A question we often hear is, “Are PIG Mats and Socks reusable?”
Yes and no. Some of our products are designed for use and toss applications, while others are built for reusability. It also depends on the types of liquids that are being absorbed. Let’s take a closer look at three PIG absorbents that were specifically designed to be reusable.
The PIG Mildew-Resistant Water Absorbent Sock has polypropylene skin and filler to resist the growth of mildew. It’s our best sock for soaking up water, making it perfect for situations such as absorbing condensation or spills around freezers or coolers. Once it’s saturated, you can hang it up to dry, then redeploy it up to three times whenever it’s thirsty again. (Pro tip: speed up the drying time with a floor fan!)
Our Re-Uz-It Wringable Mat can be reused up to 100 times. It’s engineered to be run through our PIG Absorbent Wringer so you can reclaim and recycle oil and other liquids. Thanks to a durable needle-punched top layer and polyester filler, it springs back to shape after it’s wrung out.
However, Re-Uz-It Mat is a special case. You can mechanically wring out most mats and socks to reclaim liquid and minimize waste, but that doesn’t automatically make them suitable for reuse. The wringing process condenses air spaces in the mat layers and sock filler, reducing their ability to draw in additional liquids. Nevertheless, we have seen moderate success in reusing some traditional PIG Mats and Socks.
For water-only cleanups, PIG Water Absorbent Mat is our best mat for the job, and it can be reused — with certain limitations. A spunbond top layer provides plenty of strength for wringing out and redeploying, but because the inner layer has recycled cellulose content, this mat can be susceptible to mold growth in certain conditions. For this reason, we recommend only reusing our Water Mat during a single spill cleanup and then disposing of it.
Two Things to Consider Before Reusing Any Absorbent
- What liquid has the mat or sock absorbed? Absorbents assume the characteristics of the liquids they absorb. If the mat or sock has only been used to absorb clean water, it might be a good candidate for reuse. But if it has absorbed something hazardous, it’s best to recycle or dispose of it properly. This includes absorbents that have absorbed floodwaters after hurricanes, tornadoes and flash flooding.
- Do you have the time and space to allow the mat or sock to dry between uses? Absorbent mats and socks must be air-dried. Dryers will melt mats, and the filler in socks can cause dryers to overheat or otherwise fail. It can take several hours to several days for mats and socks to completely dry, depending on the ambient temperature and humidity. Socks and mats that are not completely dry before storage will mold or mildew.
How Many Times Can I Reuse My Mat or Sock?
It’s also important to note that absorbents are not designed to last forever, and most absorbents would provide only a few reuses. Each time a mat or sock is reused, the absorbency is reduced. So, if it originally absorbed a quart (32 ounces), it might absorb only 20 or 24 ounces when reused. After each use, mats will appear flatter and socks will appear less full.