• Posted by: Ecospill Spill Kits

Know Which Absorbent Products You Actually Need

Quick Introduction of Absorbent Products

So, your factory floor is being eaten away by a hazardous liquid. Do you know the type of absorbent products actually needed to clean up this mess? How about a nasty part of a consistently oily floor that loves to eat your money in workman’s compensation claims?

Maybe your company needs to contain a chemical spill in a body of water, it’s important to know the correct material to use in your application to prevent property damage, the environment or injury to a precious employee. Let’s discuss ways you can control these unsafe conditions with the use of absorbent products at your disposal.

Types of Absorbent Products

There are four basic types of absorbency products. The end application will determine the type of product you need.

Absorbent Mat Roll: These are sold in sheets or rolls to handle low-grade spills or to protect surfaces from moisture or hazardous materials.

  • Mats are pre-cut and designed to be quickly grabbed and used. Often found in spill kits or in areas where spills are most likely to happen, such as production areas, kitchens and food service areas and loading areas.
  • Rolls come in many widths. They are really handy in production areas where leaks, drips and spills are a common occurrence. They also come in different densities to stand up to pedestrian traffic, even heavy machinery, for months at a time. Rolls are for larger volumes of moisture for maximum absorbency.

Socks and Booms: When you have a drafty door, you use a large sausage-shaped “sock” to stop the draft. This is essentially the same concept for industrial applications. These absorbent socks are primarily used to absorb larger quantities of liquids. Socks are great for snuggling up against messy oil cleanup against machinery on production floors. But they, or better yet their big brother, the Boom, are used outdoors for oil or chemical spills in bodies of water.

Pillows: Spill pillows absorb oil and chemical spills. An excellent choice for solid surfaces, they will absorb 98 per cent of their mass in three seconds. Used with the containing powers of socks or booms, any industrial accident is quickly contained and cleaned up by the ultra-fast absorbing power of the spill response pillow.

Loose granular absorbents: Also known as powder absorbent, floor sweep, spill absorbent and kitty litter, loose granular absorbents have been around forever so most people are comfortable using these products. They’re great for absorbing oil spills in awkward areas where other products may not reach. They’re also a great option just to have on hand for a quick cleanup when spills inevitably happen in the workshop, involving emergency services or construction and industrial sites.

Choosing the Perfect Absorbent Products for You

An absorbent product comes in many shapes, sizes and absorbency levels. How do you find one that’s perfect for your home or industrial application?

  • Identify the intended use. On land or in the water? Food service, medical, environmental safety?
  • What type of liquid are you absorbing? Chemicals, oil, water, bodily fluids?
  • What is the volume of liquid being absorbed?

The type of liquid will determine which type of product you should use. For instance, if you’re absorbing fuel and oil, you may want a synthetic absorbent that attracts oil and chemicals for best absorption. This is a little more expensive than a natural absorbent that is perfectly fine for water-based applications. Above, we talked about the absorption materials available. Now let’s address some practical uses.

1. Absorbent Mats and Rolls: Every time you buy meat at the grocery store, you see a type of absorbent mat on the bottom of the meat tray. A variety of absorbent mats and pads are used in the medical industry as bandages and pads to clean up a variety of biohazard spills or in industrial production in excessively slippery areas.
2. Skimmers and Booms: These products are used on bodies of water for environmental cleanup. Chains of oil-absorbent booms skimmed the ocean’s surface to help the cleanup effort. The boom is placed around the spill to contain it, while the skimmer (absorbent sock) is skimmed along the water’s surface to remove the oil.
3. Oil Absorbents: Are made with layers of special synthetic sorbent that attracts oils, making a difficult clean-up job a bit easier. Truck and auto shops need these types of mats, rolls and socks to absorb the hazardous liquids that are part and parcel of an auto shop business.
4. Vermiculite: An inert, natural mineral that absorbs moisture, making it ideal for shipping applications where the added security of a moisture barrier is required. It makes shipping liquids safer in case of packaging damage. Since it’s inert and has a soft, pliable texture, it’s unreactive to any substance and makes a perfect cushion for safety precautions when shipping.
5. Clay-Based Absorbents: Famously called “kitty litter,” clay-based absorbents are an all-around useful product for spill cleanup. They’re cheap and versatile, but what you may not know is that clay absorbents are among the least effective at spill retention. So, while “kitty litter” can be used for many applications, it may not be as cost-effective as you might think.
6. Spill Kits: Are a practical choice for many businesses and industries. They are designed to have an all-inclusive answer to any type of oil or chemical spill. Different solutions are included in the kit including different adsorbents and sizes to handle anything from water to strong solvents. Custom-designed kits are also available for different needs like medical, automotive or mercury.
7. Traffic Rugs: A type of absorbent mat can be found at the entrances to office buildings, absorbing rainwater and dirt for safety. They are very common in the entryway of businesses, especially if you live in very wet or snowy areas for safety against slippery areas.


Leaky machines, slippery floors, toxic spills on land or water shouldn’t be a problem for your business. A variety of different absorption solutions are available to make your business a safer, more stress-free place. Will you be the one to take action and get the absorbent products actually needed to make your business a safer one? Contact us now to arrange for a full consultation.