Back in the day, oil spills on the ground were cleaned up with clay, which only made more of a mess and spread loose clay all over the ground.
Luckily, the absorbent industry has come a long way. Better cleanup options are available now, such as highly absorbent mats. And anyone who’s made the transition to absorbent mats can tell you that loose clay is best used in your cat’s litter box – not in the workplace.
So why is anyone stuck in the past and still using clay? Perhaps some just like to stick with the way things have always been done – especially when that way seems to be cheaper. They’ll point to the low price of a single bag of clay and say, “But it’s so cheap!”
Yes, initially clay is a cheap choice for spill response. But consider the following points and you’ll be ready to switch.
Clay Is Inefficient
If you have a mess on the floor, throwing a bunch of clay on it is only going to make it even bigger, and create more waste that you need to sweep or shovel a little bit at a time.
When you toss clay on the ground it gets flung around, kicks up dust, and widens the area that needs to be cleaned. Clay is dusty, no matter what the bag says. That dust can get on you and your clothes, your finished goods and parts, and your equipment. It can travel on your shoes into the office – which means more time spent cleaning. Clay in machinery can cause lots of problems, damaging internal parts, meaning higher maintenance and repair costs. Consider this: just a few cents worth of floor sweep can damage thousands of dollars worth of parts, equipment and machinery.
Clay Is Expensive
If you compare absorbency, clay isn’t cheap after all. Pound for pound, clay can’t compare to the absorbency of PIG Mat. You’d need over two pounds of clay to soak up the same amount of oil as one 15″ x 20″ sheet of our original absorbent mat. When you add in all the time and effort that using clay requires – that myth about clay being cheaper? – well you can throw that right into the dumpster. Time is money – especially in the workplace.
Clay Is Dangerous
Worst of all, clay is dangerous. Clay dust contains silica, and clay absorbent is required to carry this warning: This product contains a product known to the State of California to cause cancer. You don’t need to be in California for clay dust in your lungs to cause serious health problems.
So, there are a lot of reasons clay isn’t worth using. But using absorbent mats is efficient, easy, and pain-free. Unlike clay, where oil only coats the clay pellets and doesn’t get soaked in, absorbent mats quickly absorb and retain liquids so nothing leaks back out onto the floor.
You can even choose a specialty mat to absorb hazardous chemicals or oil or to dissipate static.
So save your time, your health and your equipment and leave clay behind – it’s more hassle than it’s worth.
You tell us: Have you ever used clay to clean up a spill? How does it compare to using an absorbent mat? Let us know in the comments section below!