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Oil in dishcloths and my washer

591 Views 8 Replies 8 Participants Last post by  Jennisee
So I am brushing my teeth tonight while standing by my washer. I have owned it for 8 years but never really read all that fine print on the bottom of the door. It says to never put anything in the washer that has oil on it, even cooking oil. And additionally it says to never ever put these oily cloths in the dryer or else risk EXPLOSION. OK, I have been doing this for 8 years!!!!! Is this really a risk? Do they really mean like completely soaked? I use dishcloths instead of paper towels which means I occasionally wipe up things like salad dressing and olive oil. Dh has even been known to wipe out a frying pan rather than bother with washing it. Am I just playing with fire here? And if so, what should I do instead? We do not buy disposable napkins or towels or even TP. If it matters, my dryer is electric.
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I believe it is a risk, especailly with gas appliances. Even though your dryer is electric, is still gets so hot that there is a chance of a problem. I also limit my use of paper towlels and use cloth rags for almost everything. But, since I also have heard of the dangers of putting oily cloths in the wash here is what I do. I will use something I would consider a scrap material like an old envelope or piece of junk mail, a label from a can, sometimes a cardboard piece (usually I like to recycle cardbard). Sometimes if I order something in the mail and they use lots of that unprinted newspaper material and it is all wadded up I'll use a hunk of that. I can't think of many specifics right now. I just use something that I would normally be throwing away to scrape off the bulk of grease without soaking it all into my dishrags. One other thing is if the grease is really thick, I will just use a spoon to rake it into a green bean can or directly into a trash bag. My grandma always kept a can or jar that she would fill with grease/oil until it was full then throw it away. Also, I think that grease can build up in your pipes and may eventually cause your drains to clog.
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Yeah, I've read that before. I personally don't worry about it. We're vegetarians so we're not draining grease off lots of stuff, and never have solid grease that would clog a drain. I would use a paper towel if I was draining fried foods, though I rarely make any.
We are veggie too. So I am not talking like soaked or caked on oil. I am talking like a bit of spilled salad dressing. What about bath oil on towels?
We have yellow microfiber cloths that are specifically the grease towels. When we wash them (hah, who am I kidding, when I wash them) we add a squirt of Ecover dish liquid (like stripping diapers) and line dry them. However, the yellow cloths have wormed their way into the dryer on occaision with no adverse results. FWIW, our dryer is electric.
My towels are washed in hot water. I dont worry about it.
I've read that too, and I've decided that small amounts must be ok. Otherwise, almost nothing would go in the washing machine! Oils in lotion get on clothes, food spills and leaves oily marks, kitchen towels obviously get small amounts of oil on them. I wouldn't wipe up a tablespoon of oil with a towel, though. For that, I'd use a paper towel, or something from the garbage.
I think they are more meaning "don't therow a whole load of rags in the washer that you used to mop of the mess you made changing your car's oil the first time"
I haven't tried this myself, but I remember reading a thread a while back where someone said that they soak the oily rags in a bucket of hot water with cheap shampoo, since the shampoo is designed to remove oils from hair. Then, I think they rinsed them and put them in the washer. I'm not sure what would be a better environmental option than the shampoo, though...I wonder if Dr. Bronner's or Seventh Generation dishwashing liquid would work?
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