Washing Shop Rags?

UT410

On jack stands.
Supporting Member
Location
Holladay
It's about that time to toss them or wash them. I don't want to use our personal machine.

When I worked repairing laundry equipment, I had seen several places with machines dedicated to greasy, shop rags. That was more than a decade ago, though.
 
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Pile of parts

Well-Known Member
Location
South Jordan
I just did this recently. For reference, I use the red rags and you can buy them fairly cheap. I decided I would save and wash them. After much debate, I did it at home. (Don't tell my wife) I pre-washed them by hand in a bucket outside and them threw them in the washer. They came out ok but I don't think I'll do it again. Unfortunately, cheaper to just buy more.
 

UT410

On jack stands.
Supporting Member
Location
Holladay
Isn’t that why laundry mats were invented?

Ha! Man... my first experience with commercial washers out west was repairing a few washers that oil rig workers ruined. If you don't run enough soap and hot water it's a nightmare. Then, they put them in the dryer but since the clothes and gloves aren't clean, they pretty much get coated and baked.

I wouldn't hit the neighborhood laundromat just because I don't want to F-up someone's livelyhood or a customer's clothes.

@Greg I've heard of people soaking them in a bucket with TSP and then washing them. Oh, and I'm pretty much the laundry guy at this address...
 

SnwMnkys

Registered User
Location
Orem, Utah
Ha! Man... my first experience with commercial washers out west was repairing a few washers that oil rig workers ruined. If you don't run enough soap and hot water it's a nightmare. Then, they put them in the dryer but since the clothes and gloves aren't clean, they pretty much get coated and baked.

I wouldn't hit the neighborhood laundromat just because I don't want to F-up someone's livelyhood or a customer's clothes.

@Greg I've heard of people soaking them in a bucket with TSP and then washing them. Oh, and I'm pretty much the laundry guy at this address...
Reminds me of people whole take their construction equipment to self serve car washes. Theyll use the foaming brush to scrub off the grease. What ends up happening is the next person who uses it just smears grease over their car.
 

Kevin B.

OLAF
Supporting Member
Location
Stinkwater
Another vote for the blue shop towels. When I need cloth I've got a box of old bath towels that I tear up and reuse, and once they're done they're done and I burn them.
 

4x4_Welder

Well-Known Member
Location
Twin Falls, ID
Only problem is washing doesn't get the metal out of them, at least in my experience. It's not fun to grab a nice "clean" rag to wipe your hands off with and find a long spiral of steel or aluminum swarf with some more tender area.
 

Greg

Scope Creep
Admin
x4 for Blue shop towels... I have some of those Red shop rags, but they don't seem to absorb much at all and rarely get used. I usually buy my Blue shop towels at Sams Club. I have a paper towel mount in my shop with a roll of Blue towels loaded at all times.
 

UT410

On jack stands.
Supporting Member
Location
Holladay
Only problem is washing doesn't get the metal out of them, at least in my experience. It's not fun to grab a nice "clean" rag to wipe your hands off with and find a long spiral of steel or aluminum swarf with some more tender area.

AGREE! I toss the ones with metal shavings for the same reason.

I got spoiled getting shop rags washed and returned through my FIL. Now, maybe because I'm older or because my wife is a very conscientious about needless waste (and maybe because I am cheap about certain things) it seems like a better value and less wasteful to wash and reuse rags but it's not easy for the home-shop guy.
 

Hickey

The Dark One
Supporting Member
AGREE! I toss the ones with metal shavings for the same reason.

I got spoiled getting shop rags washed and returned through my FIL. Now, maybe because I'm older or because my wife is a very conscientious about needless waste (and maybe because I am cheap about certain things) it seems like a better value and less wasteful to wash and reuse rags but it's not easy for the home-shop guy.
Maybe stick em in a big bucket or barrel with water and dawn dish soap. Then grab your mortar mixer and spin cycle that junk. I'd leave em in the bucket for a week and hit that with the mixer whenever you think about it.
 

shortstraw8

Active Member
Maybe stick em in a big bucket or barrel with water and dawn dish soap. Then grab your mortar mixer and spin cycle that junk. I'd leave em in the bucket for a week and hit that with the mixer whenever you think about it.
Friend of my brothers has a 50gal barrel he cut in half, welded some angle iron on the inside for agitators, took parts from an old swamp cooler to make it spin and used it for this exact thing. Pretty cool to see (and scary with no gyro balancing) but more complicated than buying a pack of blue shop towels.
 

Corban_White

Well-Known Member
Location
Lehi, UT
I've done the bucket prewash and it doesn't get all the oil out. They don't absorb oil the same. I through them out now.
Us low rent people just use regular white paper towels.

I guess I'm low rent. :rofl: I've tried all the above options and the "box of rags" (ripped up t-shirts), and now I just use the same paper towels as inside the house. Which has the added benefit of being automatically replenished when my wife does the Costco run. :D
 

Hickey

The Dark One
Supporting Member
I guess I'm low rent. :rofl: I've tried all the above options and the "box of rags" (ripped up t-shirts), and now I just use the same paper towels as inside the house. Which has the added benefit of being automatically replenished when my wife does the Costco run. :D
I ran out of blues last week and lowered myself to the level of you peasants and stole a roll of whiteys from the house. I've been dealing with depression and a sense of worthlessness ever since. I just FEEL more mechanicy with the blues!
 
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