Local company that deals with rag distribution??

Hi. I’m helping put together a small communtiy studio in Orange County, California for Letterpress and need advise on how/who to get rag distribution from. Any suggestions? Do I buy a fire safe can separately?

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Most of the rag reclamation services provide those gray or brown garage rags. I would avoid these unless you don’t mind a few bits a auto brake material scratching your rollers. Plus, they have a high fiber content which will cause you a lot of problems with photopolymer plates (if you use them). Once the fiber gets below the surface into the tacky relief area you are screwed.

I use surgical sheeting and surgical toweling which I buy from rag recyclers. I use the former for printing surfaces, because of its tight weave and lack of lint, and the latter for cleaning the press and rollers. These come in colors; a color for the printing surfaces and a white for everything else and you are all set (plus you won’t confuse them, especially important because you would likely be using different types of solvents for these different operations). These are usually sold in 25# boxes.

By California law you are allowed to dispose of rags through the normal trash system as long as they are COMPLETELY dry. Though they will obviously end up in a land fill this is actually less detrimental to the environment as no further chemicals are going to be flushed into the water system in their cleaning nor is any further energy going to be consumed, as would be the case with a rag reclamation service.

Yes, invest in a fire safe can or two, and a safety cabinet for the inks and solvents, and you will keep the fire inspector content as well.


Thanks Gerald! I appreciate all the info. Your advice is really helpful. Should I just look up rag recyclers online? Do you know of a specific company I can buy the rags through?



Here’s two that I know of in the LA area.

A & A Wiping Company
4400 Worth, Los Angeles, CA

Sandler Bros
4101 Whiteside Street, Los Angeles, CA 90063
[email protected]

Yes, you can also find similar outlets online and there are a few regulars on eBay as well.

Good luck


Thanks for all your help. I really appreciate the advice. And yes, I’ll need all the luck I can get!
Thanks again,