Your washer and dryer are conveniences you use every day and couldn’t think of living without. Whether you consider your laundry room a cozy place to relax while folding clothes or as a utility room that keeps you busy, you may not consider the hazard your washer and dryer could present to your home if not maintained properly. We have discussed preventing laundry room fires before, but it always bears repeating that dryers are the cause of a significant amount of home fires every year. Usually the reason is preventable. Washers run the risk of causing water damage if they are not hooked up properly or operating correctly. These tips can help you prevent fire or water damage from occurring.

Washer Safety Tips

Washing machines use many gallons of water every time they run through a wash cycle. If your machine develops certain issues, that water becomes a hazard to your floor and other parts of your home’s structure as well as any property stored in the area.

  • Don’t leave your clothes in the washer overnight. Try to dry them as soon as possible. Leaving wet laundry in the washer encourages the growth of mold and mildew, which can cause illness, damage the clothing, and even cause problems with the washer itself if left untreated.
  • Keep all of your laundry cleaning products on a high shelf, whether in your laundry room or nearby. This is especially important if you have small children or pets in the home. Don’t leave laundry products on top of the dryer or washer, as the containers can scratch the paint off and cause rust spots. Make sure all caps are securely fastened when you’re done using them.
  • Your washer has two hoses connected to it, generally made of black rubber. One brings clean water in when you run a cycle and the other removes dirty water. Check these hoses periodically for cracks, breaks, or other signs of wear and tear. A broken hose could spray gallons of water and flood your laundry room. Consider replacing your rubber hoses with steel hoses instead. Steel hoses are much sturdier. This is especially recommended if you use your washer often.

Dryer Safety Tips

Your dryer operates by circulating heated air through the machine while rotating your clothing to dry it. If this air circulation is blocked, the heat can build up to dangerous levels. The heated air must be allowed to flow freely through the appliance.

  • The major contributing factor of most dryer-related fires may surprise you: lint. Make sure to clean your lint trap out completely after every single use of your dryer. It might seem tedious or unnecessary, but the more lint that accumulates, the greater the risk that it will overheat. If your lint trap is full that also causes more lint to be drawn into your dryer’s duct work.
  • In addition to cleaning the lint trap regularly, once a month check the exterior vent for your dryer to make sure there is no lint build-up there.
  • Your dryer’s duct work is probably attached to your dryer with a round metal clasp. Every few months, undo this and inspect to make sure there is no lint accumulation. An extended vacuum attachment can be used to remove any significant lint build-up.
  • If your duct work is the flexible, thin kind, consider replacing it with a short piece of solid metal. Flexible ductwork, while commonly used, has many grooves and bends that act as lint catchers.
  • Never run anything in the dryer that has been saturated in gasoline, cooking oil, or other flammable substances, even if it’s been rinsed out.

Regular preventative maintenance can go a long way in not only protecting your home from fire or water damage, but also in extending the life of your washer and dryer. It also gives you the opportunity to more closely examine the performance of these appliances. If you notice any performance issues or problems with your washer and dryer and you live in the Greater Boston and Boston North area, don’t hesitate to call us at CS Appliance Service. Reach out to us at 781-953-9600 and we’ll be happy to answer all your questions. Also follow us on Facebook at for more appliance-related safety tips.