Not Cleaning These 10 Household Items Could Be Dangerous

I don’t know if it was typical of the 80’s/90’s, or if it was just typical of my mom, but as a child, I was always being warned of household habits that could pose a potential fire risk.

In fact, the phrase “that’s a fire hazard!” was a warning heeded by my mom so often, one might assume I spent my days playing in gasoline near an open flame. (Spoiler alert: I didn’t. Although I did own an Easy Bake oven that I baked my Barbies in, so that’s basically the same thing.)

Although technology has come a long way and households have generally become safer, there are still many common items in your home that can pose a fire risk, particularly if not cleaned properly. Here are a few you don’t want to skip:

1. Heaters

Dust that accumulates around the heaters in your home can create a fire hazard, and therefore should be cleaned regularly. If your heaters or electrical sockets cause a spark, and they are covered in dust, the dust will ignite quickly and spread through your home.

2. Bathroom exhaust fans

The bathroom exhaust fan is commonly overlooked, and can be particularly hazardous if it’s an older model that doesn’t have an automatic shutoff. Dust and dirt that accumulate in the exhaust fan can choke the motor and ignite if the motor overheats. Experts recommend cleaning the motor every few years and the bathroom fan cover at least once a year.

3. Air conditioners

It is important to have your A/C unit maintained regularly by a professional. Air conditioner wiring can break and fray, causing overheating and potentially starting an electrical fire.

4. Rangehoods

Regularly cleaning your rangehood can prevent grease fires and fires caused by smoking cooking oil. Experts recommend that you give the range hood a scrub with a little hot water, baking soda and degreasing soap at least once a month.

5. Outdoor grills

Grease build-up on your grill can cause a grease fire, so make sure to scrub or wipe down your grill after each use.

6. Dryer vents

This one might be more common knowledge than some of the others, but people may not realize that in order to prevent fires, it’s important to clean the lint from the dryer as well as the whole dryer vent that leads outdoors.

7. Unwashed rags

A chemical reaction between cotton and certain oil-based stains can cause spontaneous combustion. Many fire department personnel have seen house fires start due to oily rags that were used for staining and not cleaned up.

Experts recommend that rags used for staining should be placed in a metal can with a tight-fitting lid, and soaked in a solution of water and detergents like Tide or Dawn, and allowed to soak for three days, before disposing of them.

8. Hairdryers

If you don’t clean out the vent on your hair dryer regularly, it becomes a breeding ground for dust, hair and other debris, which can ultimately become hazardous. The hair dryer’s power cord can also overheat, which can lead to melting, fire or explosion.

9. Lawnmowers

You should take the time to clean your mower after each use, because there are risks that come along with not properly maintaining and cleaning your lawnmower. Debris or dry grass can easily get stuck in the mower deck and cause a fire.

10. Toasters

If your toaster isn’t cleaned enough, it can start a fire, because crumbs accumulate at the bottom of the toaster, and when reheated, they may start smoking. Any items touching the heat source can become extremely dangerous as they will begin to smoke much quicker than a crumb on the bottom tray. Experts suggest cleaning the crumbs after every use and ensuring that nothing is touching the heat source.

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