety can.

    Amazon carries a wide variety of sizes. I think the $50  one is more than adequate for a small artist studio.

    https://www.amazon.com/Justrite-J09100-Galvanized-steel-ventilated-Self-closing/dp/B001DSKBXE/ref=sr_1_6?keywords=safety+can&qid=1559591494&s=gateway&sr=8-6


    ArtGal
  • Any metal can with a close fitting lid will do. Even one of those friction top Christmas cookie tins. artists rags and paper towels aren't nearly as dangerous as piles of oily rags left out. Hanging up to dry out is as dangerous either because the cooler air will prevent the buildup of heat but it is much better to can them and set can on a non combustible surface. 
  • BOB73 said:
    Any metal can with a close fitting lid will do. Even one of those friction top Christmas cookie tins. artists rags and paper towels aren't nearly as dangerous as piles of oily rags left out. Hanging up to dry out is as dangerous either because the cooler air will prevent the buildup of heat but it is much better to can them and set can on a non combustible surface. 

    @BOB73

    I know you are our registered fire expert so thanks for sharing. I have a few questions for you:
    1) Is it safe to put used paper towels in a bag and throw in our regular trash container?
    2) Can I wash my rags that I'd used for painting? (used 6 months ago so they are dried)
    3) If I put them in a metal container do I need to then throw out the whole container?
    4) What about mineral spirits? Do I need to dispose rags/paper towels with caution?

    I'm sorry if I seem obtuse but I do have depression/anxiety since I had my twins and this stuff literally will make me not sleep because I get so nervous.  I often water soak the paper towels after use then put them in a plastic shopping bag and put them in our garbage can. Is that safe?

    I'm sorry to barrage you with these questions, but it is something that has made me very nervous.  :s:'(
  • I'll try to be obtuse as well. no yes no yes.
    it's good to worry about things you aren't sure of. Learning how to deal with things takes the worry out.

    you can put all your wastes in a metal container with a lid. You can get a safety can with a self closing lid for a little extra money but it's not necessary. Sooner or later you will have to empty the can. No need to dispose of the can. Empty the can just before the trash is collected. You can put them in a plastic bag and tie it up but don't but inside the trash container, leave it on top. rags soaked or damp with oil and or solvent can be lain out on a flat noncombustible surface outdoors away from the house and other structures for a few sunny days then soaked with water with simple green or dish soap then add them to your laundry before they dry.
    if you have excess/dirty solvents you can pour them in an open metal pan full of dirt or sand placed on the ground away from the house until the solvents evaporate. THen bag the dirt and dispose with the regular trash as you would the bag of rags. Then wash the pan and make brownies.
    Renoir
  • Wow - I have old rags all over the place - you're saying they can combust??? Hadn't even crossed my mind. 
  • Folks

    Bookmark this and copy the link to other painters.



    Denis

    RenoirMichaelD
  • Thank you @BOB73 and @dencal
    I will bookmark this.
    That video is really scary!
  • thank you @BOB73 and @dencal, I actually didn't  know that linseed oil can combust, it's scary.
  • Silver polish and other common household products (even peanut butter) can do this too and don't even think about what can happen with pool chemicals BUT follow the directions on the label and all will be well. I mentioned some time ago that I had a lot of  experience with kitchen fires a large number of them had noting to do with cooking. It's because under the kitchen sink is a favorite place to store cleaning supplies. 
    ArtGal
  • @BOB73 - now I want a peanut butter sandwich.
  • with sliced bananas on pumpernickel. @Renoir  
  • PS, avoid using paint cans like in the video. many are not metal and those that are metal are thin enough to ignite paper or cloth in contact with it including carpeting when they heat up inside. I wish all our fire experiments had gone that fast. Having a TV producer on hand seems to speed up the process.
  • BOB73 said:
    with sliced bananas on pumpernickel. @Renoir  
    OH MY ZEUS! Yes! That's how we always ate them when we were kids. I didn't know anyone else did. HA!
  • it's the only way when the banana is a little too squishy to hold between your fingers.
    Renoir
  • Those cans are designed for industrial environments characterized by generally non-flamable surfaces.  I don't trust them for domestic areas.  They are probably fine, but that can be as much for the fact that the spontaneous combustion requires specific circumstances that are not all that hard to avoid in the first place.

    I:

    1) spread out of doors, flat.  I have also just laid them flat on the concrete floor of my garage.

    2) ball up in sealed bag.

    3) store in bloxygen or argon gas.

    Paper towels seem even more likely to catch on fire in my experience, so while you can throw them out, where are you throwing them?

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