A couple of days ago I finally got round to using some teak oil on my patio dining table. Well, it looks a whole lot better now, thanks for asking, but my attention was drawn to the small print on the side of the oil can which said “Warning: rags used to apply oil may spontaneously ignite… dry flat or rinse well with warm soapy water.”
So how does that work? Is there some kind of weird chemical reaction going on? I tried washing out the rag (actually it was an old pair of underpants - I’m all for recycling) but the oil didn’t really come out and it just made the sink all brown and oily. So, I wadded up the rag, still wet, and threw it in the rubbish.
I have two questions…
What is the mechanism by which the oil can generate enough heat to ignite cotton?
Are my oily pants about to set fire to my dustbin and the wooden shed it is sitting next to (it is hot, in the 90s today). Filling in the insurance paperwork would be rather embarrassing. (I would take them out only I’m at work, 40 miles away.)
Three questions actually…
3) Is a rag no longer spontaneously-combustible once it’s dried out, in other words is it just the drying out stage that’s dangerous?