5 Reasons to Avoid Using Clay Absorbent

MHUB - January 27, 2015

There’s no doubt that spills in the workplace should be properly contained and cleaned with a spill absorbent product. However, not all absorbent products are created equally. Clay absorbent products, for example, can do more harm than good for a professional mechanic. That’s why if your garage still uses a clay absorbent, you should start thinking about making the switch to a more natural spill absorbent to protect your business, your workers, and your bottom line.

Don’t believe us? There’s five major reasons to consider making this switch today:

1. Clay absorbent products damage equipment.
In their finalized state, clay absorbents contain small, rough granules; these granules can easily float throughout a garage in the dust that’s released when you use clay absorbents. Unfortunately, the sharp, abrasive edges of these granules can and often do cause damage to floors or even machinery during and even after a cleanup process. As a result, clay absorbent product users may find themselves spending extra money on maintaining their floors and equipment, instead of on rewarding employees or updating other parts of their garage.

2. Clay absorbent products are hard to lift.
A lot of clay absorbent bags are bulky and weigh about 45 pounds, making the spill cleanup process unnecessarily strenuous for many workers. This initial weight doesn’t even include the pounds added on by absorbed liquid in used clay absorbents, which workers also have to clean and remove from a garage. Ultimately, investing in a lightweight absorbent will be easier on your workers’ backs - and may save you wasted time and money in workman’s comp time

3. Clay absorbent products are messy.
The absorption rate of clay products isn't as high as most people claim. In fact, in many cases workers end up using the whole bag of absorbent - or close to it - to clean a single small spill. Even then, slippery residue can remain on the ground after the initial cleanup and create a work safety hazard; often this residue can’t be removed unless workers use additional clay absorbent product or even additional heavy duty products. Non-clay absorbents, on the other hand, start absorbing liquids as soon the material touches the spill and continue absorbing until the worst of the residue has been removed as well. As a result you only need to use a small amount of non-clay spill absorbent product to get the job done.

4. Clay absorbent products are difficult to dispose of.
On top of clay absorbents requiring more sweeping and shoveling time, it is almost impossible to dispose of the used product quickly or efficiently. Unlike other spill absorbent products, used clay absorbents cannot be burned or disposed of safely through local channels, and therefore must be stored in containers and disposed of via long tedious industrial procedures.

5. Clay absorbents are a known health risk.
In addition to all the aforementioned reasons, clay absorbent products can also pose a dangerous health risk to workers. The dust associated with clay absorbents often contains crystalline silica - a substance that has been listed as a known lung carcinogen since 2000. This means that by using clay products, workers put themselves at risk for a number of lung diseases - a risk that can be easily avoided today.

What should I use instead of clay absorbents?
So if clay absorbents are harmful to workers and the workplace, what kind of absorbent products should you use? Absorbents made from renewable resources are probably your best bet. Products using these types of materials, are more lightweight, absorbent, and healthier for workers. Switching absorbent products now will save your garage, your mechanics, and yourself a lot of time and hassle in the future.