Cleaning Up With Drop Cloths and Rags Cleaning Up With Drop Cloths and Rags

Drop cloths and rags are two hard-working, yet overlooked decorating products. They're not new products. In fact, they've been around forever. But despite that fact, there are some misconceptions among consumers as to their proper use.

Drop cloths, mainly used to protect floors and furniture from the splatters of a painting project, are available in four basic material types: canvas, paper, paper/poly and plastic. While plastic is the most common choice of do-it-yourselfers, canvas is preferred by professional painters, and perhaps with good reason.

Canvas drop cloths not only protect the intended surface, they absorb the splatters. Plastic drop cloths protect but do not absorb, therefore leaving a chance for runoff during cleanup.

Canvas drop cloths are made from recycled mill pound fabrics, generally seconds or thirds that are discarded for various reasons by clothing manufacturers. To tell if you've chosen a good-quality canvas drop cloth, check the weave and weight of the product. Experts agree that the heavier the weight and tighter the cotton weave, the better and more absorbent the product.

Rags, like drop cloths, also are made from recycled waste materials. Cotton rags are used for absorbing spills or for the application of stains. Pure-white, 100-percent cotton rags are the choice of professional painters.

Quality rags are manufactured from such mill goods as bleached cotton T-shirts, fleece, diapers and towels, not used clothing or other less-desirable fabric scraps. But whatever your choice, it is important that all rags be laundered for even better absorbency. Washing aids a rag's absorbency by removing dirt, cotton-seed oil and mill sizing from the cloth so that it will absorb rather than repel liquid. Quality rag manufacturers launder their rags before sale.

Your local independent decorating products dealer has a selection of quality drop cloths and rags available for purchase.

Courtesy of the Paint and Decorating Retailers Association -

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