You know those warning labels on wood finish?

The ones about properly disposing of the rags you used to apply the stuff to the wood?

Well, they mean it.

I had an unfinished bedroom set and I wanted to finish it – not stain it – finish it.

So I got the stuff and applied it and rinsed out the rags before disposing of them; and put them in my trash.

Only – that’s not what you’re supposed to do. 

Not even close.

You are supposed to separate them and hang them (away from your home) on wire hangers until they are completely dry (and stiff) and then throw them out. Nowadays, they recommend you put them in a metal container filled with water and seal it up.

They are not fooling around with this stuff – and they’re right.

I had worked very hard on the furniture (it looked great too); but when I read the rag disposal instructions, I was, like, no way.  I had to get up early in the morning for work and it was already late.

So, like I said, I gave the rags a good soaking and rinsing and put them in the trash.

What could be the worst that could happen?

Well, lucky for me, I avoided the worst that could’ve happened.

I had an agreement with my boss that if he needed me to come in really early, he needed to telephone me and wake me up.

Which he did.

I woke up and went into the living room and found the whole apartment full of acrid smoke.  I opened up everything and found the source was those oily rags in the trash, which were smoldering away.  I put the whole thing in the shower and turned on the water. 

I had told my boss to hang on – and he was very curious about what all the coughing and exclamations of “Oh fuck” were all about.

So if he hadn’t called.  I could have (a) died from smoke inhalation; (b) burned the place (and myself) down; or (c) all of the above. 

All, I can say, is I am lucky to have survived to be a fat OLD lady. 

And don’t fuck around when you have to dispose of oily rags.

That shit is dangerous!

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