What are different absorbents used for spill clean-up?

Sorbents, also referred to as absorbents, are specifically formulated for the spill they are intended to clean the spill. Absorbents are any materials that have the ability to quickly soak up a type of liquid. The following are four different categories of sorbents that can often be found in a spill kit.

  1. Mats, pads, and rolls: Sorbent rolls can either come in a continuous roll or a perforated roll and can often times be used in a variety of ways. For instance, the Survivor Sorbent Universal Roll was developed to be used as an absorbent pad, sock, or roll. Universal mats or pads can commonly soak up water, oils, and a variety of solvents. Mats usually feature a non-slip top, so workers can step on them while cleaning the spill without a risk of falling. There are also heavyweight sorbent mats designed specifically to soak up oily or especially greasy spills.
  2. Socks and booms: Sorbent socks and booms are essentially the same item and can also be referred to as snakes, tubes, or even hot dogs because of their shape. These tools are ideal for containing a large spill into a certain area and are most commonly used to contain and absorb oil-based liquids.
  3. Pillows: Large spills can often call for an absorbent pillow. Once a spill has been corralled with sorbent socks, a pillow should be used to soak up the liquid. Pillows can absorb more liquid then an average mat, pad, or roll.
  4. Loose/granular absorbents: Ideal for getting in hard to reach places, sorbents also come in the form of a loose or granular powder. These are most commonly clay, sand, or cellulose. Often times these types of sorbents will also create a non-slip surface that will be safe for employees to walk across.

The Safety Data Sheet provided with the liquid/chemical should ultimately be referred to before choosing the sorbents that will be placed in the spill kit.

 

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Additional Resources

Spill Cleanup Guide
 
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