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oil absorbent as paint hardener

Can some Oil Spill Absorbents also do the job of Paint Hardeners as well as Floor Sweeping Compounds?

In today’s competitive world, businesses constantly look for improving efficiency. One potential area is to use multi-purpose materials or tools that can do more than one job effectively. In this post, we will review if oil absorbent granules, commonly available in any facility as part of their spill cleanup kits, can also do the job of paint hardeners (for waste paint disposal) and floor sweeping compounds. Maintenance people stock different types of oil spill absorbing materials to be able to tackle any spill situation. Commonly available oil spill cleanup kit materials are oil absorbent pads, sheets, rolls as well as absorbent granules and powders which generally form a big portion of such materials in any industrial, lab or warehouse facility. Biohazard and bodily fluid cleanup kits used in many labs are nowadays made of absorbent granules. While some of these oil absorbent materials are simply clay litter (also called kitty litter), there are many different material types like coconut husk pith, saw dust, corn cob etc., Some common trade names are Spill Magic, Oil-Dri and Coir Wonder.

Let’s look at some essential characteristics of absorbent granules and powders that also make them good paint hardeners and floor sweeping compounds.

A good spill absorbent material should not only be able to absorb significant quantities of liquids quickly but also retain them and not allow them to leach out under pressure (like what will be experienced in typical landfill environments). Liquids diffuse into the matrix of an absorbent material by a process similar to capillary action, causing it to swell and combine with the material in such a way that it will not leak out, nor can it be squeezed out under pressure. To be able to do that, these absorbents should have a high surface area to volume ratio, including external and available internal surfaces. Additionally, they should also have an internal structure made of capillaries. A typical example is a super absorbent derived from coconut husk pith.

Paint Hardeners
Paint Hardener is the best option for quick, easy and safe cleanup and disposal of all latex, acrylic and even water-based waste paints. Landfills won't accept paint in liquid form. The answer to leftover paint is to use a paint hardener or solidifier like Rock Solid, XSorb, Krud Kutter or Coir Wonder.

In a typical case when a waste paint (acrylic enamel, latex or even water based) needs to be disposed of, the user adds the paint hardener material to the leftover paint and mixes well. The material absorbs the liquid contents in the paint making the paint dry, become solid and so easier to dispose of. Very importantly, the paint so thrown away should not re-liquify. Thus, a good paint hardener needs to have good liquid absorbing capacity as well as the ability to not leach that liquid back out.

Materials used to harden paints for disposal should meet the following requirements:
1. Effective solidification: The paint solidifier or thickener should effectively thicken the paint, reducing its liquid content and making it easier to handle and dispose of. It does this by absorbing the liquids in the paint quickly.
2. Compatibility: The paint solidifier should be compatible with a wide range of paint types without causing any adverse effects.
3. Safety: The paint solidifier should be safe to use, without releasing any toxic or harmful substances into the environment.
4. Ease of use: The paint solidifier should be easy to mix with paint, without the need for special equipment or skills.
5. Cost-effectiveness: The paint solidifier/ hardener should be reasonably priced and cost-effective for users.
6. Convenient disposal: The solidified paint should be able to be disposed of safely in the trash, without posing a risk to the environment.

As we saw in earlier paragraphs, these are the same mechanisms used by high efficiency oil spill absorbents too. They have a large surface area to volume ratio and internal structures made of capillaries. As a result, a good spill absorbent material can work as a good paint hardener too. The better the absorbent is in terms of absorbing speed and capacity, the better paint hardener it will be. In the case of all natural spill absorbents like the coconut husk derived ones, there is even a bigger advantage since most commercially available paint hardeners are chemical. Clay Litter or Kitty Litter, similar to the one sold by Oil-Dri, is inherently less efficient in liquid absorbing speed and capacity. They won’t work great as paint hardeners.

Floor Sweeping Compounds for Dust Removal

Sweeping and cleaning floors in facilities and warehouses, particularly where some construction work had taken place recently, may seem to be endlessly time consuming. Fine dust, dirt and debris appear to come back just as soon as they were swept away. That is because those fine dust particles are extremely light and get airborne when being swept. They settle right back down on the floor surface soon after the broom is put down. This is where sweeping compounds are of great help.

Sweeping compound for floor dust is a very useful tool for cleaning and janitorial teams for floor cleaning and non-messy disposal. Traditionally, these have been ground up wood shavings or sawdust which are porous to absorb oil or wax. This wax or oil is what attracts and holds the dust, dirt and debris until they are swept away. Recently, some versions of coconut husk derived spill absorbent materials (with infused moisture in them) are increasingly being used as sweeping compound for dust removal.

Sprinkle a light coating of the dust sweeping compound here and there in the area to be swept. The floor need not be completely covered. A little goes a long way. Do not let it sit on the floor for any length of time. While sweeping the floor move the sweeping compound around over the floor surface to allow the dust, dirt and light debris particles to effortlessly adhere to the compound. Sweep everything up and remove completely using a dustpan.

Sometimes sand or grit is used in sweeping compounds meant for concrete floors and other rough surfaces. For fine flooring materials like hardwood, marble, terrazzo, waxed floors, vinyl floors, some tiled surfaces etc., a sweeping compound without any sand or grit is used. Moisture infused coconut husk sweeping compounds not only clean, but condition your floor with each use and will keep finished floors looking their absolute best. 

Desirable characteristics in a floor sweeping compound depend on the specific applications and the types of floors being cleaned, but here are some general characteristics that are often sought after:
         1. Dust Binding: A good floor sweeping compound should effectively bind and trap dust, dirt, and debris, reducing the amount of airborne particles.
         2. Non-abrasiveness: The compound should be gentle on floors and not cause scratches, scuffs, or other types of damage.
         3. Easy to dispense: The compound should be easy to dispense, either manually or through a dispensing system, without creating a mess.
         4. Effective on various floor types: The compound should be suitable for use on a variety of floor types, such as concrete, tile, linoleum, and hardwood.
         5. Long-lasting: The compound should last for a reasonable amount of time, reducing the need for frequent reapplication.
         6. Cost-effective: The compound should be reasonably priced and cost-effective for users, considering the amount of time it lasts and the benefits it provides.
        7. Safe: The compound should be safe for use, without releasing any toxic or harmful substances into the environment.
        8. Scented or unscented: Depending on user preferences, the compound should be available in both scented and unscented varieties.

Therefore, it is possible that a carefully selected spill absorbent, particularly the moisture infused versions can triple up as a great floor sweeping compound in addition to being a great paint hardener.