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Clean Up Chemical Spills & Leaks With NAPA

Clean Up Chemicals Spills & Leaks With NAPA

No matter how careful you are, spills happen. Your home garage or mechanic shop is rife with potential hazards, and leaking liquids is just one of them. If you are a DIYer who insists on handling routine vehicle maintenance, then small chemical spills from refilling antifreeze and other automotive fluids are a common problem. If you complete a lot of projects outside the home, then oil leaks from your pickup truck, lawn mower, chainsaw, snowblower or other heavy-duty garage equipment are an issue. And that doesn’t include the sawdust, metal shavings and debris brushed onto the garage floor from constantly tinkering at your work bench.

If an accidental spill does occur in your garage, resist the urge to spray down the area with a hose or dump a bucket of water on the spot, letting the runoff go down the floor drain. If the substance has any potential to be hazardous, then you should not flush it. And, keep in mind that many of these chemicals will not dilute with water, so a simple rinse will only spread out the problem.

Soaking Up Those Chemical SpillsNAPA Diatomaceous Earth Oil Absorb 24QT

The fresher the spill, the better chance you have of removing it. If you spill a bottle of motor oil, immediately sprinkle absorbent material onto it. NAPA Diatomaceous Earth Oil Absorb is lightweight and works better than its clay competitors. After applying, lay a towel across the area and apply weight by standing on it to soak up any liquid from the porous surface or inside cracks. Let the material sit overnight, then sweep up the collected mess the next day.

The toughest spills might require a specialized treatment to scrub the stubborn stain off the floor. The NAPA experts recommend using CRC Pro-Strength Degreaser to get the grime gone for good. This all-purpose solution has a mild odor and relies on a foaming formula to break down and dissolve grease, oil and other contaminants, but is gentle on painted floors. To remove oily residue and prevent long-term stains, follow the advice of the NAPA Experts on How to Clean an Oil Leak.

Because accidents do happen, it is best to always have a set of clean, dry shop towels nearby you. Towels specifically designed for mechanics will not disintegrate because of abrasive surfaces or harsh chemicals. Our experts recommend the 25-pack of Gear Up Red Shop Towels, which are constructed from a cotton-polyester blend for industrial use, yet still washable and reusable. If you prefer to dispose of the mess, order a package of Heavy-Duty Scott Pro Shop Towels. Each box contains 200 individual foot-long towels that are solvent resistant.

For something even more absorbent and industrious, go with the Sorbent Fluid Spill Recovery Mat. Also called a Pig Mat, this product includes 15 leak pads (14 inches by 14 inches) that are engineered to soak up water, oil, coolant, solvent and more. Hang a sheet of the easy-to-grab spill pads on the wall of your home garage or workshop. Additionally, you could purchase a 50-foot-long roll of Safety Absorbent Roll Leak & Spill Roll Pads. This Pig Mat product incorporates eight layers of thermally bonded polypropylene to deliver a fierce towel that won’t rip, tear or fray even when saturated. The exclusive dimple pattern ensures a fast, easy cleanup. Use the convenient quick tear perforations to get the right amount you need every time.

Sucking Up Those Chemical Spills

For those larger-than-life spills that produce a high volume of liquid spread out over a big area, you might just have to suck them up instead. carries a wide variety of vacuums from a portable vacuum cleaner for your car to a wet and dry shop vac. Designed for emergencies, wet/dry vacuums are rated for their size (capacity), power and features. The strength of a wet and dry shop vac typically ranges from 2.0 to 6.5 horsepower—the higher the number, the stronger the suction.

The capacity of a shop vacuum is measured in gallons with the most compact wet/dry vac units starting at 1.5 gallons. For massive spills, the best wet/dry shop vacs range between 5 and 10 gallons of capacity while remaining transportable. In most cases, a wet/dry vac will do wonders to eliminate standing water that seeped inside a garage or basement because of exterior flooding during a storm.

For those big jobs, the NAPA experts recommend the 12-gallon Milwaukee Tool Vacuum Cleaner. This cordless wet/dry vacuum incorporates durable wheels and a 9-foot hose. It also includes a 3-Year Warranty and two REDLITHIUM™ Battery Packs. If you want something a bit more compact, go for the 9-gallon Craftsman Vacuum Cleaner. This extremely powerful motor is also great at removing water from clogged sinks. With an extra-large drain, you can empty quickly and easily from the tank.

While you may find it tempting to get out your handy wet/dry vacuum if you spill gasoline or another chemical liquid, that is an extremely bad idea. Gasoline vapors and other toxins are highly flammable and could start a fire or cause an explosion. Instead, follow the advice from NAPA Experts on How to Clean Up a Gas Spill.

Proceeding With Caution

Because many garages are located below ground level (not to mention basements), there’s a chance that one day you will face a room full of water. Even if the flood is caused by a plumbing leak inside the home, you should assume that the water is very dirty. Be cautious as mold and mildew might have already set. Make sure while cleaning up that you wear gloves, safety goggles and a breathing mask to avoid exposure to harmful airborne particulates.

The NAPA experts recommend the extra-large black Nitrile Powder-Free Challenger Gloves. These gloves, made for mechanics, are thick disposable shop gloves with textured fingers for an enhanced grip. It’s also critical to stay well stocked on universal N95 disposable respirator masks like this box of 10 from MightyMask. These N95 masks are constructed from soft white polypropylene fabric, and each incorporates a Cooltech Valve, nose guard and adjustable head straps.

Airing Out Your Shop or Garage

It is also critical to keep the air moving to help dry out your soaked, damp space. The NAPA experts recommend the Shop Fan by BE Power Equipment. This industrial fan is two feet in diameter, offers two speeds and is tiltable up to 180 degrees. Additionally, check out this compact Milwaukee Tool M18 Jobsite Fan, which really packs a punch. It can circulate air across more than 40 feet, offers three speeds and produces 17 hours of battery-operated run time.

Browse NAPA’s vast selection of shop supplies. For those messy jobs, you are going to need trash bags, buckets and mops. For the best results, our NAPA experts recommend purchasing an industrial squeegee designed specifically for garage floors, concrete and even asphalt.

For expert advice on how to dismantle, clean and dry power tools or hand tools that are saturated in either fresh water or salt water, check out Tool Repair After a Flood: What You Can Salvage and What You Can’t.

Featured image courtesy of Pixabay.

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More than 90 years ago, the National Automotive Parts Association ("NAPA") was created to meet America’s growing need for an effective auto parts distribution system. Today, 91% of do-it-yourself customers recognize the NAPA brand name. We have over 6,000 NAPA Auto Parts Stores nationwide serving all 50 states with a unique inventory control system that helps you find the exact part that you need.

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