Dryers and washing machines

Safety Tip


The leading cause of home clothes dryer and washer fires is failure to clean them. Read all of NFPA's clothes dryer safety tips and download our free safety tip sheet.

Washer and dryer

In 2010, an estimated 16,800 reported U.S. non-confined or confined home structure fires involving clothes dryers or washing machines (including combination washer/dryers) resulted in 51 civilian deaths, 380 civilian injuries, and $236 million in direct property damage.
Safety tips
  • Have your dryer installed and serviced by a professional.
  • Do not use the dryer without a lint filter.
  • Make sure you clean the lint filter before or after each load of laundry. Remove lint that has collected around the drum. 
Facts and figures
  • Clothes dryers accounted for 92% of the fires; washing machines 4%, and washer and dryer combinations accounted for 4%.
  • The leading cause of home clothes dryer and washer fires was failure to clean (32%), followed by unclassified mechanical failure or malfunction (22%). Eight percent were caused by some type of electrical failure or malfunction.
  • The risk of fire is roughly equal for gas-fueled clothes dryers and electric-powered clothes dryers.

Source: NFPA's "Home Fires Involving Clothes Dryers and Washing Machines" report by John R. Hall, Jr., September 2012.

Also see: Fact sheet on home fires involving dryers and washing machines. (PDF, 59 KB)


NFPA's Lisa Braxton gives a few simple safety tips that can help prevent a clothes dryer fire.

NFPA does not test, label or approve any products.
Updated: 7/13 

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