Guide to Managing Shop Rags

This resource has been developed by the Department of Solid Waste to provide businesses with guidance on how to properly manage wastes in accordance with federal, state and local laws.

An auto mechanic checks the oil level in a car engine during routine maintenance.

Hazardous or Non-Hazardous Waste?

You must determine if reusable or disposable shop rags are hazardous waste before disposal. Rags that contain listed hazardous wastes (other than solvents) or have the characteristic of corrosivity, reactivity or toxicity due to contaminants other than solvents are considered a hazardous waste.

Rags that are contaminated with ONLY solvents are no longer a hazardous waste – provided the conditions of the exclusion are met. These are called Solvent Contaminated Wipes.

How to Meet Exclusion Conditions for Solvent-Contaminated Wipes

Wipes must be:

pressman using a shop rag to clean a press
  • Contained in non-leaking, closed containers.
  • Have no free liquids.
  • Labeled “Excluded Solvent Contaminated Wipes.”
  • Accumulated for less than 180 days onsite.

The generator is required to have the following documentation:

  • Name and address of laundry, dry cleaner, landfill or incinerator.
  • Proof of the 180-day accumulation time limit.
  • Description of the process used to meet the “no free liquids” condition.

No Free Liquids Condition:

Facilities may use mechanical wringers, solvent extraction technologies or process knowledge to meet the standard to ensure that if the Paint Filter Liquids Test (EPA Methods Test 9095B) was performed, the wipes would pass.

dirty shop rag under spray bottle

Disposal Options for Shop Rags

Non-Hazardous Rags

Dispose in the trash or launder at a commercial laundry facility or dry cleaner.

Hazardous Rags

Dispose through a licensed hazardous waste transporter.

Solvent-Contaminated Reusable Wipes

Launder at a commercial laundry facility or dry cleaner.

Solvent-Contaminated Disposable Wipes

Dispose at Pinellas County Solid Waste by calling (727) 464-7500 for an appointment. To dispose of solvent-contaminated wipes at Pinellas County Solid Waste, they must:

  • Be in a clear, 6-Mil or thicker sealed plastic bag.
  • Be labeled with the words “Excluded Solvent Contaminated Wipes.”
  • Not contain any free liquids.

What are Solvent-Contaminated Wipes?

shop rag with wrench and wheel
  • Wipes containing one or more F001-F005 listed solvent or the corresponding P- or U-listed solvents.
  • Wipes that have a hazardous characteristic from a listed solvent.
  • Wipes that exhibit only the hazardous characteristic of ignitibility when containing one or more non-listed solvents.

Some examples of solvent-contaminated wipes include:

  • Acetone.
  • Ethyl Benzene.
  • Isobutyl Alcohol.
  • Methanol.
  • Methyl Ethyl Ketone (MEK).
  • Methylene Chloride.
  • Tetrachloroethylene.
  • Toluene.
  • Trichloroethylene (for reusable wipes only).
  • Xylenes.

Contact Us

For more information or to request a printed copy of this guide, contact the Pinellas County Small Quantity Generator Program at (727) 464-7500 or at