Wiping Stain Rags

Finishers tell what material they prefer for rags, and why. October 26, 2005

What do you use as wiping rags for stains? We are now using white T-shirts. We have used rags from Canadian Lines supply but found they had too much lint.

Forum Responses
(Finishing Forum)
From contributor A:
We have experimented with many types of rags including lint free rags. I did not find these rags to be free of lint or any better at holding and wiping stain than the cotton rags we have been using for years. They are not T-shirt cotton but a thicker cotton, and 12" x 12" square. We only have a problem with lint when the piece we are staining has windshake or other similar defects.

From contributor B:
I use cheese cloth to wipe on, and T-shirt rags to wipe off.

From contributor C:
I personally like old white cotton socks the best.

From contributor D:
Spray on if you can. If not, have you tried staining sponges? Wipe off with white T-shirt ganzie rags.

From contributor E:
I use cellulose wipers - WypAll brand. I buy them by the case and find them the most economical. There are many similar products. Scott makes a good wiper - Rags in a Box that you can buy anywhere. I much prefer these to any real cloth wiper. The cellulose wipes are lint free, economical and absorb stains very well. I also like the terry-cloth covered sponges when I want to apply stain by hand. I apply stain by spray, which is faster, but to do so you need a good booth or it will make a mess of your shop in a hurry.

From contributor A:
How do you dispose of these rags? The people we buy our rags from dispose of them also.

From contributor E:
Regarding disposal of rags, I suppose this is somewhat subjective according to location, but in my state we can dispose in normal trash as long as they are completely dry. You must comply with that anyway or you may start a fire. I have a rack near my booth where I hang them until absolutely bone dry. The drying time depends on the stain used. Most professional stains anymore are low-oil, high-solvent, so this dries easily in one day. Stains like Minwax might take 2 or 3 days to dry safely. Take no chances.