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Ask SSC How do I dispose of oily rags?


OiIy Rags

Q: How does one dispose of oily rags and dirty shop towels that are contaminated with mineral spirits, linseed oil, etc.? All are temporarily stored in oily waste buckets for safety.

A: Dear Caryn,

Recycling or disposal options for these types of items depends on where they are generated:

Commercial Customers

We do not accept any business generated hazardous waste. Businesses should contact Disposal of Toxics for disposal or recycling options or call (360) 380-4640.

Residential and Multi-Family Customers

Shop towels or rags contaminated with solvents, oil, etc. are potentially combustible and can pose a safety hazard for our drivers and fleet if not properly handled. These items can be safely disposed of in the trash if prepared properly:

Spread the rags flat in a single layer outside so any heat dissipates while they cure (become hard and brittle). Note: The time it takes to cure can vary depending on humidity, temperature and product.

Once cured, place in trash. Do not bag.

For more info about household hazardous waste disposal and recycling, visit Disposal of Toxics. For additional questions please contact us or call (360) 734-3490. For answers to other Ask SSC questions click here.


About Sanitary Service Company (SSC)

Established in 1929, SSC is Whatcom County's largest recycling and garbage collection service provider, serving 45,000 + customers from Bellingham to Blaine and beyond. SSC is a sustaining member of Sustainable Connections, a Toward Zero Waste Founding Pioneer, 100% Green Power Leader, 5-Star EnviroStar, bicycle-friendly business and Whatcom Smart Trips employer. For more info visit





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