Before you throw a load into the clothes dryer, check what the items have been used for.

Items which have been exposed to oil (or any flammable product) may still have some flammable residue after washing. These items can ignite spontaneously, particularly when exposed to heat in a clothes dryer.

Be especially careful about tea towels which were used to wipe up oily spills, and clothes or towels which have been in contact with oils, waxes or products containing petroleum or alcohol (such as motor oil and hair-styling products).

Make sure that these have been washed in hot water before you put them in the clothes dryer.

Items made of rubber can also catch fire. Keep them out of the dryer as well.

Always let the dryer complete its cool-down cycle then remove the load and spread it out. But if you have to turn off the dryer before it’s finished, remove the load and spread it out to cool. Clothes left bundled up are more likely to catch fire by spontaneous combustion.

These wet wintery months mean you’ve probably been using your clothes dryer more. Now’s the time to get rid of any lint build-up before it becomes a fire hazard. (Fire’s not the only issue here: lint build-up reduces drying efficiency too.)

Clean the lint filter after each time you use the dryer – and regularly move your dryer so that you can vacuum up lint from the surrounding walls. If the dryer is ducted to the outside, clean any lint from the duct and the exhaust vent.

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