Clothes dryers caused 4% of home structure fires in 2014 through 2018, according to the National Fire Protection Association, and last year in Washington state, there were a reported 352 fires caused by appliances, including clothes dryers. More home clothes dryer fires occur in the fall and winter months and peak in the month for January.
The Washington State Fire Marshal’s Office reminds residents practicing these simple home clothes dryer safety tips:
- Do not use the dryer without a lint filter.
- Clean the lint filter before and after each load of laundry. Don’t forget to clean the back of the dryer where lint can build up. The leading cause of home clothes dryer fires is the failure to clean them.
- Clean the lint filter with a nylon brush at least every six months or more often if it becomes clogged.
- Clean lint out of the vent pipe every three months.
- Have your dryer cleaned regularly by a professional, especially if it is taking longer than normal for clothes to dry.
- Have gas-powered dryers inspected every year by a professional to ensure that the gas line and connection are together and free of leaks.
- Rigid or flexible metal venting material should be used to sustain proper air flow and drying time.
- Don’t overload your dryer.
- Turn the dryer off if you leave home or when you go to bed.
Doing laundry is often part of an everyday routine so keeping this important appliance in good working order will keep you and your family fire safe, the fire marshal’s office says.