How To Avoid Dryer Fires (Video)

lfd fire scene tlsThis evening, the Lakewood Fire Department responded to a home fire which started from a dryer. The fire was contained by the fire department before it managed to spread to the rest of the home, and the occupants managed to escape uninjured. The incident prompted TLS to post a reminder of the importance of cleaning out the vents in your dryers to avoid a potential disaster.


Never run a clothes dryer and leave the house. Always stay near the dryer when it is running. If smoke develops, get all people and pets out of the house right away and call 911.

Clean the lint trap in the dryer after every load of laundry you dry. Take the lint trap to a the garbage can, hold it over the can, and use your fingers to scrape the lint off and into the trash. A stiff brush can also get all the lint particles off the lint trap.

Avoid using dryer sheets. Dryer sheets can add a sticky film to the lint trap and clog the tiny holes that allow air to circulate. Over time this can cause a lint buildup. Dryer sheets can also slip through the lint trap in some units. After multiple heating cycles, they become crisp little wicks waiting for a light.

Once a month, use your dryer cleaning kit and vacuum hose to clean the air pipes in the dryer. Unplug your dryer. Remove the air outflow pipe and use the long-handled brush that came with the dryer kit (or a brush you have) and wipe out the pipe as far as you can reach. Use the vacuum hose and suck up any lint that may be trapped in the pipe. Reattach hose.

Watch for signs that your clothes dryer is about to stop working. Here are some signs that your dryer is ready to give up the ghost: clothes take longer to dry, the unit gets extremely hot to the touch (but clothes may not be dry), it makes funny noises. Call a repairman and start saving your pennies if you notice any of these signs.

Remember those missing socks? One story reported from a reader indicated that when her dryer caught fire, she found 12 missing socks that had slipped behind the drum! Somehow the socks had wiggled through the lint trap or another part of the mechanism and were trapped between the drum and the unit. They heated up and acted like kindling. If you miss a lot of socks, you might want to unplug your dryer and check out the lint trap to see if those missing socks are somewhere close at hand.

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  1. Then you are very lucky and Hashem is watching over you. But do your hishtadlus. I was in a basement apartment and two nights before we moved out, the dryer started smoking and the smoke detector went off in the middle of the night. I quickly unplugged the dryer and B”H the fire went out. However, that dryer was only 7-8 years old. It had never been cleaned. You should have seen the amount of lint that the cleaning guy managed to blow out of the vent!! It was unbelievable. So do your part.

  2. the dryer vents must be cleaned yearly, in an out of town city an entire family perished from the black smoke caused by the lint from the dryer. it takes less than 30 seconds to be overtaken by black smoke

  3. I’m renting a house that’s 30 years old and the dryer is probably the same age. My wife always used to complain that it took her two cycles to dry the laundry and we blamed its on the age of the machine…
    Last week my wife “happened” to be upstairs when the children where sleeping and smelled fire near the dryer. She turned it off and we then noticed that the clothes had a burnt smell..She B”H adverted a house fire!
    Too make a long story short, the serviceman spent two hours (!) vacuuming the lint inside the dryer and needless to say it now does the job in one cycle only.

    We cannot overemphasize the points made in the article.
    Kudos to TLS.

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