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An article we saw from New Zealand this week has highlighted a very real danger which is easily overlooked in the home.

It was found that a house fire in South Auckland had started due to the spontaneous combustion of a cloth which had been used to oil some doors during some home renovating.  The cloth had been discarded and not dealt with in the appropriate way.

What happens when a cloth has been used for applying oils such as linseed oil is that a chemical reaction occurs between the oil and cloth creating such heat that the cloth can then ignite. Bottles often warn of the danger of spontaneous combustion but many people ignore this, so it is worth knowing that the safe way to deal with a cloth which has been used to apply natural oil to wood is to wash it and dry it to remove as much oil as possible, and then try to keep it stored somewhere cool or you should be safe to put it in the rubbish bin as once the cloth has ‘cured’ or dried out completely and gone stiff it is no longer a danger.


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