An expression of appreciation of rags
| A Tribute to Rags
Many things go unappreciated. Rags usually go unappreciated. I want to remedy that.
I really appreciate rags. I have worn rags all my life, not all the time of course but frequently. Rags have wiped my face, dried my tears, stopped my bleeding, bound my wounds and protected me from the cold. I really like rags! Even old dirty rags are useful. They soak up oil spills then become excellent fire starting material on a wet day. When they are clean and soft they are absolutely unmatched for cost, utility and service.
For some people rags are just something to throw away. Few people ever think of them as treasure but they really are. They will provide padding for packing fragile things, wadding for your black powder guns, bedding for your animals and plugs for holes. Sadly many people are simply above using anything of such low estate. These individuals prefer to buy paper towels, Kleenex and other types of expensive “wipes” to take the place of rags. This activity proves they are important, wealthy and especially skilled in social graces. Rags are for them a symbol of poverty and want. Never mind that rags come from the finest fabrics of the world. Rags have protected the feet of thousands of soldiers over hundreds of years. Rags were the only thing that separated the feet from scorching sands or freezing mud. When shoes rotted in the jungle rags took their place. Working men and women know about rags too. Rags prevent blisters on soft hands and protect the neck from sunburn and the bite of winter wind. They make really good sweat bands for a hat or a soft mop for a sweaty face. Of course persons who don’t use rags probably don’t sweat much anyway. Most rags come from cotton, a few from linen and even a little silk. The soft absorbent cotton of an old T shirt has many uses if its use is not beneath your dignity. Old cotton and linen makes the finest stationary paper. In proper context rags are at the least a valuable resource. Many shops and households run by practical minded people have a special bag, box or other receptacles for their rags. I have had a rag bag in my truck for years and I always have a bag for home use. I appreciate rags, I give them the highest recommendations for service and I hope you will too.
How to use rags
Most people think they know how to use rags but they probably really don't. How often do you see a box or rag bag in someone’s home or vehicle? How often do you see boxes of Kleenex, paper towels, or sanitary wipes in someone’s home? These items are expensive and in many cases inferior to rags. Ever have a paper towel designate in your hand during a clean up? Have you ever blown snot right through a puny tissue? Well, rags work better. With a good rag bag you have a choice of size, texture, and absorbency. You simply choose the best rag for the task. You can’t do that with a box of Kleenex. When you want to clean up a spill or apply stain to a piece of wood work use a good thick piece of old terrycloth or flannel. Paper towels are not absorbent enough to hold the stain, they can’t take the rubbing and you can’t wring them out. If you want to do some heavy scrubbing use an old piece of denim or broadcloth. It won’t fall apart and if it is washable after use it will be softer, free of dye and kinder to whatever it touches. A rag bag will give you a selection of size and shape, unlike the commercial product that assumes one size fits all. If you like things rolled up then you can get fancy, cut you rags to even width and roll them. It does add a nice touch and saves space. Long strips are handy for binding and stuffing holes. Big swatches of old sweat shirts are wonderful for polishing your car or furniture. Small lint free rags are great for cleaning your glasses removing a drop of misplaced paint or cleaning the edges of a wound. A good rag can take a load of soap or bleach, polish or stain and apply it to whatever needs it.
A good rag bag should be big enough to hold a good selection of rags and small enough to transport easily. It should have sturdy strap handles for easy grabbing and hanging up wherever you go. It is nice to have a water repellent exterior. That really helps when working in wet weather and reduces the possibility of mildew in your rags. If the rags are packed tightly the bag should be emptied every month or so and the rags allowed to sun dry. This will keep them fresh and clean smelling. A bag with inside pockets to hold specialty rags is really nice for specialty jobs.