Oil Spill Absorbents – Indispensable Tools for Cleaning Up Oil Spills and Leaks


When oil spills occur, fast clean-up is crucial. But depending on the size and where it has happened, clean-up can be a challenge. Fortunately, a wide range of oil spill absorbents make the job easier — and even possible.

But before you reach for the absorbents, a quick assessment of the spill is important:

Is it a tiny little spill that can be wiped up quickly with an oil only pad, or will it have to be contained first.

The truth is that oil spreads quickly, and in most situations, the first step is not cleaning up but containing the oil so it won’t be able to spread further.

If the oil spill happens on water, this must be your first step, no matter what. That’s because oil on water spreads rapidly, and can quickly turn into a huge oil slick.

So how can you contain the oil? If the spill is on water, reach for oil containment booms. They float on water and close off the area so the oil stays inside.

If the spill happened on land, oil berms or spill dikes are the solution of choice. They too are designed to keep the oil from spreading.

Once the oil is safely contained, it’s time to break out your oil spill absorbents. There are many of those available. You can get them in oil spill kits that contain a range of different absorbents suitable for cleaning up oil. Or you can buy them a la carte.

For oil spills on water, you may want to pick oil absorbent booms as your absorbent of choice — especially because of their large capacity. If the spill is smaller, you may be able to use pads and rolls to skim the oil off the surface.

For oil spills on land, you have even more options. Those pads and rolls work great, and in addition, you can also use oil absorbent socks, pillows, and, yes, booms. It all depends on where the spill happened and how bit it is.

Most importantly, be sure to have those oil spill absorbents handy before you need them so you’ll be able to deploy them at a moment’s notice. If you need help deciding on which ones to get, you may want to consult with a knowledgeable specialist, such as your industrial safety supplies dealer. That way, you can be sure you’ll get high quality absorbents that meet all legal requirements.

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