Oily Rags they are not for the washing machine!

Rags used by workshops and garages to clean up service fluids and waste oil from floors and machinery can be re-used for a time and makes economic sense. However, it is worth knowing that oily rags are classed as hazardous materials. The European Commission has confirmed that all waste oils (with the exception of edible oils), are “absolute hazardous”.

To ensure that your business remains compliant with EU regulations, all wastes contaminated with oil, including rags used to mop up fuel spillages, must be safely stored before being disposed of by an accredited hazardous wastes contractor like Site Clear.

When storing your oily rags remember they are highly flammable and pose a huge fire risk, therefore a separate metal container will be required.  The container should have a heavy hinged lid as this will minimise the risk of combustion.

It is important that you must never mix waste oil with other types of waste as this is not only dangerous, but will also class the load as special hazardous waste, which will make disposal of it more expensive. To avoid this happening make sure all rags used for mopping up specific fuel types are kept in their own separate, metal storage containers.

Never attempt to put oily soaked rags straight into a washing machine. This could not only damage the machine’s motor, but the fumes may escape and potentially cause a fire, particularly as the washing machine’s motor heats up.

If you have rags with minimal amounts of oil these can be cleaned by soaking them in a large bucket of water mixed with a non-toxic, biodegradable all-purpose cleaner. After cleaning them, assess how much oil is left on the rag and determine if you can dry them for re-use.  Rags that are simply too oily to clean should be disposed of in compliance with EU regulations.

Site Clear can help and advise on any aspects of hazardous waste disposal, so if you are not sure always give us a call for free advice and why not set up a scheduled collection service for peace of mind.

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