Fire hazards are things that we all tend to forget, yet things that get us to feel chills down our spines when we consider the possibility of what could have happened. For example, you may have forgotten to turn off your hair straightener once and remember the feeling you had when you walked into the room after leaving the house for a few hours, or, you may have seen a tea towel on your stove and reacted in a panic. Whatever it is, you know how dangerous fire can be, and thus, how much one must do to avoid it. Because of this, we thought that we would focus this article on listing out precautions that you should take to make sure that your laundry room is fire-hazard free. Well, of course, there are always possibilities, but the goal should always be to reduce the likelihood as much as possible.
How common are laundry room fires?
Did you know that although cooking is the main cause of house fires, laundry room fires are also very prevalent? In fact, over 15 000 fires yearly are attributable to laundry rooms. Such fires lead to deaths, of course, but mainly to civilian injuries. These numbers do not include those who take place in commercial laundries, multi-housing units, or even dry-cleaners, for that matter.
What Causes Laundry Room Fires?
One may wonder how fires can ignite in a laundry room. There are various causes. For example, 30% of cases are attributable to clothing being left in a dryer. Appliance cords being faulty are also common, representing around 29% of the cases. Moreover, dust, fiber, or lint are responsible for over 27% of the cases. In fact, lint being left in a dryer for a long time can be very flammable as we have discussed it in this article; it can be used to start campfires. In most cases, dryers were the root cause of laundry room fires. And, the leading cause of this? Not cleaning away the lint which accumulates from dryer screens and vents, and which is behind the appliance. If there is a build-up of lint behind your dryer, it can be a serious fire hazard.
What can I do to prevent this?
Although these figures may be scary at first, you can rest assured that there are steps you can take to prevent this from happening.
The first and most important thing is to clean the washer and dryer lint filters every single time you use the machine. Of course, it is difficult to keep this in mind which is why we created our nag-free Lint Bin which serves as a good reminder to clean your lint tray. Did you know that a visual reminder can increase the chances of remembering to take action by as much as 50%? Indeed, so having a Lint Bin attached to your dryer can serve as a great reminder. Combine this with our Dryer Sheet Dispenser to remind you to use them with every load and you are set to go for a safer laundry room while keeping your clothes soft.
An important check to do before you start up a laundry cycle is to check the pockets which can mistakenly hold lighters, keys, money, or anything else that may be flammable. These can go right into your Pocket Treasures bin!
Don’t forget to check for lint all around your dryer, again something that our Lint Bin is designed to do. Cleaning the lint tray is one thing, but making sure that there is no leftover lint hidden behind your dryer is another important one to reduce the risk of fires taking place in your laundry room.
Speaking of lint and fires, if you own an accordion-style vent hose, you should replace it as soon as possible as it traps lint and thus represents a great fire hazard. Instead, use a rigid metal or rigid plastic dryer host vent as well as an outdoor vent. In fact, rigid vents are now a requirement in new homes, and they need to be cleaned on a regular basis.
Additionally, you should make sure that the appliances you are using are plugged into an appropriate outlet. Plugging it in the wrong outlet can lead to fires as the wattage may be wrong. An important detail to note is that you should never use an extension cord to run your washer or dryer.
Moreover, do not place any clothes that may have been soaked with flammable liquids in the dryer. Even if you cleaned them twice, some residue may still be there which could lead to fires igniting within the dryer. Instead, leave them to air dry.
Similarly, leaving a pile of clothes in the dryer can lead them to set up on fire. For example, if there are clothes that have certain properties that can lead to fires, the heat may develop within the pile faster than it can cool down, something which can lead to combustion and thus to a fire.
To be on the safer side, you may also want to take precautions. For example, make sure to keep an extinguisher in your laundry room or, at the very least, in a room that is close. Then, you have to have a smoke detector in the laundry room to ensure that any kind of fire is detected quickly and swiftly. Finally, make sure to regularly check the state of your laundry appliances to avoid having to deal with such a terrible situation.
Ultimately, the best way to stay safe is to take the precautions listed above, but namely to get rid of all lint. As discussed, lint is at the root of numerous fires in laundry rooms as it is highly flammable. So what better than a reminder to take away your lint while being aesthetically pleasing and practical? This is why we came up with the Lint Bin. Try it out and let us know your thoughts. But, most importantly, stay safe!
Are you interested in more products for your laundry room? Check out our Prop-A-Door which can help the heat escape from your dryer, thereby reducing the risk of fires!