How to Dispose of Motor Oil Soaked Paper Towels


Oil-soaked paper towels are used to clean parts by wiping the dirt away. You can find them in an auto repair shop or at home. They are small towels with a shiny appearance and maybe soaked with oil, engine grease, transmission fluid, brake fluid, windshield washer fluid, or any other type of oily substance. These oils will stick to anything they come in contact with, including plants, grass, and animals, through runoff and leaching.

Oil-soaked paper towels may be damp or very dry depending on the manufacturer’s directions for use (e.g., some involve leaving it out and letting it soak up the oil). Although manufacturers make some claims about how quickly the towels absorb some fluids (e.g., windshield washer fluids). In this article, I will discuss how to dispose of motor oil soaked paper towels. So let us get started.

How to Dispose of Motor Oil Soaked Paper Towels

How to Dispose of Motor Oil Soaked Paper Towels:

Step 1:

Spread the paper towels on a flat surface. Oil drippings can be reclaimed after careful dry-up. Grease should not be disposed of but rather reused for motor oil reclamation or recycling.

Step 2:

To ensure proper removal of motor oil, let the oil drip onto the paper towels for some time. This allows easy absorption of all visible leaks by the already soaked up paper towels.

Step 3:

Furthermore, let it rest to cover more area around exposed greased spots on the ground, etc. Ensure wiping off every last drop of visible leakage with the dry, frayed end of the towel or rag-like material (with absorbent properties) that is thick enough to be used as wipers and soft enough to clean windows without scratching their surface.

Step 4:

After wiping off all visible oil drippings, the remaining dirtied towels should be carried to a local recycling center as used paper towels can be recycled as tissue paper for stone and cement bags. There are specialized recyclers who repurpose dirty papers as pulp for use in making different products. The mills that produce paper from wood pulp use medium or short bleached fibers for this purpose. Any material other than toilet paper is termed “dirty” and is considered unfit for human consumption even though it may not contain any particles of food whatsoever.

Step 5:

If there is no such recycling unit available nearby, you can hand over the papers to your municipality’s garbage collection service, which normally helps dispose of recyclable waste.

Step 6:

If you are dealing with small quantities of oil paper towels, the best alternative is to burn them in an incinerator approved by a governing authority or a waste disposal agency. This ensures total waste disposal of combustible materials and prevents environmental pollution from toxic vapors of harmful gases released while burning oil-soaked rags.

Step 7:

In case of used motor oil being flushed down the kitchen sink, it must be ensured that there are no further leaks from piping joints or pump outlets on the septic tanks, which might leak wastes into groundwater systems. Ensure sealing off the entire unit before letting any flow out through drainage lines.

Precautions While Disposing Motor Oil Soaked Paper Towels:

Precautions While Disposing Motor Oil Soaked Paper Towels

1. Keep children and pets away from the area.

2. Ventilate the area to remove any fumes generated during disposal

3. If possible, dispose of towels soaked with motor oil into plastic garbage bags. Soak up as much of the oil as possible into the bag before sealing it shut. If you cannot find a plastic bag, use a metal container to hold your motor oil-soaked paper towels until you find an appropriate disposal route.

4. Bring along extra help, such as friends or family, if disposing of these items in a recycling bin. This is especially important when transporting oils to hazardous waste facilities for disposal, as this material needs to be treated with care and respect for those who handle them on your behalf.

5. Wearing thick rubber gloves, scoop up and hold the towels to be disposed of in your gloved hands.

6. If you cannot find a disposal facility immediately, soak up as much oil as possible with paper towels and leave them sealed inside garbage bags. Store the bagged-up oily papers in an outdoor storage area such as a garage or shed, away from any animals that may open it and become contaminated.

7. Do not dump motor oil into storm sewers or waterways as this contaminates local ecosystems and can harm plant life, aquatic animals, and sea creatures. Take extra precautions around water sources such as lakes, rivers, or oceans when disposing of motor oil-soaked paper towels or rags stained with engine oils. Even if you do not think that your motor oil has made it into these water sources, you cannot be sure until the matter is investigated.

8. Drive to the nearest hazardous waste facility to have your motor oils disposed of properly. This take can take a few hours, so plan and bring along some reading materials or other entertainment for yourself or passengers if this drive takes a while.

How to Recycle Motor Oil Soaked Paper Towels?

How to Recycle Motor Oil Soaked Paper Towels

Living greener is becoming more and more popular with many people. The main reason for recycling motor oil soaked paper towels is to keep them out of landfills. Placing the still very absorbent material into landfills harms the environment, including health risks to those who may come in contact with it.

Soaked paper towels are also hard to transport, meaning that they must be burned or buried somewhere themselves, which can cause further environmental damage due to toxic gasses released after combustion or seepage into groundwater sources.

The best way to recycle motor oil soaked paper towels is to flush them down the toilet. This will dissolve the fibers, instantly turning them into water-soluble material that can be easily washed away by wastewater treatment systems at your local sewage plant.

If you do not have access to a sewage plant in your area, pour out any remaining oil and soak up what you can with clean rags or paper towels before disposing of them down the toilet.

Packaging soaked paper towels into sealed containers can also prevent smells from seeping into rooms while they are stored until taken to recycling facilities. For better results after flushing, disinfect pipes multiple times per year using chlorine bleach diluted 1 part bleach for every 5 parts water.


I hope this article has been beneficial for learning how to dispose of motor oil soaked paper towels. Always ensure proper safety while performing the process. Thank you and have a nice day!

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