Oily Rags & Wipes Safety

oil rags

Working with machinery and vehicles means that you will inevitably need to wipe down surfaces or clean your hands a lot, usually with a handy wipe.

But once you have used the wipe/rag then what?

Leaving wadded up oil soaked rags, cloths or wipes is dangerous and fires caused this way are actually a lot more common than you would think.

Spontaneous Combustion of Oily Rags

The spontaneous combustion of oily rags is caused by flammable or combustible substances heating up to ignition point through oxidation.

Substances release heat as they oxidise and if the heat has nowhere to escape the temperature will rise to such a level that it will ignite the oil.

Keeping Safe with Oily Rags

Don’t let oily rags sit too long

Saturated oily or solvent rags/wipes should not be sat in one place for too long; this is where oxidisation and heat will increase at a rapid rate. You can dispose or wash the rags at the end of each day. 

Wash oily rags thoroughly

If you are going to be re-using any of the oily rags the best way to ensure that substances have been removed is to put them on a hot wash. Also please remember not to wash different substance soaked rags together, wash them by type (this may mean separating them into different bins).

Safety Protocol with oily rags

It is important to set out proper guidelines when dealing with saturated rags/wipes, following protocol will ensure that nothing is forgotten and that everything is stored in the appropriate place and manner.

Store oily rags in ventilated areas

If you work in a heated workshop or garage make sure that when placing rags in a bin it is in a well-ventilated area and away from anything that could cause or increase the risk of ignition.

Oily Waste Can

oily waste can for solvent/flammable wipes and rags are specifically designed for oily rags and wipes and features a ventilated base which reduces the risk of spontaneous combustion for that extra peace of mind.

All cans are made from tough galvanised steel construction and are TUV approved. You can choose from 4 sizes and each bin is foot operated.

If you have any questions regarding our Justrite oily/solvent waste cans then don’t hesitate to call our friendly and award winning sales team free phone on 0808 163 3704 who will be happy to answer any queries you may have.

Photograph of Laura Holland

Author Bio -

Social Media and Web Content Coordinator, Jan 2014 - May 2015

ESE Direct Ltd, Wensum Works, 150 Northumberland Street,
Norwich, Norfolk, NR2 4EE
ESE Direct Sponsors Norfolk Wildlife Trust - Investor in Wildlife

Company Reg No: 1279230 - UK VAT No: 287 8262 10
Phone number: 0808 250 0780

ESE Direct are a Feefo Platinum Trusted Service Award Winner 2021 Secured by sage Pay, we accept VISA, Mastercard, Maestro, Paypal or payment via Proforma


*FREE UK mainland delivery on all orders above £45 Ex. VAT
(Excluding postcodes HS, KW, ZE, IV, AB, DD, PH, PA, GY, JE, IM, BT, Isle of Anglesey, Isle of Wight and Eire).

Eastern Storage Equipment Ltd was established in 1975 in Norwich, Norfolk, UK and was rebranded to ESE Direct in 2013.


All content, images and graphics, unless acknowledged separately, on this site are © copyright and may not be copied, modified or distributed in any form or via any medium without written consent of ESE Direct Ltd. E&OE.


© ESE Direct Ltd. / Eastern Storage Equipment Ltd. 2005 - 2021. All Rights Reserved. Calls may be recorded for quality and training purposes.