How can rags start a fire?
The oils commonly used in oil-based paints and stains release heat as they dry. If the heat is not release in the air, it builds up. That is why a pile of oily rags can be dangerous. As the rags dry, the heat is trapped. The heat builds up and finally causes a fire. Be aware that this does not happen wit h water-based finishes.
How can liquids start a fire?
Vapors from flammable and combustible liquids can ignite, causing a fire. There are many commonly used flammable liquids. Gasoline, lacquers, and nail polish are just a few examples. There are many commonly used combustible liquids. Paint thinner, kerosene, and oil-based paints and stains are some examples.
Rags wet with paint and stain
- Never leave cleaning rags in a pile. At the end of the day, take the rags outside to dry.
- Hang the rags outside or spread them on the ground. Weigh them down. Do this so they do not blow away. make sure they are not in a pile. Keep them away from buildings.
- Put dried rags in a metal container. Make sure the cover is tight. Fill the container with a water and detergent solution. This will break down the oils.
- Keep containers of oily rags in a cool place. Kepp them out of direct sunlight. Keep them away from other heat sources. Check with your municipality for information on disposing of them.
Liquids that can catch fire
- Flammable and combustible liquids should not be sued near an open flame. Do not smoke when working with these liquids.
- If you spill liquids on your clothing, remove your clothing and place it outside to dry. Once dry, clothing can be laundered.
- Keep liquids in their original containers. Keep them tightly capped or sealed. Never store the liquids in glass containers.
- Use gasoline only as a motor fuel. never use it as a cleaner. Never use it to break down grease. Never bring gasoline indoors, even in small amounts.
- Store gasoline ONLY in a container that is sold for the purpose. Make sure the container is tightly capped when not in use. NEVER store gasoline containers in a basement or in the occupied space of a building. Keep them in an outbuilding, a detached garage, or a shed outdoors.
- An average of 1,600 home fires per year are caused by instances of spontaneous combustion or chemical reaction.
- An average of 800 home fires per year are started when oily rags catch fire or are ignited.