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New to absorbents?

A simple how to choose guide

Have you noticed how absorbents are available in a variety of different colors? This is an industry practice to help identify the particular usage of the absorbent. The majority of these different colors all boil down to 3 different usages, either oil only, universal, or chemical.

6 simple steps to choosing the right absorbent

Go to step one
Image Map

Choose a sorbent type

Select a format that is suitable of the type of spill that is being recovered

Oil only

Are normally white, blue or brown (for the recycled version) in color and adsorb just oil-based fluids. These are most effective when used out of doors because they repel rain & snow, but can be used in-doors as well when the situation calls for it.


Usually gray or dark green (for the recycled version) in color, they can absorb both water- and oil-based fluids at the same time. These are the best choice in most indoor spill situations.


A high visibility, typically yellow in color, this type of absorbent is used to clean up unknown, corrosive or aggressive chemical spills. These can be used indoors or out, and offers the same capabilities as Universal absorbents.

Choose the sorbent technology...

Select a technology that is best suited for the job.


Man made fibers from polypropylene

Meltblown (available in Oil only, Universal and Chemical) is the term used for polypropylene sorbents. Polypropylene resin (which is plastic) is melted then 'blown' as very fine fibers into a mat that can be cut into individual pads or rolled up. Meltblown is best used for recovering aggressive spills or leaks and for recovering oil-based spills on large bodies of water.

Recycled Meltblown Options

We are at the forefront of introducing recycled and sustainable absorbents. Recycled meltblown is our latest innovation (available in both Oil only and Universal). We mix recycled polypropylene with virgin resin in a 60:40 ratio. The recycled mix product has no loss of absorbency when compared with a product made from 100% virgin resin. The reduction in virgin resin allows for the same great performance as regular meltblown at a lower cost.

Go to meltblown products


Made from natural cellulose fibers

Coldform2™ is available in Oil only and Universal and is the most environmentally friendly absorbent material when compared to all other technologies because it is primarily cellulose based. Not only are the fibers made from post-industrial scrap, they have up to 25% post consumer scrap too. Coldform2™ out absorbs most meltblown, by a big margin, when absorbing water-based fluids in an indoor environment. Coldform2™ will absorb small amounts of water along with the oils. Don't use it where vast amounts of water are present or you expect the absorbent to stay outside for extended periods, however this is a great absorbent for everyday land based spills.

Go to Coldform2TM products


Made from recycled synthetic fibers

Ultraclean™ is available just in Universal. These absorbents are the top performers of all our technologies and feature a high-recycled content from synthetic based fibers. The poly-backed version is perhaps the most suitable absorbent for MRO uses. It features a low-slip poly-backing that prevents the spill from contaminating the surface beneath. Ultraclean™ Double Lamination features a top and bottom spun-bond layer making it virtually non-linting and a strong absorbent that contains high quantities of SpillLockTM.

Go to UltracleanTM products


Made from recycled synthetic fibers

This absorbent technology, (available in Oil only, Universal, and Chemcal) is made from 100% premium recycled polypropylene. AirmatrixTM is produced using an air laid technology that produces a high loft absorbent. In fact Oil only AirmatrixTM is a top performer when it comes to absorbing Oil only fluids. Another characteristic of this absorbent is that it's very soft and drapable, making it ideal for shaping around objects.

Go to AirmatrixTM products

Choose the format...

Essentially the shape the sorbent comes in.


These are by far the most popular format we manufacture. On average we manufacture four times more pads than all our other absorbents combined. These are available in different sizes, weights, and constructions.


Rolls & Split Rolls

Primarily designed to cover large areas and walkways. Large spill containment can also be effectively and rapidly handled with the use of rolls. Perforated spilt rolls can be an effective way of dispensing pads by tearing off the pad size at each perforation. Only our non-bonded meltblown and UltracleanTM rolls are not perforated, all the rest are across their width and length. Split Rolls are half the width of full rolls.

image of a full sized and half sized split roll


Our 3" diameter absorbents are available in either 4, 8, or 12 foot lengths. Most socks are used around equipment in indoor environments. Spill kits usually contain a number of socks to contain the spread of fluids. Our socks feature a spun-bond or polyester knit outer case that is filled with either polypropylene or a blend of cellulose and polypropylene. In the case of our super absorbent flake socks the core is an ultra absorbent compound that holds the spill and prevents it from leaking out.

image of a Chemical socks


Pillows are used to absorb leaks that are too large for pads. Typical sizes are 10" x 10" or 18" x 18", they are more frequently included in spill kits.

image of a grey Universal pillow


These come in two diameters, 8" and 5". The larger option is used more in open water and can be heavy once they contain absorbed substances. Booms usually absorb a small quantity of water along with the oil making them even heavier. Our 5" boom is the most popular but the 8" version will stand up better to waves, as it is extremely rugged.

image of a 20 centimeter and 13 centimeter oil only booms


Are ideal for removing the final oil sheen from a spill, especially in marine clean-up situations. Sweeps are constructed from a heavy layer of meltblown polypropylene that is ultrasonically welded to a layer of white spun-bond fabric. At 100 feet long they are designed to 'sweep' across streams and storm water discharge outlets, and they can be towed behind a boat.

image of sweeps

Industrial Rugs

These resilient surface coverings come in a range of different materials and are used when a very durable and somewhat absorbent floor covering is needed.

image of rolled up industrial rug

Drum Tops

Are trimmed to sit on the top of a 55 gallon drum and contain any spill liquids. They are available in Oil only and Universal types.

image of stack of grey drum tops

Choose a weight for pads and rolls...

