USFA: Clean lint traps to prevent dryer fires

August 8, 2012

Emmitsburg, MD – Nearly 3,000 clothes dryer fires are reported every year, prompting the U.S. Fire Administration to recommend regular cleaning of lint from traps, vents and other areas of the dryer.

Lint, dust and fiber are the most likely items to ignite in a clothes dryer fire, and failure to clean accounts for 34 percent of all clothes dryer fires in residential buildings, according to an August USFA report (.pdf file) on dryer fires in residences.

Clothes dryer fires result in five deaths, 100 injuries and $35 million in property losses annually, according to the report, which examined dryer fires from 2008 to 2010.

USFA offered additional recommendations to reduce the possibility of a dryer fire:

  • Follow building codes requiring dryers to be exhausted directly outdoors.
  • Have the dryer installed by a qualified professional.
  • Do not dry items containing foam, rubber or plastic (such as a bath mat), or that have come into contact with anything flammable (such as alcohol or gasoline).