How to Safely Dispose of Flammable Rags
If you ever used an oil based wood stain, paint or sealer, a polyurethane finish, a varnish or any other finishing product containing high VOC's or Volatile Organic Compounds, then it was flammable. Paint brushes get cleaned with mineral spirits or paint thinner, but what about the rags and other materials used that do not get cleaned but just get thrown away? How do you safely dispose of them? If you just throw the rags out or leave them in a pile they may spontaneously combust.
The easiest and safest way to dispose of flammable oily or solvent soaked rags is to use this method:
- Place the rags in an empty metal container that has a tight metal lid such as a paint or stain can;
- Fill the container with water until the rags are submerged;
- Place the metal lid tightly over the water soaked formerly combustible rags
- Take the container to your local hazardous waste disposal center or save it until your local community has a hazardous waste pick up day;
- Please make sure not to dump solvents or paint or anything else like this down your drain or sewer.