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Quick Tips For Drying Laundry

Safety Tips

Picture of Laundry Room - Tipnut.comHave you ever wondered why clothes dryers are the cause of so many home fires? I know of two different families who lost everything in a house fire caused by a dryer (happened several years apart) and to me, that makes it not as uncommon or isolated as one might think.

Here is some information explaining why they can cause fires (in the U.S. they account for about 15,600 structure fires, 15 deaths, and 400 injuries annually – Source: U.S. Fire Administration [3] – pdf). I also have below a collection of safety tips and maintenance issues to be mindful of.

The Hows and Whys

A clothes dryer works by forcing hot air through a turning drum. Wet clothes placed in the drum are then dried by the moving hot air. It is possible for a full load of wet clothes to contain as much as one and a half gallons of water.

Lint is created from the clothes as the water is removed and the clothes dry. While much of the lint is trapped by the filter, lint also is carried through the venting system, together with moist air.

The accumulation of lint, both in the dryer and in the vent, reduces the airflow and creates a highly flammable fuel source.

In addition to the accumulation of lint, blockage in exhaust vents also can occur from the nests of small birds and animals or from bends in the venting system itself. A compromised vent will not exhaust properly to the outside. Overheating may result.

If enough heat is produced to ignite the lint itself or nearby combustible items, such as the clothes in the dryer or combustibles left nearby, the engineered safety mechanisms are compromised and fire ensues.

Source: U.S. Fire Administration [3] (pdf)


More Resources:

Did You Know: Wash The Lint Trap
*First published December 30, 2006 and moved to this page for better organization

Picture of Dryer Lint Trap - Tipnut.comCleaning out the lint and fuzz from the lint trap between loads is something we all know needs doing. But did you know you should regularly wash the lint trap in warm, soapy water as well?

Here’s why:

…keeping the lint filter clean is one simple way to increase the efficiency and lifespan (and decrease the operating costs) of your dryer. Just removing the lint from the filter isn’t always enough – the fine mesh of most dryer filters can be clogged in ways that aren’t obvious at a casual glance. As suggested by the piece quoted above, softener sheets can cause waxy build-ups on lint screens that require a little extra effort – usually no more than a quick scrub and rinse in warm, soapy water – to remove.

Source: Snopes.com [6]