Spontaneous combustion of Linseed Oil

Linseed oil combustion

This is an example of spontaneous combustion of linseed oil.  This cotton glove, that was soiled with linseed oil and paint thinner, was thrown in the trash on a jobsite which ended up being a perfect opportunity for a fire to start.  When linseed oil oxidizes (dries), it creates heat when it is mixed with a solvent such as turpentine.

Unfortunately, this is a large source of fires on jobsites – one that can be prevented with proper care.  This can easily happen to a cotton rag on a jobsite.  Always stretch out your soiled rags or submerge them in water.  See OIL GLAZE RECIPE and LINSEED OIL for more info.


  1. Hi Pierre, Yes indeed not only does this happen with the linseed oil it also is a danger with “Stain rags” that are left on top of each other or in a pile. The rags must be neutralized by saturating them in a bucket of water. I have often warned many painters of this and you would be surprised at how many don’t know this. Thanks for posting this.

  2. Yikes!

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