What to do with old mineral spirits and used rags?

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I have just been tossing the rags into the trash, but I keep seeing warnings about spontaneous combustion. Is that a real threat? Is there a better way than putting them in a bucket of water, like the warning say?
I have about a quart of old solvent that I don't know what to do with. I can't put it down the drain, in the trash, or dump it outside. What do I do with it? I suppose the proper thing is to take it to the county waste disposal facility that is open 2 hours a year at secret times, but I am looking for something more practical.
Thanks.
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Wade Lippman wrote:

the threat for rags is very real. I lay mine out to "dry" before disposing of them and will soak them in water.
As far as the old solvent goes, my local firestation takes random hazardous wastes in small quantities. You might check with them. Granted, the reactor water from my home Mr. Fusion doesn't fly, they accept different solvents and paints.
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Check with your city/county government services. I live in a big city which has a full service environmental waste disposal for citizens who are residents of the city.
Bob

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Get yourself a bucket, hang it from a tree limb out side, empty the mineral spirits into the bucket and let evaporate. Cover with screening if you don't want to harm any critters.
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On Thu, 06 Nov 2003 22:14:06 GMT, "Wade Lippman"

Not in my book. THe water bucket works great.

I let it settle, pour off the clear liquid and toss the dried solids in the trash. The liquid can be used over and over.
Barry
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I'm a career firefighter and this does happen. We always have several fires during the summer from people staining their fence and then leaving the rags in a big pile next to their fence. Opps. The biggest thing to avoid is putting the rags in a confine space, this increases the probabilty of a fire starting. Leave them set out and dry out or soak them in water.

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Wade Lippman wrote:

You'd better believe it is! Happened to my grandfather.

Don't know about better. When I have a rag or a wad of steel wool soaked in something extremely flammable, I throw it in the grill and set it on fire. Better to burn it in a controlled way and get it over with than to have to worry about it. Probably not the most environmentally friendly option, but much safer than some of the stupid ways I played with fire when I was a kid. ;)

Dunno... Put it in the shed with the 32 kitty litter jugs full of used motor oil you still have because you can't figure out which two hours the secret facility is open? :)
Poor man's charcoal starter fluid?
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On Thu, 06 Nov 2003 23:34:35 -0500, Silvan

On a side note, here in CT anyone who sells new motor oil is required to take back old stuff. None of the stores in my area even ask for a receipt, so I can go anywhere. Ask around, and you may find that motor oil is very easy to properly dispose of.
Barry
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I have a neighbor that heats his shop with a "Waste oil heater" that will take all the oil I can give him.
Rick
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On Fri, 07 Nov 2003 11:29:21 GMT, B a r r y B u r k e J r .

As ANOTHER side note...
When you go to those quick lube places for an oil change...and they put in oil that does not come out of a can...ask them if they use NEW, UNUSED oil.
Have a nice week...
Trent
Fighting for peace is like screwing for virginity!
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wrote:

You don't have to ask if you change your own oil. <G>
The only vehicle I've ever paid to have the oil changed in was my '96 Nissan King Cab, with the 2.4 four banger. The underhood layout was so discombobulated that it was simply impossible to remove the filter without coating yourself in oil. The filter needed to be passed over a cross member, or the fender lining needed to be removed. Since I use full synthetic oil, the oil going into that truck always came from quart bottles, not a gun. The Nissan was the only vehicle I've had that I didn't drive into the ground. I simply hated that truck.
Even though oil changes are relatively cheap from a dealer, quickie lube, etc... I like to give everything a once over while I'm there. I look for leaks, check the belts and hoses, battery connections, wire insulation, etc... All of these tasks are usually part of a commercial oil change, but in my experience, simply pencil whipped by the oil changer. Both of my current vehicles, a '99 Jeep Wrangler Sport , and an '01 Subaru Outback, are laid out well enough that I can do each in under 20 minutes. That includes the seven grease fittings on the Jeep.
I use Mobil 1 and the best filters I can get, unlike the paid guys. My vehicles are usually driven to the junkyard, with several hundred thousand miles on them.
Barry
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On Thu, 06 Nov 2003 22:14:06 GMT, "Wade Lippman"

Let them dry on a clothesline or spread out on the ground or a concrete floor. Then toss.

Re-use it. I have a 4-litre (gallon, Keith) container labelled "Used Varsol". Any newly used mineral spirit gets poured in it. The gunk settles to the bottom. I use it whenever it is not critical that clean solvent be used (e.g first pass on cleaning a brush, or any goop that needs to be cleaned off.) Just pour it our carefully. I have yet to fill up the container.
Luigi Replace "no" with "yk" twice in reply address for real email address
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Depending on the solvent level in the rags take a little care when laying them out on the concrete floor. If that concrete floor contains a gas hot water heater or other source of ignition.
I usually hang them outside in the back yard until the solvent evaporates and then toss them in the trash.
wrote:

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wrote:

Just had a guy pretty much blow himself up this past Winter in my area...painting in the basement with no ventilation.
He made it...but he went from Caucasian to Negro in a big hurry! lol
Have a nice week...
Trent
Fighting for peace is like screwing for virginity!
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In NYC, where they have restrictions on everything you can imagine, the sanitation instructs us to absorb the solvent with cat litter or saw dust. After that we can put it in a bag and throw it in the regular trash. Rags the same thing, and empty paint or solvent cans should be left open and put in metal recycling. Doug

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On 7 Nov 2003 04:18:56 -0800, snipped-for-privacy@hotmail.com (kilerbbb) wrote:

Depending on how old...and dry...that kitty litter is, this could be very dangerous for the guy driving that garbage truck.
Have a nice week...
Trent
Fighting for peace is like screwing for virginity!
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On Thu, 06 Nov 2003 22:14:06 GMT, "Wade Lippman"

Mineral spirits won't spontaneously combust.
Drying oils certainly will (in the right conditions). Anything that has an exothermic curing reaction could potentially do this. But simple solvents won't.
There is a hazard with flammable solvents, of them either being set off by a tiny ignition source, or them acting as an accelerant to something else. The common practice of "spread them out flat on the floor" is reasonable advice for oil rags, but a worse practice for solvents than throwing them in the trash.
Be careful of solvent vapours too. If you thrown these into a sealed bin, let the vapours fill it, then open the lid, you could get a nasty surprise if there's an ignition source nearby.
Personally I have a steel bin for all finishing rags, and I don't wad them up before discarding. If they do choose to combust in there, it's of a construction, position and cleanliness that a fire will be contained safely. I discard (or burn) them normally, after a few days.
-- Die Gotterspammerung - Junkmail of the Gods
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Andy, everything you said, and I'll add this: this summer I had a stain soaked rag that I knew might combust, so I rinsed it out with mineral spirits, wrung it out, and laid it on top of our plastic recycling container outside the shop. A couple hours later it was in the sun, and the heat of the rag melted a 3" hole in the container which was full of papers. Yikes! Damn near started my own house fire with that one! I guess not enough of the oils from the stain got flushed from the rag.
Now I spread oil soaked rags out on a rock bed, in the shade.
Andy Dingley wrote:

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Book a ride on the next space shuttle. You will also need a secondary rocket to take it at least to the other side of the galaxy. If you do any less, some enviroweenie is going to cry.

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have you any idea how big a hole the SST puts in the ozone every time it launches?
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FF

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