Rollover the pads to find out more

illustration of pad
Extra heavy weight
illustration of pad
Extra heavy weight

Absorbents in the extra heavy weight category are usually 380gsm. Use this product weight for heavy duty applications.

illustration of pad
Heavy weight
illustration of pad
Heavy weight

Absorbents in the heavy weight category are usually 286gsm. This weight is preferred when added durability and absorbency is required.

illustration of pad
Medium weight
illustration of pad
Medium weight

Absorbents in the medium weight category are usually 240gsm. Pound for pound they are very absorbent but not as durable as heavy weight.

illustration of pad
Light weight
illustration of pad
Light weight

Absorbents in the lightweight category are usually 165gsm. This weight differs from the rest in the fact that there are 200 sheets to a bale, and the rolls are twice as long as the heavy and medium weights.

The four absorbent weights listed above are available in pads, rolls, and split roll formats. Please note all weights +/-5%

Choose an absorbent construction...

How an absorbent is built affects its durability and absorbency.

This is an area that ESP specializes in to make sure our products are capable of doing the job required.

Maintaining the balance between strength, durability, absorbency and performance is the key to manufacturing a product that will always perform as expected.
  • Single layer of meltblown fibers without any sonic bond points


This is the term we use to describe polyprropylene fibers that are blown in one pass and do not feature any sonic bond points. This does make the fabric slightly more absorbent but it also makes the sheet less durable, and more prone to linting due to the lack of sonic bond points.

  • Sonic bonding lowers lint and increases the strength slightly

Sonic Bonded

The meltblown fibers are passed through sonic heads which bond the fibers together at small points. This makes the fabric a little stronger but does reduce the absorbency. The area covered by these bond points is approximately 5% of the pad, but with larger bond points it can decrease the absorbency significantly. Although stronger, from an economic viewpoint it may be better to choose a laminated version instead.

  • Tough no-linit top sheet
  • Highly absorbent core

Single Sided Lamination

This is our primary construction recommendation as it actually has a significant benefit. We sonically attach a thin layer of 'no-lint' spun-bond material onto the top surface of the sorbent. This greatly reduces the linting, (fibers detaching easily) and considerably improves the strength, which is important where foot traffic is concerned. When used in roll form the product has the large advantage of not being as slippery as double sided lamination sorbents.

  • Tough no-lint top sheet
  • Sonically bonded absorbent core
  • Tough no-lint bottom sheet

Double Sided Lamination

This construction features an absorbent core that is sandwiched between two non-linting, extra durable, spun-bond cover sheets. This configuration is the best for resilience and results in a sorbent which gives virtually no-linting at all. Caution is recommended however as any foot traffic should be avoided on this product, because it is very slippery when containing any liquid.

  • Fine fiber top sheet
  • Sonically bonded absorbent core
  • Fine fiber bottom sheet

Fine Fiber

This construction type represents our highest quality and most versatile absorbent in both Coldform2TM and meltblown formats. It also possesses excellent wicking properties. Fine fiber features less linting when compared to the sonic bonded, and single sided laminate choices, and better wicking capabilities than our double sided laminated products. Since this product isn't slippery when wet it is safer to walk on.

  • Fine fiber top sheet
  • Sonically bonded absorbent core
  • Fine fiber bottom sheet


This construction is a clever idea and simply a smarter solution for most Universal (MRO) situations where the pad can be placed under the leak. Most absorbents can hold a spill, but the liquid will permeate through to the surface below. The solution for this is our poly-backed construction which inserts a low-slip medical grade waterproof membrane between the spill and the surface below.

Choose a packaging option

absorbents in a clear plastic bag

Clear plastic bag

The lowest cost option that carries a simple label indicating the product code number, quantity and country of origin. All our sorbents except for socks are available in clear plastic bags.

absorbents in a cardboard box that also acts as a dispenser

Branded ESP box

Printed in two colors with a repeating pattern when stacked these boxes also carry a label indicating the product code, quantity and country of origin. Another handy feature of the pad box is a perforated flap that can be removed to make the box into a dispenser. Please note these boxes may carry ESP branding depending on availability.

Own branded

To help you build your own brand we can arrange to have boxes produced that carry your or an end-users logo. This service is subject to minimum order sizes and pre-payment for the packaging.

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Choose just and individual absorbant format or multiple formats. Learn more about different absorbent formats here.

What type of fluid or spill do you want to recover?

Universal will recover both oil and water based spills at the same time. Oil only will recover just oil based spills. Chemical is for agressive or unknown spills. Click here for more information

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ESP offer a range of absorbent technolgies. Click here for more information

Do you require a specific absorbent construction?

ESP offer a range of absorbent constructions.

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