Dryers and washing machines

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 

NFPA (National Fire Protection Association)
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Telephone: +1 617 770-3000 Fax: +1 617 770-0700