If you’re building a new home, remodeling your existing home, or you recently built a new deck, you may be staining the new woodwork yourself. While it saves money, it can be a bit scary and dangerous.
Stain is permanent! It will stain your clothes, fingers, and anything else it meets. So if you’re trying a DIY staining project, wear protective eyewear, rubber gloves, and old clothing. Oil-based stains also have fumes, so it’s important to work in a properly-ventilated area.
The staining project turns dangerous if you don’t properly store or dispose of the used rags.
Oil-based stains are very common with woodworking projects. Linseed based stains can be found on every hardware store’s shelf. They’re used for staining furniture, floors, decks, and woodwork in your home. However, if they’re not stored or disposed of properly, they can auto-ignite and start a fire in your home. Unfortunately, people have lost their homes and possessions because of this dangerous situation.
So how can a pile of rags sitting on your garage floor start a fire? As oily rags begin to dry, heat is produced. If they’re thrown into a pile, oxygen is trapped underneath. The combination of heat, oxygen and the cloth can lead to spontaneous combustion, which results in a fire that could destroy your home.
Here are some tips for storing and disposing of oily rags.
- Never store rags in a pile. Used rags should be spread out in a safe flat area to dry. If you lay them out on your garage floor or driveway, weight them down so the wind doesn’t blow them away. Once they’re dry, check with your city or municipality for disposal instructions.
- Store the rags in an airtight, non-combustible metal container. If you plan to use your rags later, this step is critical. The metal container should be filled with a solution of water and an oil breakdown detergent.
- Follow the manufacturer’s recommendations. Since manufacturers use different oils in their products, it’s important to follow their warnings and disposal instructions. They may differ from manufacturer to manufacturer.
To watch how long it takes for a linseed soaked staining rag to combust, check out the video below.
Do you have any tips you’d like to share? I’d love to hear them; please share them in the box below.