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.

Dryers and washing machines were involved in one out of every 22 home structure fires reported to U.S. fire departments in 2006-2010.

Facts and figures

  • In 2010, an estimated 16,800 reported U.S. non-confined or confined home structure fires involving clothes dryers or washing machines resulted in 51 civilian deaths, 380 civilian injuries and $236 million in direct property damage.
  • 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.

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)

Video: 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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